Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 :: a year in pictures



it seems like january wasn't all that memorable. working from home, a visit to mosegaard museum, frost and snow, lego flowers, the light slowly returning. 


lots of work stuff - spent a bit of time in copenhagen. enjoyed signs of spring. still couldn't stop making more avocado plants, which was my corona obsession. ate some good food. did some creative stuff. started planning the garden. 


sabin and her friends came for spring break, which was so much fun. went to a coiled basket class, made some yummy cupcakes for my birthday and a fancy charcuterie board for our little creative group's annual meeting. 


started spending time in the garden and even harvested the first herbs for a salad, as well as the first ruby stalks for rhubarb that i forced under some black buckets. bought some hoka running shoes, hoping it might make me run. spoiler alert: it didn't. billy the cat came by for his annual visit. he stayed around for several months. 


recorded the first episodes of my podcast for work (look for it where you listen - it's called the sociable kitchen). may is always when the canola fields are at their peak and i am here for it. it was also lilac time, which is my favorite time of year. may is also when i started taking wegovy. alas, i didn't do a may selfie, so we'll have to compare the ones that follow with the previous months.


june was eventful - a trip to berlin with a friend to visit some old friends of hers, husband ran a half ironman, i spent time in the studio in aarhus and fell in love - it's such a great atmosphere! we started to enjoy the garden. and i got new ducks. we also got a pig, though it was over at our friends' place. 


summer was here and that meant berries - strawberry ice cream, black currant jam. my grove of avocado trees thriving in the kitchen window. a visit to an old friend to record a podcast episode. turning my woven rug that weirdly disintegrated from useful object into art. and a new fully electric car for me. 


sabin came home and we painted a cactus mural in our bedroom. we went on adventures and ate blts. husband also made the most amazing covered terrace and i did my part by making big cushions for the lounge area. husband helped build a shelter. and milkshake, my white running duck, laid her first egg! mazzie had kittens, despite being a kitten herself. 


i started to really feel and see the effects of the wegovy and shedding those extra pounds started to make me feel better. had a pretty traumatic encounter with someone from my creative group, and was much more able to handle it - maybe due to feeling healthier. made loads of cordial and jam with all the yummy things from the garden. dyed some dresses in the indigo dye pot. and visited the danish design museum in copenhagen as research for my work podcast. 


spoke at a conference in amsterdam, went to the taylor swift film with work friends, moved into our new bedroom, enjoyed the kittens, went to a book release party and spent a bit of time at trapholt in connection with a new project. i also learned a new thing - pinhole photography. harvested the squash from the garden and went mushroom hunting. 


the child was a bit stressed and came home spontaneously for thanksgiving. it was great to see her and help her relax a bit. we painted ceramics together, ate sushi and celebrated thanksgiving with good friends. and we laughed and laughed that evening, which was great for everyone. husband and i went to copenhagen twice because we got the date of our family get-together wrong, but made the best of it by exploring the new park beside the opera. made plans to weave rugs for the bedroom on my friend's loom.


down 15 kilos (33 pounds) since starting wegovy and starting to need some new wardrobe items. it makes me so happy. decided to up my gift-wrapping game and made a zillion ornaments with hama beads. it was so relaxing! wore something sparkly every work day of december. it has been a year of ups and downs, but despite the questionable expectations of christmas, it is ending on a good note and overall, while not that eventful, it lands in the positive column. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

christmas is fraught with expectations

christmas has come and gone. everyone has just departed and i'm relishing a little bit of time to myself, on the couch, watching harry potter. as usual, christmas had its fraught moments. moments of irritation - like when we thought some of the guests would be here at 2 p.m. and they didn't actually leave copenhagen (to drive three hours) until then. or when two of the young people showed up a day early because they wanted to borrow my car to go their christmas eve engagement and no one had communicated this to me or asked me if i thought it was ok. (knowing how one of them drives, it was decidedly not ok.) 

then the child got mad at me because i'm on wegovy. it has made her feel self-conscious about her own weight, which was never my intention. she's beautiful and perfect in my eyes, and i definitely don't think she needs to lose any weight. but the world is a weird place and maybe it's messed all of us up. i have in my head that i want to weigh what my driver's license says i do (i got it in 1995 and it says 135 pounds), which might be madness (and is about 20 pounds from where i am right now, after losing 30 pounds since may). it made the child think i am on my way to having an eating disorder. i'm not sure it's quite that, but maybe she's right that i need to rethink that goal. and be happy with feeling better here and now.

husband's first grandchild was here and he's a busy little guy of 15 months. it made me realize how not childproof our home is, but we were able to keep the kitchen cupboards closed and keep the most breakable items out of reach. it struck me how repetitive everything with small kids is. he spent ages handing LEGO pieces to his parents, then throwing them on the floor and then wanting up and then down again and then up again and down again. i think our brains are kind to us, as i don't recall the monotonous boredom of having a small child myself, but surely it was the same. thankfully as parents we don't see it that way. but i am glad it's not me today.

it's hard enough when they're grown. i got everyone LEGO this year - usually, we buy new games, but now we have so many, it's hard to pick new ones, so i decided that everyone was getting a nice LEGO set. there are so many cool sets these days for adults and who doesn't like LEGO? i chose carefully, really trying to pick ones that fit - a bouquet for the middle daughter and the cool LEGO ideas insect set in the picture above for her boyfriend. they eagerly got to work building them and i thought i had done a good job. but when it came time to pack up their things and take them home, i heard a lot of whispering and only the flowers were packed up to take home. apparently they didn't want the insects (as cool as they are) sitting around their new apartment. i didn't hear that with my own ears, it was told to me second hand. i'll have to remember next year that LEGO just isn't good enough. i'm honestly trying not to feel badly about it, but i'm not there yet. 

we attach so many expectations to christmas. i carefully selected the gift and i feel hurt that it was deemed too inferior to be taken home. and if i'm honest, it's more than that. i'm also hurt that the girls brought a present for their sister and their dad, but nothing for me. not even a token small thing. i go out of my way for them and get nothing in return. and while it's not about things, it's about the thought that goes into selecting a gift and apparently i'm not worthy of any such thought.  and i'm really trying not to care, but honestly, i do care. and i am hurt. and it's those damn expectations every time. but how can we not have them? and how to get past them? and how to not care.

i realize it all sounds quite petty in light of all the horrible things going on in the world. but there you have it. we are always so inside ourselves, it can be hard to look up. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

mood: bleak

i'm sick. i haven't been sick like this in a long time. it started yesterday when i was driving with a colleague to copenhagen. i suddenly knew i was going to throw up and luckily he pulled over quickly. then despite attending a workshop, i continued to throw up the rest of the day. by the time we drove home, i was getting achy all over and i'm sure i had a low grade fever. miserable. i went to bed immediately with a kitten and tiktok and slept for 10 hours. so far today, no throwing up, but the thought of food still turns my stomach. i have kept a cup of tea down, so that's something. 

so i'm hanging out in bed with travis, my comfort kitten, candles burning and my laptop on my lap. and i'm thinking about all the madness in the world. in the early days of this blog, i would have been on the barricades, writing about it. the incomprehensible slaughter of innocent women and children in gaza, the way the war in ukraine drags on, but seems to have been forgotten in the face of the horrors being committed by israel and hamas. the criminal trump's increasingly fascist behavior and his likelihood of being the nominee. i just don't know what to say. or do. i feel rather helpless in the face of it all. 

here i am, tucked up in my cozy, warm bed, fretting about some stupid bureaucracy imposed on our little creative group by the local bank and recovering from the flu while the world rages out there. and i can't help but berate myself for it, wondering if it's similar to how ordinary germans just sat back and let hitler do all he did. did they feel as helpless and wrapped up in their own pettiness? 

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 hardly 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.