Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween on a Windy Day

It's Halloween in the land of Norway.

Outside the noisy wind is grabbing hold of branches and tree trunks, swinging them from side to side, making spooky sounds, creaking and howling. Leaves dance wildly around in the air, aimlessly hurrying to who knows where.The birds have taken shelter today. Porcupines, badgers, deers, rodents--all the animals in the forest here by the Duck and Cherry are hiding, trying to find a dry spot to rest.

I am in the Broom Closet - or home office, or favorite room. Hector, the Wheaten Terrier, is sleeping on the floor next to my feet. I am surrounded by things that make me happy: my art supplies, books to read, books to learn from, my own manuscripts, baskets with ideas, notes with things to do, inspirational pictures and things from my childhood, fairy pictures, Amish bonnets, my Scriptures.

I may be strange, but I love hearing the storm outside and seeing the rain come down from darkened skies. It fills me with imaginative ideas. I
t creates feelings of gratefulness for the warmth of a good home.

On my wall hangs a large witch's hat. It hangs there all year, not only for Halloween. I also have a couple of brooms in the corner, waiting for me to learn how to ride them.
But tonight--tonight--I will let them earn their keep. Dressing up for the children who come trick or treating is always fun. And if I go outside I need to hold on to that hat.

Happy Halloween to everyone. Be safe and be glad.

Today's photo is of one of my Halloween decorations.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Bath for the Brave-Hearted

There are baths and other kind of baths.
There is also a lovely town in southern England named Bath.

But taking a bath or going in swimming this time of year in Norway is not for the faint-hearted.
Hector is such a being.

Our trip to Eljarbu, our cabin in the mountains last Friday-Saturday, was very nice. After working on lowering the ceiling in the sauna, we decided to go for a walk in the spectacular fall colored nature surrounding the cabin.

Three times Hector jumped into the lake for a bath. Three times.
Funny furry little guy, he did not even look like it was cold or seem to mind the freezing temperature of the water. Norway mountain lakes are cold even in the summer, but at the end of October . . .

It cleaned off some of the mud he had jumped into, and made him even more determined to jump and hop all around the area. Arnfinn figures Hector's walk was four times as long as ours.

A trip to a remote space in the mountains now and then is good for the body and the soul. Maybe you have another retreat that makes you happy. As long as it is a place to be yourself and relax and feel grateful for life.

This is the place I can wake up to the smell of eggs and bacon.

That does not happen at home.

Today's photos are from our walk.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bears and Pink Grandmothers

Babysitting munchkins a lot lately, happy me. What is better than snuggling with a warm, little two-year-old or discuss important matters with the older sibling?

We sat in the car yesterday and I told two of them about a dream I had just had. Scott said, "Mimmi, can you tell me about the dream I had about a dangerous bear?"

He always has the most interesting angles and ideas.

So I asked, "Well, was it a black bear or a brown one?"



So I told him about his dream until the little two-year old princess added, ". . .and about the pink grandmother who ate a banana."

Very interesting.

Imagination is a wonderful thing. Fantasy is under construction and keeps building our entire life.
Dig it out. Let it loose. Let it flow.
To have our thoughts and vision expanded by a conversation with a young child is a blessing. It encourages our creativity and resourcefulness, which by the time we are adults sometimes goes into hibernation--maybe never to wake up again.
I am fortunate--and grateful-- to come from a line of imaginative folks (sometimes imaginary), where playfulness and creativity have been encouraged and allowed to develop.

Today I have chosen two water colors; one of a house, like from a dream and the other of a castle, the kind we dream of living in.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Magic Wands and Brooms

I would have more time on my hands for fun projects and special activities if I had only had a magic wand and a flying broom.

I have one broom--two, in fact--two brooms that look a little like flying brooms, although not quite as fancy as Potter's Nimbus. I have written about the advantages of having a magic broom before in blog entries Petition for flying Brooms and Witch of the Reier Forest. I am still hoping that God will grant me a flying-a-broom lesson one day, and I still keep reading, studying, and writing about witch hunting. I find it fascinating, interesting, and scary.

Book number two is currently being written on my fancy little laptop, articles are sketched out for a historical magazine--in other words, the projects are lining up every day. So what's wrong with wishing for a magic wand? With a swish of my hand I could point the wand at the bathroom, laundry basket, floors, boxes of things, and voila! I could continue writing, and my house would magically be cleaned and organized.

Maybe for now I should just train Hector, the Wheaten Terrier, to help out with the household chores. He spends a lot of time sleeping.

Christmas is coming up in a couple of months. On my wish list still--a magic wand, a broom, and a gardener!

Photo today is the weather witch on top of the garage here at the Duck and Cherry.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lost and Found Keys

I take pride in always knowing where my keys are.
In my 29+ years on earth I have very seldom misplaced them. I am often looking for keys, but usually not mine. I look for papers, keys and other things for the handsome man who lives in this house.

My father had a large bucket with keys. You read it correctly--a large bucket. My mother was always helping him look for both keys and glasses. or some reason they were often somewhere else.

I have been looking for my key to our cabin for months. I just could not understand where it was. I always put keys back in place. Or so I thought,

So I made a Facebook event, invited our children with spouses, and also the love of my life.
The invitation was called "Looking for Heidi's cabin keys", in addition to an explanation that read, "I often loan you my keys and cannot find my cabin keys. It is a blue plaid key with a knitted purple owl key ring. Can anyone remember seeing it? I would be so happy to have it back (the date is random--just needed a time for the event)."

I sat back and waited. Surely one of our kids would step forward, apologetically explaining why my key had been in their possession for months and why they had forgotten all about it.

No one answered. Not a pip on the event page.

Until last weekend. We went to the cabin. I brought one of my spare keys. After a wonderful hike in the mountains, fall colors everywhere, a beautiful blue sky above, hot chocolate on thermoses, we returned to the cabin and I emptied out my pockets--and there was my long, lost key.

Embarrassed I wrote the following on the event page, "Found them at the cabin!! Thank you to everyone who turned their house upside down and spent the whole weekend searching for my keys . . . ha ha ha."

I don't expect any of our prescious children even thought about my keys, but embarrassed or not, I am thrilled to have them back.

But now, "likes" from our children keep coming in on this event and I admit
that even I can misplace keys--and other things.

Today's water color is called "Family".

Friday, October 11, 2013

Come Rain or Shine

I am an advocate for preparedness.

Not an expert, by far, not hysterical about doomsday prepping, nor being prepared both with supplies and military tactics to be the last living person on earth. Why would I want to be the last person running around in the fields? What's the point in that?

But being prepared is nevertheless vital and necessary. A food- and water storage, extra clothes, blankets, soap, candles etc. should be part of every household. Learning how to sprout seeds, to sew, and old-fashioned knowledge like canning can come in handy and prove to be life-saving one day.

We have all seen how quickly the shelves in grocery stores are emptied come a transportation strike or a climate disaster. Or what if our income has a set-back for a period of time? Preparedness can keep our family fed.

Deseret News article featuring National Geographic's "Doomsday Preppers", tells about emergency preparedness at its extreme. Mark Rappleye writes that "Homegrown carrots are the sharpest weapons Kathy has." Doomsday Preppers is now on television, showing preparedness at the ultimate extremity. For some it is an everyday, ongoing thing - preparing for the unknown.

Preparedness varies in different parts of the world. Some places struggle with times of extreme heat and high humidity, others experience climate changes with cold-weather conditions that will kill.

I have lived in areas of both types of climates and know how harsh the weather can be and how it takes lives, especially of the elderly, but also animals.

On the light side, are there things you believe you cannot live without?

I like having ice cream in the freezer--just in case . . .
I like having extra eggs in the refrigerator, as they can used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.
I like having pen and paper in my pocket at all times in case I get a revolutionary great idea.
I like having the people I love most within hugging distance.

Preparing in advance is maybe not such a bad idea. William Shakespeare said, "To be prepared for everything, is everything."

Smart guy.

Today's water colors are of two lighthouses, standing steadfast in both storms and on sunny days.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pay Attention to Trains

We have had some fun family trips. Venturing on a 3 1/2 week car trip through Europe with seven children in the car is no joke. Or maybe it is?
One summer we packed five children into a rental car and drove around England. We had a great vacation with some frustrating moments, but mostly amazing experiences.

On the scheduled day of our departure to fly back to the old country, we got all seven of us to Liverpool Street Station, a little scattered here and there, but mostly gathered . . .

The train heading for Stansted was in place and Arnfinn pushed me and the three youngest ones gently down the platform and told us to jump on the train and wait. The rest of the family would follow shortly.

I turned around and saw Linnea and Kajsa struggling to get their suitcases through the gate to the platform area, but obedient as I am, I got on the train with three youngest.

It did not take long before the doors closed and the train we were on left the station--not for Stansted--I still don't know where it was headed, leaving a surprised Arnfinn and two girls still at the Liverpool Street Station platform. I looked around in the carriage. No one had suitcases or baggage. They were just Londoners going home from work.

Had we chosen the wrong platform? Had the train for the airport already left? This was before I had a cell phone to rescue me out of any thinkable situation. I sat there with three children watching the city gradually turn into rural landscape and beautiful English countryside.

It took quite a while before the train stopped at a station. We got off, ran across to the opposite platform and waited for a train to take us back to Liverpool Street Station.

Miraculously, we made it back. We found the rest of the family, got on the very next train for the airport, and we made the last call for our flight back to Norway.

It turned out that a local train sat in front of the Stansted Express, ready to leave a few minutes before the longer airport carriage.

It's important to pay attention to which way we are heading in life.
Know the trains. Know where they are going and when.
We thought we chose the right way, but obviously we were not attentive enough.
With a little work and a lot of prayer, it turned out well, but we have often wondered what would have happened if I had not been there with the three children right as the train left the station.

Today it makes a funny story to tell. Hopefully, we learned something, too.

Today's water colors are of roads leading somewhere.