Thursday, December 30, 2010

My words are gone

I seem to have lost my voice.
There is nothing wrong with my throat or vocal cords, but I can't write, my words are gone.   I know there are stories, messages topics, but they're stuck somewhere far inside.
I have struggled a lot to make the last few blog posts,  searching inside a huge void, looking for words, feeling that every letter, every sentence was a fight with my mind.  And, I've ended up with something very close to complete nonsense.
What is worse, is that my writing project, the one I've been working on for years and been committed to for the last 7 months,  has apparently hit the wall.  I haven't touched it in over a month, and I have no idea about what to do with it from now on.
I don't like this at all, and I can just hope that my voice will emerge again.
Have any of you ever experienced this disappearing of words?  A "writer's block"? 
If yes, please tell me it will pass!  

It's my New Year's wish...


Monday, December 27, 2010


We have a cat.
It has been two years since we lost Lise-Lina.  The disappearing of our 7-year-old pet caused considerable amounts of grief in our house, and for the longest time, our kids couldn't accept the fact that our beloved cat wasn't going to just show up again.Everybody missed her, but, my husband and I also saw the practical aspect of not having an animal in our home.  The everyday life wasn't the problem, but traveling was.  Every single time we left for a weekend or longer, we had to find somebody who was willing to come by our house a couple of times a day, feed the cat, let the cat out and back in again, pet her.  It was actually a stress factor for me, and not having that felt sort of nice.
But, after a while, we start feeling the same regret as the kids had been having all the time.  We missed having a cat in our home.  We didn't only missed Lise-Lina, we also felt the void that any feline friend should have filled.  A warm bundle who curls up on your lap, who forces you to stop for a while, relax, unwind.  A little creature who makes you focus on being here and now, in the moment, nowhere else.  I think it's healthy to have a cat around.  
And, as the Norwegian poet Helge Torvund has expressed it: 
"A house without a cat is only a house."
So, on Christmas Eve, early in the morning, our kids got to unwrap an early gift, tagged "Happiness."  It was a basket.  A cat basket.  We saw the comprehension dawn on their faces, and the wild joy who made our seven-year-old run and hide in her room for a little while.
They could hardly believe it, that we had caved, after all this time, and when we announced that we were going to get the cat as soon as they all got dressed, they disappeared immediately, and only a few minutes later they were ready to go.
Our cat came from the Norwegian Animal Rescue Oganisation. (Dyrebeskyttelsen.)  She is an almost totally black little girl, about 5 months old, and we named her Happiness, shortened to Happy.
She spent most of Christmas eve hiding under furniture, but before the day was over, she went back and forth between us, sounding like a lawn mower.  Now, three days later, it is like she has always been here.
And, I have a hard time writing this post, since Happy is curled up on top of my forearms and keyboard.
We're having a Happy Christmas this year, and I think she'll do us all good.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Name is Khan

I watched this movie yesterday. Wow. I didn't know that much about it, just knew it was very popular in India, and I had never expected to be so moved, so taken in by it.  
It's about a muslim from India, moving to San Francisco, falling in love and struggling with his Asperger's syndrome and the hate and fear after 9/11.
The story, the photography, the whole makes for a great movie experience. I think this is a must-see in the West. Really. Yes, it's a sweet story, maybe too sweet for some people, but, in addition to being that, it contains an important message about people of the worlds today. How we all are the same, that religion and culture never should be a reason to hate or exclude somebody.
"Forrest Gump" comes to mind while watching this movie. The main character is different, but good, kind, and with the will to reach his goal.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Picture of the day: Madonna of the Pilgrims

This is a painting by Caravaggio, from 1605.  It usually resides in the church Sant'Agostino in Rome, but I saw it last fall in the Galleria Borghese, as part of a Caravaggio exhibit.  The virgin Mary is barefoot, and both her and the child look very real, but what touched me the most were the pilgrim's dirty feet, clothes and the realness and sincerity of their devotion to the child.  These are real people, lined by real lives, and they've probably walked far and suffered hardship to be able to kneel before the Christ child.  Look at their faces, uplit by the Virgin and the child.  Look at their happiness.  Their calm, serene postures, forgetting pain, hunger, loss, problems, because they're just where they want to be.
What a blessing it is to be in such a place.

With this I wish everybody a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

India: Traditional Dress

I have no idea how to start telling my India story (stories), and right now, since I just got the pictures into my stationary computer, I'll just share a few ones of me getting dressed for the wedding, and then a few of me and my husband outside the wedding hall.
Kari, (the other Norwegian woman invited to the party) and I were dressed in traditional Maharashtrian saris.  These are no longer used very much, and are mostly kept for the big occasions.  All the other women in the wedding party wore plain saris.  
My dress was hand stitched, to measures.  That is, parts of it are stitched, the rest is a very long piece of fabric that has to be put on in a certain way, and as you can see from the pictures, it takes quite a few people (and lots of pins...)  to get it to sit right.
I felt special, I really did, since it was only the bride, the groom's mother, the groom's sister-in-law and the two of us who wore this particular type of sari.

The pictures are snapshots, just to give you an idea.  And, there will be more coming up, more pictures and stories. But, first, there is Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Trees, Gingerbread and Potter

This morning we went to get our Christmas trees.  The big one for our living room, and the small one for our downstairs rec room.  Jonatan got to actually use the saw, and he was happy as only a 3-year-old can be.  All seven of us (my daughter's friend stayed with us this weekend.) went there, as this is part of our Christmas traditions.    
After being out in the snowy weather for a while, it sure was nice to be treated to hot drinks and gingerbread in an old barn, filled with candles and warmed by a big wood fire. 
This afternoon, our own gingerbread baking was on the list.  All of us helped out, rolling out the dough and using the cookie cutters, and the house slowly filled with the delicious gingerbread smell.  My daughter was going to the movies with a friend, but this one bailed out, because of some sports tournament finale.  My daughter was disappointed, because this was the last day to see this particular movie, the newest Harry Potter.  
Well, I had plans.  
Was going to finish the gingerbread for starters, had Christmas cards to write and some gifts to pack, plus probably tons of other "musts", but I just removed my apron, brushed the flour from my hands and face and told my husband I was going to the movies with my daughter.  He would have to finish the baking on his own.
My daughter was thrilled, and we had a good time!  The movie was not bad, and we talked about it while walking home in the cold and dark winter wonderland.
I just judged Christmas preparations to be less important this afternoon, and I'm glad I did!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The people of India

My heart and head are full of impressions from my India experience, but since I came back, I've been so busy with work and organizing my family that I haven't really had the time to digest.  I'm really glad I got to do some writing, a little while I was there, and a lot during our travel back to Norway.  This, the bits and pieces of memories, names, descriptions and feelings, this will probably serve as a base for something larger that I'll have to write, one day or another.  I was profoundly marked and touched by this stay, and I simply have to try putting it all into words.
With a few exeptions, I haven't got the time to look at my pictures yet, but I dug out this one to share with you, and I feel it's right to have this as a first glimpse of India: The children.  People - and more specifically the children - made by far the strongest impression on me.  From the infants I held in my arms, to the older ones I played with or had conversations with.  The sincerity, the openness, these real faces just touched me enormously.  It was for me a huge contrast to how we often interact in our part of the world...
And the adults, and the elderly persons I got to know a little, who hugged me when I was leaving, who simply showed plain love, even though I was a stranger, a foreigner, a strange, tall white woman.  
I cried when I left Saturday night...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My India

My hands are still henna decorated.  I came back home Sunday night, and the jet lag is still bad.  Wide awake before 6 AM, and dead tired before 9PM.  All the impressions are not yet processed by my brain, and there will be a few more days before I can make a real blog entry about my India experience.  Right now I'm thrust into Christmas Season with all the last minute - things that have to be done.  Lots of photography work on my desk.  Only  a couple of new photo shoots, but tons of pictures to organize into proof albums and prints to sign and pack.  Then, there are my children who need attention and me sitting down to do Christmasy things with them, like crafts and reading .
Just don't hang up, there will be India pictures and stories.  Promise!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Picture of the day: Ganesh

Ganesh: One of the Hindu gods, and a popular one in Maharashtra.  He is known for being the lord of beginnings, new ventures, and the remover of obstacles. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Leaving for India

So, tomorrow is the day.  I'm leaving for India.  Right now I'm all shaky, dreading departure, leaving my four children.
I've made lists for my mom.  I've actually made her a binder, a "Grandma's Resources"-binder with all the phone numbers of my friends, the doctor, the teachers etc, and all the schedules.  There is hardly any laundry not washed, folded and put away.  The house is clean, the fridge and freezer full, and my suitcase packed.  Well, the last one, not completely.  I keep remembering things, and changing my mind about shoes etc. 
There will be some scheduled posts the next few days, image posts mainly.  But, real blogging will resume when I'm back.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My 3-year-old!

Yesterday this little man was three years old.  Just crazy how time flies.  I asked him if he still was my baby, and he said no, that he is big now. 
Then I asked him if that meant he wouldn't be carried on my back anymore. (In the carrier).  He was thinking for a little while, before lightening up and saying, "You can carry the big Jonatan now!"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Do You Light a Candle when You're Alone?

My great-grandmother was widowed at 60, and lived to be 90.  She lived alone for these 30 years, but she never became one of those bitter, old women, talking about how awful life has treated them, and how much better everything was "in my days."  No, she would never even use that term, simply because her days were just now, always in the present.

She was a true lady, concerned about her appearance, and she never left home without a pretty hat and some lipstick.

So yes, she was absolutely a little vain, in a perfectly good way, but then she was also deeply interested in the world and the people around her!

She was into charities, donated money and made crafts for mission sales.  She bought gifts to her grand- and great-grandkids.  The two of us wrote letters to each other, and I was lucky enough to have her until I was 20 years old.

As a child, I remember my mother said that great-grandma always cooked real meals, and set the table with a clean tablecloth, and a lit candle, even though she ate all alone.

I think that's just beautiful.  And, maybe that's the key, or at least one of the keys, to inner peace and happiness: To light a candle, even when you're all alone.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tears in Heaven. Just that.

Tears in Heaven 
by Eric Clapton and Will Jennings

Just because it's that day again, November 26th, the day where I'm thrust back to the moment when I picked up the phone and learned that my Dad had passed away...

Eric Clapton lost a child.  That's maybe the worst possible loss, but then again, one person's grief can never be mesured against another's.

I lost a father, a life coach, a rock... and the words of Tears in Heaven can speak for me.
"Would you help me stand?.."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pasta Bolognese and some Home Cooking Philosophy

 As I see it, there are two extremes when it comes to people and home cooking.  (As with most things, of course.)  On one side, the ones who rarely or never cook anything from scratch.  They usually pick up either a box, a can or a jar of something that allows them to just heat and serve.  What they like even more, of course, are ready-made dinners, which they thaw/cook in the oven/microwave, but this is usually a more expensive solution.

On the other far side, there is the eco-biological DIY-cook, who will make absolutely everything from scratch, no exception, and who would rather starve then eat a frozen pizza (that is a cooked one, of course.) These people bake their own spaghetti, grow all of their spices and vegetables and they secretly (or openly) wish they lived on a farm.

I guess most of us find ourselves somewhere in between, but to be honest, I don't care to much for ready-made dinners, with all the "extras" you get, often without knowing it.  However, I will occasionally serve a frozen ready-made dinner (usually a pizza or some kind of oven baked casserole), but this is mainly reserved for days where it comes down to either that or nothing.  Typically if we just arrived home from a trip, and the fridge is empty, everybody's hungry and it's getting late...  There will also be occasional times where I arrive home late at night after teaching a class.  My family already ate their dinner, there is nothing left, and I'm craving a hot meal.  In those situations, the freezer and the microwave are wonderful to have.  

But, in my everyday life, I prefer real cooking.  It doesn't have to be fancy, and it doesn't necessarily require a  lot of time, but I prefer using real food, knowing what I'm going to eat, and what my kids are served.
Some cans I do use almost all the time, for instance the cans of diced tomatoes.  They contain just that, tomatoes.  No addittives, nothing but good tomatoes already chopped.  
Another big exception to the rule would be pesto.  I just can't make that, or I choose not to.  I've tried, with no great success, and since a local store have a very yummy pre-made one, I buy these jars of pesto, and feel good about it too.

Yesterday was a really busy day.  I had desk work all morning, my husband only arrived home for a brief visit, before taking off again, and the kids had piano, ballet and boy scouts.  So, I decided to make the trusted, old  Pasta Bolognese.  
Here you get my recipe:  (That is, the way I made it yesterday.  It will never be exactly the same, since it depends of what is on hand.)  It serves 6, with leftovers.


About 1 pound ground beef / ca. 500 g kjøttdeig
Two onions, peeled and finely chopped / 2 løk, skrelt og finhakket
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped  / 3 fedd hvitløk, skrelt og finhakket
2-3 tbs olive oil / 2-3 ss olivenolje
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes / 2 bokser hakkede tomater
2 tbs cornstarch / 2 ss Maisenna-mel.
About 1/3 cup cold water / mellom 1/2 og 1 dl kaldt vann
2 tbs  dried basil / 2 ss basilikum
1 ts sugar / 1 ts sukker
Salt and pepper
More water if necessary / mer vann hvis nødvendig.
500 g (about a pound) pasta

First I sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil.  You can use a large skillet or a cast iron pot, which I use.  Make sure to have low to medium-low heat, and let it simmer for about ten minutes, stirring it now and then.  The onions will be soft and  transparent.
In another skillet, this one as hot as possible, I cook the ground meat, turning it over, and parting it constantly.  When it's all brown, it goes over to the cast iron pot to join the onions and garlic.
Add the tomatoes, the basil, salt and pepper (to taste) and some water if the mixture is too thick.
Stir the sauce to make sure everything is well mixed, and then let it cook at medium heat for about five to ten minutes.
Just before serving, I mix the cornstarch and cold water in a glass with a lid, just shaking it until it becomes smooth.  Then I let this cornstarch mixture run slowly into the sauce, while stirring with the other hand.  This simply gives you a thicker sauce.  Let the whole thing boil again, and stir it for a couple of minutes.
While the sauce was cooking, I heated water, salt and oil in another pot, and cooked the pasta accordingly to the type of pasta I'd chosen.  Today it was twists, so it didn't take more than about 10 minutes to cook.
Usually I will have grated parmesan to go with this, and some lettuce on the side.  But today, no parmesan or lettuce, as we we were out of these items.

But, this was a quick made, healthy and yummy dinner, with lots of leftovers.  (That was intended, since I love having some bolognese sauce in my fridge, to make fancy grilled cheese sandwitches, when there is a late night craving, or simply for lunch.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ensemble c'est tout (Hunting and Gathering)

It has been a while since I last picked up this book by the French author Anna Gavalda.  I've read it three times, and there will surely be a fourth.   Since I first discovered it in 2005, it has kept it's throne as the best book I've ever read.  

It was one of my friends who suggested it to me, five years ago, when we sat outside in the silky dark and warm night of Southern France, finishing a bottle of red wine and talking about books and reading.  She told me "Ensemble, c'est tout"  was amazing, but I did get a little apprehensive because of the size.  It's a real brick, and I wasn't sure my French was good enough to plough trough it.  Luckily, my worries were very much misplaced!

The English title is "Hunting and Gathering" and the Norwegian "Saman er ein mindre aleine".  I'm sure the translations are good, and a friend of mine, who just read the Norwegian version, loved it, but for me this is a very, very French book.  
Not because of the culture, really, or maybe a little, but mostly because it takes place in Paris, my home for 5 1/2 years.  It's the city I lived as a newlywed, where I had my first baby, where I've studied, worked, lead the everyday life of a resident Parisian, just like the people of this story.  And, the places, the apartments, the streets, I can totally picture the whole thing in my head, as well as hear them talk, using the familiar expressions of normal, everyday French language.

But, when I think about it, even if this story took place in a country I'd never visited, in a culture I didn't know, I would love it.  To be honest, the story could easily be placed anywhere, because it's about something as universal as human relationships.
It's a story about four so different persons you wouldn't think they could have anything in common, and still, they're connected, and there will be tenderness, friendship, arguing, crying, laughing, fun, grief and everything that is part of plain life!
The awkward noble guy, the fragile young girl, the stubborn old woman and the angry, impolite cook.  These four people, their lives, in the span of a few months.  Nothing grand.  Just life.  I laugh and cry every time I read their connected story.

This novel makes me look at life and the world with hope.

Winter already??

Yes, it's true.  In my corner of the world, we have had winter for a week now.  Snow, ice and temperatures  ranging from 14 to 28 Fahrenheit (minus 2 to minus 10 degrees Celcius).  
It's too early for me, really it is.  I'm not made for this kind of climate, and I'm sure Mankind never was ment to live in a place where we can expect several months now where 14 degrees Fahrenheit is nothing...  
(Last January, it descended all the way to minus 18.4 Fahrenheit /minus 28 degrees Celcius.)
The first humans walked the soil of Africa, or so I've heard.  Makes sense, doesn't it, to live in a place where you wouldn't have to evolve to the point of being able to build your own house or make yourself clothes just to stay alive.
I know.  The human population grew, and spread out, but, it's beyond me that somebody, one day, decided that waaay up North, where it's cold and dark in the winter, where nothing grows, except for a few months in the Summer, just there, it would be nice to settle down. Like I said, beyond me.  I'm sure he was some kind of extreme sports guy who totally got a kick out of this.  And, his wife was of course pregnant, didn't have the strength to argue, and, a few months later, the Norwegian tribe was a fact.
I think my soul belongs in another climate.  Not the tropical one, though, since too much sun bugs me too, but the temperate, smoother seasons of, for instance France or the Pacific Northwest in the US.
A little homesick for my other homelands, maybe?  Oh yes, right now, you bet....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Approaching India Trip.

In less than three weeks I'm going to India for the first time of my life. 
It's strange.  I think I have travelled quite a bit in my life.  I've lived in four different countries, had a baby in three of them, but right now, I feel butterflies fluttering all over my stomach, almost like it was the very first time I'd ever go anywhere.
Maybe because I'm leaving my kids for a week?  Or, maybe because it's a new country, a new continent for me?  Or, maybe because it's just before Christmas, and I will probably be behind with everything related to the holidays this year?
Maybe all of it.
I'm learning Marathi language, tiny baby steps of it, and I try to read about the country, the area, but my days are too full, and the hours have a tendency to slip away, so I feel very, very unprepared for this.
I guess I have to speed up my India preparing, that's all, if not I'll be all panicky about the whole thing.

Most of the important things are taken care of, though. Immunizations are done, there is just a liquid vaccine I have to take a couple of times before leaving.  We don't have the visas yet (hoping we will very soon!), but tickets are bought and arrangements made for a car to pick us up at the Mumbai airport.
Well, I have some preparations to go back to, after making pizza for tonight, preparing packed lunches for my four kids and folding a small Mount Everest of laundry.
Some google-found pictures from Pune, the city I'm going to:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Picture of the day: Moving On...

This picture was taken during my 10 days in Italy this summer. 
(I can't recall the name of the village now, but it was on the road between San Giminiano and our farm Pieve a Salti.)
I chose this picture today to illustrate the idea of moving on. 
Sometimes we need to go to another geographical place, change scenery, house, city, country,
but this is not necessarily about that kind of move. 
I'm talking more about moving on in life, leaving matters behind to embrace something new... 
Sometimes, that would mean to move on internally.
-Relocating in your thoughts and feelings,
and maybe finding a small opening in the brick wall...
An opening that will lead  you to green fields of possibilities.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro)

I just watched this 2004 Spanish movie. Mar Adentro is based on a true story, about Ramón Sampedro, who, after a diving accident, is paralyzed from the neck down. For 28 years, he has fought for the right to die, not seeing any dignity left for him. A lawyer is engaged to help him.

This is a tremendously strong story, where everything, from the fabulous actors to the amazing filming, music and the words go together in creating a heartbreaking, but also life exalting movie.
The question of euthanasia is an extremely difficult one, but even though I'm fundamentally against the sole idea of it, I still gain symphathy for Ramón Sampedro and his struggle. If you cry easily, make sure to stock up on paper towels before sitting down and watching this one. (Kleenex won't do...)

Direction is by Alejandro Amenábar, the lead role is played by Javier Bardem, with Belén Rueda and Lola Duenas in strong supporting roles. See here for more information.

Cinema Trailer:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

My husband bought me this book, Eat, Pray, Love, and I just finished reading it.  Yes, I know, it has been a bestseller for years now, a hit since it first was published in 2006.  But, the thing is, one never gets to read all the right books at once, and I think this particular one reached me at the perfect moment.
Yes, I loved it.  I really, really loved it.  (I don't really see the point in writing about books I hate...)  
It's totally autobiographical.  Elizabeth Gilbert is writing about her own life, her own struggles, and more specifically, the year she spent living in Italy, India and Indonesia.  The four months in Rome was about finding pleasure, to enjoy life on earth, eat drink and have fun. Then, in India, it was all about the divine aspect of life, the meditation, prayer and the spiritual journey.  In the end, the last months spent on Bali, was about finding a balance between the first two.
This book spoke to me on so many levels, I don't even know where to start.  The Rome experience first, I love that city, and I love Italy.  I went ahead and learned Italian several years ago, because I wanted to, just like the author.  India, - I'm going to India in December.  It's a wedding and not an Ashram, that's right, and it's only a week, not four months, but still...  
And, the balance thing, the need for enjoying the here and now, but on the same time craving the silence, the nothingness, the eternal...
I just say, -Wow, what a book.
And, in case you are wondering, I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'm not sure if I ever will.  
I'm really sceptical when it comes to movies adapted from books I have previously read.  If I hated the book, of course I wouldn't bother watching the movie, and, if I loved the book, which is this case, I'm so scared of destroying all my images.
For now, the problem solved itself, because our small town cinema theater don't show movies more than a couple a weeks, so Julia Roberts is gone from the posters.
But, just to end this rambling, - I loved, loved, loved this book, and I'm actually sorry I'm done reading it.  I was looking forward to bedtime, just to be able to travel with Elizabeth Gilbert.

One last note, though.  In Norway, the book (and the movie)  is translated "Eat, Live, Love"... (Spis, Lev, Elsk) That's so typical of the Norwegian culture of today.  A total fear of anything religious, and where anything slightly more than material is considered "silly" or just plain dumb.

It's sad.  And, it makes me feel less Norwegian.  

Friday, October 29, 2010

Buster's World (Busters Verden)

Tonight, some 80's TV Nostalgia from Scandinavia.
This is the theme song from the Danish 80's TV show for kids,  "The World of Buster".  It's about a little boy who becomes a magician.  Bille August directed this series, and later it was made into a movie.  I don't remember much of the story, but I do remember this song, sort of happy and sad at the same time.  Enjoy!

Silent, silent, silent now the sun is rising,
The trolls of the night are disappeared.
The last one flew away in a coffee cup,
and will probably never be found.

There is screaming and hooting far away now,
the world goes on roaring hastily,
While the clowns dance
and people laugh to death,
and the birds are twittering.

Oh Buster,
Oh Buster,
Oh Buster looks at the stars,
and dreams himself away into the blue.

Silent, silent, silent the sun is rising,
it's warm under the covers.
He stretches his drowsy, lazy body,
and rubs his face.

Buster knows something no one else does,
He has learned to do magic,
One day he might be a big and powerful man,
who the whole world will pay homage

Oh Buster,

Oh Buster,
Oh Buster,
As sprung out of a fairytale,
he is riding away on a fable animal
and dreaming himself away into the blue.
Oh Buster,
Oh Buster

Stille stille stille nu står solen op
Nattens trolde er forsvundet
den sidste fløj bort i en kaffekop
og bli´r nok aldrig fundet

Det hyler og tuder i det fjerne nu
verden drøner hastigt videre
mens klovnerne danser og folk dør af grin
og fuglene de kvidrer

Åh Buster
Åh Buster
Åh Buster kigger på stjernerne
og drømmer sig langt ud i det blå

Stille stille stille nu står solen op
der er varmt under dynen
han strækker sin søvnige dovne krop
og gnider sig på trynen

Buster kan noget andre ikke kan
han har nemlig lært at trylle
engang bli´r han sikkert en stor og mægtig mand
som hele verden vil hylde

Åh Buster
Åh Buster
Åh Buster kigger på stjernerne
og drømmer sig langt ud i det blå

Åh Buster
Åh Buster
Som sprunget ud af et eventyr
rider han afsted på et fabeldyr
og drømmer sig langt ud i det blå
Åh Buster

Åh Buster

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Parenting: The Worst Job Ever?

I haven't been tending to my blog these last days.   One of the reasons for this, is that I've been single-parenting my four kids for about 10 days, while having many other work responsibilities on my shoulders.  Well, in the end of the day, I'm so tired, that I just pass out in bed, without even reading my book.  

I'm sorry for neglecting my readers, and tonight you'll have a post, albeit a rather bitter-sweet one... 

Parenting is probably the toughest job there is out there.  
Think about it for a minute: 

  • You're on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is no vacation time, absolutely no leave of absence.
  • There is no salary, not in the money kind, anyway.
  • The job description says 24/7 for only about 18 years, but that's not true, or so I've heard.  It goes on, way beyond those years.  You're a mom for life, actually. and even when your not 'hands on' parenting, because you're away, or because your kids are in school, you're a mom, and a good portion of your brain keeps dealing with that job - all the time.  There is just no break.
  • And, every little thing you say - or don't say, everything you do - or don't, they have a huge  impact on your job result.   
  • The worst part is that it is actually very easy to mess up, because you never really got proper training for the tasks at hand.  
  • Without real training, you have to be:
  • Cook
  • Maid
  • Cab driver
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Peace mediator
  • Party planner (And lots more, of course.  I just don't take the time to find more jobs right now.)
  • Very often you have no clue about what to do, and suddenly you realize there isn't any real job description.  You'll try your best, of course, but you'll still mess up, again and again.  Serious complaints will follow, and you'll have to do lots of extra hours to make up for whatever damage you did.

So why would anyone with at least some sanity choose to do this?  Well, apart from that biological stuff, the urge to procreate and the need to see humanity go on, there is lots more.  So much I won't be able to fit it in this blog post, and I wouldn't have anyway, since this is supposed to be the tired, overworked mother's sour remark on parenthood.
I'll still give you a few pictures, just to balance the whole thing:
  • Chubby arms around your neck, tight hug, warm breath against your cheek and a  little voice saying "Hi mommy.  You are very kind.  I'm your boy."..
  • Another voice, in the middle of the night, waking you up because of a bad dream, and, then, peacefully going back to sleep, just because you are there...
  • Conversations that make you believe that your offspring possibly will make a good difference in this world...
  • Text messages in the middle of the day saying that somebody loves you...
  • The knowledge that this is Life, pure and simple, raw and basic, enclosing everything.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reaching for the Stars.

I'll share with you a moment from last night:
After a long fall day filled with fun, outings and visits, my two and a half-year old was standing on the livingroom sofa, looking out through the bay window.  "Look, Mommy, I can see stars!"  I went over to him, but I wasn't sure if what he saw were the stars out there or just reflections from the living room ceiling lights.  So, I picked him up in my arms, and walked out in the garden, which now was almost completely dark.  We stood on the deck, and I held him so that he could look straight up in the sky where the stars were just coming out for the night.  "How many stars can you see?" I asked him. He started counting, and then he stopped, turned his head and looked at me.  "I want to hold one".  "What? You want to hold one of the stars?"  "Yes, can you help me, Mommy?"
"Oh yes, my darling", I thought to myself.  I would so very much love to help you reach the stars...  Then I gave an explanation that could suffice for now, and I carried the sleepy, little boy into the house again, and to his bed. 

Image from by © suzy1951

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Language Geek...

My name is Kristine, and I'm a language geek. 

I'm going to India i December, for a wedding.  It will only be for a week, but I'm incapable of going anywhere in the world without knowing at least some of the spoken language.  
So, even though you probably manage just fine with English, I've started to study Marathi, the official language of the Marashtra  state.
My goal is to be able to just say everyday expressions, like greetings, ask for directions, and be able to understand some of the writing.
I only have a month and a half, and I do work several jobs, and I do have four children, but with some self discipline I should reach my goal. There is no teacher, just me, a website and a computer program. 
I try to put in a few minutes here and there, and try to remember that I won't really learn the language, just get a taste of it, make it less foreign, in a way. 
To the left here you can see a sample of the Marathi letters, and, to be honest, I'm really not sure if I'll ever remember the difference between these.  But, I'll try, and even if I just learn a tiny, little bit, I'm decided to learn more Marathi than I learned Greek before our Crete holiday two years ago.  The only sentence I had memorized then, was "I have one bottle of Whisky and 200 sigarettes."  Really useful...

Who knows, maybe I'll be able to understand at least some of ads and posters, like this one:

It would be even cooler, of course, if I could understand some of the articles in the Mumbai Mitra newspaper:

Or maybe, one day:

Dream on...