James Flynns TED-talk

James Flynn is a moral philosopher with base in New Zealand, and he believes that environmental factors play a bigger role than genetics do when it comes to a persons IQ.

His TED-talk from March 2013 was seen more than 2 million times, so chances are you’ve heart it already, but if not, I would like you to. He explains it so well, why we score higher on IQ tests today than our forfathers did, and why that’s not always a good thing.

An old mans advice about bringing up children

Bragging about my daughter yesterday made me think of a piece of advice I got many years ago, and which I want to forward to you.

I have younger siblings and always wanted to have children of my own.

When I finally got pregnant and also after I’d got my first beautiful little girl, I read every little piece of advice I could find about how to bring up children, but the more I read, the more confused and scared I got. There were so many different ways of doing it – how was I ever going to be a good mom?

I remember it as a really scary period full of self doubt, and then one day I came to talk to an older man. I don’t remember who he was or why we talked about bringing up children, but he told med to forget about all the things I’d been reading. Instead he said, I should pick the one single thing I really wanted my girls to get away from their childhood. The only thing else I’d have to do, was to give them all the love I had. That was it.

Since all the other – often opposite – advices I had got, didn’t work for me, I decided to give the old man’s advice a shot.

I decided that the one thing I wanted my children to learn, was to be sociable.

From that point on I thought about what I was saying and doing to my children in another way: was it something I’d heard others say – like my parents for instance – was it something I meant, or was it just something I said as a kind of reflex? Did it help me push my children in the right direction?

It was a good advice, which saved us many conflicts, because when you think about it: how often do we parents say no to our children or decide something our children are really capable of deciding themselves, just because that’s what we do as a standard?

I got happy children out of it. Children who knew how to behave well, who didn’t bully others, and who do well in life.

If you have children of your own and aren’t really sure about, if you’re doing it right, I want you to give the old man’s advice a chance. It worked wonders for me.

I got bragging rights!

Yesterday my youngest daughter Lise gave me some serious bragging rights, when she and her team at Creo Arkitekter won the tender for a new swimming bath in the Danish city Roskilde.

Roskilde already has a swimming bath, which is going to be a part of the new and larger building with several smaller and larger pools, a café for dry and wet guests, saunas, wellness area, cold pool and courtyard gardens.

In total the swimming bath will consist of the 400 square meters of the rebuild old building and 5,700 square meters new building. The planned price is 135 million Danish Kroner or a little over 21 million US Dollars.

Lise has worked for Creo since March last year and she’s made the drawings for the presentation.

Beneath you find clips from news papers with a single drawing and a picture of Lise and her team. She’s the blond in the middle.





What not to do when in Denmark

Denmark is one of the safest places on earth. It really is.

Okay, we do have car accidents and every now and then somebody gets bumped off by somebody else before their time, or – mostly foreigners on inflatable toys – have to be rescued from drowning on the open sea, but apart from that …

We have no cliffs, mountains or volcanos, no earthquakes, desserts or twisters, no hippos or crocodiles, no tigers or lions, no bears or ice bears, no polar winters or frying hot summers, no malaria mosquitos or tsetse flies. We really have no natural threats to our lives. Or so I thought.

My oldest daughter Julie is studying to become an agricultural consultant, and part of what she learns is to test soil and register and document important wild plants, so today she went out to the countryside with some of her classmates.

While they walked through a bog far away from civilization, Julie saw a flower she wanted to take a closer look at and took two steps away from the path, before her legs sank into the bog to the middle of her thighs. And that was it. She was stuck, and the more she tried to get up again, the more the bog held on to her. If she had been alone, she could have screamed her lungs out without being heard by anybody.

Luckily her classmates were near, and after a while they found a tree trunk they could place, so Julie was able to pull herself out of the bog.

She had been sitting in that bog for about half an hour, was soaking wet and had lost her rubber boots. It was 3 degrees Celsius warm (cold), and Julie had to walk or run 2 kilometers on bare feet through the bog and a cornfield to get to her car.

One of her friends had some spare clothes and shoes in her car, another had something hot to drink and others found a warm place where she could get warm again and get cleaned up, so when she finally came home, she was okay, but tired.

She learned some important lessons though:

  1. Even in Denmark nature can be dangerous
  2. When going out in nature never go alone and/or always bring a mobile phone
  3. When going through a bog, never, ever, ever leave the path

For me as her mother this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

About painted floors

The fact that the floors in my new flat aren’t good enough to just get painted is a bit of a disappointment to me actually, because I’ve dreamt of painted floors for a long time, you know, some of those you see in magazines all the time.

hvid stue med brun lænestol hvid stue med hvidt gulv hvid stue med pejs og alkove hvid stue med ure hvidt køkken med hvidt gulv hvidt skrivebord med hvidt gulv hvidt soveværelse med hvidt gulv og spejl hvidt soveværelse med sort seng white loft with beany bag White loft with bed white painted floor and green chairs  Now you know what I mean (not my pictures)

Where do people find those floors anyway? Some time ago I counted how many times I’ve moved from place to place during my life and found out that this moving is my number 28, and in none of those places there were floors I could have painted. They were either too shabby or too chick.

When I moved into my first Dutch flat in Amsterdam in 2003 I went to the library quite often to find inspiration, and there I found some pretty good explanations of how to make floors from plywood. They were so good, I actually took copies of the pages.

gulv af birkemultiplex 1 gulv af birkemultiplex 2 lakering af et traegulv 1 lakering af et traegulv 2  fliser af hardboard 1 fliser af hardboard 2  (not my pictures)

Unfortunately my floors weren’t good enough to get painted, neither in my first or my second or my third flat in Amsterdam (did you know that many of the flats you can rent in Amsterdam have neither a floor nor a ceiling? It’s very common to take them with you when you move).

Back in Denmark on the other hand rented homes in the cities and in the suburbs have very nice floors. You can cover them with carpets, but you get into real trouble if you go and paint them.

The poor floors in my new flat could become a really good thing, if only I could convince my landlord that it’s in his interest to let me fix the floors and that it would save him money.

Wish me luck!


Dreaming of my new flat

WP_20150103_13_03_38_Pro Today I finally went upstairs to take some pictures of my new flat. It has too many small rooms for me alone and some of the walls will have to be taken down, but once that’s done I would be able to do everything else myself.

WP_20150104_14_05_14_Pro WP_20150104_14_05_03_Pro WP_20150104_14_05_28_Pro WP_20150104_14_05_40_Pro WP_20150104_14_05_59_Pro WP_20150104_14_06_19_Pro  The bathroom needs paintwork seaglass  I think that colors like these are nice for a bathroom (not my picture)

WP_20150104_14_07_37_Pro WP_20150104_14_07_49_Pro WP_20150104_14_08_03_Pro  This is a long and narrow room, and the longest straight wall in it will be taken down WP_20150104_14_07_16_Pro and connected to this long narrow corridor, so there will be enough space for a large dining table hvidt spisebord i hvide omgivelser  I’m thinking of something like this (not my picture)

WP_20150104_14_06_47_Pro On the opposite side of the corridor there is this (also) long and narrow room, which can be turned into a: walk in closet in white walk in closet (not my picture) white bed with under bed storage or guestroom (not my picture)

WP_20150104_14_09_20_Pro WP_20150104_14_09_29_Pro WP_20150104_14_09_40_Pro WP_20150104_14_09_49_Pro This room might have been an office earlier

I am thinking of using it as a sitting room

hvid norsk stue Maybe like this (not my picture) hvidt interiør til stuen (kontoret) Or like this (not my picture)

The largest room of the flat has probably been a living room earlier

WP_20150104_14_11_07_Pro WP_20150104_14_11_33_Pro WP_20150104_14_11_58_Pro It is going to be my office / working room hvide reeoler ved hvid skråvæg With lots of bookcases (not my picture) along this inclined wall WP_20150104_14_10_42_Pro,

daybed for my office a daybed (not my picture) in this corner WP_20150104_14_11_33_Pro from where I can see the stars at night,

and a white working table along one of the straight walls hvidt arbejdsbord (not my picture)

Then there are two other tiny rooms next to each other: 

WP_20150104_14_12_16_Pro WP_20150104_14_12_31_Pro WP_20150104_14_14_13_Pro WP_20150104_14_13_42_Pro

I want the wall between those rooms to be removed, so I can have one larger bedroom

hvidt soveværelse Something in this direction (not my picture)

Some time ago there were some people here who removed all the old carpets. I had hoped, that they would find old wooden floors underneath, but in most rooms they only found subfloors that can’t be transformed into anything nice looking. Only in one room they found an old wooden floor, but it’s worm bidden with large spaces between the old planks, and I doubt that it can be turned into something nice either. My landlord want’s to put some cheap click floors all over the flat, but I hope to be able to convince him that it’s a better option to let me make a cheap floor out of plywood which I can paint in just the color I want.

I would like to do something like this hvidt selvlavet plywood gulv

or maybe this hvisdt painted-plywood-sub-floor to the floor (not my pictures)

And I would either paint it white or like this gråt gulv (not my picture)

In the before mentioned corridor there are also some fitted wardrobes WP_20150104_14_08_42_Pro WP_20150104_14_08_58_Pro

and I would like to use one of them only for my shoes et skoskab (i en anden farve) (not my picture)

To be continued…

About New Years resolutions

Though there were joy and happiness and glimpses of good fortune in it, 2014 was not one of my best years. I got divorced, and I moved out of a nice flat in town and was supposed to move into another flat in the countryside, but got stuck in limbo in my daughters guest room, where I still reside until somebody (anybody) comes and does what’s needed in the new flat. So far I’ve been waiting for 5 month.

It’s a nice guestroom, not too big, and with a door that comes in handy when the dogs want to visit me – they just bang their heads against it, and the door opens.

Living here I’ve once again realized that I’m not the minimalistic type. I like having my flowers and candles and knickknacks around me, plus my books and computers and everything else I might need all the sudden, and somehow that clashes with the 8-9 square meters I have to work with.

It also drives me crazy to know that all my furniture and everything else I own is standing in an unheated barn, molding away, while I’m waiting for Godot, instead of it coming to good use in my new flat with living room, bedroom, dining room, office, guestroom, bath, kitchen and pantry.

2014 was about waiting, and that was okay, but I think that 2015 has to be about doing, so I will give those handy men one more week to get here and do their work, and if they haven’t been here on Friday, I will have a serious talk with my landlord to hear, if he will let me do the work myself.

That’s my first new year’s resolution.

My second resolution is to get back to post on my blog every day.

I do write every day, but for the last two months or so, I’ve only added new blog posts 3 or 4 times a week. There is no excuse for it, maybe except that November and December were crazy work wise and that I chose to be with my family instead of sitting behind my computer during the holidays.

But – it’s a new year and a new start, and I can do it, so from now on you can expect one blog post a day from me.

My third and final new year’s resolution is to travel more and meet more people and to fill my life with happiness, and to get better at taking pictures and drawing. Okay, it sounds like many resolutions in one, but those things somehow belong together in my head and they would really make me happy.

What about you? Do you have any resolutions for 2015?





Happy New Year!

For all I know, my parents never celebrated New year’s eve. They had their traditions for this one day of the year when it came to food though.

Lunch consisted of a white wine soup with raisins and clouds of beat egg whites with sugar and dumplings made of wheat, yeast, milk and salt cooked in fat and served with sugar.

Dinner was potato salad and sausages. Always.

Apart from the traditional food December 31rst was the same as any other day, and my parents went to bed somewhere between 8 and 10. There was no party and no fire works. Ever.

For me New years eve doesn’t mean that much either. I’ve been to many parties and I’ve held many parties, but when I’m really honest, I prefer the last day of the year to be quiet and to reflect about the past year and think about the year to come instead of having a big party and lots of people around me.

This year I held New year’s eve with my daughters and my son in law and our housemate and some friends.

WP_20141230_15_10_48_Pro  WP_20141230_15_11_04_Pro

WP_20141230_15_10_40_Pro  Some of our fellow shoppers looked rather desperate

WP_20141230_15_16_39_Pro  We had to wait in line for a long time

WP_20141230_15_10_16_Pro  Still my girls had fun

We’d been out shopping at a local supermarket at the same time as several thousand other people, and we bought lots and lots of food and beer and champagne and wine and chips, and then we took down all the Christmas decorations and prepared for our party, and I even prepared a room in my new flat on  the first floor, from  where we were able to see all the fireworks in a nearby suburb of Aarhus, so we could sit and have a drink and enjoy the view.

WP_20141230_15_18_13_Pro  Our shopping cart

The girls prepared the food and we had an excellent dinner with three courses consisting of fish and seafood, beef and dessert.

WP_20141231_17_54_33_Pro  While we waited for our Queen

We also watched our Queens traditional New years speech and the traditional broadcast of the 90est birthday and we played some games.

WP_20141231_17_55_04_Pro She always makes her speech at 6 PM on  New year’s eve

WP_20141231_17_56_13_Pro  And her guard makes a special appearance

WP_20141231_18_13_41_Pro  I have no idea why her head disappeared on the photo

Then, when the fireworks were over and everybody else returned to the ground floor, I stayed up there in my new flat, and thought about what I want to do with the place, when I move into it.

It’s a big flat and the possibilities are plenty. One of them is to place a sofa bed under a window in the ceiling so I can look at the stars at night, and I really would like that.

I think I will go up and take pictures of how the flat looks now, and then I will keep you up to date about, what I’m doing to make the flat my own private place.

Now it’s half past two in the night, and I’ve returned to my (guest)room, while the party is still going on.

I think I will call it a night.

Have a good New Year’s eve and a great and prosperous new year!


So You Want to Be a Storyteller?

Great blog. I’m bookmarking it for later use.

Sam S. Mullins: a blog about anything

Really? Even if people won’t want to date you ever again for fear that you’ll one day talk about them on stage? You’re sure?

Okay. Welcome aboard.

Here’s a cheap glass of wine. Where we’re going, you’ll need it.

I’ve got to tell you – I think you’ve picked a great time to get into the story game. I mean, with the success of storytelling podcasts like The Moth, RISK!, Definitely Not the Opera, Snap Judgement and This American Life millions of people are now aware of the phenomenon of modern storytelling. Just about every city in North America now has a regular storytelling event, and there seems to be more opportunities for storytellers than ever before. For raconteurs like us, the getting has never been good-er.

But before you start speaking your heart into the crackly microphone at the local roti place’s storytelling event (at which no one is there to actually hear stories [they’re just there…

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