Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nonsensical, but joyous

Is it necessary that all things you collect, do, plan, love - have to be reasonable and sensible?
I like the word Kiera Knightley uses in the beautiful filmatic rendition of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". She says: "nonsensical". I love it!
In my book, it's absolutely proper, and even necessary, that some things are nonsensical and nonmeaningful from time to time.
I collected salt and pepper shakers in my youth. What did I need a whole bunch of those for? Nothing! But I enjoyed looking at them, and they reminded me of places I had been. I also collected napkins, stationary and stamps as a child. I was even a member of a stamp club in England and thoroughly enjoyed my monthly package with colorful stamps from all over the world in my mailbox. I don't need those things anymore, but at the time, it brought me joy.
I believe it's important to do things for the pure enjoyment of it. There is a scripture in The Book of Mormon that says: "And they lived after the manner of happiness". Another scripture says "Man is that he may have joy".
Picking out the things you want to do or collect or be, just for enjoyment and joy, is a great gift. Unwrap it today!

Today's water color is of Svenner Lighthouse.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A garden to love

It's spring!!!! But as I look out the windows on the rays of sunlight hitting the herbal garden newly emerged from the cover of winter's snow and ice here at The Duck and Cherry, I realize.....I can not really see out my windows. They are so dirty!
Tomorrow! Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow. Today I write.
I love it when spring fastens its grip on my garden, but it also means I have added a category to my to-do list today. The one called: The garden! Spring and summer means extra hours spent weeding and planting.
I love a beautiful garden, but feel I'm not very good at gardening. My attempt on adding "a gardener" to my wish list every birthday and Christmas for years now, has not paid off yet. Fortunately I have a husband who has built a great garden wall, but there's a few other things to do in a garden.
Our neighbors on the street spend from now-and-then-time on their garden to the diligent everyday tending. I am somewhere in between.
A nice thing about warmer days, is that the neighbors come out of their houses and we see them more often. It's nice to chat over the fence or between the hedge bushes.

I would like to take a trip to England and look at some of the beautiful show gardens there. But for now I will set myself a goal to spend time in mine this summer.

Today's photo is from my front step a few years ago, to encourage me to get excited about weeding and such.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A word means a lot

"When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade" translates into: "When the spring day is chilly and grey, sit inside and write fun words and drink hot chocolate!" Oh, wouldn't that work every time?
I love words. Words can do so much. Words are a gift we should protect and treat with respect and the utmost care.
Words can uplift, buoy up and encourage. Words can comfort, open up the imagination, provide knowledge and expand the way we think. It can also do all the opposite of all those things. That's why words should be treated with care out of respect for others, as well as out of respect for ourselves.

Yesterday I heard about someone who said: "I don't want you to tell me you love me, I want you to spend time with me." I must say I would prefer both. Someone who spends time with me AND says I love you! We all thrive on good words, encouraging and loving words, and constructive guidance.
Life is too short to spend on bad words. Vocabularies should be carefully designed to bring us through life as persons who care.

Today's water color is called "Hot Air balloons at Lindesnes Lighthouse".

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This is not what I signed up for

Do you sometimes experience trials and difficulties in your life? Do you feel it's unfair? Do you catch yourself saying: Why me?
I read a wonderful little book by Dieter F. Uchtdorf talking about life and how we all have to go through rough times. He compares me and you to the princesses of the fairy tales. Here are some of their problems: ate a poisened apple and dropped dead (at least for a while), was poked by a spinning needle and made to sleep 100 years, had to choose between a grandmother and a wolf and made the wrong choice (amazing as that sounds), was ridiculed by step-mother and step-sisters, and the list goes on.
There is a "happily ever after" for each one of us if we make good choices in life. Our once upon a time can end up with exactly that, if we do our best. If we do our best, we have not failed.
And maybe, before coming to this earth, this is exactly what we signed up for. We know we learn from trials, we know we grow from difficulties. Choosing to be better, is a good thing after all.

Today's water color is a happy fairy called "Blomster-Line". Enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spring can come!

Do you have a favorite season of the year?
Summer is wonderful, isn't it? Warm and colorful, don't have to put on layers of clothes just to get the newspaper in the morning. Evenings and nights (at least here in this country) are light, fragrant and beautiful.

Autumn is a time I feel especially creative. I love walking in piles of leaves, bringing some home to put on my table, making plans, harvesting, Thanksgiving.

Winter is so serene and inside-cuddly. No dirty paws, no weeding, no mowing the lawn (though shoveling snow takes up time too!) - and Christmas and skiing at the cabin.

But my favorite season is spring. It is the anticipation of things to come, the sound of melting snow, the birds chirping in the early morning hours. And when tiny buds of wild spring flowers pop up between yellowish grass and snow, I always wish I could bring one home to show my mamma. It is as if the child in me returns.

I am excited for spring to come. That feeling has arrived outside the Duck and Cherry and the birds are singing in the trees already. Arnfinn is terrified that the snow will melt and his skis put away for many, many months.

Today's water color is a spring fairy, sewing seeds(she makes it look so easy, flying above the ground).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Imagining what it tastes like

"Variety is the spice of life", I was told many years ago. That is true with many things.
My pleasure today is that I found my smell and taste, which were both temporarily misplaced senses the last few days. It is so boring to eat a piece of yummy licorice and not be able to tell if it was actually salami, sausage or licorice. I tasted nothing. It is also a problem not to be able to smell. There are certainly many things to miss out on if you cannot smell what's going on.

Good thing is I can now start to enjoy eating again. Yesterday I ate three cookies wihout tasting a thing. Linnea looked at me reminding me it was probably a waste of time eating something expensive, and full of calories, when I could not even enjoy it. "But I imagine what it is like," I said and chomped away.

Bad thing today is that now that I am starting to taste again,I am so excited I want to taste all kinds of things.
Colds are fortunately a passing thing.

The photograph today is of Linnea's "Huevos Rancheros", a treat I would love today that I can actually taste a little. Oh, well, maybe another day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Choose to be inspired

I just spent a few minutes updating who inspires me and who I like on my Facebook page. It made me happy inside, thinking about all the wonderful people out there who write beautiful music, who play instruments, who sings songs that lift my spirits or makes me want to move around, who makes me want to do better and improve myself and my way of living. I am grateful for all of them, and there are many that I admire.
Some of these people are my friends, some are my own family.
I thought about my children. They are so much better than me. My husband, who knows the Scriptures so well and can explain anything from spiritual matters to how everything works. My parents, who were loving and kind.

I am grateful for every day that I have a chance to improve my ways and learn from others.

Today's water color is called "Veiskille", which means a fork in the road. Every day we have a chance to choose which way to go, to choose the good part - or not....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Everyone can love

The time is 270 A.D. The Roman Emporor Claudius II chose young unattached men, who were free to leave their families, to go to war. Marriage was forbidden, but the young romantic priest Valentine, opposed the law and secretly married young couples in love.

This morning Arnfinn saw his lunch bag on the table adorned with paper hearts, his mirror in the bathroom had a heart and a huge red paper one decorated the front door. He asked me if he was safe this year. "You are never safe," I answered. History goes that Arnfinn has hearts fall out of his wallet when he gets on the train, hearts fly out of his appointment book at work, they are in his shoes, lunch, wherever. No, he is not safe today. Hearts will follow him this day - and that's because I like him!

It's Valentine's Day, a day when people dare to be a little more lovy-dovy than usual. Be it ancient courtship, medieval chivalry or Victorian formality, we all need a day that reminds us to love. With half the population being single, I would like to say that Valentine's Day is for everyone. You don't have to be in a relationship to celebrate. Everyone needs to feel loved and appreciated. If we could use this day to smile at someone, give someone a compliment, give someone a hug. As for the last one, I have a husband, who does not want to give me a hug today in fear of cathing this nasty cold that I have right now. Oh, well, there are plenty of other people I can make feel better today, even without hugging.

Today's water color is of teddy bears hugging = love!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Realizing dreams

When I grew up my father had many dreams. He was wonderful, very artistic, full of ideas and an understanding of how to make something out of anything.
When the sun set in beautiful colors, he would dream about his childhood town of Tromsø, thinking the sunset was probably lovelier there. On light July evenings he wished for the never setting sun of the Tromsø summers, fishing on the fiords and eating sour cream porridge at 01:00 am with family and friends. We would drive up in the summers. The ride took us several days, but he would make even the long trip fun.

Now I have a husband whose dreams are about skiing at our cabin. He longs for the open mountain areas that are white and quiet, drinking hot chocolate along the way and skiing, skiing, skiing.
Today is such a day. February is showing itself from a perfect angle, white and wintry, sunshine, bird's singing and melting snow trickling from the roof, making it sound like spring.
He talks about how great it must be up at the cabin today.
I love my husband for being soft hearted enough to dream and adventurous enough to do something about it. The Duck and Cherry will do very well today. Arnfinn will have his wish fulfilled another day.

Today's water color is a view from the living room in our cabin.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Movie buff

Movies - do you watch them to learn something useful, to feel good, to understand more about a subject or for pure entertainment?
I have always loved movies, ever since watching "The Wizard of Oz" as a little girl. My goodness, it was so scary, but very exciting, and in colors!

I am not locked in a "certain kind of movie" code. I enjoy an exciting adventure, a thrilling detective story, a deep felt drama, a happy comedy, a joyous musical, and a period piece. To me a horror movie is a waste of my time, and if it's too Sci-Fi, I get bored.
But there is something to learn from any genre of movies. I often come home from the theater more in love with my husband, more willing to walk an extra mile, more determined to do more for my neighbors. I feel it's up to me to pick and choose what I want to learn from a film, and I always learn something. To me that's exciting, it's progress.
That said, there's a limit for what is watchable and what to avoid. It's OK to turn off a movie, it's OK to throw a DVD in the trash. Not everything is allowed into the movie file in my head.

Today's art is a drawing I did for an article I wrote for a genealogical magazine last year.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Don't need that!"

"As you can see, the house next door is no longer there!" This is what an English guide said in the small town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthtown of Shakespeare. Arnfinn and I were sitting on top of a double decker bus, looking down at the houses in the Shakespearean neighborhood.
It was one of those sentences that just sticks with you, and pops up every so often when we hear other comments on things that are/have been/should have been....Anyway, funny.
Every family has words and sentences with narrow comprehension span, a meaning that only the family understands - and has to be explained, if anybody else desires to understand what is going on.
Our oldest grandchild, at the ripe age of 2 1/2, dropped a small cloth on the floor one day, trying to climb our stairs. Determined (and she is often determined) and not wanting to bend down to pick it up, she said "Don't need that!" This has become a family saying in our house now....because she is right, quite often in life we can say: "Don't need that!"

Today's water color is "Catch of the Evening".

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday morning's gentle calm

Just come home to the Duck and Cherry after a Sunday morning walk with Hector. Only -7 celcius today, less than half as cold as yesterday. I tried on my new boots, warm and water repellent at the same time, bought at the shoe sale in town. I tend to buy hats, boots, coats and gloves as "walking-the-dog" apparel. I figured since I spend so much time outside walking the fluffy creature who lives with us, I need to be able to dress warmly and comfortably.
Today a squirrel ran across the road in front of us, super speedy and very cute. Before Hector figured out who or what that smell was, the squirrel was high up in a tree, looking down at us, feeling safe.
I love Sundays. It's a day different from the other days in a week. It is a day to calm down, put aside work and wordly thoughts and give more thought to faith, hope and God. It is a very wise God, who planned a day of rest every week. If not, we would probably seldom slow down.
Growing up my father played a lot of LP's on his stereo in the living room. He had built a case under the television for all his records. Sunday mornings I woke up to lovely music in the air, my mother in the kitchen making breakfast. I have tried the same with my own children. I often play classical music on Sunday mornings.
Today I am playing Sting's "If on a Winter's Night", a wonderful CD for mornings like today, when snow is falling silently and gently outside the window, and I am planning hot chocolate with whipped cream for our after church treat.

Today's water color is from 2003 and called "A House under every Bush"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Do you speak "dog"?

Hector and I are trying to understand each others languages. Sounds silly? We communicate, that's for sure, and I try to understand what he is saying more and more. He comes to me to tell me he is hungry. He stands next to me and makes funny howling sounds. I don't know which dialect he speaks, but it's musical tones up and down. Very funny to listen to.
Every morning our neighbor opens up her bedroom window facing our house. The poor lady has allergies and needs to shake her pillows free from fluff and smaller-than-what-the-eye-can-see bugs. Every time she does this, Hector, who is happily guarding the driveway, gives her a bark.
It dawned on me today, that he is actually saying hello. I used to believe he was just being annoying, but I need to tell my neighbor what a polite dog he is, greeting her so cheerfully. That way she might receive his morning bark in a welcoming way.

My good friend, Bente, has a kennel with toy poodles. She brought one of them to an animal interpreter. It was really funny to hear her story about what her little red poodle had told the interpreter. She did not like to walk nicely on the leash, she thought the boys in the house were too noisy and she wanted to pick her own father for her puppies.
I would like to ask Hector why he does not remember the goals he has on our refrigerator: 1) to have all four legs on the ground when he is happy and 2) not to grab everything and bite it to pieces.
Very sensible goals, I think, but Hector seems to forget from time to time (actually almost every day).
Learning dog language is exciting and challenging. Arnfinn and I are trying to use body language to speak with Hector, the way he can understand, as well as tone of voice and words he can comprehend.
Do you speak dog? I think I should add it to my language comprehension on FB.

Today's water color is a funny little picture called "Night".