Monday, March 31, 2014

Fooled Ya!

April Fools . . .tomorrow.
Every year I plan to play a practical joke on the love of my life. Every year he gets tricked.
Am I mean? No, not really. For a truth-telling, honest, and all round nice girl, I get to trick him once a year. And that I intend to do.

I must admit I pulled it a little too far one time. Making him sad or too worried is not really my goal, but sure, that can happen if the practical joke is serious enough.

April Fool's Day is not a national holiday, but still it is celebrated in many countries every year. Many companies have executed hoaxes that have been time-consuming to plan and costly for their budget. Newspapers have headlines that are totally wrong. Even the news on TV can not be trusted this day.

Origins may go back to Roman times and Chaucer wrote about trickery on that date in his Canterbury Tales in 1392. But I am sure people started playing jokes on each other long before that, just not with a legitimate date celebrated every year.

One of my favorite practical jokes in Norway happened many years ago. The national news announced that wine would be sold cheap by the bucket from the liqueur stores. People lined up with cans, buckets, and everything they could carry in hopes to buy their alcohol cheap. I am not a drinker  myself, but seeing gullible citizens lined up, eager to get their share, was funny.

So what will I do tomorrow? Time will tell. Shhhh.

Today's art is a collage of a jester I made as a teenager. It was an assignment when I studied art at the university.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

There's Always Room For Munchkins

A friend of our says that his grandchildren are the desserts of life.
He is right. There is something exceptional about being a grandparent, a joyous feeling of just belonging to wonderful little munchkins.

This week the announcement came on a little video clip featuring our munchkin Dean, 2 1/2 years old, "Mamma has a baby in her belly."

Grandchild number eight is on its way. Another wonder of wonders will happen in September. Arnfinn and I already have hearts filled to the brim with gratitude and love for our munchkins, but still, miraculously, there will be enough space for more.

We are not just parents anymore. We are older, wiser, almost pre-historic, and we can spoil these munchkins--give them cookies--and hand them back to their loving parents with a smile when the day is done.

We have found that giving our children munchkin baby-sitting including two tickets to a movie or a munchkin week-end retreat at the Duck and Cherry have become more valuable as a gift than a book or a perfume.

Today I am in northern Norway, flew up today. I am with Dean, while Arnfinn is back home babysitting three other little sibling munchkins. We are blessed.

Today's water color is one I made for Dean. It hangs in his play corner.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

After All, I like Keys

My goodness how frustrated I get when I rummage through my little purse in search of my keys. I have experimented with various ways to find them quicker, still I think too much time is wasted looking for keys.
And I put them in place every time I use them - every time, almost - so why do they hide in my purse. Are they too heavy? Are they too small? Do they need a huge key chain? Do they simply like to play hide-and-seek?

I have written about Lost and Found Keys on this blog before. I admit it, there are times when displacing keys are all my fault.

Even with this underlying frustration about hidden keys, I like keys. I have old keys hanging as decoration on the wall of the Broom Closet, my beloved office space.

There are key words in our everyday sentences that I have wondered about. E.g. where did the name key lime pie come from? Turns out it has nothing to do with keys. The Key lime is a citrus fruit.

And what about a keynote speaker? He or she does note have to carry keys at all, only a well prepared speech which establishes the theme of a meeting.

I love the fact that synonyms to the word key are uplifting and good words like: explanation, clue, solution, cue, pointer, lead. Words like this offer an end to problems, trials, and challenges.

When I married Arnfinn I gave him a card. Inside I had taped the house keys, the garage keys, and a key that had the explanation, "The key to Heidi's heart. May not be duplicated."

I have found some book quotes about keys today. Hope you like them, too.

“Many people believe they have found the key to Heaven's gate, not realizing that there is no key hole. It is a barrier upon which you must knock. And I believe that it is by our small and simple acts of kindness that we find the gate left ajar.” 
― Richelle E. Goodrich

“Creativity is key to productivity and prosperity.” 
― Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

“They key of persistence opens all doors closed by resistance ” 
― John Di Lemme

“You want me to give her a key?" the guy asked.
"I want you to give her a possibility," she told him, looking at my necklace again. "And that's what a key represents. An open door, a chance. You know?” 
― Sarah DessenLock and Key

“Let the people discover you! You might have the key of the locked doors in their lives! Open yourself to the world; you might be the magic the world needs!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

My favorite is this:
"Prayer is the key to day and the lock of night."

Today's art is an oil painting I did many years ago.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Matriarchs and Choices

An Irish proverb for the 17th of March - St. Patrick's Day:

You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was. -Irish Proverb

In other words, we have to do our own thing in this life, make our own path, choose our battles wisely, give of our time, and love those around us.

Most things that will make us grow--be it in personality or stature--cannot be delegated, nor handed over to someone else. We need to take responsibility for our choices, our actions, our paths.

There are days when I wish I was a child again. A young girl with little responsibility, few worries, and innocent dreams and fears. Safely under my mother's wing and my father's all-seeing eye, I grew up feeling safe and loved.

Now I am the matriarch of our family. 
Responsibility, worries, dreams, and fears are still there, only deeper and there are more of them. But I can also choose to use the backpack my mother and father gave me. A backpack full of cherished moments spent with wise and loving parents. 

Just like a piece of beautiful material can be transformed into a lovely dress, a blank sheet of paper can receive the words to a magical fairy tale, and a white canvas can turn into a wondrous painting admired by all who see it, so can this day with its clean slate be a good day - no matter what happens - it can have good in it.

Today's water color is aclled "On y va!"
Let's go!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Words That Have Lain Fallow

Writing and Reading WORDS

A little blog for the enjoyment of writing good words and reading even better ones.

I have a another blog dedicated to words. It has lain fallow for a year or so and I really should continue my quest there as well.
Today I have copied one of the entries. I hope you will enjoy it and that it will give you one more reason to pick up a good book to read today.

Things to say about books you have never read

How well read are you? Do you have conversations at dinner parties about books old and new? How do you get round discussing the books you haven't had the time or need to open yet?
There are so many books - good books - interesting books - eye-opening books - entertaining books - educational books - heartwarming or thrilling books. You cannot read them all.

I have friends who devour several books a week. Fast readers? Yes, but also with temporarily life situations that allows time to spend hours reading every day. I take longer, there are many other things on my daily schedule as well.

I just read an interesting article about what to say about books you have never read.
It's simply impossible to read all books. So how about learning a summary of classic books to make interesting conversation? It's like having an opinion about a movie you haven't seen, but only read the review.

I have discovered a fun way to remember books I have read. I have a beautiful little note book where I write my own book reviews. I write down the title of the book, the author's name, year published, a synopsis, my review, and when I read it. I enjoy flipping through and remembering good books and recommending them to others.

Last entry of my personal book reviews is this:

"Dissolution" by C.J. Sansom (2003)

Set in an exciting period in history during the dissolution of the monasteries. Shardlake is a likable and clever investigator. It is well written. I was there - at Scarnsea - seeing, smelling, and feeling. I am excited to read the other 4 mysteries with Shardlake; Dark FireSovereignRevelationHeartstone.

Story: 1537. Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer in the service of Cromwell, King Henry's VIII's vicar general. He is sent to investigate a murder in a large Benedictine Monastery in Scarnsea, on the south coast of England.

Read September 2012

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Living In a Cheese Bell

We are a cheese loving family. We go through a hunk of cheese like it's the last thing we do. Cheese on sandwiches, grated on soup, in casseroles, for snacks. Cheese melted, fried, raw, baked - we are not picky. It can be strong, mild, flavored, spiced, herbal. The only thing I don't care for is blue cheese. Why should I eat molded food?

I wanted my children to learn about different flavored cheeses at an early age. Living in Lausanne, Switzerland, we visited small villages famous for their cheese, like medieval Gruyères. The yummy pale yellow treat with small holes and nutty flavor is worth while the visit, but also the fabulous scenery and nature of the region.

Our first morning in Lausanne my husband handed me a map of the city and pointed to where I could find a grocery store. No problem. I did my errands, three little ones in tow, but could not locate our street on the way back. A hidden cross-road between other streets, it was not easy to find. Often I would walk to the store. I would have one child in a stroller, pull the second on a tricycle and watch the third on her little bicycle riding next to me. My goal was to bring home a different cheese every time I went grocery shopping. Bread and cheese became our favorite snack.

I have had a slice of Jarlsberg today, Hector and Arnfinn, too. In fact, it's Hector's favorite treat and he will do just about anything for a piece of yellow cheese. I like to hide small pieces around the living room and make him search for them. He is no bloodhound, the kind of dog with 300 million scent receptors. No, he needs a little coaching and guiding to find his cheese, but he loves playing that game.

Why am I thinking about cheese today? It has nothing to do with enjoying the flavor of St. Paulin, Brie, or Gouda. It's more the fact that there are times in my life when I feel like I am living in a cheese bell,
Storms, rain, and scorching heat can surround me, but I am safe within. The signs of disasters are there, I hear them, see them raging outside the bell, but I feel I am not really there.

Time out within a cheese bell seems to work for me now and then. Sometimes we just need a break from everyday struggles. Sometimes we need to cut something out of our life, without feeling guilty about it.

There are enough problems, trials, and challenges to keep me busy searchig for solutions and answers for a long, long time. Now and then I have to jump out in the middle of the hurricane.
In the meantime, I will work them out one at a time within my bell.

Today's water color is called Stormy Night.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Go Home!

"You may have the universe if I may have Italy.
--Giuseppe Verdi

"I can live anywhere in the world as long as I see Mjosa."
--Alf Proysen

I understand their sentiment, both the Italian composer and the Norwegian cultural personality. I can also relate to Dorothy, the main character in the musical fantasy, The Wizard of Oz, who says, "There's no place like home." She tries to go home and has so many problems along the way, big problems like witches, horrible flying monkeys and a cheating wizard. But she eventually finds out she could have gone home all the time. She clicks the heels of her ruby slippers together and says the famous words "There's no place like home."

I have lived in many countries and visited even more. It has been an eduacation in itself, learning about people, places, languages, foods, culture, and not to forget what we laugh about. I have noticed how humour varies from country to country, even though it gradually evens out the more international we become. 

Home is my favorite place to be, better than vacations in out-of-the-way corners of the world or on sandy beaches. There have been many homes in my life, but only one at a time. Home has been where I hang my pictures and have my closest family around me. It has been where I can truly concentrate on being me. It is where I laugh and cry the most, grow the most, and learn every day.

Presently, I live in a home in the land of my ancestors, the birth land of my mother and father, and it is a good place to be. I have given this home a name: The Duck and Cherry. No, it's not an English pub, in fact no alchohol in this house. Though I admit I was inspired by amusing and ingenious titles of pubs. The names are a pun on word translations of duck and cherry

Go home is not a punishment or an insult. I gladly go home.

Today's water color is called The Flower Farm - in my fantasy it is someone's home. 


The Italian Romantic composer, Giuseppe Verdi,  was one of the two most preeminent opera composers of the nineteenth century. Wagner being the other. 

The writer and musician, Alf Prøysen, was one of the most important Norwegian cultural personalities in the second half of the twentieth century.