Sunday, September 30, 2007

Eggs and software development

Thursday I attended a course in Agile Software Development.

A whole day of sitting on my bum and sucking up knowledge. It was exciting, and time went lightning fast.


When the plans and the tasks fit, it looks like above. Nice, huh? You wondering what system development has to do with eggs and tea lights? We sort of did too...

Until the teacher mashed 8 eggs into the 6-egg eggholder. Now we know why he had to slide a piece of paper under the eggholder before illustrating the situation with too many tasks in one iteration...

It's as simple as that. You can add more eggholders (resources) or take som eggs (tasks) away. You can't just mash too many eggs into the eggholder - that really is the essence of project management... :-)

Last weekend

Last sunday we had a lovely trip to Silkeborg - and a sailing trip with and elderly lady ... here she is:


The weather was nice, we had coffee and cake and had an open bar in the front of the boat.


The trip took a couple of hours - where we enjoyed the lovely scenery. We were in good company - it was a company trip too, with Brunos colleagues.


Clouds were a bit threatening ... but they behaved! After a few hours we stopped at Hotel Julsø. It's a funny old building, but you can't say anything bad about the view from the terrace, where we got a drink before dinner.


The food was really delicious! Italian buffet, with lovely chilean wines - yum!
We had a marvellous time - actually one of Brunos colleagues and I, that we had lived door by door at a students complex in Skive - that is, he lived there 4-5 years before me, but still :-)

We were home at nine thirty at night - tired and full of good food!

Deadly dance steps II & III

This week we had TWO dance lessons.

As Bruno was ill last week, we took two rounds to catch up a little.

Wednesday night was a disaster. The floor was very crowded, and besides having to maneuver in very little space, we seemed to have forgotten a lot of what we had learnt two weeks prior....

Actually we were nearly at the point of leaving prematurely. Bruno had a dangerously frustrated frown-line on his forehea (it's for FUN, babe...), and I was honestly considering giving up getting that neurological connection with my lower extremeties, that obviously was missing.

We did stay the full lesson - yeah! Even though we had to drown our sorrow in good red wine when we got home!

Thursday there were plenty of space - and things went pretty good, except for that jive-thing, that we are both lacking a firm grip on - except for the basic steps. There is something one-way-and-the-other-way-round, after the basic steps, that I can't seem to figure out, and Brunos legs sort of forget to dance in all the confusion.

We didn't give up, though! In the middle of trying very hard to get that jive - more in a hard working manner than in a graceful one - one of the other ladies (of course someone wearing heels)danced up on top of my foot. Ouch!!

I had to stop - so fortunately the lesson was nearly over, but I couldn't fit in my shoe due to a blue, pidgeon-egg shaped bump on my foot. And it was smarting up into my ancle.
So we drove home, and I put ice on it. I slept badly, and the next day my foot was throbbing when I put it down - so I stayed home and kept my foot up.

It was still sore on saturday, but I was able to walk some on it. Today I am fine - now only sore to the touch, that bump is nearly gone, even if there is an ugly bruise.

And the lady dancing on my foot didn't even apologize after cramping my jive-stile even more than it allready was...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finally done!

This spring and summer I have knitted one square after another, from yarn I picked up on the market in Fredericia one rainy spring saturday.

I didn't want to get the expensive wool quality, because the blanket had to serve a slightly sloppy young lady, keeping her gorgeous shanks warm on cool winter nights.

A couple of weeks ago I knitted the final square. Then I did all the loose ends, and after a weekend with the crochet-needle nearly red-hot, Bodils rug was done!


Yipeee! Bodil was happy. Now the blanket is on her bed.

...but NOW what do I gotta do?? I thing it'll be warm socks and fingerless gloves for the next roleplay season...

Having zest for life

I believe I always had zest for life. As I was looking for a name for my blog, that I knew would be an everyday life blog, I wondered what a good name would be. I thought: what defines me as a person - how do I want to live my life?

I believe in life BEFORE death. That we must appreciate the life we are living right now, and not put off everything till later, or live with our eyes firmly set on far horizons and goals. We have to remember to enjoy life - right now - as well as we can.

So "Zest for life" was the name that came up. To me it describes a positive attitude to being.

When I was somewhat younger than I am now - in 1989 - I was single with a small boy, and in the middle of the last semester of my education. At that time a lot of computer programmers and similar people had been mass-educated, and the market was full. There was really not much work to be had. So I started early - 3-4 months before my final exams - at the task of pursueing a job all over Jutland. I lived in Skive then, quite far from my family who mostly lived around Aalborg.

Of course I would have loved to get a job in Aalborg, but I knew chances were scant, and I should be happy for any job. So I sent off a handful of applications, to all over Jutland.

That resulted in no less than two job interviews, one at Sydbanks it-department, and the other one at Lego in Billund. The last job was temporary.

In Sydbank things went very well. They called me the next morning to hear if I was interested in them sending me a job contract. Was I ever! I called and cancelled at Lego, as a permanent position was more interesting than a temporary.

Sydbank. At the extreme south end of the country - a very far way away from Aalborg, physically and culturally (not to mention lingually!!). But I was happy knowing I had a job february 1st of 1990.

Later my mom told me, that she shuddered. There I was, happy and unworried, facing a job down by the German border. I needed an apartment, daycare for my son - and I had to move all my stuff, myself and my kid. I told her "It will be fine - I'll find a place to live, its going to fall into place."

Of course it did just that - fall into place, like things usually do for me.

My mom meant back then that my luck was due to my laid back confidence in things working out - and to the fact that I don't have ingrown opinions on how the solution must be.

That illustrates my zest for life quite well, that. Its not necessarily about Amarone wine and Valrhona chocolate, or cuban luxury cigars (eew!).

To me it is an attitude. It is something very simple: To enjoy what you do, and to do what you enjoy. To choose focusing on the positive. To remember to feel joy, and that even though life is a journey, remembering to be present right now.

In the course of a life there are lots of things you have to do - things, you don't find fun, giving or pleasant. You can choose to let them take up as little space as possible. I don't mean repressing everything sad or unpleasant - but the day where you have to wait in line or in a waiting room, you might choose to focus on the interesting person you met and struck up conversation with, the lovely weather you could look at outside the window, the good result of the long wait. There are plenty of possibilities.

Sometimes life hurts. You have to be in that pain, live it through, and when you come out on the other side (and you DO), the sunshine and light feel extra good. And you learned appreciating what you have even more.

I can be ducked. I can be in despair, down and sad. But I resurface. Stand back up like the toy clowns my kids had. And I can almost always find joy somewhere.

Sunbeams in a puddle. The good glass of wine. The love of my kids and my husband. The company of good friends. Soft rain on my face. Rest after a long day.

That is how little it takes, to retain your zest for life.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Homecoming sons

Today I picked up both my sons at Fredericia trainstation.

I took a picture of them together - Kristian looked tired, and Andreas looked strapping in his uniform. I think Kristian found it too cool to be met by the train by a big brother in his sixtyniner.

In spite of the perfect motif the picture was bad - overlighted, blurred - so when we got home I got a couple of other shots of my boys.


"Look a bit more alert," I told Andreas - because now he was the sleepy looking one. This resulted in the following picture:


WOW - I didn't know his eyes could get that big!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I've got a halo

Yeah! Tonight I went spinning at the health club. For the first time in a long time.

I wonder why I don't do it all the time? It is so nice - you feel fantastic afterwards, and you REALLY get a workout. (Well, I know ... in the spring I'll be TIRED of it .. and want to go outside)

So I was really good today! Well, at least with exercise - I am not mentioning the lovely homemade cake I got a piece of, at a goodbye-party for a workmate who is taking his coffee cup and moving it to Herning - to our rival BEC.

The day before yesterday we were also good. We went out for a nice, long walk - we'd seen the forecast and knew, that the next couple of days wouldn't be fit for walks.


We got in our car and drove a few kilometers out of town - to Hagenør Beach, that is one out of many beautiful places around here - with forest coming all the way out to Lillebælt.


Have you noticed how well you talk, when you go for a walk? Your legs work, and your thoughts fly, and we go through a lot of subjects on our walks through the beautiful landscape.


The nature is dramatic where land and water meet. Its not very clear in this photo, but there is 8 or 10 meters drop right next to the path. Sometimes Lillebælt eats at the land, and trees meet their end.

I saw a troll in the woods too - but he was friendly!


We love our walks - and due to Brunos many years of roadbiking and mountainbiking, he knows every nook and cranny and splashes of forests and gorgeous beaches for miles around. He is a nice tour guide to take along - and good company to boot.

Spinning may be nice - but nothing beats a walk like this!

Mild gifts

My daughter is generous at heart.

When she has money (or candy, or cake, or...) we ALL have it. And she loves to give presents!

She's walking in town, and then she remembers that her mother has a thing for delicious chokolate, pretty cards, good coffee, orchids or something else - and she goes and buys it.

Her mother is thankful. It is a sweet and loving thing to do. But she also thinks: "Does the daughter of my heart think, that she has to buy me things to be loved?" And that thought lingers just long enough that I tell my girlchild, that I am terribly happy about her presents, but that I love her immensely, also when she DOESN'T buy me presents...

"Well, I KNOW that, mom," says the sweet lass, "but it's so nice to give you presents, you are the best mom in the world."

She does give me worries and grief sometimes, my beautiful daughter - mostly with the sorrow that can also be part of teenage life - but I wouldn't trade her for a million (or a billion, for that matter)!

Yesterday she was in her gift-mood. Had spent some of her savings on a pair of nice boots from Bianco (that she probably thought were a bit too unpractical and high heeled for her mother to cough up the money from the clothes budget), and then she'd gone gift-shopping.


This is what she got me - and I was instructed to share the chocolate with Bruno. He didn't mind.

In Kristians room awaits him a nice package - he is away on school camp and comes home tomorrow. Bodil got him a bunch of really nice stamps - she knows he is a collector, and thought of him.

I don't think she'll ever be rich.
But she is not very hard to love.

No dance this week...

Poor Bruno.

He is home sick with a headache and a sore throat.

So no deadly dance steps this week. Lucky for us, our dance school is very flexible - we'll just dance twice next week!

Looks like Bruno inherited the virus that kept Bodil home monday and tuesday - I cross my fingers and hope to pass...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A good original...

... is better than a bad copy.

That is a saying I always liked.

I passed it on to my daughter ... who recently entered the scene in the outfit displayed below. The coat and skirt is purchased in two differend second hand shops int town ... and you gotta say its original...


Put together with black tights, kawasaki shoes and a black tshirt with a goth motive the effect was something else. But actually pretty cool.

On the plus side, she doesn't risk meeting someone in town looking just like her.

She's not cut from standard cloth, my beautiful daughter :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Deadly dancesteps

You might remember that my sweet Bruno gave me a gift certificate for dance lessons for my birthday this year.

Last week the day arrived - finally - for our first dancelesson. We pulled out our dancing shoes and took off for LB dans right here in Fredericia.

This was a tough debut for Bruno. He came directly from 2 days in Germany - had flown from Frankfurt to Hamburg and driven to Fredericia, eaten a slice of bread, and then off to dance...

Actually, we weren't really very good. Fortunately I had just enough extra energy to look a bit at the other dancers and see that we weren't the only ones. We started out for the basic steps for jive. Not too hard. Until the teacher got the idea that I had to go spinning out under Brunos arm - whew!

When we finally had some control of the steps, she added MUSIC - and then we had to dance fast, and in the beat of the music! That was some challenge.

I mean - nothing is really wrong with my rhytmics. Ask anyone. Our choir director will confirm that I find it relatively easy to catch a beat and clap - even if it is slightly more complicated. No - my problem is motoric in its nature. I can handle moving my legs in time to the rhytm - but if I have to do something with my arms at the same time, my brain melts. For that reason I have carefully avoided aerobics and step, as these exercise forms have way too much choreography for a spastic like myself. No, spinning, weights and that kind of stuff - that's my game.

Back to the dancing - we managed to get a grip on th jive-steps - but just as that happened, naturally we had to learn a new dance. "Allready?" moaned Bruno, who was working at least as hard as me.

English waltz. Looks easy. You glide over the floor, spinning every now and then, gracefully. Piece of cake.

Certainly for those that know how, and who knows left from right. I unavoidably mucked up our waltz by going back on the wrong leg - and that was before we even started to learn the turning thing. Bruno was pretty good at it - but it's not easy dancing with a lady who keeps moving the wrong leg...
Finally we did the cha-cha-cha. I say nothing except that it was a disaster. There was some fore-back-fore thingy, that passed way over our heads.

That was the first lesson. Yesterday we were at it again, and fortunately we felt it going easier. Bruno was nearly at the quitting point last wednesday ("I'll NEVER learn") - he thought it grossly unfair that we didn't get to exercise the steps more before adding music.
Anyway, we felt nearly pro yesterday. It went pretty well! Except for that f***ing stinking english waltz .. I wonder if I ever get the turning around Bruno right - and still start with the right leg afterward?

A fun thing is, that one of the other couples are young colleagues of me - they danced last year too, just for the fun of it. Not a couple like that, just having fun dancing. We tease each other in a friendly way. And they muck up too some times, I noticed!

Will we eventually learn the waltz turn? Will Bruno learn the steps for jive well enough to not get myosis in his neck from it? Will I figure out a way to know left from right? Will we picked out for the danish championship in standard dances?

This ... and much more ... you will know by following the next episode of ... DEADLY DANCESTEPS!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lucky for us!

Bankdatas wine club is unreasonably lucky!

A company, that we buy lots of wine from, is HJ Hansen vin. For a while now they've had an arrangement planned at a restaurant in Odense where Errazuriz chief winemaker Francisco Baettig were comint to present and explain about winemaking at one of the largest and most well reputed wine houses in Chile.

Now something got in the way - and we have the offer of having Francisco Baettig instead comes to Bankdata to make a wine tasting arrangement with us.

Do we accept?
You can bite yourself in the knee that we will!

I am VERY exited! The wines from Errazuriz are really good stuff - and having them presented by their main oenologist is nothing less than amazing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years ago

Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing 6 years ago?

I do.

Back then I was still active in my union, and I'd been at a seminar at Koldingfjord, a nearby hotel. We'd been working til 7 at night, and had stopped early the next day - so I was home around 2.30 in the afternoon. I was tired - having had 2 very focused days and gotten to bed a bit late.

So I sat in my couch and turned on the tv - just to relax with som easy viewing. But what I found was entirely different. A tower with the smoke billowing out. Scared, riled up faces. Crying.

One clip was shown again and again. How the plane hit the high rise building. You could hear outbursts and screams in the background from the people watching.

And as I sat there watching, came the other plane. I looked in disbelief and horror, as it nonhesitantly flew into the other tower. I saw the buildings fall, as the cameraman's hands got unsteady and a cold lead feeling spread in my stomach.

I heard the news of the plane in Pentagon. And I sat there, alone in my house, thinking: Now it's going to come. The message that London, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Rome, Prague and San Francisco are hit.

I had a sinking feeling, that the world had changed, that it would never be safe again. That this was war. That one city after another would be struck by the mad people.

Fortunately it didn't go as badly as I feared.
But I still remember that day - that feeling. The weather on this crisp late-summer day. The feeling of doom eating my heart black and hollow.

Do you remember? Where were you? And how was your reaction?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Look out terrorists!

You might as well give it up! Because Andreas is looking out for Queen Daisy & Co., while they are at their summer cottage - Marselisborg.

We went to see the changing of the guard - with my mother and Bodil and Kristian, who didn't come when we experienced it in Gråsten.

We started by the Guards House, where the guards stay, while they babysit the royalty. We were there a smidge before 11.30, and there they were - allready preparing. We settled in and spotted Andreas right away - he gave us a wave.

So we watched as they got ammo for their guns, and as they put on white gloves ... and golly, we saw a guy combing Andreas' bear...


I wonder if they use hair products for them bears??
I was positioned to take pictures, and the rest of the family waited eagerly for them to get ready.


Finally they were done preparing, and marched along with pipe and drum - right past me. I managed to get out of their way, so I didn't get marched over..


We followed them to Marselisborg. And we came close enough to see some, even though there were a lot of people. Notice in this picture, the unusually handsome young guard to the far left.


When the guards are standing guard, they split up in 3 shifts. The stand for 2 hours, and then they have 4 hours rest. Andreas was on the first shift, standing guard by the gate. Oh man ... the chance to take a pic of my son with a bear hat, in front of a genuine red guardhouse ... that was too much a temptation for me to resist.


Kristian and Bodil found it rather amazing too. Actually to the point that they got a bit carried away and wandered to far inside the gate. So Andreas had to wave them out in his gruffy guard way. I don't think they got particularly scared.

When the changing of the guard was over, we got a chance to communicate a little bit with Andreas. The thing is, the day before he'd asked me to make a courgette cake, he could bring and split with the other guys - but he forgot to take it along, and we thought of it, when we were driving to the train station.

We decided I should bring it along, then he would try to figure out a way I could give it to him.
He chatted a bit with the sargeant, who sent out a guard to get it. People looked funny, when a big guard came out, and I handed him a shopping bag with the remark "Guard - present courgette cake" and a smile... He was nice and said thank you very much ... they are just big boys, those guards...

At that point we'd been looking at guards for about an hour, so we were ready to move on and find some place to eat lunch. We said goodbye to Andreas, who could look forwards to going back and forth across the driveway for the next two hours.

At least it was easy for him to see where to walk - there is a line of blacktop that is worn down to a shine across where the guards always go. I am thinking that walk gets a bit boring when you have the shift from 2 to 4 in the morning...


Food in flames

Friday I was feeling culinary, and with my mother visiting and Andreas and Kristina home for dinner, it was clear that I must make coq au vin.

Here is a small instruction on how to do a flambé:

REMEMBER to turn off the cooker hood. It is not a good idea to have it suck flames. Then gently pour the brandy over the chicken in the pot:


Notice my favourite pot. I love it. It does everything - including simmering in the oven with a lid. All that missing is a self-washing function ... it doesn't do that, but it's close, because it's teflon...

Once brandy is applied, you call for the kids and others with pyromanic character traits. Then you put a match to it, while you carefully keep your eyebrows, hair, and other body parts, clear.


Woooow it looks great!! Then I added spices and a bottle of wine, and it bubbled peacefully for an hour - before I shortened the sauce - and then dinner was ready. It was deeeelicious - and all gone when we left the table.