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!

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Making lemonade from sour lemons

It’s one of them days, I’m blue-da-ba-dee and all that jazz. I had an exam and it did not at all go well. I passed, but that’s also all I can say. I’m struggling with it, I normally do fine on oral exams, and I know the curriculum well for this course, but I blew it today. Honestly, I made a proper fool of myself. I want to blame it on my health. The kids have something similar to the stomach flu, and I’m not feeling too good myself, but I’m not sure that was nerves before the exam and generally feeling like shite after. I didn’t feel to nervous either, I was asked to come in 15 minutes early and didn’t mind at all. But I was feeling cold before going in, shivering slightly, my stomach was turning, and I couldn’t quite concentrate. Normal nerves for me, but then I came in and I still couldn’t concentrate. Every question was followed by a blank mind. I was given a book and all I could see was a colourful cover with a few hundred blank pages. Thoughts would never connect. I’ve never felt so silly and helpless my entire life, or at least not that I can remember today.

I’m embarrassed, I think that is my main feeling. I’m usually better than this. I do hope that I am better than this, I have much to show that would prove that I am much better than what I did today, but I have been fighting hard with myself all day to convince myself of that, and I’m still not winning. I’m not posting here for your pity. If a friend of mine had gone through the same I’d say that it can happen to the best of us, a proper brain freeze. And that’s what I will have to tell myself.

As I said, I’m mostly embarrassed and I don’t want people to know. So that is where I have to start. It’s out there now, I failed, almost. I could take the exam again, or I can just try and shake it off, I’ll shake. New exams coming up soon where I can prove to myself that I am better than what I showed today. And for now, I’ll try and change my focus.

The glamorous librarian posted this list the other day, I’ll make it my own and turn this evening around. Hand-picked wild-flowers from my Son

I like a good cup of tea, the warm summer days we have now, how the seeds we’ve planted have decided to join us above ground as small, green, embodiments of miracles, how my two children laugh together, the smell of spring, and the look-of-a-thousand-words that I share with my husband. 

I sing songs by Travis in the spring, they’re often sad but with a catchy and happy tone to them. Biffy Clyro is always on in my car and when I work out, I sing as loud as I can, but without opening my mind while in the gym. Adele is for when I need to calm my mind or feel emotional, I sing my daughter the same lullaby every night, and anything off the radio can be repeated over and over during the day. 

I love my family, my friends, my life, my focus on happiness, and all that is good in the world. 

I’m not particularly good at admitting my mistakes, giving myself the benefit of the doubt, being patient with my children, doing house-chores, or finding time for myself. 

I prefer tea to coffee, summer to winter, car to plane. 

I’m addicted to love, tea, colour, solitude, silence, sleep, smiles, and positive thinking. 

I’m wearing all black but with a floral, pink and white top. 

I drink water.

I’m listening to Travis and their album ‘The Man Who’. 

I get irritated and annoyed by negativity, complaining over things that could easily be changed, consumerism, whining. 

I’m scared of losing those who are dear to me, losing what I love, zombies, and powerful, self-centred people with low empathic abilities. 

I wish for a peaceful and natural world, lazy summer days, blooming peonies, vegetables from my garden and all the best for everyone. 

I’m embarrassingly bad at dealing with failures.

 

Thank you for reading through. I’m now feeling better.

 

And, by the way, my examiner today is a colleague of mine from August on. Talk about a good first impression!

The last dance – Part 2

DelightfulChatter - Kaizers OrchestraThe warm up act was a Canadian folk-song singer on an accordion. He was interesting, and I mean that in a positive manner. And his music vaguely resembled that of Kaizers’. But I won’t remember him for more than his ability to have the audience chant ‘fuck the police’ in unison with him. By the time he finished the audience was much smaller than anticipated. The concert had been sold out for months. Only in the last minutes before the main act entered the stage did the seat around me fill up. Three of the chairs to my right were still empty when Jan Ove (the lead singer) started the show. I tried to ignore this, but it bothered me.

I sat completely absorbed in the music, determined to not miss a second of the show. Three songs into it three girls, a few years younger than myself, walked towards the row I was sitting on. Each with a pint of alcopop in their hand. They giggled and talked as they had everyone on the left of their seats stand up and let them pass. In front of me sat a girl with what appeared to be her brother and their parents. She was on Facebook on her phone. Talking to her mother and showing her her friends’ photos. Then there was something going on behind us. Then she was on snapchat, watching videos, showing them to her brother while laughing and talking. I tried to focus on the concert, but evidently what happened around me annoyed me. But, there were no empty chairs and the floor was packed.

A song ended. We stood up. Not all of us obviously. Some only looked around themselves, at those of us who risen to our feet to cheer, then they turned back to their friends. One of the better known songs with beat that encourages dancing left some of us standing. Clapping, dancing, singing along. A man a few rows down asked some girls to sit down. I stood my ground. After that song I cheered louder, I clapped harder. After another song came another hit. More people stood up. More people sang. More people danced. All of them clapped.

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Those of us standing up, dancing, clapping, singing increased for every song played. Behind me was a young boy likely to have been born in the beginning of the last decade. He was sitting, his parents next to him, on the very edge of his seat. His bright voice broke through the common voice of the crowd. He knew the lyrics to every song. The man who had earlier asked two girls to sit down was now standing himself. Next to him was a boy in his late teens. The teenager was clapping. He had absolutely no sense of rhythm. But he clapped, he smiled, he sang and he danced.

Two thirds into the show not a single seat in my vicinity was folded out (down?) Everybody was on their feet. Some still looked uncomfortable, but they smiled, they clapped, they sang along and their feet tapped the beat. Nobody used their phones unless to film or take pictures. It seemed many came to the concert only accompanying someone else who really wanted to go. By the end of the show it seemed nobody wanted to leave.

The last dance – Part 1

ChatteringAnne - Kaizer's' last danceIn February, while I was taking care of a very wee baby, the tickets were made available. In a daze where little sleep, force-feeding a baby that slept through everything and trying to taking care two children instead of one took up too much of my brain capacity, Kaizers Orchestra declared this to be their very last year in the music industry, ending it all with a total of nine concerts during a ten-day-period in September.

Kaizers are big here, they’re huge! No chance as a prophet in your own land? We’re talking divine status. Still I naively thought the concerts would take some time to sell out. I was wrong. I soon realised how wrong I was and had to get a ticket myself, quickly! The only available were seated single tickets, so that’s what I go.
I’ve never been to a concert all by myself. I had my parents babysitting. The day had been ‘hectic’ – to be modest. I didn’t even have time for a shower. I quickly changed. My phone in one pocket, a VISA card in the other along with a neatly folded ticket. 20 degrees on a September day holding on to summer. A perfect evening.

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The entrance were decorated with images summing up the band’s career. There was prop-shops and bars and modest yet pompous decorations reflecting the style of the band. I walked around taking it all in.  Walking around all by myself was quite liberating. I had time to look, think and feel.  Feeling my stomach tighten as I knew that a few hours from now I would have seen them live for the very last time.
I found my seat. The stress of the day was still heavy on my shoulders. I sat down, let out a deep breath and let it all go. My view was good. I was not too far from the stage. Then I sunk down on the seat took up my phone and spent some time in my own little bubble. Waiting.

 

The weekend and the weather

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Today it feels so good to sit inside. It’s been raining followed by thunder and lightning since the early hours of the night. Proper, heavy rain showers over us in regular intervals. It’s thrilling.

After a wee walk to get Son to kindergarten I’m no sitting in silence and solitude while Daughter is having a nap outside. The tea is still warm and I have nothing in this world that calls for my attention. I’m taking deep breaths and enjoying my life thoroughly.

The weather calls for lazy days inside this weekend. Boardgames and movies with the children, I also see cinnamon and hot cacao in the near future. Tomorrow I’m off, all alone among a few thousands, to bid one of my favourite bands farewell. This week they’ll give their very last concerts. A grand, thrilling and yet very melancholic event.

 

Driftwood

We were out treasure-hunting along the beach when we came across a long stretch of driftwood. The rest of the day I had Travis on my mind, the sond ‘Driftwood’ playing on repeat. Such a melodious and peaceful song, with such sad lyrics…

Everything is open
Nothing is set in stone
Rivers turn to ocean
Oceans tide you home
Home is where the heart is
But your heart had to roam

 

How some things just magically work themselves out

We have a saying in Norway: ‘You can never be a prophet in your own hometown.’ In many cases that saying is true. However, there is a band from the area which has really proven it wrong. The band released their first album in 2001 and the songs were soon on everyone’s lips. Last year a play was set up based on their songs. The theatre sold out and set up more shows, which again sold out. Then the band announced their tour dates, which included five concerts here. All five concerts sold out rapidly.

As a perfect date (it sounded like one in my head at least) I bought tickets to go see the play as part of Husband’s advent calendar (according to Husband this sounded like something I’d like more than him. I, however, think he failed to see the wonderful gift of giving him a chance to learn to love the theatre and live plays – broadening his horizon in a positive manner must truly be a thoughtful and gratifying gift – and I think these aspects undoubtedly overshadow the hint of selfishness that one could argue was present in the buying of this gift)(and let us ignore the fact that I listen to the band more than he does and know more of their songs). Anyway, the tickets I bought were for a day in early December. On the day of the show, I was in London. My perfect date happened without me. The date was in fact not a date at all, but an evening out for Husband and a friend of his. They both enjoyed the show though, but I was a little sad. Not only had I missed out on a great date out with Husband, I had also missed the sold out play that I had looked forward to.

I have just started working as a teacher again. Already the first week I was presented with one of the perks of the trade: the school had bought tickets for all the students to go see the play. Obviously, they needed teachers to go with them.

The play was fantastic! We’re talking goosebumps, tears, laughter, and pain. The only thing missing was the company of my knight in shining armour – but I see more dates in our future!

And btw: Band is Kaizers Orchestra, play is called Sonny.