Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My first award!

Kelley at Kelley's break room just gave me the Sunshine Award.  Thank you so much, Kelley!  I'm honored, touched and happy that you find my blog inspirational and a peaceful place to be.    I love Kelley's blog too.  She is  a wonderful writer, and sometimes I laugh so hard I can't breathe!






I'll pass the award on to these blogs:


Check them out.  They are inspirational, interesting and witty blogs.


I still haven't unpacked from my Tuscany adventure.  My brain is full to the rim of art, architecture, nature and wonderful meals, but I haven't been able to process it completely yet. 
And, here at home I have four children who haven't seen Mom in 10 days, so this will be all for today. 
Or, wait, I'll just show you a few  of my Tuscany pictures. 
Have a nice day!









A little girl participating in the Medieval Festival in San Gimigniano, Ferie Delle Messi.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tuscany

This is a first for me, posting from the field, so to speak.  I'm in Tuscany, Italy, on a farm way out in the countryside.  There are horses, sheep, donkeys, cats, there are fireflies at nights and birds singing throughout the day.  It smells wonderfully of lavender and jasmine flowers, and I'm finally starting to feel the serenity and the laid-back attitude of the locals.  


I'm doing a photography workshop with the American Drake Busath.  We're having classroom teaching in a small stone cottage, and we're going on field trips to nearby monasteries and small towns.  


I will post more from this trip when I'm back in Norway, since the internet connection is somewhat bumpy and erratic.


Just this one picture, to give you an idea.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Last day of school, ice cream and piano








Today was the last day of school for my children.  


The last day of 1st grade (=Kindergarten in the US) for my youngest daughter, last day of 5th grade for my eldest son, and last day of 8th grade for my eldest daughter.


To celebrate the summer holidays, I took them all out for dinner, at a hamburger restaurant.  A friend and her daughter joined us, and it was fun, and messy, of course, but who cares, they were already dirty after playing outside after school.

Then, balancing the melting and overflowing ice-creams, we went to the very last end of the year-performance, at the music school, where Samuel and Alma played the piano, together, and each one alone.  They were  nervous, but did really well, and I was proud and happy, but stressed out, because of my toddler, who wouldn't stop talking in a very, very, very loud voice...  
At one time I went out in the hallway with him and the stack of paper plus crayons I had brought, another time it was my eldest daughter who took him out for a while.  Then came the diaper in desperately need of a change (and I had run out of new ones...), and tired kids starting to pick at each other...  Did I mention kids were still playing the piano, and we were supposed to stay silent?


Finally, all twenty something had played their piece, and there was cake, coffee and ice cream time.  Ice cream again...  I ignored my toddlers diaper situation for a little while, just the time to let them enjoy the goodies, but then, off we went.  It was way passed their bedtime, and like it usually is in such situation, it took some time to get the little ones settled.  

Now, I'm showered, in my PJ's, and I'm almost sleeping already.  The house is a total mess (See previous post).  I chose to write this and then go to bed, instead of cleaning.  Tomorrow is a good day for cleaning. 
Tomorrow my husband is back from Finland.  
And I, I'm out of here...







Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dust Bunnies, Mess and Parenthood

Some widely written and quoted words of wisdom for you tonight: 


"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling your driveway while it's still snowing."

A saying that is maybe over-used, but still, it is important to keep this in mind.  
Weeks like this one forces me to think about it.  My husband out of town (out of the country, in fact), there is not enough time to clean up my house before new mess builds up, and there are different end of the year-parties for my kids every single night.  Three of them have been with barbecue involved, that means I have to haul four kids, five camping chairs, a folding table, plates, cups, food to be barbecued, drinks, paper towels, diapers & wipes for my youngest, extra clothes in case it gets chilly, camera (there is usually some performance involved too) and lots of organization skills, especially when I wait in line to cook our dinner, while I hope my eldest daughter manages to control her siblings, all the while still keeping an eye on the toddler...


Back home again, I'll need to focus on washing kids/asking kids to wash, reading, nursing and tucking in.
Then there are lunches to pack  for tomorrow, diapers to prepare for my toddler's day in preschool, and maybe a load of laundry to hang. (Before it becomes smelly after waiting in the washing machine for too long...)


Today I didn't work, so my two-year-old was home.  
We sat forever eating breakfast, talking about frogs, birds and rabbits.  
Afterwards I had  planned to get stuff done around the house, but then he calls out for me, asking: "Mommy play trains with Jonatan?"  ("Mamma bygge togbane med Jonatan?")
And, how could I possibly tell him "not now", because I have to put away clothes and clean up the (very) messy kitchen?  
I'm so happy I actually sat down on the floor with him, right at that moment, and helped him build a train track... 

The mess will always come back, even when you spend a whole day cleaning and putting away stuff.  Your children's early years will never come back...


Tomorrow is work day.  I'll photograph somebody else's toddler, while mine is in preschool/daycare.   I'll edit pictures, and hopefully get some writing done, before my eldest kids come home from school and I go and pick up my youngest.
Then I cook dinner for the five of us, and there are four kids who want to tell about their day.  Cleaning the house will probably have to wait another day yet.


(And the dust bunnies don't need taking care of, they grow on they own.  And, they do make funnier noises in the vacuum cleaner when they are a little bit bigger!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Birth of Venus


I'm going back to one of my favorite painters, the Italian master Sandro Botticelli.  This is maybe his most famous work, the rather large tempera painting which can be seen in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  We think it is painted in 1486, when Botticelli was around 40 years old.
The Roman goddess Venus has many similiartities with the Greek Afrodite, the deity of love.  She is also known as the mother of the Roman people.  Here she is born, resting on a shell and blown by the winds until she reaches the shore, where she is received by a nymphe who reaches out with a robe for her. 
There is a lot of of symbolism here, as the Roman (and Greek) gods almost always are allegories for different aspects of  humanity.  Exactly who the wind gods are, and who the nymphe is, has been debated, but everybody agrees with the main theme: Venus, allegory of  Love, is brought to us humans. 
And that is a good thing indeed.
I've seen this painting IRL twize, and in a few days I'll see it again, when I travel to Florence for a photography workshop.  I know I'll be emotional...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sorry

I really don't want to make one of these pathetic "I don't have anything to write about" blog posts, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry that I'm not here that often these days.  Things are going on.  My mind is busy.  Hard to get my thoughts gathered enough to actually make something worth while.
But, there are things I want to write about, pictures I want to show you.  And, I promise, tomorrow there will be something slightly more interesting than this nonsense.
There might be some art involved, and maybe a book review.  Stay in touch, OK?
Right now, I've said good night to four children, being singing for/nursing one of them, helped my eldest daughter pack for her camping trip with school tomorrow, scheduled two appointments, , I've cleaned up the play area and my computer.  (The latter one: Lots of stuff moved to trash.) And, I've practiced my music.
Now I need my sleep, before a work week of single-motherhood starts.  The children's last week of shcool before the Summer.
Good night!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tea and Sympathy

I just discovered this song by American singer/songwriter/musician Janice Ian last week, and I wonder how it's possible that I've never heard it before...  It's about loss, and it's melancholic, sad and really, really good!



TEA AND SYMPATHY
by Janice Ian
I DON’T WANT TO RIDE THE MILK TRAIN ANY MORE
I’LL GO TO BED AT NINE, & WAKEN WITH THE DAWN
AND LUNCH AT HALF PAST NOON
DINNER PROMPT AT FIVE
THE COMFORT OF A FEW OLD FRIENDS LONG PAST THEIR PRIME

PASS THE TEA & SYMPATHY
FOR THE GOOD OLD DAYS LONG GONE
LET’S DRINK A TOAST TO THOSE WHO MOST
BELIEVE IN WHAT THEY’VE WON
IT’S A LONG LONG TIME ‘TIL MORNING
PLAYS WASTED ON THE DAWN
I’LL NOT WRITE ANOTHER LINE,
FOR MY TRUE LOVE IS GONE

AND WHEN THE GUESTS HAVE GONE
I’LL TIDY UP THE ROOM
I’LL TURN THE COVERS DOWN
AND GAZING AT THE MOON
WILL PRAY TO GO QUITE MAD
AND LIVE IN LONG AGO
WHEN YOU & I WERE ONE, SO VERY LONG AGO

PASS THE TEA & SYMPATHY
FOR THE GOOD OLD DAYS LONG GONE
LET’S DRINK A TOAST TO THOSE WHO MOST
BELIEVE IN WHAT THEY’VE WON
IT’S A LONG LONG TIME ‘TIL MORNING
PLAYS WASTED ON THE DAWN
I’LL NOT WRITE ANOTHER LINE,
FOR MY TRUE LOVE IS GONE

AND WHEN I HAVE NO DREAMS
TO GIVE YOU ANY MORE
I’LL LIGHT A BLAZING FIRE
AND WAIT WITHIN THE DOOR
AND THROW MY LIFE AWAY
“I WONDER WHY?” THEY ALL WILL SAY
AND NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP,
FOREVER AND A DAY

PASS THE TEA & SYMPATHY
FOR THE GOOD OLD DAYS ARE DEAD
LET’S DRINK A TOAST TO THOSE WHO BEST
SURVIVED THE LIFE THEY’VE LED
IT’S A LONG LONG TIME ‘TIL MORNING
SO BUILD YOUR FIRES HIGH
NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP
FOREVER BY YOUR SIDE

Copyright © Janis Ian/her co-writer(s) if any/their publisher(s). All rights reserved

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Picture of the day: My boys


This snapshot happened two years ago.  June 2008.  My two boys were then 6 months and almost 9 years old.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BELLE

One of my all time favorites:  "Belle" from  the musical Notre Dame de Paris. 
This is a concert version, with the original cast (Paris 1998): Garou, Daniel Lavoie and Patrick Fiori. 
It's the song that three men sing to Esmeralda, the gypsy girl:
First Quasimodo (the hunchback) then Frollo (the priest)  and last Phoebus (the soldier.)
This performance is from 2008.

Picture of the day: Sardinian Wood

It just stopped raining.  What now?...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June - the short breath of summer...





It's June today.  Summer.  In Norway that season is short, very short.  We wait for it, eager to see the snow melt away and the leaves come out, and then, in a breath, it's over...

I want to share with you this poem by Hans Børli, a Norwegian writer.  It's about the fact that our days on earth is so very, very few, and that we should take care of this little window of time we have with the people we love...  
(I've made a translation in the end of the post, it's not a poetic re-writing, just a translation to explain what the words are.)

JUNIKVELD

av Hans Børli


Vi sitter i slørblå junikveld
og svaler oss ute på trammen.
Og alt vi ser har dobbelt liv,
fordi vi sanser det sammen.

Se - skogsjøen ligger og skinner rødt
av sunkne solefalls-riker.
Og blankt som en ting av gammelt sølv
er skriket som lommen skriker.

Og heggen ved grinda brenner så stilt
av nykveikte blomsterkvaster.
Nå skjelver de kvitt i et pust av vind,
- det er som om noe haster...

Å, flytt deg nærmere inn til meg
her på kjøkkentrammen!
Den er så svimlende kort den stund
vi mennesker er sammen.




NIGHTFALL IN JUNE

by Hans Børli

We sit in veil blue June night
in the freshness out on the front steps.
And everything we see has double life
because we sense it together.

Look - the wood lake is shining in red
by sunken sunset kingdoms.
And bright as old silver
is the cry from the bird above us.

And the bird-cherry  by the gate burn silently
of newborn flowers.
Now they tremble, white, in a breath of wind,
- just like there is a hurry...

Oh, move closer to me,
here on the steps!
It is so dizzingly short, that time,
we humans are together.