Wednesday, July 29, 2015

summer 15

I figured I better document a bit of summer, because before I know it, it's come and gone and I'll sit all shriveled up on my couch and wonder if it was ever here at all.

So summer, what a swell thing! Except the weather hasn't been acting up all nice and as my 2 weeks off come to an end, I find that I'm paler and more sun deprived than I was before my vacation began. But who cares. Because Johan is back from Nairobi, and my one year as a grass widow and living off potato chips (literally, as in I ate potato chips for dinner) is O.V.E.R. Now we're cooking actual meals and doing other couple-y things like fighting and going out for breakfast and riding our bikes to faraway places and spending way too many hours watching HBO. And I'm diggin' it :)

Anyway, let's catch up.

These hollyhocks are right down the street from our house, and one morning after stepping out for bread, I made a point of walking past them slowly and take them in in all their splendor. It made me feel old yet also good about myself and later in the evening I forced Johan out for a walk so he could enjoy them too, which also made me feel old yet good about myself. 

When we lived in NY, going out for breakfast was kind of our thing (as opposed to the rest of NY who don't enjoy going out for breakfast at all). Same thing in Nairobi, come weekend, come breakfast out (as opposed to people in the slums who were like: "No, it's funny, I don't particularly enjoy going our for breakfast). Anyway, we never really found a perfect spot in Copenhagen, until, recently, we did. Someone recommended this place to us, and I feel hesitant about passing that recommendation on since there aren't that many tables at this place. Then again this blog doesn't have that many readers, so there you go. 

Pretty cous cous. When you say 'cous' in Danish it sounds like our word for 'pussy', and somehow that joke never gets old around this house. 

"Johan, can you, like, hold your hand real pretty and reach for one of the flowers? It's for the blog". (It's moments like these that I suspect he really misses the sweet life in Africa with Somali pirates and Islamic radicals. (I have a feeling it's not PC to say 'Islamic radicals'? If any radicals are reading this blog, I apologize.)

In real life this was green. I just turned it B&W to be artsy.  
We've been architecting! God and the banks willing, we're buying our first apartment this fall, and since it's currently an office space, we need to remodel. It feels scary and exiting all at once and sometimes I feel as if I'm the first human being ever to run the risk of investing in real estate. Then I remind myself that I'm not. 

Johan's foot. Having a bed fellow is the best. It's one of the things that truly beats being single and able to fart freely and without judgment.

Johan made me an Aperol that looked like a syrupy sunset, and I was all "I'm grammin' this shit" except I'm not on the gram, and thus this drink garnered no likes at all. Sad face.

So, as I said, we're planning on moving. We're not moving far. Maybe like a mile from our current place, but still it feels like a big deal because we love the hood that we're in, and the hood that we're moving to, not as much. Anyway, one Saturday we went out for a 'new neighborhood discovery walk' and dropped into little shops and cafes that we'll be frequenting once we move - this sounds like a very annoying and millennial thing to do, sorry. Anyway, one of our new local hang outs is a bahn mi place with tiny plastic tables outside. So modern :)

I made ice cream sandwiches one night and they were good but also pretty. 
A few years ago it kind of became a thing (among young cool kids with skinny bikes and a soft spot for ironic cultural consumption) to go to this hotdog place by the airport called Flyvergrillen, where airplane enthusiasts go to spot airplanes, including Bon Jovi's as documented above. Now the trend of going to this place has finally seeped down to the long tail of people like me, and my sister, because seriously, the same day that she went, we went (what are the odds?!). However, we didn't meet (what are the odds?!). 

If you have OCD, I'm guessing that you're FREAKING OUT over the neatness of my picnic 'basket'? You will, however, go even madder when you see this.... (if you have OCD, otherwise I imagine you're like so the tile layout sucks but whatever?)

My BFF got married! This image is a little misleading though because it's actually his kid brother's beflowered breast pocket. But hey, watching best friends getting married is sweet!
After the ceremony we went on a canal tour and I snapped this one of his mom, which I love. The photo and her. 

My dad and I went for a walk in the forrest and he spotted this tree, which looked like an oversized bonsai. I read in the New York Times that walking in the nature is good for people prone to brooding. Brooding is my middle name (not really), but after reading that article I've made a point of getting more out in to nature.  

On one of those nature walks, my dad and I also passed by these horses. Not that I want to challenge what the NYTimes article was saying, but that loner horse on the left kind of looks like it's brooding and I'm guessing it's outside all the livelong day. Just saying. 
We went picnicking by the ocean with friends. Finding a bench and table situation right by the water felt like striking gold. The fact that I got so excited made me feel old yet good about myself. It's all about the little things, as they say.

Who run the world? Kale! 

Catch you later :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I want to kill pigeons

DR, The Danish equivalent of PBS, turned 90 the other week, and to celebrate the anniversary, they filled a good part their programming with memorable moments in TV history. I didn't watch much, but even so I kept coming across this one clip in which a famous journalist and horticulturalist suffocated a pigeon and tore off its head with his bare hands.

All that gore served a purpose, of course. The event was followed by a spiel on the humane killing of animals, but even so, the show unleashed unprecedented fury and criticism from viewers. I too, got a little upset, but mostly it left me wondering: "Why was he teaching people to kill pigeons in the first place?"

That was last week. This week, I want to kill pigeons too. In fact, I may have hung out on chat forums to learn how to get the deed done.
Turisti (1997), by Maurizio Cattelan via Perrotin

Know how it can be kind of unpleasant to hang out with people who breathe with their mouth open, chew gum really loudly or continuously sniffle rather than blow their nose once and for all? Well people, such noises are nothing compared to the incessant cooing of a pigeon!

How do I know? First hand is how I know. I have a pair nesting in the eaves gutter outside my window, and all day, every day, from 5 am till long past midnight they sit there and make that monotonous sound, which, frankly, sounds moronic and a little like a passionless couple having sex.

I've tried shooing them away, but all to no avail. They just throw me that sideways glance that birds do, and then they get on with their cooing.

Most likely there are eggs in that gutter they call home, and a part of me thinks that this could be my one chance to actually see a baby pigeon. Heck, I could even take their chicks in, raise them as my own and teach them to emit a more compelling sound.

But honestly, with work and everything, who has the time?

I'm hoping my downstairs neighbors will 'break the egg', to use some surprisingly apt mobspeak. And I'm starting to feel kind of laid-back about whether it's done humanely or not.

P.S. If you've never heard a pigeon coo, then here's a video a guy made of his pet pigeon (By the way, who keeps a pet pigeon? who?)


Thursday, April 2, 2015


Alex Prager
I got my driver's license back in 1999 or 2000, but for some reason I never drove much. There was always someone around with more confidence to jump into the driver's seat, and in all honesty I think it suited me well.

I get nervous about traffic and high speeds. In fact, I was once pulled over in the middle of the night - lights and sirens and all - for driving too slow. I'm thinking they suspected me of (overly cautious) drunk driving, when really I was just heading home after a long night baby sitting.

In the the summer of 2002, I moved into my first apartment, had the city at my doorstep and thus didn't feel the need to drive anywhere. A few years later, I moved to NY, where cabs and subway cars fulfilled my every need.

"I don't know how to drive", I would say whenever it came up. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Every now and again my friend Maj would tell me that I ought to practice my driving. I insisted there would always be someone around to drive me those few times a year I wanted to go to IKEA. And in the event of an emergency, what good would a car do anyway? I'd call an ambulance, the police or a stranger in the street.

"You just never know," she insisted, and she was absolutely right. When the moment came and I actually did need to drive, it wasn't an emergency. And the whole point was that it wasn't me who needed to be taken to IKEA. It was someone else. Well, not to IKEA, but you get the gist.

Not surprisingly, that's exactly when I started to long for that freedom, which people with cars - or a desire to get one - so often talk about.
It always struck me a little undue to associate such a strong emotion with something so ordinary. Kind of like saying that buttered toast gives you reason to live. But when Maj eventually forced me into the driver's seat of her car and made me drive around in the very same parking lot we used to go practice in as teens, I felt it. The tease of freedom.

Andrew Bush

"I get a lot of requests from people like you," my instructor replied to my email, when I wrote and asked about taking lessons.
In the car he elaborated that by people like me he meant mostly 70-year old widows who've sat patiently in the passenger's seat for some 40 years.
(He also told me that he just got a bird costume for easter and had feathers all over his place, which really made my day.)

Helen Levitt

It went well, I think. The lesson, I mean. Nowadays they tell you to predominantly use your sideview mirrors in lieu of physically turning to look over your shoulders - a change I can really appreciate. They also teach a method called green driving, which I applaud from an environmental point of view, but less so from an habitual point of view. For better and worse, old habits die hard.

Vivian Maier

Perhaps it's due to the intimacy of a car. Perhaps it's due to my pronounced insecurity behind the wheel. Perhaps both. But sitting in that car and having a total stranger build your confidence felt a little like therapy. It completely brought me back. To being 18 and getting picked up by my driving instructor and going driving and chitchatting, all while fueling that sweet anticipation:
Soon, I can do whatever I want.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


I did some work for an artist recently, who introduced me to the work of Sheila Hicks. So gorgeous, I thought I'd share :)
Hicks in her Paris studio, preparing her Metamorphosis installation at the Palais de Tokyo

Linen Lean-To, bas-relief (1967-68), at the Met.

Via Rietveld's Design Blog. Love how they look like woven abstract expressionist paintings.

Tapestries at the Ford Foundation (1967/2014). Image by Elizabeth Lippman/NYTimes.

Hicks' journal pages via Desert Dreamer.  

Banisteriopsis II (1965-66/2010) at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Who needs Physics when we've got Chemistry?

I got all nostalgic last night and watched Francis Ford Coppola's "When Peggy Sue got married" on Netflix, and as soon as the opening credits rolled over my computer screen, I knew it was going to be a sweet reunion.

It's one of those movies I remember watching as a kid, except back then I probably missed out on most of the jokes and sassy dialogue. Case in point: The pick-up line above delivered by Nicholas Cage as heartthrob Charlie in a shimmering blazer jacket. (Oh, what one wouldn't do to be sixteen again and have the confidence to deliver that line to someone in Physics class!)

Anyway, as most kids on the blogs, I'm kind of on a feminist binge these days, in the light of which it was so thrilling to watch Kathleen Turner get transported back to her high school days and relive her senior year with all the confidence of an adult woman. Like, in the stereotypical make-out scene in Charlie's car, where Peggy Sue tries to get laid rather than the other way around, and she's met with the following reaction from Charlie:

You want to have intercourse?


What the hell is going on, Peggy Sue?

One week you say, "If you love me, you won't."

The next week you say, "If you love me, you will."

That's a guy's line!

And then when she doesn't get some, she doesn't go home to bed but goes out and gets it from the leather jacket-clad beat-poet Michael Fitzsimmons instead (!) (Only to politely decline his subsequent offer to follow him to Provo, enter a polygamous relationship and raise chickens to support his writing career.)

In general, there's just something about Kathleen Turner that's just so...I don't know, ballsy, to use a gendered term that kind of contradicts my whole point. But even in a girly, 60s dress and with a bow in her hair, she's all woman. Her voice, her body, her body language. The way she takes up space.

Although the movie ends with Peggy Sue waking up in the present day, where she gets back together with her adulterous ex-husband Charlie, her feelings and choices along the way are complicated and don't go by the straight and narrow the way movies want you to believe.

Watch it :) If nothing else for the dreamy costumes and set-designs.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

stuff I saved to my desktop this week

Jane Fonda because she looks so darn smokin'. Also, I think she's around 50 in this image, which leaves me equal parts depressed and hopeful for the future. Imagine if one could peak at 50?! Body wise I mean :)
Yves Saint Laurent's office via Habitually Chic
Yayoi Kusama just because, and also because it takes guts to so consistently stick with dots.

This bedroom/loft situation via Blood and Champagne. I'm dreaming of buying my own apartment these days. Ideally a worn out and run down place that I can renovate little by little and turn into a gem. Back in the day, when my mom and I fixed up my East Village pad, we worked non-stop for two weeks and yet felt totally energized because it was so much fun. I remember one morning specifically, where we woke up at 5 or 6 am and had to distract ourselves by going out for waffles  in order to not start working right away and annoy my downstairs neighbors. Anyway, if you know of a fixer upper, let me know, yes?

Duane Hanson's marvelous Tourists from 1988. If you aren't that familiar with Hanson, then there's a real neat overview of some of his sculptures here.

Miss Piggy is a boss.

This kitchen via SF Girl by Bay. I don't know why, but there was something so homely and familiar about the color scheme - save for the brass faucet. (I'm so fed up with brass) I figured I'd save it should I ever find that fixer upper in need of a kitchen reno :)))

In all fairness I saved this to my desktop last week, but then again is it ever too late to share a squirrel getting a back rub? Via Man Repeller - and whoever made this fine gif deserves a permanent rainbow in their backyard. As does the person who made this video.

Finally, watch this - ideally muted because I think that adds to the poetry of watching a baby elephant take a bath. I watched it on facebook this morning, and almost wept from a combination of sadness and joy*, and then noticed that it had garnered some 10 million views. And then I couldn't help but ponder what that says about human kind or the state of human kind. Why it feels so good, to watch someone feel that good....and yet we use so much energy on not making people feel good at all.

 *I just finished Amy Poehler's Yes Please, in which she says and observes a bunch of smart things, including that we need a word for the feeling of sadness and joy combined, and I absolutely agree.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


 I was looking for a photo album on my laptop, and got distracted by all the spring photos I took while living in New York. Every single year, come March, I'd find myself sitting outside at sidewalk caf├ęs wearing sun glasses and no winter coat. The bliss!

And the excitement that lingers in the air, when Spring hits! I feel all jittery at the thought of those long Spring walks I'd take all across the city (and the amount of shoes I had resoled at the shoemaker, a dark and dingy place on 9th Street, where, I suspect, shoes were mostly turned in never to be picked up again.)

It occurred to me, that it's almost 10 years ago that I packed up my bags and moved to New York. And it's almost 5 years ago that I returned to Copenhagen. Not counting the 7 or 8 months that I spent in Kenya, I've nearly been back for as long as I was away. But in terms of eventfulness and memories, those 5 years in New York feel so detailed and saturated with feelings. They're such an antithesis to my everyday rut, I sometimes get the feeling I made it all up.