Monday, June 28, 2010

That feelgood mood...

Here I am, sitting on my porch on a lovely summernight with my dear husband (Bruno) and my trusty Mac (Albert). It's almost 9 and the sun is just slightly in my eyes in that blinding-a-bit-through-the-big-treecrown kind of way.

It is still warm, the birds are singing, and I can hear a car rolling by slowly in a nearby street. The youthful (and somewhat goofy) sounding guys in the garden across from ours has gone inside, and the neighbours have tucked in their kids. It is lovely and quiet, and I am sipping gin&lime from a dewy glass, enjoying the soft clicking of the ice cubes.

We have every day from 4 pm to 8 am at our disposal, and life is good.

What more could I ask for? (Well, besides maybe having 8 am to 4 pm at my disposal, too)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer night

Tonight is the shortest night of the year.

And summer nights here are really short.

It is probably what I love the most about danish summer: the time of year when the sun goes down after 10 o'clock at night and dawn starts around 3.3o in the morning.

I remember walking home from parties in my youth, and realizing that dawn was here, just walking through sleepy neighbourhoods at 4 in the morning, listening to the birds coming alive.

Just the other morning, I woke up at 3.55 to pale daylight. I went back to sleep with a smile, knowing from the quality of the light that I would wake up to a sunny day at 6.30.

I wish it was like this all year.

Because, you see, the marvellous danish summer nights come with a price. The one you pay in december, when you leave for work in pitch black night a bit before 8 in the morning, and drive home in the sunset at 4 in the afternoon. Where you have to focus on each minute of extra daylight, and light candles everywhere to survive.

For 2 or 3 months you think that the bright summer evenings will never come back. But eventually, they do.

I wish I could stop time right here, and that every night was a summer night.
I just have to enjoy summer immensely while it is here...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Looking at Fredericia from above

My town is a quite old one. It was founded in 1650 as a fortress, built to protect Denmark from the swedish and german armies. It was difficult, however, to make people move to the brand new city, so to attract citizens, it was made in to a religious free-zone.

Thus, jews and huguenots and other religious minorities came to set their mark on Fredericia. Even today, names like Honoré and Fournais are common here.

Still, it is easy to see that the town was once a military fortress. All around the center of town, the ramparts of Fredericia still lie - nowadays more a town park and recreational area - but probably the best maintained ramparts of any town in Denmark.

Only a little of the ramparts have been erased - that is by the industrial harbour, where the trains come into town. Other than that, you can still walk most of the way around the center of town on paths in the rampart area.

Today I went to town - actually I was going to the vegetable shop to get fruit - and on my way on foot into town, I realized that the water tower on top of the rampart was open for visitors.

With a shameful face I have to admit - I've never been up there. And as the day was sunny (finally - it's been a weird kind of april weather with rain and sun and rain again today), I decided to skim up the side of the rampart and do a little photo expedition.

So here you see the water tower. I don't think it is used as a water tower any more, these days - but it looks nice up there in all the green.

I laid down 10 kr. to get into the tower ... pretty cheap, it is the same as 2 USD. So I shimmied up those stairs, and got myself an eyeful of my town. Actually, Bruno and I gotta go up there some time and bring coffee. They even have chairs and tables so you can do a picnic thing, if you like.....

I just had to check to see if I could see the roof of my own house from there. Because really, it is only a five minute walk from my house to the water tower. I couldn't, though ... but if you look at the cluster of red ceilings over behind the trees, on the left side of the long red building, that is about where I live.

Like I mentioned ... the ramparts are really a lovely kind of park, that cuts through town and stretches most of the way around the center. On one side it goes all the way out and meets the waterfront. I run up here a lot, and it is possible to run 6-7 km without really leaving the ramparts and the beach area.

This picture is from the water tower, taken in the direction of the beach.

The view of the city from here is really nice. You can also see the industrial harbour - and I even managed a fairly good shot of it, even though I didn't bring a proper camera, so I had to do this expedition with my iPhone :D

Here are a couple of other pictures, overlooking the outside of the ramparts, and the centre of town.

When I had my share of pictures and pretty views, I decided to go run my errands, before the shops closed on me. Actually, a lot of stores never open on sundays, but we have this one supermarket and veggie store that is open until 4 in the afternoon on sundays.

Back down on the ground, I went by Riddergade to pop into Midtpunktet, where my shopping was happening. Riddergade - in english Knight Street - is a special place to me, even though it is a rather small and insignificant street.

This little street is where the very first place Bruno and I shared is located... we had a rented flat in there for 6 weeks - a wonderful, scary, confusing and happy time of our life.

A bit further down you find our favourite restaurant in Fredericia - Caffe Katia - where we usually go to celebrate our birthdays, for saturday lunch ... and whenever we long for good food and nice company.

On this picture you see two similar houses. We occupied a tiny apartment at the very top of the one to the left - way up under the ceiling.

I am happy to be back in town, and this time in a real house of our own! I love Fredericia - it is a small town, but with all the accomodations I need, and I really feel at home here in this pretty, charming town.

Going back home I went through what was until about 1925 the main entrance into town. Most traffic went through this tiny gate! When Danmarks Gate was opened close to here, Prinsens Gate was closed for motorized traffic, so now it is only people on foot and on bicycles that go through here.

I read that frequently they had loads of hay and other high loaded wagons that got stuck going through ... I can easily imagine that, as I look through the tunnel going through the ramparts.

It is a lovely walk - and on a day like this, where it rained hard, and the air is fresh - and the sun is out and warming up the moist earth - I just enjoy being able to combine my shopping for groceries with a lovely walk like this...

And even after having passed through Prinsens Gate, the signs of the fortress that was are everywhere. Mostly these canons are used by kids for climbing on, and pretending that they are battling the enemy...

Going back home, I give you a final peak at the moat. Once a scary place where the blood flowed, and now a place for kids to ride rafts and catch fish, and for ducks to float peacefully around ...

Just a few minutes after I took this picture, it started dripping rain. I barely made it home before the sky opened up, and it was pouring like a crazy april day again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I quite fancy a hot redhead named Tine.

I first met her about 8 or 9 years ago. Back then she was the instructor of a class called Abdomen-Thighs-Buttocks, and I started in that class being completely and utterly un-fit. The first thing I learned was, that it was impossible to be low-energy and unhappy when I was in Tines class. She is, in short, a walking vitamin injection.

In the meantime I took Bodypump with Tine, Spinning with Tine ... and now I have Zumba class with Tine. She's had a couple of kids, and gained some pounds on that account. And she was never the skinny type.

But there is nothing better than looking at Tine, and seeing a lovely, goodlooking lady, obviously weighing more than most super models, and being a bit older than 18 - she shakes her booty and is SO latina-licious! Even though she is clearly 100 times better at all those groovy moves than I will EVER be, her acceptance and self-liking, along with her energetic and positive personality makes even a motorically challenged like me forget myself for a moment and turn into Shakira. Right until the point where I accidentally catch a glance at myself in the mirror... :D

Tine is indisputably a hottie. And I am tremendously happy that she chooses to spread her joy and energy every tuesday at my gym.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Old houses

I live in an old house.

It was built before anyone ever heard about Adolf Hitler, television or the internet ... the red bricks were stacked back in 1926, before my mother, who is now an ageing lady, was born. It was way back when my grandmother was young and rosy-cheeked - and she would be pushing 100 were she still alive.

I love the style and the soul of this house, with its old fashioned windows, the red bricks, its high cellar and the old wooden floors. I love the way the stairs wind their way to the 2nd floor, and the way solidity and economy is joined with beauty in this structure.

I like living in a house with a history ... I feel the weight of the years, and I let my fingers trace the house name next to the front door ... "Rosa" ... and I wonder who named the house, and why they chose that name.

But it is also a lot of work. living in an old house like that. The people that lived here before did a number of things - changed the roof, for one thing, and re-did the joints of the brick walls. But after we moved here more than 2 years ago, we've put in new windows. We have re-done the steps to the front door. We moved a wall upstairs, and stripped the floors up there. We renovated the stair to the cellar, putting on new steps to replace the old ones, that were rounded with the many feet that went up and down over the years.

And now we are redecorating the bathroom upstairs - new tile and everything. At the same time, we had plumbers come in to re-do all the waterpipes in the house - the old ones were clogged with age - and put in a new water heater to replace the old one, that was from 1968 and nearly rusted through.

The plumbers left the basement messy and dirty, and today we cleaned up and washed the floors down there. We also threw out a bunch of stuff that has just been sitting there since we moved in april 2008.

Rummaging around down there made me very aware, though, that the basement is also very much needing a loving hand. Some of the outer walls are in bad shape ... we should waterproof them ... and tile on the floor instead of concrete would look nice. Lots of paint should be applied, and we also have plans to make the bathroom down there a bit bigger and more functional.

I guess its just the way it is, when you live in a house that is old. It is always needing your attention, there is always a place that could use a coat of paint or something other.

But I do love my house, as it is ever changing under that hands of my husband and me. I don't think we will EVER finish! But I just want to stay here, live here until I get to old to live any more. This is the most home-ish home I ever had in my adult life.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Here's that rainy day...

Such sang Sinatra, and it sure is rainy today.

But my internal barometer is on a steady "Sunny", because my life really is grand, and to top it off, it's friday!

Friday is a special day - not only does it bring weekend, but here in Denmark most people have a shorter workday on friday.

When I was a teenager, my parents worked 40 hours a week. Today most people have a workweek, that is only 37 hours long - and mine is just 36, due to the fact that I work in the IT trade and thus have a number of odd hours on weekends sometimes.

That means that I go in for work on 8 in the morning and go home at 4 in the afternoon - and that my friday ends at 2.30. That makes for a very nice beginning of the weekend.

When I compare with the friends I have in other countries, I feel privileged - when I started work more that 20 years ago, I had 5 weeks of vacation every year. Now I have 7. And of course, all with full pay.

During my pregnancies, I didn't have to worry about doctors bills, it's all paid for over my taxes, that supply our health system. Also, I went on maternal leave 4 weeks before I was due, and didn't come back to work until 5 months after I delivered. The whole time, I got my salary.

What I do feel, though, is that I could easily work many, many more hours. Sometimes I wonder if, when they cut of the hours of the working weeks length and gave us longer vacations, they kept the workload constant. So we really just have to do the same amount of work in a shorter period of time?

Never mind that, though. My busy is the good kind of busy, and the rain outside won't kill my friday mood. My kids are here (at least the two of them that are presently in Denmark), and tonight Bruno and I are going out with a couple of very good friends for dinner.

I know it's gonna be a lovely weekend, no matter if it rains all through it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse?

I was almost grown up, when I, to my great surprise, found out that the main Disney character in the US was not Donald Duck - but Mickey Mouse!

All through my childhood years, my mother went and got the weekly Donald Duck & Co. cartoon magazine for me and my brothers and sister. And the main star and attraction was, of course, Donald Duck. The temperamental, and not always very lucky guy, who yells at his nephews, it treated unfairly by his rich uncle, and can never hold a job...

Sometimes I'd get lucky, and my mother would get me one of the cartoon books - a fat volume with longer stories. It lasted for days!

My favorite was not Donald Duck, though - but the Superman version of Goofy. He'd eat a peanut off his special bush, and then he'd turn into Supergoofy (or whatever his name was) and fly around in red woolen underwear and a blue cape. Awesome!

But Mickey Mouse? Sometimes I'd actually skip the stories he was in, because he was actually a bit dull. Kind of like a sissy cousin to the other cartoon characters - the one that always does the right thing, and remembers to bring a red apple (polished, of course) to the teacher.

So I always wonder why HE is the big shot in the american Disney universe. They love the dull goody-two-shoes, and we just adore the clumsy, hysterical, unfortunate slacker.

I don't dare think what an anthropologist would read into that. ;-)