Posted by: jeanne | June 17, 2017

iceland’s independence day

iceland was ruled by demark for many years, and while denmark was ruled by nazis the icelanders declared independence.  so there’s a national celebration of independence every year, and we just happened to be around for it.

the boys were overjoyed.  yesterday they set up the water slide on top of the ski jump, and this morning they moved in a bunch of bouncy houses and pavilions in the square at tjarnarborg, which we can see from the window.  so they were psyched.

we were surprised to find the grocery store open today, as it’s a national holiday, but so they were.  so the kids and i went down there to take advantage of the saturday 50% candy sale that happens every saturday.  except not here.  so we went to the gas station, where all the candy in the bins was half price, and the boys spent the 1,000 kronur note avery found on the ground a week ago, and had been saving since.  they thought it was the best day ever.

this morning i got a call from ida, who had a guest from seattle who is interested in taking an art residency here.   so i walked over there and gave her and her companion a tour of the town, peering in the windows of the residence, describing the spaces, telling her that there was nothing to do, no night life, nothing but nature.  she liked that.  so perhaps she’ll apply for next summer or this winter.  she runs a business and never gets time to do her art – she’s a jeweler.

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last night, jim and i went out and drew a troll face on some rocks opposite kaffi klara.

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we used chalk.  we were trying to decide on the design before jim has to go.  kaffi klara was having their weekly musical event, and there was a large tour bus parked in the vacant lot where the rocks are, so nobody saw us doing it.

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but last night it rained, hard, and this morning the rocks are clean again.  i think perhaps we shouldn’t try to paint these rocks, or something more bad might could happen.

and it did.  this evening, trying to warm up a cup of coffee in the microwave, something went zot and the fuse blew, and the microwave no longer works.  i guess that’s my definitive answer about painting on troll rocks.

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yesterday evening, before that, the boys and i went to the fish factory, where we might be allowed to paint a mural.  i needed to measure the wall (222’x10′), and the boys helped me.  the wall is not in good shape, and needs not only buffing, but repair, so maybe we won’t be able to do it.  after measuring, we went to the nearby playground for a few whiles.

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but never mind that now.  we’re talking about the celebrations in this post.  the boys went over to tjarnarbog to find out when things start.  2:30 for the bouncy houses, 4 for the water slide.

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by 2 there were people milling about, and we could hear music being played, so we wandered over there.  the sky was cloudy, and there was rain up the valley, but only sprinkles when we arrived.

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the moment the bouncy houses went up, they were full of kids, all three of them.

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with people standing around watching their kids, talking, listening to the music.

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and eating hotdogs.  they love their hotdogs, and so does connor, who has been bugging me for one for every meal.

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our illustrious mayor, left.  i want to make a troll mural using his likeness

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connor was so excited to find that one of the bouncy houses was a spiderman, and spent lots of time in them, while avery stood in line for the round spinny thing.

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all the kids stood in line for the round spinny thing.  and then it started to rain.  connor got behind the last kid you can see on the left, who stayed in line even when he got soaking wet from the rain.  he shivered and shook and finally yelled in his coldness, but never got out of the line.  avery is somewhere near the front of the line by this time, with his blue jacket on over a red striped hoodie which he pulled over his face, insisting he could see perfectly well.

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and then it was his turn (this is actually shot during his second trip to the front of the line, with connor doing his second trip, standing right behind him.  these were the die-hard kids who insisted on going around again even tho they were wet and cold, and the water slide had already opened for business and had tons of kids lining up on the platform.

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it had stopped raining at this point, and they were already taking the bouncy houses down.  i was surprised at how many kids wanted to play in the bouncy houses even while it was raining.  btw, connor only looks like he’s concerned.  in fact, he was very excited to be doing it again, and asked the guys if he could go faster this time.

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and avery was even more excited to be doing it again.  he insisted they go faster, and they were glad to comply.  i think the two guys running the contraption had just as much fun as the kids.

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it hurt just to watch them thrashing around inside the thing.

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and the sun came out and dried off everything, but 20 minutes later there was another shower.  in fact, it was 60 degrees this morning – hot – but after the first shower, it went back to 50 – more normal – and kept on being windy and chilly all day.

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so on we went to the water slide.  have i mentioned it’s the longest water slide in iceland?  the older kids and adults flew off the slide at the flip, and crashed back onto it halfway down the hill, then ran right off the end of the plastic and skidded onto the grass.  some of them were holding cellphones, taking selfies all the way down.  problem with that, of course, is that water tends to mess cellphones up, so i’m not sure what the point really was there.

there was a line; well, two lines, one halfway down for the younger kids.  at first connor waited up with avery at the top of the slide, but some adult went and fetched him down to the lower one, and he was very happy to go.  at some point they halted the flow of kids from the top of the slide and let all the kids waiting lower get on and launch off.

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connor absolutely loved it, and ran back up for another one without a word to me.

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when avery came down, it was the same thing.  absolute joy, and tearing back up the hill.

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they did this three or four times each, and the last time, connor walked back rather than running, but refused to stay down with me and wrap up in a towel, and insisted he wasn’t done yet.

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so i waited at the bottom for both of them, and when connor came down one last time, shivering, i made him stop, took his shirt off, wrapped him in the towel and then get into his jacket.  at this point he started crying with the cold.

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avery came down one last time, and i did the same with him.  i wrung out their shirts, carried their shoes and boots and the towels, and we walked back home as fast as we could hobble.

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the boys got into a nice hot back with all their cars and half of their legos, and only got out when i discovered the floor and walls were covered with water.  all their clothes got washed, and i made pizza from scratch.  they were so hungry they ate it with only a token complaint that i put spinach on it.  and because the spinach was covered with cheese and they couldn’t separate it out, they ate it.  even jim, who detests spinach.

grandma’s revenge.

and then the troll’s revenge, because the microwave blew up when he tried to reheat his coffee after dinner.  it blew a fuse on the way out, but even after resetting all the electrics, it still doesn’t work.

that’s how you know it’s trolls and elves bedeviling you.  it’s a matter of timing.  at home, whenever i knock into some piece of furniture that i shouldn’t hit on my way past, i stop to examine my thoughts, and realize that the elves have just thwacked me for some unseemly attitude.  and it’s the same here, but in spades.  when i thought it was all up to me, someone pushed me off my bike and i damaged my shoulder.  when i hit a bird doing dodgy maneuvers on the ring road, i blew out the muffler.  when i defaced a troll rock, my microwave blew up.

jim has been working on troll drawings all week, and now he’s got a deadline, because he and avery return home on friday, less than a week.  he’ll be working with our friend marie to design, scan and email troll drawings once he’s home, but right now we’ve got to get a couple of them on paper and ready to go.  so today he finished the design for ida’s kaffi klara.  we’ll show it to her tomorrow, and he’ll dash off the one we want to put on the wall of the junior college.

siggi and runa might be coming to pick up avery and jim and take them back to reykjavik by way of the westfjords.  but they might not, because it’s difficult to arrange to be away from their many birds, in which case i can send them back by bus thru the kjolur route, or by plane over the same ground.

at the moment – 11:30 at night, the birds are still singing, it’s still roughly sunset but not really, there are still passing showers, and the sky is clear over the valley, but dark and stormy looking out to sea, as the clouds come from the south (from the east coast of america, to be precise), bringing cumulus clouds and rain.

the good news is that my seedlings are coming up, and i may well have a salad crop to show for it.

undoubtedly there’ll be more to report tomorrow or the next day.  it’s the last few days with jim and avery, and perhaps we’ll have the weather to go up another hanging valley before they leave.  or not.  tomorrow jim will meet with anna kristin, ida’s daughter who is coming along very nicely with her art and is very receptive to anything jim might be able to teach her.  and i’ll be working with her once jim’s gone back home.  she doesn’t need much in the way of instruction, and she’s been learning from bergthor morthens, an excellent teacher.  but we can show her how to make her own paint, and certain other cost-cutting measures.

so off to bed now.  avery and connor spent their evening upstairs, with avery reading to connor, something i never thought i would see.  i love it when kids take up reading and discover the wonderful world of stories.  once avery’s gone, i have connor’s reading workbook to bring out.  perhaps by the end of the summer he’ll be able to read to himself.  two readers in the family; i’m blessed.

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