Sunday, July 30, 2023

the july garden


july 2

july 9

july 16

july 22

july 30

we had a lot of rain in july. the weeds have gotten a bit away from me, as i just can't keep up with all this rain. there are loads of slugs and so i spend a good 30 minutes morning and evening, picking them into a bucket to feed to my running ducks. it gives them so much joy. i have special slug gloves that i put on to do it, as i can't stand those slimy bastards. but i do it to see how happy it makes the ducks. i wish they could run around free and eat all the slugs themselves, but that stupid jerk of a fox is still hanging around. soon, there will be tomatoes, it would happen faster if we had slightly warmer weather. mostly days are only in the upper 60s. the rest of the world is boiling over and we're wearing sweaters around here. 

Saturday, July 29, 2023

going electric!

i picked up my new electric car today! it's a citroën eC4. it's so quiet that i have trouble knowing whether it's started. i know it's going to require a whole new way of thinking and it's a little bit problematic that our new home charger won't be installed until august 8. it feels like we're entering a whole new era. and it's automatic, so the child can drive it when she comes home.

Monday, July 17, 2023

photobook inspiration

yes, i turned this picture upside down to make it easier to read.

on the berlin visit, i saw the most inspiring photobooks! i noticed them on the shelf and saw the interesting stitched spines and asked about them. then we passed a couple of lovely hours, looking through them. they were so inspiring! and the photos were incredible - not your average family vacation photos, but more like a hardbound national geographic. just lovely!

and even more inspiring were the photobooks they made of a trip to morocco - five of them, each grouped by color - red, white, blue, green and ochre. just exquisite and so inspiring! i have hundreds of photos and while they're largely not the artworks that anna's photos were, it was such a great way to preserve them, rather than just paging through them on my phone or searching my computer for the right one. definitely got to make some for us. anybody know a good photobook manufacturer?


Sunday, July 16, 2023

chaos theory

back in late summer and autumn of 2020, i wove this rag rug for my kitchen.

it was the second one that i made. i needed to make a second one after breaking a full, new bottle of olive oil on my first one.

looking back at these photos, i can't see anything wrong with the warp, but later, it would become evident that something was indeed wrong with it. it retained some kind of sensitivity to initial conditions which would later prove to cause significantly different future behavior (e.g. chaos theory).

it's never a good thing to try to calculate all the hours you've spent on a woven work, but it was lot. the cloth all came from old sheets and duvet covers that i collected at second hand stores over several months. and i ripped them all up and then reordered them neatly between the threads, making them into something new.

and here it was, all finished and freshly off the loom in late november 2020.

it looked great in my kitchen and i used it happily for more than a year.
last summer, husband rolled it up when he was sweeping the kitchen floor and it sat out in the back terrace for a few weeks and may have become a cat bed for a time. in february, i decided to take it in to a laundromat that has an extra big washing machine, and give it a good wash.

and even before i washed it, i noticed that some of the threads had broken and that was even more evident when it came out of the machine. and now, we've hung it on the wall down at the museum. we think there was something wrong with the linen yarn we used, as it's all along one side where it basically dissolved. at first i thought it was moths, but they don't attack linen, only wool and there was none of the telltale evidence they leave behind. there is some kind of beauty in the way it fell apart. it transformed it somehow from a useful object to an art object - now symbolizing some kind of decay and the tendency of all things to move from order to chaos. and there is beauty in that. 

Monday, July 03, 2023

a cool airbnb on stilts

when we went over for the half ironman, husband wanted to stay nearby, since he had to be up early for the race. i found a super cute airbnb in hørsholm. i'm a sucker for a treehouse-like structure, so i snapped it up.

it was so cute and cozy. there were two houses like this and then a bathroom and outdoor kitchen over by the house that both houses could use. there were guests in the second house, but we never saw them, so sharing the bathroom wasn't an issue. 

on the wall were magazine articles that had been published about the house when it was originally built. back in 2010, it was an annex for a teenage son and an architect's workshop. i suppose it was converted to an airbnb, when the son grew up. it was so cute and just perfect for a good night's sleep before husband's race. i was inspired to come home and have husband build a couple of small houses in the back yard. 

Sunday, July 02, 2023

husband is a (half) ironman

last weekend, husband did the half ironman in helsingør. a half ironman is 1.2 miles (1.9k) swimming, 56 miles (90.1k) cycling and 13.1 miles (21.1k) running. he did it in 5:42:57, which was more than 15 minutes faster than his goal. it would have been about 5 minutes faster, but his bike shoe broke during the first transition and he spent a bit too much time trying to fix it. he ended up biking with a broken shoe, but still averaged more than 33km/hour.

i didn't manage to catch him on the bike, so no picture of that part. we were super lucky with the weather - sunny, but not too hot, though husband did say that about halfway through the run, he did think he might get heat stroke. of course, it was a bit warmer for him out there than for me, sitting in the shade under my sun hat.

he ran it with daughter karoline, who did a full ironman in 2021. this was her fourth half! and she had a baby last september! they are truly heroic! husband is aiming at the full ironman next year and will do a half marathon in the autumn. he did say after the race that he might do another half next year and then wait to do the ironman in 2025.

the june garden (and a little bit of july)

june 4

june 6

june 9

june 11

june 20

june 24

july 2

what a long way it's come in just one month! lots of sunshine and some recent rain has made everything take off. i think in next sunday's shot, the sunflowers (which i should have thinned) will obscure the bench. 

Saturday, July 01, 2023

part 5 :: long weekend in berlin :: east vs. west

these small smooth stones and bricks look like they could have been collected by me. i have a very similar stash at my house - bits of brick that have been in the water, a stone that resembles a bird, smooth stones, a general impulse to collect. so much i can relate to and find in various baskets and on shelves in my own home. 

we had a lot of interesting conversations over the weekend. i learned so much. and in some ways, it was a blessing that there was a language barrier. if i'd have been able to converse on equal footing, i wouldn't have had to listen as much as i did. it was good for me. and i was exposed to some very different opinions than my own. i think in these times when people are very polemicized, it's too easy for us to shut off and not listen to someone whose opinions are different from our own. i'll admit to having done so myself. but not being able to jump in with my own opinions made me do more listening and less formulating my own answer in my head instead of listening.

it was eye-opening. today, 34 years after the fall of the wall, this family still regrets it. they miss the society they had in east germany. they were important artists with meaningful work and a beautiful home. they traveled all over the eastern bloc, practicing their craft, participating in exhibitions and meeting other artists. and when the wall fell, it all went away (except the house, they do seem to have kept the house). and they do seem to have still been able to live from their art. but a big part of the prestige crumbled with the wall. and they had a lot of regrets.

it seemed to make them especially susceptible to conspiracy theories and it also weirdly made them love putin and hate america. they were very much on the russian side of the war in ukraine and very resentful of the ukrainians who had flooded into germany. they completely saw ukraine as russia and understood that putin wanted to bring it back into the fold. they blamed the entire thing on biden and nato.

and maybe there are some grains of truth in that. letting ukraine think they could be part of nato was a provocative act. it's one thing with the baltics, but quite another with ukraine. 

and listening to them, still fully in thrall of the propaganda they had been brought up in, i realized that i too am in thrall to the propaganda i was raised in. and even though i've been resisting it for years - i did after all study russian due to a deep and abiding loathing of ronald reagan - i am still stepped in it myself. 

and perhaps the truth is somewhere in between. 

maybe what we all want is for our foundation to stay the same. it's hard if your country disappears and is absorbed into another country over night, or if it's falling apart before your eyes due to craven, power-hungry politicians driven by financial interests who wouldn't know the truth if it hit them over the head. or a supreme court hell bent on taking it back to the stone ages. it does something to you and your picture of yourself. 

i know trump being elected shook my foundations (and my back teeth). so it's no wonder they still have regrets that the only country they ever really knew was on the losing side in a battle that wasn't entirely theirs to win or lose. 

and while i do not agree with them that putin is right, it did me good to have to be quiet and just listen.

and to look around their beautiful home, at their beautiful collections of things and realize that we actually have a lot in common. 

people are such complex creatures. we can hold so many contradictions at the same time - praising putin's war while being a gracious host. hating america, yet welcoming one american warmly into your home. there's so much more to us than we let ourselves see these days.