Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oh dear, a deer!

Idyllic, isnt it? This photo was taken in the garden at The Duck and Cherry. We often have roe deer pass through, some of them have twins and even triplets tagging along. They are beautiful, but sometimes frustrating.
I looked out the kitchen window one summer and saw a large deer standing on the edge of my herb- and flower bed. He actually licked his lips, while staring at the colorful pansies in between the many herbs thriving there.
I knocked on the window and called out: "Go play with your cousins in the woods!"
He ran off, and I thought I had been ever so clever talking to a wild deer. I went about my housework and returned after a little while. To my surprise, all the colors of the pansies were gone, every one. Temptation must have been too great, the colors were too delicious to pass by.
Deer have also eaten a young apple tree in our garden. I tried to salvage it with balms and good treatment, and half of the tree responded well. It was funny. Half of the tree bore beautiful apples last fall, the other half looked kind of dead.
A couple of berry bushes have also fallen victim to hungry or adventurous deer.
It is admirable how lightly and elegantly a deer jumps across fences. I saw one up the road who passed through all the fenced in properties along the road quicker than the wind. You would think he was practicing for a hurdle race. He would have done an excellent job, from what I observed.
But I do enjoy meeting a deer or two when Hector and I are out for our evening walk. We stand and stare at each other for a while, before we decide to go in opposite directions. And that's OK. Communication is enough. He does not want to sleep in my house, nor I in his.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Look, wow!

When I went to BYU, I had a Japanese friend on the Ballroom Dance team. She was cute and little. I liked to watch her write letters home. When she made mistakes, the little Japanese signs were made into flowers. The letters became decorative even with mistakes written.
When we were on the bus together, she would look out all excited and say "Mite, yosh!" (pardon my Japanese, it's how I remember)It meant, "Look, wow!"
I have always remembered this, thinking it so cute. Later when I moved to Japan, I learned to love the beautiful language and the hard-working people there.
It 's important in life to stop and say: "Look, wow!" now and then.
I love looking at beautiful art, my grandchildren at play, Hector jumping in the snow, my beautiful children when they smile at me, and my handsome husband; I just love looking at him. Wow!
I love the view from The Duck and Cherry. A friend asked me once how I could buy a property on an island with no proper view of the ocean. But I have a view of two quaint guard's houses for the manor next door, the alley with huge old trees, and a large field, which varies in colors with the season. Right now it is white and serene. There are sheep and horses on the field below, deers crossing our garden and even some peacocks from the manor have ventured on our property. I don't need an ocean view. I love it just the way it is.

Today's water color is called "It's snowing, it's snowing", inspired by a Norwegian children's song.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Understanding misunderstandings

Right before Christmas I met our neighbor out on the street. She was walking her Chow-Chow, Thai. Hector thinks Thai is super cool, but to Thai he is still a "pesticus" (a word my children's American grand-mother lovingly called them when they were little). Older dogs are not always too fond of energetic younger ones jumping and playing around them.
Anyway, I told my neighbor that Linnea and I sing in a choir and that we had two Christmas concerts coming up. My neighbor look at me and asked: "How do you feel about singing in a Christmas concert, when you don't celebrate Christmas?"
I am sometimes surprised at the things people ask. I have found that it's important not to get frustrated or upset with misconceptions, and think that it's a wonderful opportunity to set things straight.
"Oh, we are Christian and celebrate Christmas a lot!" I replied with a smile. "In fact we celebrate all that we can celebrate."

Another thing that can be misunderstood, is that even though I bought myself ice cleats today, I am not old!! After the fall in December, I thought it might be a smart move. Hector seems to forget that I can actually slip on the ice.

Today's water color is "The Tower Castle" a fairy tale picture painted and sold in 2007.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Trigger someone's Imagination

One of the fun features at the wedding party for Michael and Linnea, was a corner with some props and a sign that said: "Painter's Studio - Photo shoot". There were two pretty chairs, a large wooden frame, my well used palett, a oil painting brush, a French hat and some funny glasses.
All evening guests snuck over to the Painter's Corner and posed for any amusing photo they could come up with.
Imagination is a wonderful thing! And just triggering people's thoughts and creativity with simple things is great.
Now that Linnea has officially moved out of The Duck and Cherry and starting her new life with wonderful Michael, I have an empty room to play with - and because this initially was my room to begin with, it will become so again. I will make myself a feminine working studio. There are three windows and a view of the small road in front of the house. I can watch people passing by walking their dogs, while painting new water colors and working on my books.
First I just have to come over the part that Linnea does not live there anymore.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Paul McCartney was right

I like hello better than goodbye! I agree with Paul McCartney on that one.
Today I had to say goodbye to the last of the Christmas guests. Goodbye to a little boy who laughs when you smile at him - probably because he sees something funny, who lies on his back on a blanket on the floor holding his toes and behaving as if life is all fun and games - goodbye to his mamma, who is as good as she is beautiful. But I will just have to look straight ahead and plan on the calendar when I can see them again.
I am so grateful for wonderful people in my life. Family, whether big or small, is a blessing.
I'd like to share with you another Beatles favorite, but it's not the version you know. I used the melody "Yellow Submarine" to write a song for Linnea and Michael's wedding some days ago. What do you think of this lovy-dovy version?

In the town where he was born, lived a girl somewhat forlorn
And she looked about the crowd, calling “Michael”, way out loud!
We’re all here watching Mike and Nea- show,
See devotion grow, love and kisses flow
We’re all here simply calling out for more
You that we adore, heart and love galore

So they met and became friends, shared both laughter and the tears
Hearts prepared to be as one, always open, ever fun
We’re all here and it’s very, very fine
Practically sublime, almost Valentine
We’re all here and we’re glad she found the guy
Rings and vows (oh, sigh), wedding knots to tie

So to send you on your way, there a thing or two we’d like to say
Be best friends, be good and kind, be affectionate and keep in mind:
We’re all here and we want to add “we do”
We sure do love you, doo-bi-doo-bi-doo
We’re all here and we’d like to raise our cup,
Cheer you on and such, blessings more than much!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hidden pearls

Hector is still digging up - reburying - finding - his large bone our neighbor gave him for Christmas. I had to take it away from him last night as he went to bed, as he was possessed with it, not able to calm down to go to sleep.
It is an exciting adventure to dig and find hidden talents and pearls of personality traits in yourself or others around you. We celebrated our daughter's marriage to her beloved last week. It was wonderful. Arnfinn was in charge of a ring ceremony and I discovered things about him that I had not given him credit for before. Through the things he said and the way he presented the ceremony, he proved quite the romantic and soft guy, and I was very pleased!
It's a treat to find new and positive things about your spouse after many years of living together. Life sure is a thrill, new things everyday.

Today's picture is a mosaic, black paper on white. I did it as a project as I studied Art & Design at BYU umpteen years ago. Behind the joker/clown is a person with many hidden talents.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tractors are so exciting!

I went for a walk yesterday with a young grandson, whose favorite word to say is "tractor". I put a small car in his pocket and we happily walked hand in hand along the icy roads surrounding The Duck and Cherry.
There is something about little boys and big cars. He is thrilled about moving vehicles and a box full of matchbox cars is always the first thing he asks for when he comes to visit me, his Mimmi. Since we live next to a large farm, he sometimes gets to see real tractors go by. You would think the experience is birthday, Christmas and everything good rolled up in one, that's how excited he gets.
What do you get really excited about? We all have something that makes us warm and fuzzy inside, happy, excited and just makes us feel good. To me it's my family, my faith, my home. But other than that, I get really excited about art history, genealogy, singing, going for walks and working with art and words, to mention some. We are so fortunate to have such a varied and interesting world to live in. I may not get as thrilled about tractors like my little grandson, but I love seeing his face when he does. That's worth more than I can explain here!

Today's water color hangs in my grandson's room.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What do you do with your name?

George Albert Smith (1870-1951) once told a story about a dream he had. His grandfather, whom he was named after, came to him and asked him what he had done with his good name. Fortunately George Albert Smith could tell his grandfather that he had done nothing to put shame on the name.
I read a book once about unusual names. Some names in themselves put shame to a person. The Hog family who named their little girls "Ima" and "Ura" are examples of this. Also "Lemongelo" and "Orangelo", two poor little boys with dessert names pronounced Lem'ongelo and Or'angelo, with a Italian twist. I also remember a family with many children with names ending in "itis". The children were reminded of illness every day. Another family started with "uno" and counted their way through the line of children with names according to the number in line they were.
I know a family in Austria, who alphabetically started with number one on the letter A and ended with F. An American family in Japan, who according to the father's passion for Greek history named their children "Apollo" etc., or one family who named all their children with names starting with "Tr".
It's fun to be allowed to choose a baby's name. I made a list for the father to choose names for the children. He had a history of not having much of an imagination naming his horses (one was called "Horse", the other one "Horsie"), and I felt I had to rescue the situation to avoid our children being named "Girl" and "Boy". The list of pretty names was presented to him and he put one, two or three stars next to the names he liked.
Our dog has a name to live up to. "Duck and Cherry's Hector" is his full name on paper. Named after our home and a Greek legendary hero, known for defending his family and his people and being a good leader and example.
When I was little I told my mother, that only little girls were named Heidi, and that it was impossible to be an adult with such a name. I had read the book "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri enough times, and connected the name with a young child. My mother convinced me it would be fine to grow up with such a name and that she knew a lady by that name. It's a happy name - and I still like it.
Doing genealogy I notice that many names go around in circles. Names your grandparents have, reappear after two or three generations and become popular again. Parents can find names for their children from different people who cross their path. A good example is from Arnfinn's family, where the girls were names simple named like "Anna", "Magda" etc. until a little daughter was named "Oniva Hildora Charlanka", a name with "schwung" you could say.
There are lots of fun and beautiful names in the world, but the most important thing is probably what George Albert Smith's grandfather asked: "What have you done to the name?"

Today's water color is a children's picture named after a Norwegian nursery rhyme "Bæ, bæ, lille lam".

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who sits next to you on your peg?

Who are you sitting next to on your peg?
"Choose your friends wisely," a leader said. And its good advice. Friends spend time with you, cheer you on and lift you up. And it's important to be with people who will build you up and not tear you down.
Good friends are part of being prepared, of having a storage, of investing in your life.
I have a few very close friends. I know I can call them in the middle of the night, if necessary. A few good friends are better than many you cannot trust (Old Heidi-se proverb).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Digging for bones at The Duck and Cherry

Hector got a laaarge bone from a neighbor for Christmas. He decided it would be better off hidden in the herbal patch for a while. Out he went, bone in mouth and a very determined look in his eyes.
Yes, bones are buried in the garden at The Duck and Cherry. Hopefully not the kind they find in all the detective shows I love to watch on TV. The world is a resting place for bones from generations of people - all over - we just don't know.
Hector found one the other day - one he had dug down a few weeks ago.It was wet and gooey and fool of soil. He was very proud and came to get me to show me the treasure he had recovered, a half eaten pig's ear. Yummy!
I would rather be in the kitchen eating the "After Eight"-chocolates I discovered all fogotten on the piano from Christmas. They are some of my favorite treats. And it's true - it's always after eight.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Linger longer!

I am one of those who wants Christmas (and all good things)to linger longer. Why stop, when it's so good?
Our Christmas tree is still in the living room, festive curtains are still up, decorations still adorn the rooms.
On the piano is a wooden nativity scene. It was puchased in the Philippines, while we lived in the Far East. It's Linnea's favorite thing to put on display every December. That along with Murray, the Christmas moose, from my brother in Canada. We give Murray a kiss and greet him and he cheerfully sits on the mantel overlooking the living room during the Holidays. After Christmas he goes back in the box in the basement, waiting for another Christmas to come along.
A few years ago I visited a Christmas shop in Helsinki, Finland. I searched the store for nativity scenes and finally had to ask the shop assistance. "No, we don't have much like that," she replied. "What? I asked. "Isn't this a Chrsitmas shop?" Turned out she had one, so small I could fit the whole thing into one hand and with the words "Greetings from Finland" written on it. Honestly!
I ended up buying a Christmas owl, whatever that is....but I love it. Christmas animals are fun to decorate with.
Children who visit from far away should linger longer, hugs from someone you love should linger longer, and fresh chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk....mmmm, think I'll make some of those today.

Today's water color is called "Teddy Bear Hug" (Bamsekos).

Involuntarily dreaming

Can't seem to wake up as early as I should in the morning the last few days. I am heavily in a dream when I hear the door open, Arnfinn returning from his morning shower and letting the wild and crazy (and quite heavy) Wheaten Terrier, Hector, jump on top of me, slobbering me with kisses and extremely happy to see me. This morning I was on a train when they entered the room. After frustrations of getting on the train on time and not leaving my bags behind, I was actually happy to be back in my own house and out of an exhausting dream.
Are you sometimes tired after dreaming? I am. Arnfinn says I live two lives, one during the day and one in my dreams when I sleep. It can be educating and enlightening to dream, but often I feel tired when I wake up.

Today's water color is of a fairy sleeping in a bird's nest. It reminds me of Tiffany, little and cute.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two - or rather three - front teeth

Drama, drama at The Duck and Cherry the days before the festive Christmas celebrations. First, I fell on the ice, hit the back of my head, causing a large lump and a concussion. Then Arnfinn was hit in the mouth with a racquet, while playing a fierce game of squash with his macho friends. Poor Arnfinn, he went around at Christmas time quoting the famous song: "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!" They have served him well for over fifty years. Now he'll have 3 pretty new ones - and not have to worry about cavities. Well, there's always something to be grateful for, isnt there?
January in the Duck and Cherry garden shows a green lawn flanked by barren trees and berry bushes. Drifts of snow come and go, the weather is often "Sherlock Holmes", foggy and mysterious. Living on a small island will do that.

Today's water color hangs in Arnfinn's office. It is called "Arn", which is old norse for eagle. It fits him and his name.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I can be a rhinoceros

The last days of December were spent at our cabin Eljarbu. Open invitation to the family were handed out at Christmas time and Arnfinn and I were happy to have the company of 3 adults, 3 children and 3 dogs.
I was thinking how safe I was when I went to bed at night. I had two brave men there, 3 dogs and two mothers of babies, who would become wild as lions if anyone approached the cabin in an unfriendly manner.
I was reminded of when I gave birth to my first child. The doctor called me "tiger". I thought it was really strange, because he didn't know me - and because I am much calmer than a wild tiger in real life (I think). But I have thought about that phrase often since then, and found out as my children grew up, I will protect them at any cause and become wilder that a charging rhinoceros if need be. So maybe the doctor was right after all.

It's a new year. Even though I am a believer of "every day is a new day to do things better", I tend to think more about resolutions and goals come January.
I have written down some, some I will report to someone else throughout the year and some I will keep to myself.
I am grateful for a new year. grateful for many blessings, grateful for being able to gather our loved ones at The Duck and Cherry.

A wedding is coming up in a few days in our family, third child to get married. We are excited and happy for the event and the reunion of two beautiful young people.