Friday, April 30, 2010

Travel plans

At the moment we are - rather late, I know - planning the details of our coming-up trip to Granada in Andalucia, Spain.

We are leaving in a weeks time, and we booked the plane tickets a long time ago. Flying is cheap these days, so we got a good deal back then - pretty good even now, when icelandic ash clouds have made the airlines desperate to sell tickets.

Just a week or so ago we realized that it is SOON ... and we had no hotel bookings, no car rented - no nothing, actually :-)

Now we have managed to book hotels for most of our trip - one night in Malaga as we arrive there too late to make the trip to Granada, and a number of nights in Granada. We also got a car booked, to transport ourselves around.

The last 2 or 3 days are open - we plan to visit Gibraltar, and we are going to make hotel bookings once we get to Granada. We sort of like to have open plans and make up as we go along.
Andreas is looking forward to seeing us. Because he is the main reason that we gather his siblings, Bodil and Kristian (my lovely 17 year old daughter and her handsome 14 year old brother) and go to Granada.

Andreas is studying at the Universidad de Granada as part of the education he is taking. His normal campus is at University of Aalborg here in Denmark, but as he is studying Business Spanish, they recommend a semester in a spanish speaking country. I am just happy he didn't choose to go to South America! That is REALLY far away.

Over easter, his girlfriend (with whom he shares an apartment in Aalborg) visited him - now we are going to go there and spend a weeks time with him, and I just can't wait to see him. He still has 2 months to go - on july 3'rd he will be on a plane headed north.

I am sure his spanish is reaching heights they never would have just attending school in Denmark. He lives in a boarding house owned by a spanish lady, goes to classes with spanish students, and most of his everyday life is all in spanish.

He does get to skip one class, though - he went easy on himself and signed up for english ... and as his english is just as good as mine, the teacher really doesn't want him in class. Spanish people are known for their appalingly bad english, and his level is just way above the spanish students.
But the english class gives him some easy points, that he claims to need - I think studying university classes in a foreign language is quite the challenge.

Well, I look forward to having a spanish speaking guide, who knows his way around Granada. I can't wait to see the Alhambra, and being back in South Europe. I sometimes believe I was born in Denmark by mistake - being the latina I am :-)

I love the heat, the slower pace, the music, the food ... and of course, the wine ;-)

I also love spending time with my 3 kids (grown up as they might be) and the man I love - and just being the 5 of us is a rare occation, these days - Andreas being grown up and having flown away from the nest, and both him and Bodil having a steady girl-/boyfriend.

So it will be a week to cherish and enjoy.
I am ready to go.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My body and me

For many years I neglected my body in the worst way.

Not that I didn't feed it ... actually I took care of it in all ways but one. I neglected to keep it in shape.

I used to joke: "I am in shape! ROUND is a shape too!!"

But having to buy my jeans in a size where no matter how nice the cut, you look like a whale - it was no fun. I wasn't obese - like the ppl you see on tv shows where fat people get bossed around by little skinny ones, and compete in losing the most blubber in a week. But I was fat enough that my BMI was pushing 30 (and at times passing it, I think ... I didn't much like scales at the time) and my knees were starting to complain.

Fat enough that I sure as heck didn't like to see myself naked in a mirror. Fat enough to find all kinds of excuses WHY I didn't have control of my weight (even though I AM smart enough to know it's all about what you burn and what you take in), and fat enough to be deeply embarrased at this obvious sign to the world, exclaiming that I was not in control.

Fat enough to hate myself a little bit.

Later I might tell you how I managed to change my bad eating- and nonexistant exercise patterns, but for now, let me just say that I started eating differently and exercising on a regular basis about 10 years ago. I lost a lot of excess weight and gained quite a bit of muscle (I think my calves are the same size - but they look and feel very different ;-) and I learned to love my body again.

That - loving my body - was one of the two great things I learned. The other was to forgive myself. Because I still fall of the wagon, so to speak, and gain weight. Not up to the point where I once was - but still, I wish I didn't.
When I do, I don't whack myself on the head, and tell me how BAD, how WEAK I am. I just shrug and start up the food-and-exercise change again.

I am never going to look like a Baywatch babe. But I do look at myself in the full size mirror in the morning, as I pass it naked on the way to the shower. And most mornings I give myself a little wink and think "Hey girl ... you look pretty good today!".

I also love my body, when I run, or when I have to get down to pick up something from the floor, or reach for something in the back of the bottom shelf in my kitchen cabinet. I love running up a flight of stairs without feeling winded, love to feel my lungs, my thigh muscles working smoothly.

My body is paying me back for taking care of it, and it is making my entire life better. I don't ever want to be queen size again.

So I stick to my routine of running, spinning, working out and biking - and I try to eat healthy most days - and I thoroughly enjoy the red wines, desserts and snacks, that my routine makes place for in my diet.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring - a re-run!

Spring is here ... again!

Last week was bitter cold. We even had snow and hail pelting those unfortunate enough to be outside at the wrong time.

But today - hey presto! - spring is back.

I have been nursing a fibre-thingy in the upper back of my thigh ... right where my thigh starts to get really interesting, according to my handsome hubby. So running has been impossible, or near so. Over the winter I have gradually eased in longer and longer runs on the treadmill at the gym, starting from a minute and adding on.

Today I took my first outdoor run in a long time! I am very, very far from the shape I was in last spring, where I was training for Lillebælt ½ marathon, but I ran intervals up to 10 minutes today, and ended up doing a 4,5 km in 35 minutes or so.

No pain, except from the pain from my wheezing lungs (spinning does NOT do the same for you as running), and that I can - and will work on. I have missed my runs so dearly, and now I feel I am back on track!

I sounds a little weird to be addicted to running, but I am - it makes my body feel (and look) good, and allows me that extra slice of fresh bread and even makes a good glass of Pinot Noir go down with not a trace of guilt.

So until the next injury pops up ... I'm gonna run!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The old guy with the velvety voice

Today I bought tickets to a concert with a man, whose music I have loved dearly since I was a mere teenager.

Back then I stumbled onto the song Suzanne. I remember the velvety voice, and the wavelike rise and fall of the song, and the strange and beautiful lyrics.
Actually, it was my guitar teacher that got me hooked, just like she made me a lifelong fan of Joni Mitchell.

And since then, the man with the heavy, sad face and the jewish canadian background has been a part of my musical tapestry.

Strange words like:

I lit a thin green candle
to make you jalous of me
But the room just filled up with mosquitoes
they heard that my body was free
and then I took the dust of a long sleepless night
and I put it in your little shoe
and then I confess that I tortured the dress
that you wore for the world to look through..

entered my head and made marks there. They made the world a more beautiful and a more oddly twisted place to me. I believe they made me grow, and helped me grow up.

Leonard Cohens songs broke my heart and put it back together again.

Later in life, the man I love quoted "There aint no cure for love" to me. And still, I turn to Cohens songs for the strange consolation that hurt and loneliness can be beautiful.

And this august, in the late summer of my life, I am going to my first Cohen concert.

I might cry as I go under the spell of the awesome beauty of this old singers voice.

But it is okay.