Thursday, August 30, 2012

Speak and Listen

Once upon a time there was a king, who had a daughter who was so difficult that no one could "målbinde" her .. This is the beginning of a fairytale found in the famous edition of Norwegian Folktales by Asbjornsen & Moe

I have tried to find a proper English word for "målbinde" but, alas, have not found it in any dictionary or on the Internet. In the fairytale, the princess is so stubborn, so strong-willed, so bright that no one is able to silence her, to get her attention, or create a situation where she does not know what to say.

Now, the love of my life is a lawyer. He is clever with words. I usually say he is a magician with words, and when he one time said I could "målbinde" him, it was a great compliment and sign of his affection for me. He is the greatest listener and interested in all the silly things I blabber about every day. I love him for that! And more than that, I admire him for that, as my mouth usually opens up whenever he's around, and out come all kinds of thoughts and ideas that are whirling around in my head.

I borrowed this comic from a page on the Net. So funny. She is not taking the situation seriously at all. But why should she? Her way might be cackling and her attire comfortable to her. 

Though in certain situations we need to conform to the surroundings, need to behave, need to pull ourselves together to- well, like in this situation - to save a life. She's obviously on trial for witchcraft and the future is probably not the brightest.

How can we pull ourselves together in situations in our lives and still hold on to our own personality and way of life? How can we speak the truth and still be kind? How can we be ourselves and survive?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rain and Books

Went walking last night in the rain. I love it! Hector doesn't mind getting wet at all and happily jumps in puddles and lets the wind take hold of his bushy whiskers and thick woolen coat.

I love the feel of wind and rain on my face. The freshness of the air makes me happy to be alive and grateful that I can be outside and enjoy.

Arnfinn and I visited Thailand a few years back. It rained every afternoon. But it really did not matter as the temperature was pleasant even if we were wet. We are after all rainproof and dry up rather quickly.
But I must say it did not sprinkle down in gentle sequences. It poured down and flooded the open sewer canal next to the street. We almost had to wade through pieces of toilet paper. I remember getting back up to the hotel room and steeping into the bath tub with my sandals on to wash both shoes and feet.

Another thing - as it was raining yesterday I did not have to paint the house (which is still an ongoing project). I had the excuse to tidy our new library room instead. And boy, am I happy about that today. The room is now really nice. We love books and can sit in there and study and look up information the old-fashioned way.

Problem is ...the house ...the paint job still needs to be finished.

Funny photo today of our last Wheaten Terrier called Choice. She liked being dressed up. Well, she was a girl. Here she is wearing a raincoat from EuroDisney, posing as if that's the natural thing to wear for a little dog.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tenor Music in my Heart

A few years ago one of the neighbors played music so loudly that we could hear it indoors at the Duck and Cherry. I could tell which song he played and almost sing along. Fun if you love the song. Maybe annoying if it's music you don't like.

I cannot remember anymore which songs he played and for the most part I found it amusing at the time.
Music is truly an amazing thing. It lifts the heart and brightens the day. Certain songs bring back memories to where you were and what you did when you first heard a song. It can make you happy, make you want to move, and also get you into a corner of contemplation and afterthought.

But we all have favorites. I love tenor music. I truly, really do!! Ever since I was a teenager I have enjoyed the sound of beautiful tenor voices. My favorite back then was Mario Lanza. I loved listening to my LP, even in college.

Today my favorites are The Canadian Tenors. Boy, they make me proud to be a Canadian. Well, I was born in Canada and lived my first years there and part of my family is still there.
These boys sing so that I gesticulate and cheer while I'm listening in my car. They sing so that I gladly let the CD play over and over again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pursuit of Elephants blog

Linnea has started blogging. She is wise, funny, and just wonderful. Well, I know, I'm the mother - but then again - it's true. Visit her blog Pursuit of Elephants and see what you think. She even has a photo of Hector, the Wheaten Terrier, on her last entry.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Arnfinn and I visited the Sahara Desert a few years ago. We were dressed in Bedouin outfits and helped up on a desert ship each (read camel) and guided into the miles and miles of sandy hills. The sun came up and gave a golden glow to the landscape and greeted a new day.
I could not help myself, the theatrical Heidi took over, and I lay down on the sand stretching my arm out as if I was thirsting to death.

What a blessing water is - clean, pure water. We are lucky to be able to drink from the tap where we live - and it even tastes great. I have lived places where water must be purchased in bottles or boiled if used for cooking and drinking.
In Okinawa we had water every other day for about a year. I learned to be very grateful for water and treating it with respect became natural. Now I don't take long showers and I don't let the water run as I brush my teeth. I simply don't want to waste the precious gift of water.

I believe we often hunger and thirst for other things than water and food. Many times we don't know what we hunger and thirst for. And even though we may try extreme sports or adrenaline kicking activities, an inner peace and contentment may be the solution to our spiritual thirst.

Photo: When Hector, the Wheaten Terrier, runs, he gets very thirsty and a water faucet by Alby is his goal.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What a day brings

We never know what a day will bring.
Yesterday in our neighborhood three people were accidentally burned and flown off in a rescue helicopter. Police cars, ambulances, and a crowd of concerned neighbors gathered around their house.
They were getting the outside BBQ grill ready and had problems - just preparing for a nice meal outside on a beautiful late summer evening.

Our days are full of surprises. We never know what a day will be like. We can plan and prepare. We can have a schedule and stick to the chores and agenda on our list. Still, everything can happen. Sometimes difficulties and disappointments. Other times wonderful surprises and joyful changes to our rigid structure.
Life is made that way. We would dry up if we had sunshine every day. We also need the rain to grow strong and learn how to dig our roots into the ground so that we may stand strong when winds come and take hold of us.

I was so tired of chores and responsibilities last night that I sat and cried at the dinner table. A good nights sleep has helped and also remembering that there is progress when I get things done.

I believe it's important to find time for the sweet things in life. Everyone is different that way, but I need to put pleasant and uplifting things on my daily agenda in order to function. Yesterday I told Arnfinn that if I had a lot of money I would fly us over to Toronto and watch a Barbara Streisand concert this fall. First he told me that something like that was not important for our salvation, but when he saw the look on my face, he added with the smile that only he can portray: "I said something wrong now, did,t I?" And added that he would gladly go with me if I had had the money to do something like that.
Oh, well. It was a nice thought anyway. I will enjoy my Barbara-CDs for now.

Arnfinn and I pray for our neighbors that they will be alright. There is much to be grateful for in every day.

Today's water color shows children at play on a wonderful summer's day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hakuna Matata on our little island

Our son-in-law, Michael, is learning Swahili and spending a month in Tanzania with his studies. To my surprise I learned from him that the phrase Hakuna Matata is actually Swahili!
This is what Wikipedia says about the phrase: Hakuna Matata is a Swahili phrase that can be translated literally as "There are no worries." Its meaning is similar to the American English phrase "no problem" or Australian English phrase "no worries" and is akin to "don't worry, be happy". The phrase was made famous by the movie The Lion King.

How cool is that? In Linnea and Michael's apartment are little post-its with Swahili words everywhere. The only one I remember right now other than Hakuna Matata is Choo which was posted on the toilet.

It's easy to say "no worries", especially if somebody else has a problem. Not always so easy if it's our own. From the outside we can easily think: "Why don't they just do that?" or "Why don't they just say this?" To be in someone else's shoes is hard and I would say impossible at times.

So - I like the phrase "no worries, be happy" - life is short and we are supposed to have joy in this life along with learning to live and hopefully gaining wisdom and knowledge along the way.

Worries are lining up in our lives and it's important to push them aside now and then and even pretend they are not there.

A no worry day is like the one we had with two of our munchkins last Saturday. We packed them up in our little bicycle trolley and went on a ride in the beautiful sunshine on our little island. Bliss!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paint for your life!

I am trying to paint the house in between other chores these days. Every time Arnfinn says its time to paint the house again I want to say: "Didn't we do that last year?"

It amazes me how old carvings from the viking age still have some color in the corners of the stone engravings. How can that be? They actually used blood in their paint.

But Norway has mostly wooden houses that need a coat of paint every few years. Ours is no exception.  One of my problems today is that someone (read Arnfinn) ran over the double ladder with the car and the pieces won't fit together anymore. Makes it difficult to climb up to the highest areas to paint.

One summer, a few years ago Arnfinn and I painted 5 houses! Five! We painted the Duck and Cherry + garage, the cabin in the mountains, in addition to his parent's house + garage. I was all painted out by the time summer had ended and hoped it would be forever until the next painting project. But alas new ones have come and gone since then. Maintenance is important and necessary.

Sofie, our 18-year old spent two days painting last week, bless her heart, and I am so grateful for her speedy and thorough work.

I would like to paint - meaning sitting by the table and creating new scenery, fairies, lighthouses, and chicken with my water color brushes. But that will have to wait till after the Duck and Cherry is primed for winter.

Today's water color is called "Margit the Painting Girl".

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sofa-sitting predicament

Many of us are sofa-sitters! We sit in our own houses and mind our own business.
I tend to be a hermit at heart and thoroughly enjoy being alone with Hector and Poppy and work on chores and projects around the house and garden.

But I have learned that in order to have good close friends we need to nurture and feed friendship. We need to take time for each other and play together.

Every Monday night Arnfinn and I get our calendars out and compare notes; like who needs the car when, who has extra meetings during the week etc. But we also like to plan time for friends. Yes, it takes a little time and effort sometimes, but leisure time with good friends is important.

It can be as simple as walking the dogs together one evening to dressing up for a murder-mystery dinner. But take the time and skip a Friday night before the TV set to spend time with someone. We need each other. Good friends are an investment!

Today's photos are of Hector welcoming people from the window at the cabin of a campsite in Sweden this summer and a the crew of a murder-mystery party we held last year.(PS Morten's cigar is a fake!)

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Big Picture

When I am in an airplane looking down at farms, everything looks perfect. The appearance is clean, tidy, and in order. It's only when we get up closer that we find that there is some garbage here and there, broken tools spread around, and grass that's not been cut; if that's what we choose to see.
I am reminded of the song From a Distance sung by Bette Midler and I think about how God watches us from a distance and loves us no matter what.
In life we are often reminded of the phrase "the big picture". It's to hear the whole story of something or see the complete view of something. It's easy to get frustrated by trivial daily things and people around us, but if we can try to see a bigger perspective and beyond annoying, but insignificant happenings, I believe we will be happier, more positive, and more content.

I sometimes find myself struggling through a jungle - waving my hands to get through leaves, branches, and bushes - trying to find my way to see the goal up ahead, when I could do better if I took the time to climb a summit and pause for a moment, just to look at the view to see where I actually need to be headed. It would be so much easier.

If I can try to see "the big picture" in my relationship with people around me, I believe I can be a better friend. There's always a reason for everything; what we do and how we act. Stepping back and seeing the situation from a distance is good advice to me.

From a distance the world looks blue and green, 
And the snow-capped mountains white. 
From a distance the ocean meets the stream, 
And the eagle takes to flight. 

From a distance, there is harmony, 
And it echoes through the land. 
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace, 
It's the voice of every man. 

Photo of Emma with a magnifying glass she found at her great-grandmother's cabin this summer. Sometimes we need to check out the details.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Red Mailbox in the Woods

Summer vacation! It came - it went! Much too fast also. It's strange how we look forward to happenings and before we know it - it is already in the past. Strange you are TIME.
Hector, the Wheaten Terrier, and I have been for many wonderful walks in the blessed beautiful nature. He is a great walking companion. He is always positive and excited to join me for walks. He never says no.

One day we went on a hike in the woods south of Trondheim, Norway. It was a serene and quiet walk, the only sounds we heard were from four-legged or winged creatures. My senses opened up to imaginary tales to write and Hector, well, he just enjoyed running around.

We saw a huge ant hill with busy industrious little bugs running to and fro and large trees pulled out of the ground by fierce winds and storms. One large root that now breathes the air and sees the sunlight looked like a troll sitting on a small hill.

A little ways up the path we saw a bright red mail-box, all by itself on a tree next to the path. Inside was a writing pad and a pen. I took it out and signed our names.

I like unexpected funny things like that. Who thinks about putting up a red mailbox in the middle of the woods for people to jot down their name on a piece of paper? Life goes by quickly and we work and fill our days with necessary, trivial, materialistic, and toiling things. The red mailbox was another reminder to me of the importance of adding humor and fun into our everyday life.

My parents loved life. They passed on to me an enjoyment in everyday living and a happiness for being part of the trivial little moments in life. When they left this world it dawned on me how short life really is. It feels as if they have moved somewhere else, but I know without a doubt that I will be with them again, and I am looking forward to that.

So I will write my name and put it in a little red mailbox and be part of the walk of life -- and enjoy it.