Perfect Saturday

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It’ saturday, still, and will be for an hour longer than normal today, or at least I will pretend it is. It’s been a good day and it’s been a good week. I’m getting used to work, my body is getting used to the new the new daily patterns, and although the days are shorter, I feel more tired in the evening, I have more energy throughout the day. Daughter too has grown used to the long days in kindergarten and manage to sleep when she can. I saw the result of all this today. It has been such a good day!

I had one of those rare perfect days to the city with my two loverlies. We managed the butcher, the pharmacy, the market, the candy shop, and the library hand in hand, smiling and all feeling good. Thinking back there were birds singing, strings instruments playing, and people smiling and dancing in the streets. So, yes, my memories come with a silver lining. But we didn’t argue, there was no whining, and after the first two shops I sat down, brought my kids close and told them how proud I was, and how happy I was with how they acted and behaved. Later today they played together, we had pizza, watched Tarzan and they even went to bed tonight without telling me how I ruin their lives demanding they get the sleep they need every night. Which means we’re even off to a good start tomorrow.

And, you know what? We got windows today. We extanding out house slightly and improving the layout a lot, and has consequently been without windows (but with a whole lot of dust, mess, and chaos) for a few weeks. Tonight the house is not drafty, it’s warm and cosy. I see scary branches  doing intimidating moves in the dark, sending long shadows into what will soon be my living room, and I smile back at them. Welcoming their return. Even the sun came out today and showed me how gorgeously its rays will light up our house for years and years to come. The sun was only out for a wee while today just after the windows were fitted, so it’s clear that’s its main purpose was to brighten my life.

Now I’ve had a few hours to myself, enjoying solitude, silence, and songs. I am online again after being without an internet connection for some days, and I am now up to date on work, blogs, news, and the like. What a wonderful saturday it has been. I hope you too enjoyed it.

Postcard from the summer, Ai Casoni

Italian summer

Autumn is upon us, and I love it. Candlelit evenings, large cups of tea, the lemon/honey combination, the crisp air, the wind, the colours; autumn is definitely among my top four favourite seasons.

We’re adding a room to our house. The garden’s a mess. The living-room, kitchen, office and entrance are currently combined, and that room is also a mess. I want to buy flowers, I want to add some prettiness, but the furniture is stacked, layered, or crowded, there’s no room for a vase. So I look back at the days in Italy. This is from the Ai Casoni Agriturismo near Treviso in Italy. A tranquil little spot with flowers in abundance.

A happy tale and three happy tails

These little cuties lived with us for a few weeks this summer. We found them in my parents’ garden, or it might be more correct to say that we took them, or they were left to us. Their mum, a very young stray cat, lives under a playhouse in my parents’ garden. She hid well while we were there this summer, only venturing into the garden after dusk to search for food for herself and her wee ones. We played in that garden all day, there were six kids under the age of six and plenty of adults. But then suddenly, in the middle of the day, while the youngest kids were taking a nap and the oldest kids were inside, while we were collecting all the toys, we noticed a small bundle of kittens in the centre of the garden. They were many metres from the playhouse and their hiding spot. Their mother must have carried them out, and then left them! They were just huddled together only moving over, under or on top of one another. My husband picked them up and we found a box for them. We didn’t want the six kids to attack them, so we left them outside. Their mum came out after a few hours. Located them and had a sniff, but then she left again.

During the next few weeks I was introduced to formula for kittens, read up on the sucking reflexes of young kittens, weighed, cuddled, played with, and most importantly, found new homes for these little heartbreakers. Their mum is no longer with us. She was a stray and a neighbour of my parents’ ended her life swiftly. The three kittens have new, loving families and a cared for very well.

The end of the endless summer of 2014

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The summer of 2014 has been long and wonderful. It has been so long, warm and delightful that it has felt a little unnatural. I’v caught myself wondering what could be wrong with this world and realized quickly that I don’t want to know. I have enjoyed the sun, the warmth, the long bright days and the precious time with my family. But lately I have been expecting autumn. Almost waiting for it. I don’t mind having summer, but it was as if my body was expecting something else: warmer clothes, quiet dark evenings, crispy brisk air, and a new colour palette. Autumn arrived two weeks ago.

Well, autumn arrived, and then left again. But every time it left it left a little more of itself. First came the cold mornings, then the colours, and then the crispy air. We had a few days of autumn last week, which left us with dark, cold mornings. Now all we’re missing is the unpredictable weather.

It’s been an easy transition this year. Normally I don’t like the transitional phases of the seasons, I wear the heavy coat on warm days, or I wear too little on the cold, I forget my raincoat when it pours, or I carry my umbrella around in the sun. This year there’s nothing to complain about.

The last evening I’ve spent surrounded by candles. I’ve drunk large cups of tea and I’ve been sporting a proper cold. Autumn is here, and I like it. 

Delightful life

Starting work is a strange matter. A strange matter indeed.

I glanced around me, as I often do when thinking of what to say next, and I now noticed the bowl sitting on the kitchen counter. The bowl holds what is tomorrow’s breakfast (a delicious wheat and barley bread) for some of us and it needed my immediate attention. Breakfast is, when the hours I’ve set aside for sleep are subtracted, only a few hours away. Bread needs kneading.

There, the bread is now sitting quietly on it’s tray. The bubbling yeast has been been reset and it is now trying to fight its way up and out again. The oven is ticking and clicking and making other small noises to quickly increase the temperature. Rufus Wainwright accompanies the noises with a soft, slightly melancholic voice asking me to raise my fists and stay. I’m not going anywhere, but my fingers are needed at the keyboard, and I only sporadically softly clench my fist when I reach for my glass of Bulmers pear. The house is quiet. The kitchen is a mess. I sit and cherish every moment. Breathe in. Breathe out. Life is good.

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Now, back to work. As I said, it is a strange matter. You see, Norwegian teachers are on strike these days. I’m still working, my union is small and work slowly, slowly but efficiently I hope. But my working days are strongly affected by the many teachers who are not working. I won’t venture too much into the politcal aspects of the strike, but I have to point out that this is not a strike concerning the teachers’ working hours or pay, but core changes affecting the entire schooling system that are initiated by not the teachers, nor the politicians, but a third party that should be responsiple only for the economic situation of the various communes and smaller parts of Norway. The strike’s been on since June. Many things aren’t right. It’s strange. A strange matter indeed. And so are my first days and weeks at work.

Still, life is good. The transition has been smooth, from stay-at-home-life to working-life. I suddenly have a whole new load of fantastic people in my life; intelligent, reflected, and enthusiastic people who inspire and comfort me in my new life. The transition has been easy. Now autumn is coming, that transition is harder on me. 17 degrees are not what they were a month ago. But I’m prepared. Boots have been located. Windowsill has lettuce peeping out from dark soil and will bring green goodness for many months to come. Life is good. Do your best to enjoy it as much as I am.

And, by the way, Rufus, Wainwright, is coming here in a few weeks time. What an out-of-the-blue-surprise. Never in a million years had I imagined that he would suddenly turn up here and sing only a few metres away from me. Because now he is. I have tickets. I am looking forward to it with that childish, bubbling enthusiasm that many claim will never survive into adulthood. Yay!

The land at the end of our toes…

I’m sitting at the kitchen table, the room is dimly lit by one ceiling lamp and two small candles. Make that one candle by the way, one just went out. A small coffee plant is showing small vibrations in the leaves caused by my movements as I’m writing. My son is whispering in the dark just above me in his bedroom, the sound of his whispers are sometimes drowned by the howling wind outside. Tall evergreen in my neighbours garden are dancing to a beat that I cannot hear, while a large uncut shrub of some unknown, maybe even undecided, kind is bending over our fence, stretching it’s long thin arms through my recently repotted herbs. My nasturtiums seems to have surrendered to its aggressive attack already, while little rosemary gallantly stretches upwards and forwards as if to dance herself away. It doesn’t look much like summer. I’m contemplating a cup of tea, but it’s already quite late. This morning I was out picking tomatoes in the front garden, it feels like the wind has stretched my conception of time, and that the tomatoes I ate, fresh from the plant, were picked many days ago.

We have had a long summer this year. It started already in April. I cannot remember ever having a summer like this, even the long sunny summers of my childhood had rainy days where we picked berries in the garden in our wellies, jumping into summer-warm rivers with raindrops dancing in the water around us. This year the only rain I’ve had was in Italy. Or so it seems. Maybe it’s just me getting older, my memory becoming selective and picky about what it decided to store for the future. I am definitely getting older. I have a full time job now, for the first time, starting next week. Until now I’ve done a bit of this, a bit of that, not ready to define myself and ‘what I want to be when I grow up’. But now I have, sort of. I cannot guarantee that it’s permanent. It will be for quite a few years, but for the rest of my life? No, ‘the rest of my life’ is a definition and thought that scares me more than the howling wind outside ever has.

The land at the end of my toes an early morning a few weeks ago, on my way to buy breakfast. A small country road in Italy a kilometre or so from the shore of lake Garda.

The land at the end of my toes an early morning a few weeks ago, on my way to buy breakfast. A small country road in Italy a kilometre or so from the shore of lake Garda.

I’ve spent the last days and weeks with my family. Both extended family and our little family. It’ been tough coming home after having been gone for almost five weeks. But both the kids and I have enjoyed getting into the routines at home. Routines that will dramatically change the coming week. There’s so much happening this autumn. Every autumn has alway brought something new into my life. I’m very excited this year, very excited. I’m trying to prepare for it, all trying to get ready, without really knowing what I should and could do. But I’m calm and mentally prepared for it all. Very ready to meet many new and wonderful people, broaden my horizon and adapt my way of thinking. I love the influences of new friendships and social groups. It will be a good year.

I will take you with me, sporadically as I always do, and I will change along the way. Adapt, improve, and change as the land at the end of my toes goes on and on, and on and on.

Home is on the horizon

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The setting sun as we leave Denmark. On the ferry going home

August is here again, and so am I. The past five weeks I’ve spent only a few nights at home. I was planning to write an ‘I’m home’-post, but I’ve left again. I’m close to home though, and it’s good, it’s good to be (close to) home again.

We started with a few days with bestemor and bestefar, my husband’s parents in the south of Norway. Then early one morning we took the ferry to Denmark, over to Hirtshals and the same day drove to Hamburg. In Hamburg we took the train to Munich, the Autozug, before we drove via Austria to Italy.

We had four stays in Italy: first we spent two nights at Ai Casoni, an ‘agroturismo’ near Treviso; second, we spent a week in Cavallino, just north of Venice; third was a hotel in Tuscany along with mormor and morfar (my parents), two of my brothers and their girlfriends; fourth and last was a short week by the Lago sea. We had one more stop in the very south of Germany, before taking the train back to Hamburg and then the ferry from Denmark.

The journey has been amazing; memorable, fun, and exhausting. The children have been wonderful and they have seen and learned much. We spent just about four weeks abroad and we have and still are visiting family before and after our roadtrip. Pictures and more bragging to come. This summer has been absolutely wonderful!