Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Night Thoughts

Night has fallen. My windowpanes are black, an a wind storm is playing with the trees and shrubs in the back yard. Inside my house a wood fire is burning, candles are my main light source, and apart from the wind out there, it's all silence.  I should be in bed by now.  I really should.  This cold or flu or whatever is is hasn't left me yet, and I'm alone with the kids again for some days and surely need my strength tomorrow.  But, this tiny patch of stillness is special to me. I can almost hear the silence, and even just for a few minutes, it is valuable, so I stay, at least for a little while.
There are loads of laundry which should have been folded, sticky floors who badly need some mopping, but after washing and reading to two kids, distributing medicine to another two, and tucking in and hugging all four of them, I just want to sit here for a little while, letting my thoughts wander, breathing and not really thinking or preparing for tomorrow.  Tomorrow, my youngest child's 4th birthday. He will of course have gifts and special attention in the morning, and then, when the others come home, we'll celebrate over dinner and pie.
The kitten is nestling down close to me now. Purring. Her face reminds me of little Simba from The Lion King.  She radiates serenity and comfort, and I can feel myself taking longer breaths just by looking at her. Time to go to sleep now. Good Night.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Picture of the day: Annunciation by Fra Angelico

As we enter the Advent season, I want to show you this fresco made by Fra Angelico in 1440-1445. You can see it IRL in the covent of San Marco in Florence, on the dormitory wall. When you enter the dormitory from the staircase, this huge painting is the first thing you'll catch sight of.
A young and humble virgin Mary being visited by the angel telling her about what's going to happen.  What could possibly go through her mind at that moment?  Well, we wouldn't know, but I think Fra Angelico, in his (for us) old-fashioned, and somewhat static style, captures some of those unknown feelings and thoughts.  It's the first Sunday of Advent today. For us this can be a season for preparing, thinking through, taking time to get to know what kind of feelings, thoughts and priorities we actually have...

Nå når vi går inn i Adventstiden, vil jeg vise dere denne fresken: "Bebudelsen", laget av Fra Angelico i 1440-1445.  Du kan se det i virkeligheten i San Marco-klosteret i Firenze, på veggen i soveavdelingen.  Når du kommer inn hit fra trappen, er dette enorme maleriet det første du får øye på.  
En ung og ydmyk jomfru Maria som får besøk av engelen som forteller henne om hva skom skal skje.  Hva i all verden tenkte hun på i det øyeblikket?  Vi har ingen mulighet til å vite det, men jeg synes Fra Angelico i sin (for oss) gammelmodige og ganske statiske stil får tak i noen av disse ukjente følelsene og tankene.  
Det er første søndag i advent i dag.  For oss kan dette bli en tid hvor vi forbereder, tenker gjennom, tar tid til å bli kjent med hva slags følelser, tanker og prioriteringer vi faktisk har...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Picture of the day: In front of the camera this time

A photographer friend of mine needed a model for an assignment: A self-portrait.   
Here you see the result.  I think it's a playful, creative photograph, and it was fun to be a part of it, even though it was a strange feeling, to be on the other side of the camera...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Picture of the day: "Not too sure about this"...

My youngest, 3 1/2 years old, at the open air museum in Trondheim this summer.  He's dressed up to look like a boy from the early 1900's, but he's not sure what to think of it all.  Not yet, anyway, but shortly after he was enjoying the whole experience. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Childhood Days

Just a few snapshots from one of these mornings we have to ourselves, my preschooler and I.  He is our youngest, and two days every week I can focus on him, not haul him along to the other kids' activities, not making him wait because I have important things to do.  
Small joys, like finding and eating a big tomato, playing with cars on the floor, not having to stress and hurry, not getting fully dressed  (unless we decide to go for a walk), having the time to talk, ask questions and answer them. Being in the present.  Not over-thinking. And, I get to see the world as an almost 4-year-old sees it. What a blessing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Without Hope - or Crazy With Fear

This painting is made by Eugène Delacroix, the French 19th Century artist.  I saw it in the National Gallery in Oslo last week, and I really wonder how I can have missed it until now...
It's an amazing, intriguing piece of work.  The Norwegian title is "På Kanten av Stupet", which translates "On the edge of the cliff", and the caption says that the original, French title is "Le désespéré" (The despaired, the one feeling without hope.) Well, I think the correct French title actually is "Fou de Peur", or "Crazy with Fear." Anyway, no matter which title this painting has, it's obviously about a man about to fall, to let himself fall... His expression is pained, desperate, panicked.
The painting is left partly unfinished, and I wonder if that may be intentional.  He (the artist himself?) is letting himself fall, away, into the unknown.  
Some talk about suicide, others will say it's about going crazy.  I simply see the reflection of that feeling many of us are familiar with, the feeling of loosing our grip on life, that the ground beneath our feet is disappearing and that we're slipping into a huge void. Fear. Hopelessness. Anxiety.
Anyway, it's a must-see if you ever go to Oslo.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kitchen Table Thoughts

Alone again.  Not  for long, of course, only a little more than a week, but being at less than 50% of my capacities. it is not easy.  I'm suffering from a sore throat, runny nose, headache and lots and lots of self pity.  The thing is, with work and 4 kids, there is no way I can be sick, so I just have to handle it as best I can.  During the week it has been the usual: Getting up early, making breakfast and waking the children, making sure they all get to school on time.  The days I worked, I took  my youngest to daycare first, but the other days, we could hang out in our PJ's all morning, talk, play,  just not doing that much. I love having those days with him, and I think they are very important also, for my little boy.
Work days this week has been about photoshoots, photo editing and making of proof albums.  And I've been writing on a couple of articles.

Then weekend came.  On Saturday my eldest son participated in the regional final of 1st LEGO League, something he and his team had worked towards for weeks. I had to get up at 6:45 AM to help him prepare for his day and send him off.  Since my eldest daughter had rehearsals all day for an upcoming show: "Reisen til Julestjernen" (she is both dancing ballet AND playing the piano in the show, I brought the two youngest to watch my son's team compete.  It took place at the local University College (Høgskolen i Gjøvik), and the place was packed.  Kids everywhere, running, stressing, panicking, preparing their robots, trying to find their way in this big, confusing setup. But, the whole thing is really amazing, and I'm impressed by the kids and what they're able to do.  I'm also very proud of my son, who acted so calm and focused, and really did a great job! After watching several performances, I had to run some errands (grocery store, post office etc.) before I  took the small kids back home for lunch Then laundry, cleaning and cooking for dinner that night: Home made pizzas.   My eldest daughter made it back just in time, and we all enjoyed pizza, soda and some candy and games after dinner. Then my daughter went out again to meet with friends, and after putting the  youngest kids to bed, I watched a movie with my eldest son.

Today my eldest daughter had rehearsals again, she took off in the morning, and I brought my sons to watch my youngest daughter perform at the local riding show.  (She was picked up by a friend of mine early in the morning, since they need time to prepare and warm up the horses.)  Did I mention I'm sick, and that my youngest is sick too?  He actually threw up on the floor in the horse barn, and I could hardly talk all morning, my voice only a hoarse, coarse, strange sound.
Well, anyway, I was so proud of my little girl doing her performance, all alone in that huge riding hall, in front of the judges, but in the end we were all so cold we could hardly wait to come back home.
Wood fire, warm waffles and hot chocolate  helped a lot, and we had a cozy lunch at the kitchen table. Afterwards, I read a book to my youngest, and now he is  is sleeping, my youngest daughter watching "The Cat in the Hat" movie, and my eldest son playing on the computer.  I've made some coffee, taken some more painkillers, and now I do remember to breathe.

In a little while I'll cook dinner, prepare the kids' school lunches for tomorrow and hopefully have an early night.  I need that.  (Single) Motherhood is not for whimps, that's certain, but then again, it's also very rewarding, fulfulling and nice.  Just not that easy when sick...

Friday, November 11, 2011

A New Baby...

We have a new baby at home.  Little 8-week-old Lussi (Lucia), an adorable kitten, came to us this Tuesday, and we're all madly in love with her.  She is so cute, funny, cuddly, and when she isn't running around like crazy, climbing on furniture, knocking over flower vases, and chasing toys, she is in her basket, sleeping like - a baby. :-)

Happy (our other cat) disappeared a month ago.  We've been looking everywhere, putting up posters, distributing flyers and having ads published in the local papers, but nothing. The grief has been really tough, hard,  something that could only understood if one ever got attached to a pet...

Last weekend, a neighbor told us about this kitten with no home, and even though we've not completely given up hope of finding Happy, and despite us thinking that it would be wise to wait for a while, we caved - once we saw the little cutie. If Happy comes back, well, we'll have two cats, that's all.

Lussi spent a few hours being scared and unsure about this new setting, but after lunch, when the three-year-old went down for his nap, she decided to copy that, and fell fast asleep in the basket I had prepared for her.

Now she is following us around everywhere in the house, purring and smiling her kitten-smiles, playing with the various cat-toys my youngest daughter has made for her, and suddenly falling asleep, whenever she feels like it.