These past few weeks, I have been…
- taking some blueish and blurry pictures to share with you. It’s still dark outside whenever I’m not at work (which also limits a lot of picture-taking to the weekends still), but for the first time now it’s not dark when I *leave* work! Small victories.
- eating green things. We brought back some jugs of our freshly made olive oil from my parents house, and man that stuff is green and bright and peppery! It was especially good drizzled over a bowl of white winter vegetable soup (that is, potatoes, celery root, and parsley root. And lots of cream), with some feld salad to top it off. Feld salad also goes by the names of field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, and mâche.
- riding a wave of drive and inner calm, and while I’m not quite sure where it’s coming from, I do hope it will stick around. I’ve been clearing off surfaces, tackling projects, and feeling determined rather than overwhelmed. It feels very good. I have been deep cleaning just one small area a day (a table, a shelf, a windowsill), and adding function – I now finally have a place to store my jewellery! Those are soap-dishes from Ikea holding all my earrings now, sitting pretty in the bedroom windowsill. Also, getting back into projects from way back – after a year of hiatus I’ve cut the lining for my Minoru jacket, and I’m so looking forward to getting it done. It will be purple and cozy.
- dressing for the cold with strategic layers – that tiny pocket tank I’m wearing backwards is hiding the high neckline of my thermal longsleeved underlayer, haha!
- reading again. “The Devil and the White city” is about the 1893 World Expo in Chicago, and it’s making me miss the city, look up buildings and addresses, and relive my Windy city years. I haven’t read fiction in such a long time, but that too is feeling so good.
More winter in these parts – in the past few weeks my view in the morning, stepping out of my apartment, has been a stark moon over a sparkling, snowy city. It’s been cold, but look how crisp!
I’ve done a lot of sewing lately, finally finishing the gathered sundress, after making a pink mess in my little sewing corner. That’s what my sewing corner looks like in the middle of a project. Also, sewing on the job, lots of suits and chalk and pins.
I have also had a total love affair with pak choy – that’s sautéing it in butter with dill and black sesame seeds in that picture. I love how it wilts down to tender greens, except the white part that stays crisper and so fresh-tasting. Yep, that’s my plug for pak choy. Go buy it, haha! Earlier this week I had a lovely evening of adventing with good friends, filled with decorating pepperkaker (gingerbread cookies), drinking gløgg, and eating clementines and christmas cookies. The gingerbread hearts I decorated is already on my tree, making that corner of the apartment smell all christmas-y! And finally, the city marked the start of the advent with lighting the tree, a concert, and a fireworks show. We have front row seats from our apartment for stuff like that, and it’s one of the many many reasons I love living right here.
It’s been an uneventful couple of weeks here. And by uneventful, I mean the kind where you put your head down, work hard, stay warm, and consider the day a roaring success if the dishes got done. Winter is here alright.
Random tidbits from the past weeks include; coffe roastery Saturday with divine cheese cake and live music; the purchase of a gorgeous old Singer (that’s a hand-crank model.. can’t wait to play with this beauty); hikes that tooks us past mountain waters; poppies in lamplight (poppies in November? Huh.); the first snow of the season setteling in like a quiet blanket; and Christmas lights.
I skipped a week of these “around here” posts – which is in large part bacause I’ve been out with several colds in a row (ugh!), and days have been filled with a lot of resting, and not much else.
Moving on, this week, I’ve been enjoying spoils from our trip to Italy. We brought several pommegranates back (who knew no-one at the airport would bat an eye at pommegranates?!), as well as fig jam from a neighbourhood farm. Yummy weekend breakfasts! I’ve also in earnest started my second new job, which is a sewing/tailoring/alterations gig (at least for now – this has the potential to lead to some very exciting things!), so lots of suit jackets for me this week. It’s located in a building built in 1930, and it has a lot of art deco-style details, which is a lovely thing to see every time I work there.
Suddenly it’s winter, but being on the fairly mild west coast, it mostly means rain. Sometimes freezing rain, sometimes windy rain, and later in the winter I suspect, a couple of days of real snow. In the meanwhile we try to take advantage of the clear days, maybe go for a short bike ride and take a picture of the city at dusk (which is at 4.30 pm now, yikes!), and then make a fire to sit by and mend mittens and knit. My current choices include stockinette in green, simple lace in blue, and more complicated lace in green and blue.
In my teens, I was really into vanilla soaps. I’d buy them whenever we were travelling, as little, usable souvenirs. I’d receive them from my friend whose aunt made them (and always knew to pick out the vanilla-y scents). Though, living at home I wasn’t in charge of the soap, and sharing apartments with fellow students meant that there was usually a cheap bottle of liquid soap (bought along with cheap toilet paper from the bottle recycling money we’d collect after parties). My vanilla soaps belonged to some swanky future of grown-up me living in my own apartment.
Moving to John in Chicago and setting up our first apartment together was it – I brought my entire collection of 5 carefully curated and saved bars of vanilla soaps with me. We finally did use them, and the bathroom always had a soft scent of vanilla associated with it in some form or another. We travelled to his sister in Vermont and came across a farmers market stand with giant bars of locally made soap that smelled better than any bar of soap I’d ever sniffed. So we bought some of those too, and thought of summer in Vermont for months and months to come whenever we used them.
When we moved to Norway last fall, I brought back at least one bar of soap that had gone unused for three years. This fall we also came home from a family visit on the East Coast with beer soap from a favorite brewery (and now has the top place for awesome-ly smelling soap), and several bottles given to us by an aunt that runs a gift shop. Most recently, in Italy, we stopped by the neighbourhood winery to grab some bottles of wine, and were awarded a bar of soap (made with wine of course). I think it was because we’re foreigners. These soaps have started a new timeline; they’ll become the soaps belonging to Norway, the soaps that we used in our cute little cabin-like apartment overlooking the city.
Beer soap from Dogfish Head Brewery, and wine soap.
When I carefully picked out a brown, smooth, vanilla scented bar of soap in Germany ten years ago, I didn’t know that Soap would become a way to tell time, to keep memories, a litmus test (using the vanilla soaps? We must be grown up!), a constant reminder of travels and experiences… but I’m glad it did.