Sunday, January 31, 2016

Astrid - My Idol


This woman.
If I were to choose an idol, it would have to be her, the stylish single mom in this picture.
She was an environmental and animal rights activits, a feminist (without calling herself that), but most of all, she worked to enhance the life of the world's children.
"Give the children love, more love, still more love, and the common sense will come by itself."
"I believe in every child's need of being comforted."
"The fate of the world is decided in the nurseries."
She took childhood very seriously, all her life.
And, yes, she also wrote wonderful, fantastic stories.
Astrid Lindgren

Denne dama, altså.
Skal jeg velge meg et idol, må det bli henne,
den stilige alenemoren på dette bildet. 
Hun var ivrig miljø- og dyrevernforkjemper, feminist (uten å kalle seg det), men mest av alt jobbet hun for at verdens barn skulle få det bedre.
"Gi barna kjærlighet, mer kjærlighet, enda mer kjærlighet, så kommer fornuften av seg selv."
"Jeg tror på barns behov for trøst."
"Verdens skjebne bestemmes på barneværelsene".
Hun tok barndommen på alvor gjennom hele livet.
Og ja, hun skrev også fantastiske, vidunderlige fortellinger...
Astrid Lindgren

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

En royalists bekjennelser / The Confessions of a Royalist

Foto: Jørgen Gomnæs/Det kongelige hoff

Jeg heter Kristine, og jeg er royalist.
Det har jeg vel alltid visst, men på søndag måtte jeg tenke over det, og selv om jeg har en iboende vegring mot å ta politiske standpunkt, kommer jeg ikke unna dette: Jeg er glad for Kongehuset vårt!

Jeg er så heldig å leve i et land hvor vi kan ha forskjellige meninger om hvordan landet styres, uten at det setter oss i livsfare, så derfor tør jeg si dette, til tross for at mange av mine venner og kjente mener noe helt annet. 

Min kloke (og franske) lærer i Sveits på slutten av 80-tallet trakk fram Norge og vår styreform som den sunneste. Det konstitusjonelle monarkiet, hvor vi har et konge uten reell makt, og ikke et statsoverhode som potensielt kan handle på tvers av det majoriteten ønsker og mener. (Jfr den franske presidenten som gjennomførte atomprøvesprengning selv om folket var imot.) 

Og at kongen, som ikke har partipolitisk tilhørighet, kan virke samlende på oss som nasjon, det vet vi hver gang noe vondt skjer, enten det er naturkatastrofer eller terror. Og vi ser det på festdagene. På 17. mai, på nyttårsaften, i Holmenkollen. I tillegg minner vår konge oss om å ta vare på hverandre, alle, inkludert alle de som kommer som fremmede til landet vårt. 

Så, at det i 2016 kan virke som en merkelig ordning, gammeldags og eventyraktig, det kan i hvert fall jeg leve med.

Gratulerer med 25årsjublieet til vårt fine, gode og dyktige kongepar!

Photo: Fredrik Varfjell/NTB

My name is Kristine, and I'm a royalist.
I guess I've always known, but today I had to think about it, (Our king and queen celebrate 25 years on the throne) and despite my reluctance when it comes to take a stand politically, I have to admit this: I love our royal family.

I'm very fortunate to be living in a country where we can disagree on how the country is governed without this putting our lives in danger, so I dear to say this, even though many of my friends think differently about it.

My wise (and French) teacher in Switzerland in the late 80's used Norway as an example of the most healthy way to run a country. The constitutional monarchy, where we have a king without real power, as opposed to a leader who may potentially act against the wishes of the majority. (Like the French president who did nuclear tests while his people were against it)

And the king, with no political affiliation, has proved to be uniting us as a nation, something we see every time something horrible occurs, but also on days of joy. He connects people, and he openly embraces our new neighbors, the immigrants and refugees, while reminding us that 70 years ago, it was Norway that was ravaged by war and our people who needed to flee.

So, yes, it is a strange thing, old fashioned and may look like something out of a fairy tale, but I can live with that.

Happy anniversary to our fine, good and skillful king and queen!

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Date with Sandro.

I had been there only five days earlier, but I needed to spend more time in his room, and this time I didn't want to share him with the crowds.

So, I had a plan. I'd go early in the morning, really early. The plan was to reach his room before anyone else did. An ambitious plan, I know, but it never hurts to try.

At 8AM, when the front door was opened, I snuck in, sprinted up all those stairs (there are a lot!) to the 2nd floor, and headed down the hall to the smallish room which temporarily bears his name, while they fix up his usual quarters. It is almost at the end of the hallway, so I passed a lot of rooms as I made a beeline for Sandro's, crossing my fingers that most people would not know about the room situation, thus buy me some time alone with him. Of course, it was to be expected that I was not the only one who knew, after all, we're talking Sandro, not Mr Anybody, and his room is the flagship of the Uffizi Gallery...

I passed cleaners mopping the floors and guards taking their seats, looking bored already.
And then, I was there, at his door, and, I could hardly believe it, but my plan had worked. There was nobody there. Nobody! At the door, the sour-looking guard was busy with her phone, and in the room I now entered, there was me, and there was Sandro. Sandro Botticelli's beautiful, beautiful paintings.

At first my eyes got drawn into the Birth of Venus. I stood in front of the large painting for the longest time, taking in the beauty, the symbols, the intriguing expressions. Then I headed over to the Allegory of Spring, this enigmatic painting, filled with classical gods and flowers. Not all his paintings are moved to this teporary room, and I missed several of them, but my all time favorites were there, his Madonna of the Magnificat and his Madonna of the Pomegranate. So beautiful. So incredible beautiful. In the first one, The virgin Mary is smiling, while writing a prayer, and in the second one, painted a few years later, she looks distressed and tired, offering her baby boy a pomegranate, a sign of  Christ's suffering, death and resurrection.

I kept gazing at these wonderful works of art. The lines, the gold that specs the hair, the colors, the harmony, and above all, the expressions. I could stand be there forever.

What is it with this painter?  How does he do it? How does he move me to tears every single time I see his work IRL? (like that time in the Sistine Chapel...) There is more than the excellence of a master painter, there is something undefinable which goes straight to my heart.

I actually stayed in his room for nearly an hour, but by then, people had begun to seep in, and I decided to leave him to them. I threw a last glance at the Madonna of the Pomegranate, the Birth of Venus, the Spring, the Adoration of the Magi, and all the rest, before I left, with the feeling I just walked out on a dear friend, someone I wouldn't see again for a long while.

Later, after visiting the rest of the gallery, I went back to his room, but now I couldn't even get in. there was a long line of people waiting in the hall, and the room was nearly bursting with people, most of them pressing around the Birth of Venus and Spring. I sent the Madonnas another quick goodbye glance before I finally left the Uffizi. I was sad to leave, but geekly happy I got to have my date with Sandro!

Pictures: 1:Detail from The Adoration of the Magi. Presumed self portrait by Sandro Botticelli. 2: Uffizi Gallery. 3: Uffizi Gallery, 2nd floor hallway. 4: The Birth of Venus. 5: Madonna of the Pomegranate. 6: Madonna of the Magnificat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No Enjoyment like Reading!

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Having New Eyes - Sacre-Coeur

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. 

(The quote is by Marcel Proust, and the picture shows the Montmartre  hill in Paris with the Sacre-Coeur church)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Desemparats / Mother and Child /Maternité

I find this picture beautiful in a sad, melancholy way. It makes me think about all these refugees, with no idea of what the future might bring... 
It is made by Pablo Picasso in 1903, when he was only 22 years old, and it is called Desemparats, which means "helpless" in Catalan.   
It can be seen IRL in the in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.