Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Place your bet!

Arnfinn and I make bets from time to time. Not on horses! Not on lotteries! We compete to see who's right about weird and trivial things. The winner gets treated to a nice dinner out.
We've done this for years and it's been quite enjoyable. We have bet on everything from does Tonje have a perm or naturally curly hair to which lane do I use to turn right under the bridge in Moss. Or what about where is Waterloo? I very embarrassingly lost that one.

Arnfinn has tried to cheat me too. One time he tried to make a bet on the outcome of a football match that had already been played! What a trickster! He knew beforehand! That's stooping pretty low.

I would say we are about half and half on winning these bets and we've enjoyed a few fine meals out.
McDonald's has also been one of them.

We have one pending bet. I don't know if we will ever finish it. It has to do with one of the roundabouts in town. How many cars blink on their way out and how many don't. We can never agree on which roundabout and which turn off to use for the statistic. Yes. that would make a significant difference which one we would choose to count cars.

So, a couple of days ago we were watching soccer on TV. An Italian player was called Diamanti and Arnfinn placed a bet: "Neil Diamond - is that his real name or an artist's name?"
I went for real name - he chose artist's name.

Yesterday I looked it up and lo and behold, I was right.

E-mails between myself and my love went like this:

"Ha ha ha ha I win!"
"Hm, what about the middle name? His name is in fact Neil Leslie Diamond."

Oh, no, Arnfinn! That one I win. Get ready to take me out to a nice restaurant. I will put on a pretty dress.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My House is a Mess!

Go crazy, I dare you! My house is a mess! We are changing around a few rooms and cleaning out the basement all at the same time. Help! My house is a battle field and I am in the middle feeling tired and a little frustrated.
But I have hope; hope that it will improve; hope that my house will be more livable; maybe acquire more chi at The Duck and Cherry.
I cannot believe how much junk sits in my basement. There are boxes there that I have forgotten all about; even things that I don’t know how got down there in the first place. A little creepy. Either I am forgetful or someone else is using my basement as storage space.

Poor Hector tiptoes in between boxes and junk in the hallway. Fortunately he has become a wonderful dog who does not eat everything he finds on the floor including shoes and furniture. Boy, was that ever a hopeless stage! I wondered how long we would have to put the shoes on the hat rack. I guess the goal he has for 2012 on out refrigerator door - saying that he will not chew on everything he finds –seriously, at least most of the time. We’re not 100% there yet, I have chased him around the house a few times today already.
But I promise – making a mess my way is a means to making it all tidy and nice in the end.
I have hope. Maybe a little chocolate will give me the incentive to keep going. Imagining how nice it will be after we finish is a great thing to look forward to.

Today's water color is from northern Norway and hangs in Arnfinn's office.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer sale in June 2012!

Summer sale in June!!
Happy fairies coming your way for a super summer sale.
Ordinary price NOK 800,- Now until the end of June 2012 - NOK 600,- + postage, if needed.
Size: Most of the water colors shown here are 24 cm x 32 cm and include a mat/passe-partout 30 cm x 40 cm.


If you have a request about another painting you have seen on this blog, please let me know.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What does it really mean to measure up?

To fulfill expectations and standards; to try your best to reach a certain level; to be as good as your neighbor;
These things are in other words to measure up.
Whose standards and what expectations are we really talking about? Who decides when I measure up and when I don't? Are we our owns toughest judge or do we let others lay down the laws of measurement and only idly watch as standards are set in stone.

I went with Linnea to try on summer clothes at the store yesterday - and come to think of it, when I look in the mirror I have measured up lately. My measurements are definitely up, and I would like to measure down again.

Comparing ourselves to others and how they measure up can be encouraging at times - maybe help push us up and forward - but we have to be careful. Every person is an individual with talents, personality traits and also strengths and weaknesses. 
Why should I compare my acting ability to Meryl Streep's? Or my painting ability to Leonardo da Vinci's?
If I do the best I can with what God has given me - then I have measured up, and it's reason enough to celebrate and be happy! I will always love watching Meryl's films and looking at Leonardo's work of art anyway.

If I could only stay away from chocolate long enough to measure down, that would be a good thing!

Today's art is an oil painting called "Daniel in the Lion's Den".

Monday, June 18, 2012

Babies are worth our time!

Three grand babies spent the weekend at the Duck and Cherry. I got to crawl around and play with cars, my little pony, and built farms with animals, food, and tractors. It didn't matter that house- and garden chores, writing, and other tasks had to be put on hold. It's important to treasure the moments with those that we love the most.

As I fed the youngest baby porridge from a little pink bowl the other day, I had grandpa Arnfinn on my left and her 16 month older brother on the right, both wanting to share her supper with her. One spoon for grandpa, one for Sienna, and one for Scott. The little girl has to learn to share already!

Life flies! One day working on a project might be important, the next day spending the day with a grandchild or two - or five! Finding a balance to everyday life may be tricky, but it's an ever-going learning development and can be both entertaining and frustrating.
We all have friends who - in our eyes - either seem to spend a lot of leisure time doing nothing, and those who can put 17 more tasks into a day than anyone else. But who are we to judge? Besides we all have the same amount of hours every day and each person must pick their own battles - each person knows their own limits -and their own triumphant strengths.

So now that 9 months old Dean is still at the Duck and Cherry for a few more days, I gladly embrace him in the morning, with his fat little bare feet, droopy diaper after sleeping long, and a small MP3 player with Taylor Swift singing away hanging in a cord around his neck - that little techno-baby - so that his parents can rest a few minutes longer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Me - a gardener or carpenter?

Arnfinn claims that I don't have green fingers! Deep - very deep - down in my throat the words are under construction, trying to emerge, but because of too many hurdles and hindrances won't - namely that I tend to agree, but won't admit it!
Since I have never been given a gardener for Christmas (which is on my wish list every year!) I have to do it myself.

Gardening is a wonderful thing,; fresh air, sunshine (sometimes), green growing things, God's beautiful nature....I love and enjoy it - the only thing that keeps me from doing it all the time is probably that I have one or two other things that need to be done also, and they often take priority.
My mother in law has extremely green fingers. She has had berries, fruits and vegetables in her garden always. She even grew potatoes for their large family - enough to last all winter. Even her indoor plants are always healthy and beautiful. They must really love her. But then again, she grew up on a large farm and was taught how to plant, nourish, and harvest.

Wonder what my plants think of me? They sometimes have to go without water for longer than they deserve and re-potting is done every half a century. Maybe it's not really that bad -
But back to my garden. I have one enemy - the beautiful roe deers that live and breed in the woods next to the Duck and Cherry. They come to my garden for dessert (often while I am happily sleeping) - and feast on pansies, young berry bushes, and the bark of fruit trees.

I salvage the bushes and trees again and again. One of my apple trees is only half an apple tree because the other half was eaten by the deers.
I have brought it back to health like a sick child, applied remedies, and cut the branches into shape again. It gives yummy apples, though it looks a little funny. I have also brought a small red currant bush back to healthy living after the deers chomped on most of it.

But yesterday I had had enough of the deers rummaging my garden. This summer they have already feasted on three bushes, so I decided to build cages around my babies. Pictures show a small berry bush eaten by deers, a young apple tree protected and propped up (with ski poles!), and my fancy boxes around the  red currant bushes - built from scraps of wood in the garage. There's also a photo of the unripe cheeries that will have to be covered before the birds eat them, and lastly a warm little Hector relaxing in the shade while I try to salvage my garden.

So if I cannot be a gardener with green fingers in my husband's eyes, can I be a little bit of a carpenter?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

An English Lady at The Duck and Cherry

When I grew up our home was a "hotel" with visitors from near and far. My small room was always the "vacant room" for our guests and I moved in with my parents. I was so used to it - it was how it was supposed to be. Guests were usually relatives who needed a place to stay for a while, aunts and uncles visiting from Canada or the US, and others who enjoyed my parents ever open hearts and hospitality.
My mother and father were well known for their friendly, respectful, and loving manner. Guests stayed from a few days to several months or a year!

Now the next generations are the same. The Duck and Cherry often has fun visitors from various places. Our children have grown up with people visiting and staying for a while - and in turn enjoy spending time with others and getting to know them better. Family meals are big - and fun!

Our latest visitor was Patsy, an English lady that Arnfinn taught as a missionary in England thirty-some years ago - we loved having her here, listening to her stories and her wonderful dialect. Our grandchildren loved her hugs and smiles, and Sunday dinner with green enchiladas was enjoyed with fourteen adults and four grandchildren. Bliss!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ever meet an elephant in the woods?

Happily walking on the path in the woods with Anya and her two young ones and Hector, the Wheaten terrier, what should we see? A circus had set up all its tents and paraphernalia on the soccer stadium of Anya's old elementary school. And lo and behold - as we walked the path home, a large elephant and five camels were on a grassy area next to where we strolled.
What a fun experience to see exotic animals in our woods. Even though Anya and I were thrilled to get up close to the animals, who only had a "string" fencing them in - I believe that Anya's two year old was mostly excited about a few small dogs running around between circus tents and caravans.
My parents took my older brother to the circus when he was really young. Afterwards they asked him what he liked best. "The turtle!" he answered.

It's not always the big and exotic that catches the attention of little ones, most of the time something small and sweet does the trick.

And how did Hector behave? Surprisingly pretty well, but I held him firmly on a leash.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A family is good for the body!

Our granddaughter Emma, 3 years old, is full of wisdom and clever words. After a family dinner on Sunday with 14 adults and 4 little ones she says to her parents in the car as they leave The Duck and Cherry: "Having a family is good for the body!"

What a precious thing to say. Now she is a talker, and has many words of wisdom every day, but this one I thought was especially deep and philosophical.

Even though her parents teach her about healthy foods and live accordingly, she felt the joy of being with the extended family; grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. It made her happy.

And she is right. A family is good for the body. No matter the size or distance, a family is a good thing to have.

Photo of Emma celebrating her third birthday just recently.

Dogs in bags and boxes

As I was out driving this morning, a lady and her two children were riding their bicycles down the road. The woman carried a backpack on her back, and when I looked closer - a small dog's head (Chihuahua?) poked out of the top of the pack. Some dogs are small enough for that.
I had a Papillon, called Teddy, growing up. I would put him in the pocket on my college sweater or in a purse if I was going somewhere. He was tiny, but size did not matter to him when he met other larger dogs. He would still boss them around and show them who was in charge.
Our neighbor has Shetland Sheepdogs (one at a time). They look like miniature Collies. He used to have a box on the back of his moped, and placed the dog in there whenever he had errands in town. I never really saw him without his dog and he was well known around here as the man with the dog on his moped. Now he has a small electrical car and the dog can ride comfortably inside the car with him.
My Teddy would sit in a basket on the front of my bike when I was a teenager. He was really quite good at sitting still there, enjoying the ride - except one time when he jumped out as I was driving down a steep hill. He hung dangling by his neck on his leash, but fortunately did not get hurt, and was reeled in and placed safely back in the basket.
I remember cross-country skiing in the mountains at our cabin with our last dog Choice. She enjoyed coming along and always faithfully waited for me whenever I slowed down and did not keep up. Going fast downhill, Arnfinn would pick her up and carry her.
Today's water color is called "With Trofast", Trofast being a dog's name, meaning faithful.
Photography of Choice outside the cabin in wintertime.