Friday, August 29, 2008

Today's specials

1. Finding out what is under the ceiling. Feathers from the white giant falcon? Runeshades? What?

2. Coffee at Påfyll.

3. Apple pie.

4. Midsomer Murders.

5. Kissing husband, cuddling cat.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Looks can be deceiving

See this little sweetheart? This peaceful, cute, innocent little girl? You won't believe what she did last week.

Pimsika (for that is her name when she misbehaves) was in heat. Which shouldn't cause any problems, really. Female cats usually meow more than normal, and are extra friendly and cuddly, our cat book says.

One of the many memos our little princess did not get, along with the one that says she shouldn't be too keen on jumping (I sometimes find her under the ceiling) and shouldn't be too eager to go out. Right.

Heat, the Pimsika way, entails:

1. Howling every five seconds. Especially at night in the kitchen, where she discovered that I was particularly worried about it, since it's next to the neighbours' bedrooms. And boy, can she be loud.

2. Attempting to scratch at the priceless, beautiful doors, really just to get me to come running. Preferably in the middle of the night. (I have arms like Elastigirl when it comes to saving those doors, so I did.)

3. Houdini-like escape plans. Sheer drops of six meters onto the pavement no determent.

4. Desperate tail wagging, stomping and funny croaking whenever my poor brother said something. Turns out he's hot, for a human.

5. Peeing on the doormat. Yes, the smelly kind. Apparently, this is very rare indeed for a female, usually it's the tomcats who do this. Another memo that failed to land in Pimsika's mailbox. Luckily doormats can be thrown out.

For nine days and night she kept going, with me running after her to prevent disasters of the smelly or neighbour enraging kind. I didn't sleep more than 90 minutes at any time before I had to crawl out of bed to quiet her or to clean.

One night I decided to take my sleeping bag and sleep in front her most used peeing spot. I figured it was better than having to drag myself out of bed all the time. When I finally nodded off around five, I woke only to discover that the cat was on top of me. Peeing on my sleeping bag. Really.

And then I called the lady we bought little miss golden shower from and told her we were going crazy. She said it was strange that Pims hadn't snapped out of it by then, nine days is too long. And then we arranged for Pims to meet a nice tomcat, and then we shipped her off to get laid.

And then we slept for a whole weekend. The lady who owns the tomcat called to let me know that stuff was going on, and that she had never seen a little cat quite so...let's call it eager.

Well, Pims, at least you're back to normal now. And are there little kittens in that belly of yours? We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A pilgrimage of sorts and a dragon

I wish I could tell you that the time gone by since my last post was spent writing. But it wasn't, and I'll tell you more about it later (that cat is just crazy).

But finally things are more or less back to normal, and I started my autumnal semester yesterday with a little pilgrimage to the church underneath my beloved spire.

I am not a religious person. I don't even think I can claim the title spiritual, although there certainly have been times these last few months when I wished I were, say, a buddhist. But you can't choose these things, I suppose, and the sad truth is that I believe what I believe, that goodbyes are final.

Well. This does not stop me from feeling the weight, or even pull, of something spiritual when I enter a beautiful place of worship, or even a peaceful cemetery. Perhaps it is as Philip Larkin wrote,

A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that some many dead lie round.

Yes, I think that is it, an anchor through the dark waters of history to tug you to a momentary stop, where you can't help but peer into the sea. I never see anything in particular, just that it is very deep. I feel the same in libraries with dusty, old books.

So I packed my laptop and climbed the hill I spend so much time staring at, and went into Old Acre Church. It is Oslo's oldest building, built sometime before 1100, with romanesque arches silently bearing the weight of somber, heavy limestone.

I lit two candles for my father, and wrote a prayer note, because what could it hurt if someone who believes in these things whispers his name imploringly. Then I lit a candle for my mother, who is a romanesque arch all to herself these days. And then I lit a candle for my story, as a token for my thoughts and efforts to lift themselves and perform a sorely needed miracle.

And then I walked out into the sunlight, and sat down in a coffee shop and got on with it. Easily!

And then I found out that Old Acre is said to be built on top of a silver mine called the Dragon Pits, and that it rests on four golden pillars, which surround a lake where golden ducks swim, and in the lake there is a treasure, and the treasure is guarded by a dragon, who dug the tunnels of the mine and then flooded them to keep greedy people out. Now, that is something to write up to.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gwendolen of Rosenquist

This is one of the main characters in my story: Gwendolen of Rosenquist, Lin's beloved and recently deceased pet mouse. She looks pretty pissed in this picture, but then she has lots of reasons to be angry: the lobotomy device, the audacity of Figenschou, the incessant nagging of Theodor.

Gwen likes to talk and ask questions, and she certainly likes cheese. Since she often does things before she has thought them through, she is also considered brave by some. But the Soothsayers in Telthic seem to think she will become a great flamewatcher one day. According to Gwen herself, she might need to grow an extra brain for that, one with magical talent and patience.

My good friend Kristian drew these pictures, and he's doing lots of nice stuff for my story. I'm so happy to have him aboard.

I just hope that: 1. Someone will publish my book. 2. They'll let us have a couple of illustrations even if the story is for older kids.

- What is going on here? Rats, does everyone get cracks in their biscuits as soon as I let them out of my sight? Now, let go of that girl, you mangy excuse for a cat!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Cheese in Greece

Mum and I saw Mamma Mia yesterday, and it was completely hilarious. Meryl Streep in a jumpsuit! Singing! With a crowd of Greek villagers dancing along after her! Haha!

I do love the music, which reminds me very much of my childhood. My favourite ABBA song is Knowing Me, Knowing You, but that wasn't in the movie, I think.

Besides, unlike my Pan, I can't stop laughing whenever people break out in cheesy song and dance routines. I love it in old movies, and I love it even more when it's done tongue in cheek. The Buffy musicals are almost too funny to survive.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

California dreaming

It's been almost six weeks since we came home from our trip, but I just wanted to show you six things I love about California.

1. The golden hills with dark green foliage. Lin took these photos, and she had to do them in sepia, because nothing else could do the humming, sun drenched, fragrant landscape justice.

2. Staying at Thomas' house, which is airy and cool and guarded by veteran cars and a gaggle of weird bicycles.

3. Redwood trees. Boy are they huge. We stopped at Muir Woods, which is a well tended park of these giant trees, but even though there was asphalt on the pathsways and a gift shop at the end, I swear it was easier to breathe there.

4. The Pacific Ocean, but more the landscape than the water itself, which is freezing. This time there wasn't time for more than a quick dipping of toes. Next time I'm packing a picnic.

5. Wine tasting. Being careful Norwegians, we would never dream of driving home after all those luscious, sweet sips of wine. Biking, however! (Yes, that's me on one of the weird bicycles.) And that way, we get to smell the eucalyptus trees that line the streets of Sonoma. I often think of wine in terms of music as well as taste. Spanish wine is often a marching band and way too loud for me. But good Californian wine is like layers of cellos. No harsh sounds, just velvety depth.

6. The garden behind the Sunflower Caffé, where I can hide from the heat under palmtrees and trellises and write secret plots in my notebook.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Peter and Pims

Miss you, my alliterated darlings! I know you are hanging out in Marselisgate, playing hide-and-seek-a-boo and whatnot, and I wish I were there tonight.

I would even play with the stuffed unicorn (as long as it stayed off my pillow in the morning, little miss Godfather tribute), and I would even make bacon for breakfast and watch The Mythbusters for more than ten minutes.



Sometimes I scare myself silly. I've been like this since I was a kid, when frightening books or even news reports on tv could send me into bouts of reoccurring nightmares. I used to run home in a zigzag pattern so no one could hit me with an arrow (I have absolutely no idea where that came from). And tonight is one of those nights.

Things I'm scared of at this moment:

1. The possible black hole that might form in CERN tomorrow, although The Economist says we don't have to worry, because time would bend because of the stupendously increased mass, and we'd all freeze in one moment and never know that we were actually dead.

2. The Ghost Whisperer, the plot with the buried street and the man weeping blood inside of St. Agnes' Church.

3. The dark in general. Pretty sure I saw someone out there.

4. The upstairs hallway of the old house at Almhjell, which for some reason always makes me feel very uneasy. And I won't even think about the storage loft with rotting furniture and dried out leather things and wind squeaking in through the walls, because that is just too much.

5. While looking for an image to illustrate my current mood, I've been scared of the Buffy Gentlemen, The Black Lodge, The girl in the well in the Ring, the Carver of Nip/Tuck and Bob.

I really should go to bed. And not turn out the lights.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bliss: soon to come

This little cupcake is for beautiful Camilla. Happy birthday, darling! Love you!

I didn't bake the cupcake myself, and I'll never get to taste it either, since it's from Australia. But I am going to bake, and cook, and play cookie jazz, and light candles, and kiss the cat, and listen to the rain, and be happy that it's my favourite season: autumn.

In a little while.

I always do this at the end of summer. Swoon over knitted sweaters in the shops, long for cold nights and some blessed darkness to go with the coldness, start to yearn for my kitchen, which is way too stifling when it's hot outside. Blueberry pie, mushroom risotto and red wine stew: you are all on my list.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I am a gummy bear!

I've decided to move about more. I don't worry about my weight, but I don't like that I get so winded all the time. The trouble is, I find most sportlike activities boring or annoying. There is only one thing I still do whenever I can, and that is to jump.

I jump at concerts (sometimes whole concerts, hello Arcade Fire!), I jump when I'm supposed to be dancing, and I jump when I'm happy. Like a true gummy bear!

But my knees can only handle it when I use a trampoline. The one they have in Sunndalen is just perfect. See how happy I am? I can go for vertical miles! So what I really need is a trampoline. Which I can't afford and certainly don't have room for. Which leads me to coffee and a muffin while I ponder the question.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My good friend Lorelai Gilmore

If you could pick one character from any tv-show to be friends with, who would it be? You'd have to let their world blend a little with your own, which means you couldn't get Clark Kent and his amazing abilities without also getting angsty meteor freaks.

Pan chose Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters (okay, so that's two, but you can't really separate them). Stian chose Seth Cohen from The OC. But Lin and I agree: It has to be Lorelai.

Lorelai Gilmore, the sweetest, funniest, cleverest person living in the sweetest, funniest little town. I'd love to come to one of the Stars Hollow festivals, or hang out at Luke's and have cherry danish with my coffee, or watch weird movies while eating heaps of chinese take away.

Plus, I'd get to know Rory and Sookie and Lane, too! And I'd get to marvel at the words per minute rate. And by now, Rory probably knows Obama. I think I would skip Friday night dinner, though.

I don't think I'd want Melinda Gordon, however nice she might be. I'm sometimes afraid of the dark, even without the ghosts.

But I do see a lot of her these days. Sure, summer means seagulls, bare skin and light blue nights. But it also means staying up late and watching mindless tv. And every year I have a guilty pleasure which gets to add its flavour to the flow of late nights.

So this year it's repeats of Ghost Whisperer. Pretty, glossy, tangle free and with just a hint of something dark going on between the gazillion dress changes. Just perfect.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Summerchild and wild strawberries

What gives a stream its spirit? Is it the waters that flow there, or is it the rocks and land and moss that mould it?

Some years ago, during a violent rain storm, the Summerchild swelled to a fierce, violent river. It ate into the fields and carved out pieces of the road and had to be stopped before it did more damage. So they scraped a huge machine along its bed, pushing the round, smooth stones aside and tearing out the tranquil, mossy banks that had cradled it all my childhood and much longer still.

It is not the same. The rocks and pebbles that were flung aside look listless and unsure of themselves piled up like that, and the stream no longer leaps and skips from shelf to shelf. It has lost some of its voice, I think.

But it is still the Summerchild. I hope that in time the banks will heal and the stones will either melt into the ground or tumble into the icy water, and gather in new shelves and steps, and then we might recognize its cadence.

And I found some wild strawberries there today. That must be a good sign.

Are you still there?

A brief visit to Grünerløkka later, I feel like somone who had one small bite of warm, soft, sugary cinnamon bun before it was snatched away and given to someone else. I do think it's soothing and right and comforting to stay in Kristiansund at this time, but I still miss my everyday scenes.

I miss good coffee. I miss nipping out to Tim's for a short, perfectly caramelized, perfectly brewed latte. I miss checking the watch, waiting for it to creep towards five o'clock and a coffee date with Lin at Påfyll. I'm always early and wait in the window seat perusing glossy magazines. Sometimes I happily arrange their spotless furniture in my imaginary house. Sometimes I'm happy that I don't have a house and that I can't afford spotless furniture.

I miss my spires and my solitude, both of which I need to enter The Inner Realms. I like the little tiny spire I can see from the window at Påfyll, and the weather vane that perches on a turret above the building next door. But I love my real in-spire, which I can see from the bed, and from the kitchen table, and from the armchair in the living room. It sends me little peals of church bells, which only just manage to cross the cool sibilants of the river to reach my windows. It floats tirelessly above a leafy sea so that we don't lose sight of each other.

And I miss my Pan and my Pims, and all the things they tell me, when we're not on the phone.

All pics by Lin, of course.