Thursday, May 31, 2012

Romance and fresh air

Romance comes in many forms. On Saturday Arnfinn suggested we eat breakfast at a beautiful view point on the island where we live. We rode our bikes on the path across the fields, through the wooded area of Alby, and ended up on the look-out cliff at Rødsåsen.
Breakfast was simple, but sitting there on a woolen blanket in God's nature with the company of Arnfinn and Hector was wonderful.
Take time for good memories. Take time to sit and talk - and if nature helps out with its beauty and the weather is great -all the better.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wasp not paying rent

Ready for bed and looking up in the ceiling. What? A wasp nest in the ceiling??
Windows have been wide open for days, due to the warm and summer-ish weather - gentle breezes - and obviously wasps - sneaking inside.
So the stinging wasp rely on a nest from which they conduct many of their activities, especially rearing their young ones.
As a mother, I can relate to that, and it stung my heart, getting rid of both the nest and the very industrious wasp flying to and fro.
But memories went to many years ago, when as a 5-6 year old I lived with my family at my grandmother's house. I slept in an attic room with two wasp nests and woke up the next morning with lots of stings. Unpleasant!
So, the other day at The Duck and Cherry, it was either me or the wasp in the bedroom, and I won. I excused myself many times, hoping it would forgive me someday. I don't mind wasps, bees and bumbles, but feel strongly that they need to live in the woods and not in my house. Besides, it's pretty rude to move in without permission or paying rent.
Today's water color is a summer fairy, who can probably speak with the little flying yellow and black critters!

Monday, May 28, 2012

No one misses you!

10 am this morning - 10 am!!!! - Arnfinn wakes me up. When did we last sleep till 10 am?? I can't remember - it's that long ago. The fresh summer breeze swept in through the open windows and the smell of blossoming flowers and birds chirping was soothing and nice.
The next sentence he says is: "And no one has called you yet! No one is missing you!"
I did not know if I should feel relieved or sad. It's unusual that none of the nine children call us at some time or another - so I chose to feel happy that they were all content - and it did not really take long before one of them called to return a call from last night.
How blesses we all are to have many people around us. There are nice people to connect with all around; it can be family or friends or people we have just met. I tend to be a hermit at times, digging myself into a hole in my house with Hector and Poppy, contentedly writing and painting - but after all we are a friendly species who need others in our lives.
Why? Well, we need other for someone to talk to. Talking with ourselves is good for the fact that we can get exactly the answer we want! But talking with somebody else can be enlightening, entertaining  - and with Arnfinn funny! He says so many funny and amusing things. I love that about him. Anya is the same way. Without knowing it, she is funny all the time.
We need others for comfort, happiness, help with things, sharing, learning and the list goes on and on. And the great thing is - this goes both ways. Thinking more about giving than receiving is always a key to happiness.
Today's water color is a practice painting of seagulls in flight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kyolic is great!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
But a garlic a day keeps everybody away!

Still believe that? That depends. Eating lots of apples fill me up, but eating a small garlic tablet is easy and very healthy in my book of life!
Arnfinn and I have the last years taken our daily garlic tablet called KYOLIC  - see Kyolic for Norwegian readers. Running a health store the last seven years has taught me a thing or two about nutrition, and believe me, I am not the kind who is hysterical or over-protective when it comes to eating healthy, but there are some things I truly believe in - and good herbs is one of them!
I believe there is a reason to why God planted herbs on this earth. I wish knowledge about herbs was part of the school curriculum, something everybody would learn about.
I was fascinated when we lived in Austria, how many people knew how to use herbs. There was especially an elderly lady in our church, Klothilde Pittner, who had so much knowledge about herbs stored in her head. I would call her up and ask her what to give my children. (In my collection of kitchen witches, I now have an Austrian witch with her name!)

Produkt: KyolicBut all that said, when it comes to garlic for health reasons outside the regular "garlic in the dinner"- spice, I prefer garlic in a tablet. Why Kyolic? Because Kyolic is absolutely odorless! Certainly a preference if you think kissing is vital, or if you like to engage in conversations with someone without scaring them off with your breath. And why take garlic in the first place? It's good for the heart, the blood circulation, the immune system, the skin - and if you take a double doze, it will scare ticks away (you know those horrible little blood suckers).
In fact, I can give Hector, the Wheaten terrier, a tablet of Kyolic a day to keep the ticks off him. Those creepy, crawly things fall  off his fur when they get fat enough - and they are uninvited in my house!

Then the third why: Why not buy any other kind of garlic tablet/capsule? Because Kyolic is an aged garlic extract - the effect is many times better than the other brands, it is tested and has 650 completed studies backing it up.

As an interesting side notion, I also keep a small bottle of liquid Kyolic in my refrigerator. Works great with ear aches. I have tried it with several of our children growing up. A few drops in the ear at night - a voila! - next morning they were always much better.

So, as a tribute to one of the many wonderful herbs - I speak about garlic today - and Kyolic.
Enjoy an odorless garlic splurge!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Smell like dirt!

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.  Margaret Atwood

Ha ha ha....why couldn't she say that we should smell like roses?
Anyway, here at the Duck and Cherry, spring has sprung and my days now have garden work like mowing the lawn, weeding, and planting added to the agenda.
My neighbor Ragnar has a beautiful garden and spends hours every day out in the fresh air, taking care of his cultivated nature patch. Ragnar is very friendly and a gentleman, the kind I can go and ask for advice when I am confused about what to do in my own garden. He can tell me when to prune, how to prune, what to plant, and so on. He even comes over and shows me how and assists me.
Good neighbors is a great  asset to our street. It's not as if we see them all the time or go out with them, but they are friendly and kind.
Strange how neighbors meet more in the summer as we are outside working the garden and take a few minutes now and then to chat through the bushes or next to the wheel barrow with a shovel in hand.
So, maybe it's OK to smell like dirt at the end of the day. It would at least prove that I had done an honest day's work in the garden.

Today's photograph is of two of the wild cherry trees here in the garden of The Duck and Cherry.

Be the Heroine in Your Life

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. Nora Ephron

This is a great statement, and an inspiration to me to try to do better and make my life a happy one.
I believe this is true no matter who, where, or what we are.
As a young busy mother I worked freelance for a couple of magazines, designing cross-sticth patterns and embroidering the finished product for styling and photography. Days (and nights) were long as I often started my work after I had put the little ones to bed for the night.
One cross-stitch pattern I designed said: "Supermom - I have no choice!" I never tried to sell this pattern, and it was no confession that I was really a Supermom, but in a way it inspired me to be a good mother for my children and do my best for them. After all, I chose to be a mother and they deserved a good one.
Now that my children have children, I see how this time we live in has wonderful mothers and fathers.
My grandchildren are lucky because their mothers and fathers are heroes and heroines - at least in my eyes.

You can be some one's hero or heroine! I does have to cost anything or even take a lot of time. Try smiling at someone and see what happens!

Photograph of Anya and her happy baby.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Special and Personal Room Decorations

Sweet fairies have been popular as water color art from Eljarbo Studio.

Today I would like to show how one family redecorated their guest room and added two of my fairy paintings.

I appreciate that they shared the photos with me so that I can show you how lovely their new room is, with cool blue colors for a soothing and gentle effect.

The water colors were ordered with special colors in mind - and butterflies - as fairy companions!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Things I need and don't need!

So how important are materialistic things? In the eternal aspect? Not much at all. But our lives here on earth are dependant on things - more or less, for better and for worse.
There are things that are necessary, things that are important, things that bring joy and  help us in our progress. But things can also bring us down a wrong path.
I get tired of too many things. I notice that when I feel there are too many things around me in the house, my energy drains and the Qi (chi) or life-source and vitality in my home seems a little off balance.
Why do I think about things today? Maybe because I have just spent the last 2 1/2 hours trying to find out about car repairs, insurance, towing, rental cars etc. etc. Yes, our car stopped on Tuesday last week and today the repair shop finally took the time to tell me what is wrong.
Things! A car is a thing - not important for my spiritual welfare, but nevertheless an important part of my everyday life. 
Funny thing about a car -I am amazed at how patient it is. It always sits and waits for me, no matter how long it might take. That's a good thing!
Today's water color is called "Late Spring". I love the dramatic colors, the heavy clouds, but light homestead.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Words like Honey

There are some words that taste like honey in my mouth. Of course chocolate will do that every time, but I am talking about words like family, home, love, husband, children, animals.
The Duck and Cherry is a name that makes me happy. It reminds me of the people and the things I love best.
I like the words faith and hope which remind me of my relationship to my Heavenly Father.
Words like work, talents, and learning are uplifting and encouraging to me, and charity and service reminds me of thinking about the need of others around me.
Charmed by brings a warm feeling to my heart.
There are some words that I have actually banned from The Duck and Cherry -words that I don't want to hear inside the walls of our safe haven. That's OK, we choose ourselves what we want in our own home.

Picture: Saturday we went for a bicycle ride to Alby, a manor house and art gallery close to our home. Happiness would be a nice word to describe our time spent with Ida and her children.

I have another blog that deals with words. Writing and Reading WORDS is A little blog for the enjoyment of writing good words and reading even better ones.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Love is all around"

This morning I read an article poll-public-displays-of-affection-at-church on LDS living. They wanted to know what people thought was appropriate behavior for public display of affection at church.
We are all so different. Some people would never even hold hands in front of other people. I personally believe it both good and important to be show appropriate affection in public. Children will benefit from knowing that their parents love each other, friends of the family may be encouraged by seeing that you love your partner.
But there are limits - and the boundaries and opinions for this may be as many as there are people out there. The display of affection should not make others uncomfortable, but be a sweet reminder of love.
I love seeing an elderly couple hold hands, a husband greet his wife with a kiss when they meet, and the joy in someone's eyes when they meet a loved one at the train station or airport.
Love is better than indiffenence.

Today's water color was a practice study for a painting called "Motherly Love". The original was sold many years ago.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Home at The Duck and Cherry

Our neighbor's chow-chow named Thai just passed by on the small road outside The Duck and Cherry. He is getting old, but going out he behaves like young dog, full of energy and excited. Coming home, I see our neighbor dragging him behind on the leash. He does not like to go home!
I like coming home! Home is the best place on earth. There are many sayings like: "Home is where the heart is" and Home sweet Home" and
Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz clicks her ruby slippers and says: "There's no place like home." I believe her.
We have moved a lot - and I always felt that if I could hang some of our paintings and pictures on the wall, and my family was there with me - then I was home - even if it meant living in the Far East, America, or Europe.
My mother was the heart of my childhood home. When she passed away, the house was never the same. The heart was gone.
Here are some quotes about home:
"It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home."  ~Author Unknown
"Where thou art - that - is Home."  ~Emily Dickinson
"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."  ~Jane Austen
"Home is a shelter from storms - all sorts of storms."  ~William J. Bennett

"Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration."  ~Charles Dickens

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Budding Tulips

Yesterday I wrote about aftershave in the sink and other nonsense. An important part of yesterday's blog, was the fact that we should respect people around us, who are allergic to perfumes.
And - today on the front page of Norway's leading serious newspaper is exactly that:
More than a million Norwegians are allergic to perfumes and colognes, and the Asthma- and Allergy Association is starting a campaign today, encouraging everyone who works in hospitals to refrain from wearing perfumes and other strong scents.
1 million people is 20% of our population - so quite a few.
I am grateful that I can be outside and enjoy spring with the scents, budding leaves and flowers. So many are allergic this time of year.
I took some pictures of the tulips in the herbal garden this morning. They will spring in time for our national holiday on 17th of May. I love tulips!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Old Musty Aftershave in My Kichen Sink

Why on earth does my kitchen sink smell like an elderly gentleman's outdated aftershave?
Arnfinn decided to clean out a box in the bathroom cabinet yesterday and found forgotten treasures!
Several bottles of old aftershave - and he does not use any -
Since his sense of smell is gone (temporarily or not), I had to smell the different bottles and decided that no man of mine should smell old and dusty like what was in those old bottles. He poured all of them into the sink. My kitchen bore witness of the deed for the longest time. I think I need to make something spicy for dinner to regain the scents of homemade cooking instead.
When I studied at BYU, I was on the Ballroom Dance Team. Every weekday morning at 6 am we practiced our dance routines in the Richard's Building. Young men, just out of the shower, well dressed, and newly shaved, took hold of my hands and we danced and practiced. When I walked to my classes a couple of hours later, my hands often smelled of aftershave and men's cologne.
Perfume and the likes should be treated like spices, too much is not good. I like detecting a good cologne or sweet perfume when I hug someone.
I grew up with a mother who was allergic to scents and perfumes, and I have learned to treat such things with respect. The last time I flew, the stewardess was wearing too much perfume. It would have been an uncomfortable flight for my mother, had she been there. Some professions are better without added scents.

Today's water color is simply called "Field". The scents of nature are the best!