Tuesday, December 29, 2009

new beginnings

i love hyacinths. the sweet smell makes me happy. and right now this smell fills the air in our house. oh, and i love the color too. only problem is i never managed to save the bulbs and get them to bloom again. if you have any tricks, you are so very welcome to share.

and since so many of you asked: yes, i really liked egg nog. loved it, actually. i don't have much to compare with, since this is the only one i tried, but i thought it was a bit in the category of baileys. or white russians. i like both, so that's good. anyway, i am happy i am not living in a country where egg nog is served every other day throughout december. because then i'd probably have a glass every other day.

the new year, and with that a new decade, is fast approaching. and i lost my - relatively - new job. investors pulled from the part i was involved in. it bugs me a bit that the comfort and calm that had just settled is now being interrupted. it felt good. and now i need to figure out what to do. i have worked a lot with hi tech and internet, pr and marketing. but right now i don't feel like it. i feel like new beginnings, but cannot put my finger on what exactly. and feelings don't pay the bills.

on the other hand, this means the new year could be a new beginning, whether it's a new job or a new career. a blank page to be filled, full of possibilities. or at least that's what i am trying to tell myself right now. this could be good.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

feeling warm. by the light

this christmas i didn't go to denmark. instead i...

:: tasted my first glass of egg nog (ever).

:: enjoyed christmas dinner with friends by a bright, plastic tree (so different from my tree. but it was just right).

:: went to bed with my hair smelling of the smoke from a sweet after-dark fire in the garden (with hot cocoa. but of course).

:: had many moments thinking about big and small by the candle lights at home (still have and planning more).

:: got an invitation for a surprise birthday party with a homemade lego cake. and everyone had his or her turn to have birthday, blow out the candles and make a wish (couldn't be better).

so, even if i did miss home, i still liked this christmas. at home.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

christmas cactus

that's what these are called in danish. julekaktus. as in christmas cactus. not sure about the hebrew name, neither was D. it is now standing outside our living room window. i moved it there after it had burned alive on the front porch this summer. thought it was dead. but then it started to go green and look fresh again. and all through december it's been blooming like this. so, christmas cactus it is indeed.

hope you're enjoying the holidays.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

setting sun

we went to the beach to watch the the sunset. said sleep well. it was good. the sea was white and wild, the air fresh, but not too cold, the wind filled with a salty mist. couldn't have felt any better. i am so very happy that the sun will set a little bit later each day from now on.

i must admit i am a feeling a bit home sick today. i wish i could be there.

wishing a wonderful christmas to those who celebrate, and a wonderful weekend to the rest, the last weekend of 2009.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

more christmas

from our christmas evening. last week. it was pretty casual and absolutely lovely. and we had a tree to dance around, you know.

it's my first christmas in here, and a perfect time to tell you how much i really like it, in blog world. and it's so very much because of you. thank you.

merry christmas to all of you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

some honest scraps

the lovely elisabelle of the beautiful blog on my way passed along some honest scraps. so, here we go, 10 randomly picked scraps that i might or might not have mentioned before..

:: i cannot follow a recipe when i cook. i always always end up adding or leaving out something. and i never make the exact same dish twice.
:: most people seem to think i am a very rational and patient person. i don't think so.
:: i don't really like to talk on the phone. except for that mind-blowing, deep and spontaneous hour-long talk with an old friend when both of you suddenly have the time, the place and the mojo.
:: i like to dress up, but when i finally get a chance, i probably won't be in the mood for it.
:: i am not sick very often, but when i am i feel deeply sorry for myself and crave pity.
:: i used to smoke a pack a day back in my roaring 20s.
:: if it didn't make me so tired and heavy the day after, i would drink so much more wine than i do. i love a glass (or three) to end the day. oh, the wine i will drink when the kids get older and i can claim back the nights and mornings...
:: i had three kids in less than two years. i don't always recommend this. it's pretty intense.
:: i love a good, bloody steak. like in really love. i guess i am carnivore at heart.
:: i used to always get there too early. today i am always late. i am still hoping to one day be on time.

i am passing it one to shokoofeh of a new simple something, aimee of artsyville, and april of picnic: if you want to, please come along. and that goes for everyone else who feels like sharing a few honest scraps.

Friday, December 18, 2009

sanctum sepulchrum

these are from the church of the holy sepulchre. it's a fascinating place. first, it's really hard to find, as it hides inside the market in the old city of jerusalem. most people end up having it pointed out "yes, it really is that tiny gate at the end of this little market street, right up there in the corner". you can see the gate up there in the second photo, small and insignificant, but when you enter the church looks enormous as it rises high towards the sky.

the world is a strange place, and where i live it's a little bit stranger than most places. personally i think jerusalem is the epicenter of this strangeness. where the dead cat is buried. this city has created so many wars, so much hatred, so much hostility through centuries. back in the middle ages it was christian and muslims. then over time the crusaders gave up and the christians settled with just being present. today the hostility is, which you all know, mainly between jews and muslims. but that doesn't mean that the christians can't throw a good old fight once in a while.

passion has two sides and so, as in most cases where hate grows and explodes, there is also love. jerusalem is treasured and sacred to millions and millions of people all over the world. the christians because this is where jesus sacrificed himself on the cross, for the jews because this is the site of the temple, where now only the wall of the second temple is left and feeds the dreams of a third temple and the coming of the messiah. and for the muslims it is the al aqsa mosque, the third most important site in islam where the prophet muhammed is said to have held prayers.

the receipt for trouble and worldwide instability: place the most beloved sites of three major religions on the same tiny tiny spot of this big earth of ours . can someone please fire the city planner?

back to the church. this church is really old, it dates back to the 4th century where the first version was built under the supervision of helena, the mother of emperor constantine. her son had put her in charge of building churches on the places that had been of importance in the life of jesus. and this exact spot was believed to be golgatha, the place where jesus got crucified. it is also the place of the stone, where it is believed jesus was placed before his funeral after he was removed from the cross. people today come to pray here and place their belongings on the stone like the book and candles in one of the photos above. the church also contains the place where jesus was said to be buried. which would be that little black building within the church itself in the second photo from the bottom. there's long line to get in, and it's tiny and the air is heavy from inscent and candles.

this church is the final destination on a walk you can do through the old city through the via dolorosa, the road jesus walked while carrying his cross. even for someone like me, not really religious that is, it is quite extraordinary and overwhelming. because you stand there in the middle of it all, all the stories you have heard all your life. and you feel that it really did happen, it's like the bible comes to life before your eyes. and then some people go crazy. like in really, seriously and clinically defined nuts. it's called the jerusalem syndrome.

but that's not all. the crazy can also be found inside the churches, this church in particular. see, the church is shared by many different christian churches and secular entities. there is a very complicated, but also very precise, physical division of the church space, which has led to many a fist fight between the monks and other caretakers.

like back in 2002 on a hot summer day where a coptic monk moved his chair from its agreed placement on the roof into the shade. bad news. see there's always a coptic monk at this place to show the coptic claims to the ethiopian territory. so the move was considered hostile by the ethiopians. and thus by the end of the fight, eleven monks were hospitalized. things like this happens quite often. i kid you not.

the frictions between the groups also make it hard to renovate the church. the individual groups take good care of their own areas, but they cannot agree on the so called common grounds. see that ladder up there? just under the right window on the church front in the top photo? that balcony where it stands is common ground. back in the middle of the 19th century it was decided to renovate the area, but then disagreement broke out and the work was put on hold. till this day, and no one wants to touch the ladder as it could be interpreted in the wrong way. and so it stands. like it does in old paintings of the church, dating back more than 100 years.

so, that's jerusalem to you. it's the twilight zone between passion and insanity. and i didn't even get to the western wall. with the al aqsa on the top. but it is also a beautiful, magnificent and tense experience. you feel the magic in the air, in the buildings..

i have a couple more posts planned with photos from my recent trip. just be patient with me, there are so many photos to sort through. because in jerusalem every place you look is worth a photo.

this was a long one. class dismissed, now go have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

corner view - books

this corner view is dedicated to the lovely and talented janis. see, a while back she tagged me with seven books for seven confidences. i am not sure what exactly that means, nevertheless, i didn't study literature for nothing. i love books and decided to choose seven of those books i love. so i have been having this on my mind for a long time now. what held me back? the fact that i seemed to come up with all the books that i don't have here with me. after seven years in israel i am still transporting books from my stash in my parents house to my house here. anyway, i decided to only pick books that i brought with me to israel. or bought here. so that i could show them in this photo.

one book is missing though: gone with the wind. i know it sounds corny, but i think this book is one of the books that made the biggest impression on me. i read it when i was 12 and was on a vacation from school. it was in my mom's bookshelves, divided into four books. till this day if i mention that gone with the wind reading session to my mom, she will say, with a sigh, "i wish i had removed the last book before you read it". because i was so devastated. completely and totally out of proportion. i just could not believe that it could go from the happy ending of book three, where she has husband, daughter and wealth, to the final ending, where she has lost most of it and is running through her nightmare come true.

i am still not sure why it blew me away so hard. i mean, it's just a book. and honestly it's not even that good a book. i think it was the fact that there was no mercy. that there is not always a happy ending. and because i read it right at the time where i started to feel that certain melancholy that is also a part of growing up. which i struggled to accept and live with as a teenager only to be silent and overwhelmed by it instead.

well, i don't have gone with the wind on my bookshelves, even though i would actually like to read it again. so, the ones i have, from the bottom:

sally mann: immediate family. along with cindy sherman i think she is among the modern female photographers that have made the biggest impression on me. and then i just love her porch. i dream of a porch like that.

doris lessing: the golden book. because it's clever. a timeless description of how hard it is to get all the important aspects of a female life to connect and work together.

anaïs nin: under en glasklokke (under a glas bell). i was in my late teens when i read this. and it made sense. she just seemed to describe so many of the things i felt, and at the same time opened a door to the mysterious world of adulthood.

dan turell: just a gigolo. i love the writing from this danish author. he is inspired by american beat literature, which i also love, and you feel it in the rhythm. he writes about copenhagen and vesterbro (the amazing area in copenhagen where i used to live), and i am fortunate enough to have heard him read live before he passed away. which was beautiful. he had a great voice and he had the beat.

siri hustvedt: what i loved. i only recently read this book. it's brilliant! i was totally blown away. if you didn't read it yet, please do. there are passages and parts of that book that are so intensely beautiful, inspiring and true. and on top of that it is so intriguing and clever, that you just cannot stop reading.

tom robbins: skinny legs and all. i read this in india back in the days of back-packing. and i loved it. then i moved to israel and i read it again. because i remembered how jerusalem was described and the role it played. and it was still funny. and clever.

saint-exupéry: den lille prince (le petit prins). because it's classic, beautiful and reaches across all ages.

for more books, stop by jane of spain daily.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

christmas in the house

we celebrated christmas yesterday evening, because we wanted to do it with my parents before they leave to go back home. in the days before the big night the house got decorated heavily.

santa even came by, he must have heard we needed him a bit earlier than usual. and we made a tree. some of you have heard me complain about the lack of christmas trees around here. so i decided to embrace the fact that we cannot bring home a tree only to throw it out a few weeks later. and then i had my dad drill holes in a wood stick, placed dried branches in the holes, longer at the bottom, shorter towards the top. when my mom saw it she laughed. but as she was laughing and claiming it to be a sad excuse for a christmas tree, the kids came running. they took one look at it and started dancing around it while shouting christmas tree. what a sweet victory: my tree passed the kid-test.

in my mom's defense: i think it could have been a bit more impressive with some planning and preparing. next year...

if you are getting in to the holiday spirit, don't miss out on this post by francesca of fuoriborgo. i was so honored when she asked me if she could share my felted red hearts together with other bloggers' christmas decoration ideas. and this post is, as all francesca's writing, inspiring and beautiful. francesca: thank you for including me - everyone else: enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

corner view - evening

a late corner view, but yesterday i finally found the right time and place to capture the evenings around here. these days we have an awful lot of candle lights. there are the christmas calendar candles, the advent candles and just plain candles. and this week we have the chanukka candles too. what luck that i love candles with these two holidays celebrated at the same time in the same house.

i wish you all plenty of beautiful light to brighten your evenings whatever you celebrate.

for more beautiful evening, visit jane of spain daily

Saturday, December 12, 2009

what i brought home

ok, i didn't really bring this home. my mother brought it to me, this amazing embroidery piece with common butterflies in denmark. it was made by her aunt ida whom i met once. she was a nun and by the time i met her, she lived in a home for elderly nuns. i cannot have been more than 6 or 7 and i remember being a bit disappointed. see, i was expecting to see a sound-of-music type nun in black and white, heads covered and all. i maybe even expected that she would be this strict, old fashioned nun. and i thought that would be very exciting. but she wasn't. she was dressed in a simple grey dress, nothing covered her head, and she was just nice and sweet.

she made this piece for my parents when they married, even though she wasn't there. my parents got married in the town hall, followed by a simple lunch for the close family. my mom looked amazing in a pink 60s, jackie o style dress with red, pointy shoes. my dad in a slim fit suit. not that i was there either, but i saw the photos.

anyway, aunt ida sent them this butterfly piece, and i remember it hanging in our home. later it came down and was packed away. recently my mom found it in a box and decided to give it to me. i could not have been happier about her choice. i love it. it is so exquisite, so many details and so perfect. and it's like bringing a piece of my childhood home into my very own home.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

beach. and bones

we went to the beach the other day. with mormor and morfar (grandma and grandpa in danish). it was crazy wonderful. as it usually is. i cannot think of anything that can just clear my mind and brain like an hour or two at the beach. especially this time of year. as much as i like summer days at the beach, these israeli winter days, where the sun is strong enough to warm you, but still leaves the air fresh and clear, these days i think i like a little bit more. the high sea, the amazing colors, the white foam, the air, the light...sigh... it's true love.

a couple of weeks back we went right after a little storm. and we found these huge bones. the kids loved it and obviously had to bring them home. you know, it's not everyday you find dinosaur bones at your local beach. so we took them home. and i actually think they are gorgeous, because they have been in the sea for so long. they are completely whitewashed and smooth, and their shapes are interesting. but what is it? anyone out there in blog world who knows about bones? is it from an animal in the sea? a dead cow? (just, please, please don't tell me it's human...). beside that joint looking thing in J's hand, we also found these two long bones. first is around 30 cm, second around 40 cm.

and then there is this one. it has a very strange shape, but it really does feel like a bone. what could that be?

and as you see, the weather still makes it hard to believe it's soon christmas, but i cannot say we don't enjoy the nice and warm weather. what are you enjoying these days?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

in the city of gold

we took the day of. the kids, my parents and i went to jerusalem to meet D's younger sister who lives there. we walk through the old city bazaar. it is an absolute tourist trap, especially religious tourists, but nevertheless, it's fascinating and there are so much to look at. we made stops in some churches and at the wailing wall, watched the amazing view over the "city of gold" as the sun set and reflected in the yellow sand stones of the city and the gold of mosque roofs, giant menorahs and crosses reaching for the sky.

it was a great day. there's no traffic in the little streets of the old city and it's a colorful potpourri of race, ethnicity, culture, religion and ages - people as well as buildings.

we are exhausted now, in our minds, bodies and souls. in the good way.

more photos to come...