Tuesday, January 09, 2024

looking for delights

it's delights week over at the grown-ups' table (a 30-day drawing challenge on wendy macnaughton's wonderful substack). and after a slow commute home (the roads are still terrible out there - especially around aarhus, they don't appear to have even attempted to clear them), frustrations borne of what i can only characterize as xenophobia and sexism, and a bit of lingering sadness over those dashed christmas expectations, it all adds up to a strong need for some delight this evening.

before i turn to drawing something from nature (probably another cactus), i thought i'd just look though my recent photos to find some traces of delight. as you can tell from my last few posts, i have found the recent snow to be utterly delightful to go for a walk in (though driving in it has been less fun). 

i am quite delighted by the little lamp i found in a secondhand store for only 50kr. it fits beside the bed upstairs and its plain white shade was the perfect canvas for painting a few cactus to match the mural on the bedroom wall. it's such a delight to sleep in this lovely room every night. 

another delight is this new cup by my favorite ceramics artist that i got for christmas. i swear coffee tastes better from the right cup.

and i'm feeling better already, just thinking about delight. so one last one for today - travis the kitten is so helpful with my daily drawings. i'll see if he's up for helping me draw something from nature. maybe i'm no longer feeling prickly, so i'm now thinking snowdrops - when the snow thaws in the next couple of days, they just might be poking through and in the meantime, i'll draw the memory of them. 

what's delighting you today?

Sunday, January 07, 2024

the color of my soul

husband's bestie has sold his place and is moving away at the end of the month. he's a truly lovely person, a retired pilot, and i will miss him because he's been a staple dinner guest at our house for over a decade, but husband will miss him even more. in fact, i'm a little worried about husband without him. a young couple has bought his place and the wife is apparently a fellow american. husband has briefly met them, but i haven't. they won't be the same, but if i've learned one thing, it's that things don't stay the same and you have to be open to what comes next. 

i've been reading a lot of new substacks of late and many are focused on the new years resolution genre. i guess it's just that time of year. a surprising number of them quote rumi. kind of weird how appropriated his work has been by the gratitude/self-help set. i can't decide if it's good that it pushes it to a wider audience or if it somehow cheapens it. maybe it's a bit of both. but anyway susan cain asks in the new year's edition of the quiet life, what color is your soul now? what color do you want it to be? which she doesn't attribute to rumi (though she does quote him in the stack), but marcus aurelius, "your soul takes on the color of your thoughts."

affected by the time of year, i think my soul is currently that wintery nordic greyish blue. it's not a terrible color for your soul to be. it's peaceful and quiet, if a little cold. it seems a little lighter and more tending towards the blue than the grey after yesterday's scream in the forest. it feels in tune with the slight slowly returning after the solstice. i think the color i want it to be is a sunny, bright yellow. and that will surely come with summer and the buzzing yellow of the canola fields. and it will no doubt pass through that brilliant light green of the first beech leaves as they unfurl in the spring on the way there. our souls aren't just one color, but the whole spectrum and that color can change with the season or even from day to day or minute to minute. but susan is right, that it's worth thinking about what you're feeding your soul. and currently, i want to feed mine light. 

Saturday, January 06, 2024

go and scream in a forest

got together with a good friend today and we both spent more than an hour talking about recent frustrations and energy-stealing situations and those damn christmas expectations and selfish, ungrateful people. after we got it out, we decided that what we needed to do was go for a walk in the forest and have a healthy little scream. or two. or ten. or enough that i now have a bit of a sore throat. but damn, do i feel better. while it doesn't make that selfish, ungrateful young person less selfish or ungrateful, it did ease the burden of it for me significantly. so, if you're near a forest, get out there and have a good scream. oh, and do look up while you're there. i guarantee you'll thank me. and even more importantly, you'll thank yourself.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

currently snowing

i love that nordic blue winter light. it's been snowing all day and is expected to continue into tomorrow. it was raining when we went to bed, so there's a layer of ice under the snow on all the trees and it's heavy! glad i don't have to drive anywhere today!

Monday, January 01, 2024

the isolation journals five lists

on this rainy, grey first day of january, i was catching up on my substack feed, waiting for it to clear up a bit so that i can go for a walk. i read suleika jouoad's isolation journals sunday prompt on the five lists and it seemed like a good activity to indulge in while i wait for a break in the rain. it's always nice to do a bit of reflecting on the first day of a fresh, new year. 

1. what in the last year are you proud of?

the first thing that springs to mind is the podcast i'm creating at work. it's something that i always wanted to do and while it's not perfect, i have learned so much along the way and i got to have a lot of great conversations with a lot of interesting people. i have really grown professionally making this work. and it wasn't the only great project i was part of at work. we also worked with a top agency to make some really great short videos that tell some emotional stories that all take place in a kitchen - it was a completely different and new kind of content for us as a company and i'm really proud to have been part of pushing us in that direction. 

i'm really proud of my brave, beautiful child and how hard she works at school and how she's managed to surround herself with good friends and how she bravely makes her way through the world, 9 time zones away from us. she's a wonderful young woman and i'm so proud of her. 

and lastly, i'm proud of my weight loss. yes, i have used the help that wegovy gives me, and i have zero shame for that. i am healthier, my cholesterol numbers are down and i just feel about a thousand times better. plus, i also look so much better and i realize that matters more to me than i imagined it would. i have definitely been hiding underneath over-sized, drab clothing choices for some years now and it feels so good to not need to do that anymore. i can actually find items on the sale rack in size medium and even small and they fit me! and damn, it makes me happy and proud.

2. what did this year leave you yearning for?

i have struggled this year to restart a social life after the corona years. it seems overwhelming to invite people over like we used to. we would have spontaneous game nights and do dinner together with friends, and now we almost never do that. it doesn't help that the main friends we did that with moved a bit further away. and after that and corona, we just drifted apart. but i find myself yearning for more time with friends and good conversations and evenings filled with good food and laughter. we had a few of those over the past year, but not nearly enough.

3. what's causing you anxiety?

i think money is always a source of anxiety. one could always do with more of it. it's not really that we lack, per se, but we could do things faster and complete more of the house projects if we had a bit more. i shouldn't complain, as we do have two good incomes in our household, i guess i wish that i had less anxiety about it.

naturally, the state of the world causes a lot of anxiety and in light of that, it feels a little meaningless to be worried about money. but world issues feel so huge and insurmountable, that maybe it's easier to look at one's own life and try to grab onto an anxiety that's closer to home. 

i'm pretty apprehensive about the election in november, but if i let myself fully stare that one in the face, i'll completely destroy what's left of my back teeth after the first trump administration, since that anxiety manifests as clenching my jaw in my sleep to the point where i wake up with a swollen cheek.

4. what resources, skills and practices can you rely on in the next year?

this one feels the most like setting new year's resolutions and i'm finding it a little difficult. i suppose the main resource that i rely on in general is my fearlessness in just jumping into things with both feet. i also, despite my advancing age, love to learn new things and stay up-to-date on trends and technology, and try out all the new things that are popping up all the time - ai, tiktok, blue sky, etc. i don't know really know whether these are resources or skills that i possess, but it's what comes to mind. staying curious is probably the best thing i can do to keep growing and developing.

as for the practice that i can rely on, it's my dogged determination to take a photo every day. i've been doing it since may 2008 and i don't intend to stop now. and if i can keep that commitment for such a long time, i can surely keep other commitments - like dry january, and taking a walk or jog every day, finding a regular yoga class to attend, inviting people over once a month, learning to knit, reading a book instead of endlessly scrolling on my phone...

5. what are your wildest, most harebrained ideas and dreams?

i would love to have a small podcast production company, making limited series podcasts for companies, to help them tell their stories. it would be a great way to keep getting to talk to interesting people and learn new things. 

one day, i want to have a little café right here in the countryside. this one has been in the back of my mind for some years. it would only have a few seats and maybe limited opening hours, but it would be a destination worth seeking out. everything in the café would also be for sale - it would be furnished with antiques and the serving dishes/cups/plates would be cool ceramics from local artists and you would be able to buy anything that struck your fancy.

i'd also like to make the old part of the house into a couple of rooms that we could put up on airbnb, so i could get back some of the feeling i used to have when we had couchsurfers on a regular basis. meeting interesting people and sharing our space, especially our outdoor spaces, with them. 

i want to do another art project/exhibition together with my friend christina. and just generally develop my creative practice. maybe something with pinhole photography?

i'm sure there are other things, but these are the ones that come to mind. it was nice to spend an hour or so pondering these questions. let me know if you do it too. 

and here's hoping 2024 will be a good year for all of us.