Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On the lookout

The rascal ballerina spies on the world from my lap.

Her enemies, who must be glared at and kept under supervision at all times, are: Skateboarders, kids in strollers, cars, especially trucks, and people listening to music while jogging. I know, they are a suspicious lot, aren't they!

And of course any and all bugs, which meet their doom if they stray close enough. Be warned, bumble bees!

Yup, those are my pajama bottoms. I have real clothes on my upper body, but people on the street really can't see the bottoms. So there.

And I have to show you how green everything is all of a sudden:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


There is a Niklas in Line's life.

He is inspired by: Peter, and Pan, too, the brothers Lejonhjärta, my cousin Erik, Will, Abbe, Pippin, Leonard Whiting, a boy or two I knew when I was 11, a spanish movie I can't remember the name of, but which I saw when I was rather young, about a boy who loved a beautiful girl and travelled across the country just to see her again.

Line has no idea, but she is in for heartache.

What do you do when you realise that you don't just like your best friend anymore, you think the sunlight is beautiful in his hair? That's right. You pretend nothing has changed.

And what do you do if you simultaneously must not, cannot leave childhood behind? There is no answer to that one.

When we leave them, they'll be fourteen. It will be after Lammas Eve.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chapter nine finished!

It was a hard one, because it was all new stuff: new people, new action, new type of magic, new setting. But I think I like it. If I could only think of a title!

Mrs. Zarka turned out to be an absolute weirdo, not unlike good, old Professor Balthazar, if anyone remembers him. Only not as nice. And her poor assistant was actually very much like Line's favourite teddybear, who still hangs around not very far from her bed. He has eyes that make him look somewhere between terrified and flabbergasted at all times, but Line says he's really quite mellow. Don't suppose he ever went to the Inners.

Now for some detective work of the pilfering, sneaky sort.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The official Line tribute cupcake

Forgot to tell you what I actually ended up making for Line's party: this little sweeetheart.

Gingerbread cake: moist and spiced, only I replaced most of the ground ginger with cardamom, since that was the flavour of the syrup we both adored in our latte when we used to spend every afternoon at Dromedar.

Pear, maple and cardamom filling: There had to be a filling because of the perfect blueberry filled little cakes we also used to have at Dromedar, especially when they where fresh out of the oven. They baked them right there in the tiny, tiny café, you know, making it possible to feel you were having cake even if you were only smelling it. Cake by proxy. I chose pear for the nice gingerbread cake we've made a couple of times now, maple for all the wonderful thanksgiving dinners we've cooked up together, and then the cardamom again. Did you know the baristas at Dromedar sometimes invented cardamom drinks just for Line and me? We loved it that much (and they us). I added the filling by carving off little domes and pinching out some of the warm cake, spooning in some of the soft pears and replacing the top.

Cream cheese and cardamom frosting: to serve as a sharper foil for the spicy cake and the sweet filling. I piped it on using a twirly nozzle, and threw some heart shaped sprinkles on top, because I love my sister.

And I miss Dromedar!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The mother of all nightmares

This morning I had the most horrible dream. There was a tsunami, a plane crash, a terrible lightning storm that targeted poor syncronized swimmers on the fjord and left them smoking and burning in their melting dry suits, and an explosion in Mum&Dad's house. In the last, frantic minutes I tried desperately to get everyone I loved out of the house before it blew up, and I couldn't get people to understand the urgency.

Except for Line, of course, she always understands everything. Finally, I had to run outside, where we stood, hugging eachother. But just as the windows lit up with fire, they came tumbling out the door: Peter, Eivind, Mum, Kjeld, a few of the swimmers that we had managed to save.

But not Dad! He had, as always, gone to the bathroom at the last minute. We howled, and incredibly, he answered. We managed to pull him out through the broken window, and he was fine.

And then the cat meowed. She must still be in there! But no, she was standing outside the bedroom door. I'm pretty sure she knew I was having a bad dream and wanted to help. I let her in, and she jumped onto the bed and put her paws on the panic knot in my stomach and kneaded it until it went away, and purred reassuringly. Then she curled up on my pillow, putting her chin on my cheek, warding off any sequels.

See, I don't really mind the hairs, little cat. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I like this word. The thought of something curled up and tiny opening and stretching and breathing really lifts my spirit. There is much of it going on these days, too.

Petals and leaves are doing most of it, and it's a wonder every year. How could I stand those long months of shivering, naked trees? How could they?

My story is also unfurling, albeit at a painfully slow rate. I have spent some time retracing the snowchild's footsteps. It's a horrible feeling when the main plot slips through your mind's fingers every time you try to grasp it.

But I have you now, young man, and I know where you've been and why, and I'm not letting you sneak off again.

Meanwhile, a certain rascal ballerina is unfur-ing. There isn't a surface in our home that isn't graced by a few silky, white strands of hair. I have white tufts of fur on all my clothes and in my tea and (bizarrely) in my hair. So sweet of you to share, little one!

(Using this photo is cheating a little, I admit. It was taken in Berkeley two years ago. But just you wait. Schous Plass will be bursting with pink flowers pretty soon.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hello sunshine

You know the new kid, spring? That bald, pale guy who's been lurking in the backyard for a while, but hasn't ventured out into the open? He's finally here, and everywhere. Sunny, mild, and friendly.

We've put a net up on the veranda so that Pims can play there without a leash. I've seen her chasing bugs, and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't stop to consider her next move before hurling herself over the egde, so for now, she can't hang out there alone.

But the net is much better than nothing, and we'll fix an extra little fence for her soon. Besides, now she can play with us through the bedroom window, how cool is that?

VERY, in kitten terms.

(Oh, and I apologize for the early 90s nerdy references in the past few posts, I understand that they are impossible to relate to if you were not a nerd in the early 90s, and there will be none forthcoming. For now.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

A beginning is a very delicate time

But they're nothing compared to the hell that is the middle of a story.

At least the known universe is ruled by Shadam the fourth. My father.

No, no, no!

I will not drink coffee and eat chocolate late at night. I will not drink coffee and eat chocolate late at night. I will not drink coffee and eat chocolate late at night. I will not drink coffee and eat chocolate late at night. I will try not to drink so much coffee and eat so much chocolate, but more importantly: I will not drink coffee and eat chocolate late at night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Best 30 years a girl could hope for

Happy birthday, sistersweets!

You are the best thing that ever happened to me, so thank god you happened early. There is no-one as warm and fun and clever and beautiful as you, and I have absolutely no idea what I would do without you, and I love you inordinately much.

30? That's nothing. I'll race you to 90.

(Peter Pan, you are also the best thing that ever happened to me. This isn't Highlander, you know.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Candidate II

Gingerbread cardamom cupcake, filled with pistachios, pear, maple syrup and cardamom, with a cardamom cream cheese frosting. Pistachios on top.

The frosting needs to be a little firmer, and I'm going to pipe it on so it looks pretty. I also want to toast the pistachios to bring the flavour out. Other than that, this one's a keeper, I think.

Or so André and Kjeld told me. They came for dinner today - tender lemon and pepper chicken breast with feta and chickpea salad - they bought it and I cooked it. Excellent deal for a broke wannabe writer, and good company, too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not fair!

Pims has been to the vet because of her runny tummy. We now know: Rascal ballerinas don't like being poked, not with needles, nor thermometers, nor any other pointy stuff. They had to sedate her just to get a blood sample.

Which is why she currently sits swaying and blinking in the doorway. The vet says it's a little like being hung over.

Poor Pims, hung over without a party, and without junk food and diaster movies, too. Absolutely not fair.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Candidate I

I'm testing cupcakes before Line's birthday party. This is a chocolate one with merengue frosting and the sprinkles I bought for this very event, inspired by the winner of the San Francicso cupcake testing tour.

It looked pretty enough, even if the frosting was a little too dark because I didn't have any golden syrup, just black treacle. It's supposed to be white and pure.

But I'm not really thrilled with the cake itself, which I thought was too crumbly. Must try - and eat - new one. Oh, the hardship.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Olfactory girl

I know what my superpower would be, if I suddenly mutated and joined the ranks of Clare Bennet and Jonothon Starsmore. I would have an extraordinary sense of smell.

Actually, it seems to be rather excellent even without a mutant gene. I can often sniff out stuff nobody else can. Now, you would think that this is a gift. But I am not so sure.

It may be that cinnamon buns smell extra cinnamony to me, or that lilies reach me from further away. But somehow, there seems to be four loathsome smells to every lovely scent, and as I gag or cringe at disgusting odours floating by, I certainly wish I were happily unaware of them.

Yesterday, I was under siege, in my own home. In the writing room, the rascal ballerina had visited her litter box with a runny tummy (I cleaned it out, of course, but the smell!). In the kitchen, the dishwasher exhaled a certain nauseating breath it sometimes cooks up when washing eggy stuff. In the living room, a faint stench of ashtray rose up from the cigarette smoking neighbours' and entered through the woodstove. And in the bathroom, there was a smell of bogs and rotting soccer shoes emanating from the pipes that had been clogged.

I escaped to the veranda, and at that point, I tell you, I wouldn't have minded if my nose just fell off, or closed up for good. Nostrils aren't that pretty anyway. But then, a whiff of something delicious turned the corner, heroically rising through the chill air to reach my outdoor refuge: The smell of coffee beans roasting at Tim Wendelboe's.

Ok, nose. You can stay.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lilika Meer

Meet the new girl. She kicks derrière.

Or perhaps I shouldn't speak of her so irreverently. Very few have met her, but if all the stories whispered about her are true, Lilika Meer is the most powerful runemaster in all of the Inners.

Here are three of the rumours (we are, after all, talking about the Everafter Empire of the United Traditions of Sagha):

* Lilika Meer is a separatist and the architect behind the rune maze which shelters Legendwald from Grymm, or as Grymians would say: the rest of Grymm.

* She has thousands of runes in carving, more than ten times as many as any of the flamewatchers, with whom she has ceased all communication.

* She is a petling, a very rare fox, which may account for her frighteningly perfect magical pitch.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


What Lost Boys get for being heroes.

Pretty thoughts...

I just couldn't stand the reign of Horrible Things on my blog.

The apartment is back to normal, and so am I, and the rascal ballerina slumbers contentedly in her basket next to me, and it's still raining, and clean.

I've borrowed the photo from nordljus, a very beatiful blog, named in swedish after northern lights, by a a girl named Keiko, born in Japan, living in England, roaming the world: California, Istanbul, Provence, Rome...

Whose poo is that? Or just some comeuppance

Ok, so there was payback for my cosy-comfort-gloating. Just after nine o'clock, after a day of rumbling, gargling indigestion (not me, silly, keep reading!), the bathroom drain overflowed. Sewage spilled out from underneath the tub. And it wasn't even our sewage. Whenever someone in an apartment above us flushed or used the taps, it ended up on our floor (no, I didn't see any bits and pieces, thank god).

Well, not all of it. Some of it dripped down through the ceiling in the downstairs neighbour's newly done, costly bathroom.

Frantic action ensued. We called an emergency plumber service, turned off the water main, talked to all the people living on our side of the house, pulled our hair, watched the cat (who took the opportunity to freak out), and worried very much about what the insurance company would say and what had caused the flooding. Was it my hair? Pimsika's furballs? Waste material from the upstairs guy's redecorating? Rats? Aliens? Dinosaur poo?

I did feel that the theories veered into the territory of the Mole in the picture, if you know that book.

When the plumber came, he found out that the problem was a clot (yuck!) in the main pipe, and had absolutely nothing to do with us. And then he flushed it out with a high pressure thingy. Which means that we never found out what the clot actually consisted of.

Which also means that aliens or dinosaur poo were never really ruled out.

(I forgot to mention that the brave hero of this story was Peter. But it really was him.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April love games

This is all the spring feeling I get these days, a hot pink peony. Even when the sun comes out, it's freezing outside. And mostly, the sun doesn't come out.

But I have a hot pink peony, and twinkly lights, and a fireplace in the kitchen, and a sweet little cat, and Line's birthday party is coming up, and there's a wonderful coffee shop just across the street so I don't have to wear a coat to nip out for lattes, and I'm actually writing.

So who needs you, spring?

(See I think it is a little like a cat - pretend you're not interested, and it'll end up chasing you. Pretty soon I'll have blooming lilac branches scratching on my window panes.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Back in the trenches

My cat has found a new enemy to mull over. Right now, she is sitting in the windowsill of the writing room, spying on him while he sniffs around in the backyard. The new guy is quite young, striped and beautiful. I know his name is Tiger, because I overheard one of the neighbours call to him, and he meowed very nicely back at her.

Now, you'd think that little Miss Fuzzyfur would be happy to finally meet a nice man after all the fang baring and scheming from the panther. But no. While Tiger mrred and chirped and rubbed against the chair where Pims and I were sitting earlier today, and generally seemed to want to make friends, the rascal ballerina glared at him, then hissed.

Women. I really don't know why we willingly choose the Han Solos over the Luke Skywalkers.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Oh, and incidentally

I miss my brother, who for reasons that seem unimportant at the moment is in Boston.. He is a giant tear in my everyday fabric. Come back!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spires, soon to escape

I actually spend quite a lot of time staring at spires. A café isn't perfect unless I can see the tapering tip of a tower or a little turret from my window seat. And in our apartment, my favourite spot is the windowsill in the living room, which has the view of three of them, including the one in this photo, taken by Peter.

I like spires when they're paper thin silhouettes against a pale evening sky. I like it when they reflect the morning light off the easternmost panel, illuminated. And I love it when the green of the bronze plates becomes milky soft in overcast weather.

Why? Maybe because of a wonderful video installation I saw some years ago.

It showed a clip of Nidarosdomen cathedral, with cars driving by and people going about their business, an everyday lull. But after a very long minute, the spires simply lifted off their towers, like moon rockets, and escaped out into the atmosphere. Then on to a new famous tower. And so on, seven towers, in a loop. It was called, quite suitably, "One day, all towers and spires will lift off".

Anyway, I choose to ignore what Freud would have to say about this. I'm still waiting for that day.