29 December 2005

St. Lucia celebration

I know, it was December 13th and not today. But I've only just worked out the audio file thing, right? Besides, it's kind of cute regardless. (Erh, it's in honour of St. Lucia, I guess, but the only content basically is to watch kids dress up in white, candlelights play a big part, and then some kind of yellowish buns, "lussekatter"...) We're not a catholic country and we haven't got saints, not really, but some have stuck anyway, it seems!
- This photo is so blurred, I thought I'd just put it in as it is... Besides - only two of these kids are mine :)

Anyway, our quads' kindergarten take pride in a St. Lucia parade every Dec 13th, in the morning before all the parents are off to work, and while it's still dark outside. The kids parade around the house while singing, and then light the outdoor Christmas tree while singing some more - actually the atmosphere is great! This year our Anna was St. Lucia herself (they draw lottery tickets among the oldest kids, very democratic!) - which means she was leading the parade together with the "star boy" with the coned star hat...

Then hark now hear Thomas singing the song of St. Lucia...

Christmas 2005

A quick tour of our Christmas - and thanks for all greetings!

Fortunately, you can't see their forced smiles...

What having five kids will do to a poor tree!

Gingerbread house ala Norvège...

Nativity scenes I and II:

The first one is in our living room. It has "real" people, angels etc. AND real sand and stones from Greece...

This year the kids wanted their own scene in the play room. We cleared out all books from a shelf, and luckily had an extra holy family. With a little imagination two neanderthals were made into shepherds, two giant sheep and ditto camel pose against the miniscule family, palm trees from a dinosaur world make the scene lifelike (together with more Greek sand and stones), whereas a pirate and a footballer make up a couple of wise men (isn't it ironic?!). (Only two wise men? Yeah, you know - when you've got to go, you've got to go...) The shelter is made out of cardboard - but then, a lot of shelters are, these days... See? The kids hardly even comment on the neanderthals' faces these days :)

All in all, a nice and quiet time has been had by everyone! (I know, such a shocking post...)

Jakob's joke of the day

There was a boy who could only say 'yes'.
At school he was asked 'do you want me to beat you up?' 'Yes' he answered. And got beaten. This happened every day. In the end he went to a special doctor and learned how to say 'no'.
Back in school the brutal kids said 'have you had enough?' 'No' came the answer...

Well, apparently he's over those crazy Swedes!

More tests - anyone please tell me if this works?

I've been working on this and apparently it's finally working!

My youngest son Filip practising his Greek...

(Oh, and the homepage this comes from is indeed mine, but it's brand new, so don't pay any attention to it, please... I'm working on that as well!)

Well, I tried putting an audio "player" right here, but it didn't work, obviously... But the above link works for me - anyone else?

26 December 2005

Christmas present!

I just have to tell you - for ages I had these cravings - but since this Christmas, I don't need to stare emptily on other people's iPods, I've got my own now! A proper U2 iPod! My hubby went all over town to track down one of the two latest copies over here... Possibly this is already last generation's iPod, but I've been wanting one for so long, and it is sooo pretty :) I'm filling it with music as we speak. What kind? U2, for a start...

I know, there are other things to Christmas than presents. We're enjoying a nice, long holidays with family and friends and even great weather. There were also sweet, homemade presents from all our kids. But this present was one I had never thought I'd have - the price equals the GNP of a small Eastern European nation...

I can't stop grinning!

Those crazy Swedes...

Yesterday my oldest son Jakob couldn't sleep. He told me he was thinking about that film made by those crazy Swedes. It was on ages ago, but made a deep impact on all the kids - and me. It was a cartoon, supposedly about Carl von Linné, the botanist, and he was telling this story to his grandchild:

A man loved a woman. It was unrequited, and his
sadness was watched by a nightingale. The man asked if he could dance with his
chosen one on the ball the next day? Not before you bring me a red rose, the
woman answered. The man was even more sorrowful - his garden held a few roses,
but no red ones this time of year. The nightingale was moved to tears, and
started singing as the man went to sleep. It sang so beautifully and for such a
long time that it woke the moon. The bird asked how could it find a red
rose? There was indeed a bush in the garden, but with no flowers.

The moon said - there was a way. But it was too
gruesome to reveal. The bird pleaded, and finally the moon told. The only way to
bring out a red rose - a way which the bird then proceeded to do - was that the
nightingale had to sing through the night, as beautiful and loud as ever, whilst
pressing its heart against the biggest thorn on the bush... Needless to say, the
next morning, with the final notes on its beak, and the moon only just visible,
the bird died.

The bush brought forth a beautiful, dark red

The man awoke, went outside, wondered for a second
about the dead bird, then concentrated on the beautiful flower. He ran to his
chosen one and produced the red rose.

She pushed him aside, stepped on the flower, went
back inside. The man went home.

My kids were left paralyzed on the couch, while von Linné's grandchild (obviously either lacking in empathy or used to this kind of stuff) jumped off his lap and went back to playing. Mine still remember this piece of "children's cartoon hour" with horror!

Now, I really don't need only happy endings for me - but for the kids, couldn't the bird's sacrifice at least have been for a purpose? Poor Jakob, cried himself to sleep...

17 December 2005

Now, there's this person...

This person said we're trying to raise our kids as robots. This person said we're way too strict and pick too much on our kids' behaviour. (Granted, we do tend to pick on their behaviour from time to time - and we'll continue. It's called guidance.)

This person managed to put in, in the same sentence (sic!), that our kids are amazing, warm, caring, and fun to be with. This person apparently saw no connection between this and our way of raising them. (As one friend put it - our kids are obviously ganging up at nights, when we think they're asleep, scheming on how to continue being nice despite their horrible parents.)

This person also said, back when told I was carrying quads, "will you be sad if one of them dies?"...

This person I have to meet up with on occasion. Anyone tell me how to behave like a decent human being next to this person? Admittedly, this person also has other sides, but this side shines through regardless...

13 December 2005

Visitor no. 2,000!

Stopped by at 21:23:59 tonight. While I was out shopping for Christmas... Came "from / via Oslo, ISP Halogaland kraft". Spent a full 18 seconds reading my blog... Anyone feel they'd like to share with us who this might be? And if we can't make it out - visitors no. 1,999 - Riannan and no. 2,001 - Siljemor may share the position... Anyways, you're all very welcome, no matter what number you are, of course!

"I may sit in a corner and cry hey-ho for a husband..." Shakespeare wrote --- but even though I'm sitting in a corner (here), at least I don't have to cry out for bluddies! You're too kind, really, all of you...


This came in the post the other day. A present from Greece! Chloe has made me a CD with Greek music (ρεμπέτικα και λαικά) - just because I like it so much! Thank you, sweetie :) She even sent this magazine for me to practise my Greek... Ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ!

I can't really recommend Norwegian folk music to you, but I'll see if I can't think of something else... I'm very happy about this! So considerate of you!

Bluddies are real, that's for sure.

Hannibal update!

Remember this? Well, he's out... Released from prison and psychiatric ward. And he's been to the office... He's ever so grateful his lawyer got him out! Whereas in fact it was an obviously .... intern who considered him WELL (not even slightly in need of supervision...) and had him released.All I could think of while he was here, was how he had said "I will not take a bite of your cheek. But if I do..." And I thought about how much I appreciate not living in the city...

12 December 2005

Hint for Chloe -

Visitor no. 2,000 seems to be coming my way. Within the next 24 hours. Or so...

08 December 2005

Quote Quiz

Who do you think said (or wrote, as it were):

a) It is only the intellectually lost who can argue

b) Love me? Why, it must be requited!

c) Satire is a kind of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's faces but their own

d) I suddenly had this rummy sensation, as if all my bones had been substituted by spaghetti

e) In love as in sport, the amateur status must be strictly maintained

Qualified guesses are as welcome as any others... The winner will get to host next round in this quiz :)

You're such an illiterate bunch... Now, if I tell you Graves, Shakespeare, Swift, Wilde and Wodehouse, can you finish the puzzle?

07 December 2005

Quote of the day (7)

"Follow me! I'm right behind you!"

Mountain guide

Best math exam ever!

05 December 2005

A true story. Two, in fact.

Mrs. B is visiting Mrs. H, her neighbour. Mrs. H is running a bath for one of her kids. Suddenly the tap (i.e. faucet, American speakers...) breaks off, and water splurts in all directions.

Panicked, the two women run around collecting towels and rugs to put around the bath to stop the incessant torrent. To no avail - the water runs out very quickly, and the bath is already full. Mrs. B decides to go (run!) and get her husband.

Mr. B comes over. Takes in the scene, the wet towels and the panicking women - who are shouting: "what are we going to do?!" Mr. B looks into the bath, then calmly suggests: "well, let's start by pulling out the stopper"...


I guess this was only slightly less embarrassing than what
Mira Craig did last night... She was support for The Fugees who played Oslo last night. Feeling that she was doing a great gig she decided for a spectacular exit - and stagedived. The audience politely stepped aside. She broke one kneecap and hurt the other one. But her ego was hurt the most...

04 December 2005

Reasons to be proud of being Greek

(A friend sent me this. Reasons why I must be allowed to believe that I was Greek in a previous life, even though I don't believe in reincarnation...)

* Because we are European Champions in Soccer
* Because we are European Champions in Basketball
* Because Paparizou (singer) made us Eurovision Champions
* Because we buy whole watermelons and not in slices
* Because we buy whole lambs and not in pieces
* Because when we buy feta we buy at least a kilo and not 150 gr.
* Because nights in Greece finish in the morning
* Because we take our coffee slowly and not in "shots"
* Because flirting is our national hobby
* Because we are world champions in sex
* Because we always moan about the public sector and everyone seeks to get a job in it
* Because we go out almost every night even if we are penniless
* Because we know how to spend better than we know how to save
* Because we never visit others empty-handed
* Because there is no way to explain to foreigners what "kapsoura" is...(burning desire for someone)
* Because to Greeks, family is still something valuable
* Because we do not share the cost of petrol with those we take in our cars
* Because we always make it, albeit in the last moment
* Because for the sake of a woman we would wage war for 10 years (Trojan war)
* Because we are everywhere around the planet
* Because we love and hate with passion
* Because the word "filotimo" (a synonym of honour, helping someone because it is the right thing to do) doesn't exist in any other language
* Because whenever foreigners cannot find a word, they bloody steal one of ours
* Because we spend our bad and low times with our friends and family, not with therapists and counsellors
* Because Socrates, Pluto, and Aristotle were Greek and we still quote from them
* Because we invented theatre
* Because we gave birth to Democracy
* Because we discovered logic
* Because we jumpstarted science
* Because we are proud of our culture, not of our wars
* Because when others were discovering meat, we already had cholesterol
* Because when we were building the Parthenon, the others were still sleeping under trees
* Because when others created wars, we created Games to stop wars
* Because we have a distinction between Eros (falling in love) & Agapi (innocent love), while we feel both passionately
* Because we don't use ketchup or mayonnaise with our food - it tastes damn good anyway!
* Because we tossed our ancient alphabet to the Romans and our Medieval alphabet to the Slavs
* Because we get angry quickly but forget all about it even quicker
* Because we are not ashamed to cry
* Because we dance when we are sad and party when we are happy
* Because we work to live and we do not live to work
* Because 97% of the stars' names are Greek
* Because we always talk about getting on a diet after we had our meal
* Because a woman with a big arse is just as sexy as the woman with a small one
* Because although we know danger well, we dare
* Because when you shout "brother" in the streets, everyone turns around
* Because "Greeks do not fight like heroes, heroes fight like Greeks" (Winston Churchill, 1941) * Because we speak loudly and laugh even louder!!!

And because Greece is such a beautiful country, of course!

Ding dong merrily and all that

Yeah for the approaching holiday season.

Though I'm all for holidays - and my job's closed for a week at Christmas, so I do get time off - I'm not all for festivity mood too early. But I try.

So last week I went to a Christmas concert. Actually, I was given the ticket, and went there with a friend, and it wasn't too Christmassy anyway, so I must admit I quite enjoyed it. And although this photo shows practically nothing of the grand building the concert was held in, nor does it really do any of the artists a favour (nor my camera, for that matter) - it proves I was there... (Who else would have taken such a low quality photo?)

Then, come December 1st, the Advent Calendar comes down from the attic. I bought it once, to sew to my hubby, 'cause he really loves Christmas. Ι got as far as the two beams on the left, then I left it for a few years... Finally I more or less pushed it on my dad's wife, and she finished it in time for last Christmas. And now it's b
ack up. With presents. For all the kids. But not for all days... We tried the one kid a day-trick, but the other 4 objected vehemently. So now it's the 5 kids every 3rd day or so-approach, which is a lot smoother... Still leaves us with around 80 parcels of "something small and inexpensive" that we have to think of, buy and wrap BEFORE Christmas (AND there is Jakob's birthday coming up), but hey, Christmas is only two months or so every year...

Today my dad & his wife came over for the traditional Christmas baking with the kids. Earlier, Jakob and I have been at their house to make Christmas cookies, but now the quads are old enough to join in, and their place is too small for all of us, so we moved the activities here. As you can see below, we made quite a few gingerbread men. And women. And lions, giraffes, hearts, moons, elephants, angels and whatnots... And way too many of them are decorated with way too much Smarties on them. Too many because we really prefer eating those without... But it's fun decorating, right?

And apart from the unavoidable conversation (eh, monologue) "you really should raise your kids like this, as opposed to the way you're doing it" followed by my traditional 15 minutes locked away in a room wiping my eyes, it all went rather well, I thought...

At least Filip, as he was pulling on his pyjamas, concluded: this was the most fun day ever!

As long as the kids are happy...

01 December 2005

Another historic moment...

6 AM. I get up after 6 hours sleep. But hey, that's more than usual. And I've only been up twice with two of the boys. The world is white, and it's still snowing. The kids'll love it.

7 AM. I'm handing out toothbrushs so the kids can do their thing while I'm packing their rucksacks and extra clothes in the car.

7.30 The kids are packed in the car. All seatbelts have been fastened. We're ready to go.

7.31 The car doesn't start.

7.32 The car still doesn't start.

7.33 Wondering whether screaming or crying will do the trick. Opt for neither.

7.34 Car still doesn't start! More wailing and gnashing of teeth.

7.35 I pour the kids out of the car. Try to ignore the steadily falling snow. I go back inside, locate reflectors for all, it's still pitch dark.

7.50 Off we go! Walk, that is. Hand in hand in hand in ...

8.06 Enter school. We see Jakob off to his classroom (classes start at 8.30, still time for breakfast!), say goodbye and move on.

8.15 Enter kindergarten! Make sure they're all there, and so's all their gear. More goodbyes.

8.40 On the boat. Breakfast!
9.25 Finally at work. I shake off the snow, change out of my (now) drenched snow boots and make a quiet cup of cocoa. Things can only get better...

(I pass the Storting every morning. Here's how it looks when it snows.)

30 November 2005


Just watched this film, so I thought it fair to tell you this much about me:

Which John Cusack Are You?
- Stuck in the past? Was that why I studied Ancient Greek, Latin, Graeco-Roman Civilisation, Middle English et al? I'd never have guessed...
- and the record collection (CD's and LP's!) is sorted alphabetically & chronologically, of course! As are the books...

28 November 2005

The single most boring pastime of our day and age

Every night, Sunday through Thursday, we have to make packed lunches for our kids. Lunches AND breakfasts, that is...


First you slice up an entire loaf of bread (ok, 4 slices are for me, but still).

Then you set up the lunch boxes, the spread, and take a deep breath...

There! Only takes about 11 minutes altogether, but ooooh, it is so boring... (Which is why my hubby does this most nights - he's a true saint...)

For the linguists among you - the sheets of paper are called (literally:) "inbetweenlayingpaper", it matches the slices in size, and for some reason I've never found it anywhere but in Scandinavia...

All set... 16 slices ready for destruction by tiny jaws for breakfast and lunch tomorrow!

But I dare you to find a more boring chore than this... Anyone - Chloe, Rarity?

My knight in shining armour (II)

There are more of them out there!

Sam was kind enough to reach out and help this damsel in distress... I had a translation to do, and even though I have a degree in translation and used to do this all the time, Sam's paedagogical hints on subtle differences made my day :)

And certainly will make my boss' tomorrow...

26 November 2005

I'm so grateful this is where I grew up!

(These aren't postcards, some have been taken by my mum, some by me. And incidentally, our house is not in any of the pictures!)

Just thought I'd mention that you can see the view from Svolvaer harbour live on webcam here http://www.lofotposten.no/webkamera/. The top photo, that is - the other one's from further west (not my area..)

Play house

When I was young, free and single, I sometimes used to babysit for my friends. Or their kids, rather.

For one family in particular, I used to love coming to babysit their kids. Whether it be their firstborn, in their tiny student flat - or later, babysitting all three lovely girls in their terraced house, not far from where we're currently living. (These kids now babysit mine. A win-win situation! Here they are, admiring our firstborn, New Year's Eve almost 8 years ago...)

When the kids were tucked away in bed (and I'd finished reading an entire book and singing all the lullabies I knew), I'd play house... I'd pretend it was my house, my kids, and - more often than not - my mess. I didn't really bother about the mess I left around my own place, but these nights I'd tidy as if my life depended on it. Fold clothes, clear away all toys, put all books back in their shelves, do the dishes, vacuum the floor... Needless to say, my friends didn't mind having me over!

The thing is, though, I'm still at it. Playing house, that is. Because if I tidy & clean around here (mainly after being urged by my sweet hubby, who's a much better housewife than I am - without becoming a housewoman, I hasten to add!) - I mean really bring the house to shine - I feel like I've done a great part in a play, or performed well in some avantgarde theatre.

I feel I may not be taking housekeeping seriously! To think I should be doing this, voluntarily, without even considering doing such unhousely things as blogging first, on a daily basis, worries me. A little. If I think about it... I play "let's wear blinders/blinkers* and not see the mess" rather better than "let's do the chores first and then, if time permits, do other, not quite so necessary business, like blogging", I'm afraid...

*British and American. As they say, two (more!) nations divided by a common language...

23 November 2005

My knight in shining armour

I was 25. I went to a concert with my favourite band de Lillos. It was an 'all ages' show - but the bar was open on the balcony, which meant 18 years age limit upstairs. That's where I was with my friends.

Just before the concert I'd won a competition at a local radio station, and I went downstairs to collect the prize. One André, devilishly handsome radio dj, met me there and handed over my specially designed - and signed - LP... I turned to go back upstairs.

"ID?" the bouncer said. "ID?! I'm 25!!!" [Possibly I should have been flattered, but I was irate - the band was about to enter the stage and I needed to be where I could see them!] "Yeah, right..." "Really, I am! Look, my jacket with my ID is upstairs with my friends, just let me go up and..." "That's what they all say! Sorry, you've gotta stay here!"

Out of the mists of the crowd stepped André. He wasn't just gorgeous, he was also 6'4''. He put his arm around me. Looked down on the bouncer and said "she's with me." No more questions asked, André and I walked with ease up the stairs...

Of course, he let go of me up there and I haven't seen him since.
Of course, I was fully entitled to go upstairs anyway, I was over 18 and did have my ID up there.
Of course, I dreamt about my knight in shining armour for weeks, even though some sisters thought it was a condescending approach.

Oh no. Not condescending. I felt like a wee princess at his arms :) First time and last!

20 November 2005

A grand day out

Yesterday the quads were supposed to have been to a birthday party. Meanwhile Jakob and my hubby were going to town for a while, thus escaping the "kiddy party" and even possibly locate a long-wanted Pokemon character...

Well, Friday night we heard the birthday girl was ill, and the birthday postponed one week. There was disappointment. Not least on Jakob's side, who thought this would cancel his trip too.

Like the good parents we are (erh, try to be), we decided we'd take the whole bunch to town. Bus and boat trip exotic as it is, and yeah, why not - go to the cinema! The quads (now 5) had never even been there before!

So we booked tickets to see Lady and the Tramp. (A couple of our kids shutter at Chip'n'Dale stories, which rules out quite a lot of films... Besides, there weren't that many films on at two o'clock.) (Jakob hadn't been too pleased with the selection of film - and clearly stated so both before, during and after... But he'd been to the cinema several times before and wasn't given a say.)

Bus ride went ok. Boat ride too, although the packed lunch they were supposed to eat while we were there was only halfway eaten..

In town we rushed into the Pokemon place. Too much choice is not necessarily a good thing. For the next 10 minutes there was bickering beyond belief. Finally they all managed to select one. Onwards to the cinema. Lots of commotion, lots of kids, lots of excitement! No, noone needed to go to the bathroom. Well into our seats, commercial begins, after 20 minutes of this they begin asking whether this was it?

And 20 minutes into the film - was it going to finish soon? Then, 2 minutes later, "bathroom!"...

Finally, the film finished. "The happy family" moved on to McD (I know, but it's simple, close to the boat, and inexpensive for a family of 7! Wait, here I could have used the word "cheap"..) A million others were there. The kids were also frantic, because staying here to eat would mean miss out on the children's programme (every night at 6 PM on the state channel). We decided to shop and eat on the boat. (Some never learn..)

While I was queing up at McD, my hubby took the kids to the playground. And when I finally emerged, he was running around after them around the quay area - everywhere but in the playground. We pushed our way to the largest table on the boat, started eating. Or, my hubby and I started eating, Jakob and Anna too, after the initial "oh, look at this other boat" etc. The others, while eating meatballs, meatloaf, homemade burgers, whatever similar stuff there is - would NOT have this. Only a bite. Or two. By force. Accompanied by grimacing.

Add to the entire day LOUD VOICES. REALLY LOUD VOICES x 5. (Ok, sometimes x 7...)

Oh - and did I forget to mention that on our way home, just after getting off the bus, Thomas lost his precious (pun intended!) Raichu Pokemon...? And did a thorough job at it as well. After having clung to it throughout the whole day, he finally dropped it. Right down in a, whateverit'scalledlet'ssee; "manhole cover?"! The kind with a grid. Needless to say, his grief was as deep as the manhole.

- The next time a birthday is cancelled, we'll just place them all in front of the VCR/DVD machine..

Forbidden to fall!

I'll be a good girl and go to bed before it's too early (in the morning)...

But I'll leave you with this -

I went to see a friend in Rome last spring, and although we did all the touristy things, I didn't take a lot of photos. Going through the Sixtine chapel, this one by the exit was the one I just had to preserve... Michaelangelo must be turning in his grave.

17 November 2005

It's a start :)

The brown was kind of getting to me, I was beginning to feel claustrophobic... So by the help of the huge big book on HTML that
Rarity was kind enough to give me for my birthday, I've changed it to a way too bright blue! At least you can't say it's not different..

This is already my favourite book!

15 November 2005


This is my great, great grandfather's English-Norwegian dictionary. It was printed in 1853, he died in 1901, and from the look of it, he was using it on a daily basis! He's been making notes on almost every page, adding expressions and translations - in neat, tiny hand writing - by quill, of course :)

Inspired by this, I checked a little more on his background. I already knew he was the "father" of Norwegian modern criminal law, and Norway's first Attorney-General. It turned out he was also chairman of the Nobel committee until he died, thus nominating the peace prize to Henry Dunant.

I really must go out and get another degree...

14 November 2005

Fun(!) exercise

This will work wonders for your abs;

1) Shop at your nearest grocery store (NOT by car)
2) Take the trolley home with you (this is worth pledging your Union card for, students)
3) Empty the goods into your dwelling
(2 and 3 may provide exercise in itself!)
4) Take the trolley back - like this:

Jump up and land, belly down, on the handlebars. This may hurt even people of my stature, so you'll need to press your abs against the handlebars, and hold on to the rails as far to the front of the trolley as you can. Then you kick off and roll! The whole way to the shop. If it's all downhill, like it is for me, it's like rollerskating only less controllable and possibly less stylish...

This, by the way, will also give any spectator fab abs - they'll be laughing all the way home...

Now, depending on what groceries you bought and / or who devours them, this will easily outshine any old spinning or aerobics class! Yes, I have tried. (The trolley thing, that is...)

11 November 2005

Psycho revisited

"I won't take a bite of your cheek. But if I do, I will swallow. Thus speaketh the lord."

This is not an exerpt of a new Hannibal movie. And it's not the first sentence marking a new religion (although some people might find it intriguing...), as far as I know..

What it is, is a phrase spoken by a client "of ours" (i.e. one of the lawyers I work with), when visited in prison this morning. To make things really cozy, they were locked in a security visiting room, two storeys under ground level. "My" lawyer is a tough cookie, but after about 45 minutes of this she thought it best to leave. He'd come to the point he wasn't quite sure whether he was God or Jesus...

This is another reason I'm glad I'm only an office clerk!

On the bright side, though, he started the whole seance by taking his shirt off and "revealing" to her why he wanted her to bring a bra, C cup. The joys of bipolarity...

- I may have forgotten to mention that the visiting room, albeit in a high security prison, is a locked-up room with only a table and two chairs. Nothing to separate Hannibal from his prey, as it was... Still want to have a go at it, Sam?

10 November 2005

No surprises

Whereas certain blogs have 200,000 hits and are still going strong, I've been waiting for hit no. 1,000... (There may have been the odd hit before I had Statcounter installed, but that was probably just me...)

And yesterday, just before I left work, I could see no. 1,000 had just visited! Hurray!

So who was it? *drumroll* no kidding... Rarity, the recent winner of a one-of-a-kind T shirt as visitor no. 200,000, was - of course - my visitor no. 1,000! (And it's not even counting for you to see, so it's not as if she could have planned this...)

I'm digressing... Congratulations! You're the winner of -- erh, fame & glory & pround mention here... And please, while you're at it, would you hand in a lottery ticket in my

08 November 2005

Kids games

I found this "test" over here and it seems my Inner Child has been inspired by my children...

Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child. Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.

I think it's true, too. I never tire of learning :)

06 November 2005


I really did spend time on a Harley :) This, as you can see, was taken in the seclusion of some valley (Θέρισσο, just outside Χανιά...) where I was free to grin madly!

(Yes, I did scan these from an album page, hence the other wheel in the upper corner...)

Here you can also see the proud owner of the awesome bike. I asked, and he didn't mind being published, so I lost the blindfold...

Nice view, huh?

November Nitwit

Now it's official... D'you remember I was going on about how my faxscannerxeroxprinter stopped functioning after some serious vacuum cleaning? Well, I finally got hold of our computer wiz. He asked if I'd checked all the chords. Naturally, I said, first thing I did! Only, possibly I left out checking every part of the machine. And possibly, I didn't notice that there was indeed a slot for a power chord... Not only possibly, but quite certainly, our computer wiz performed a magical exposure of Looking Dignified on a Harley, as he didn't blurt out laughing, merely apologized for having been out of reach for a few days...

Ouch. The truth hurts (- no offence, Lisa!). I'm November Nitwit, that's all there is to it!

Only consolation is, maybe one of you'll be December Doofus??

Quote of the day (6):

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast."

Oscar Wilde

04 November 2005

Looking dignified on a Harley

Door bell at work, this afternoon: "I'm the Polish interpreter" "Ok" I said, and let him in. A few minutes later I was looking at a, to me, very un-Polish & un-Norwegian looking, black bloke. Now, even though we're pretending to be modern and international over here, most natives are still blond. This fellow, though, spoke Polish fluently and Norwegian with a slight accent.

The lawyer who'd requested his help was totally flabbergasted, and said: "do you really speak Polish?" To which his new friend replied "do you really speak Norwegian?" Our Norwegian-Pakistani lawyer grinned. Need I say there was general good humour all around...

Meanwhile, during all of this, I didn't bat an eyelid. I've been trained to look dignified on a Harley.

Many years ago I spent four months in Crete (Greece!). Apart from every other blessing living in paradise, I also made some new friends. One was an Englishman who had settled in Chania, working as an English teacher. I can tell you largely about his many wonderful qualities later... But he was also the owner of a Harley Davidson.

I have no idea why, I'd never even met anyone with a Harley before, but I just love them. Not perhaps the extreme type where you lie backwards, and the front wheel enters one town while the pillion rider's still in the last... But his was a Low Rider Convertible, and it was - Perfect. The back seat was like a comfy chair :) (I would of course post pictures of me on this bike, if only our scanner would fix itself... His bike was exactly like this one, though.)

We spent days travelling around Western Crete, visiting remote villages and secluded beaches. There is no end to where you can travel on a Harley! We got lost and were invited in for wine and biscuits (Greek philoxenia is not just a myth). We were running out of village. Frequently.

And most of the time I was grinning like a madman, enjoying myself beyond sanity! Even in the remotest mountain village, people would nod appreciatively, and even old black-clad widows would put their knitwork aside and come out to study the "Xhhxarley Dayvitson"... I was beaming with pride!

Then The Englishman told me my grinning wasn't quite in style with the Harley... I agreed. So I practiced looking dignified on a Harley. I would get on or off the bike with a suave, world-tired look, as if this was an everyday experience and frankly, quite boring. (Then I'd run around a corner and GRIN for an hour until I could wear a straight face again...) We enjoyed ourselves immensely, managing to scream with laughter on the inside while still looking bored...

This lesson has proved valuable many times later in life. Like this afternoon at work! (See? There was a point to all this.)

"Looking dignified with a quad pram" went like a breeze... The pram looked like a small fleet, and attracted a great deal of attention. But we were unimpressed... The crowd would be talking - rather loudly - about how the babies could possibly all be the same age etc, and we'd always pretend not to hear them. (My hubby turned out to be a natural dignified-looker!)

"Looking dignified with a prominent client" - piece of cake! Bring on the celebrity drunk-driving clients, I'd lead them to their lawyers without even letting off that I recognised them. And bring their coffee without spilling any - not even mentioning autographs :)

There's just a little Grace Kelly in us all...

29 October 2005

Train of birthday thoughts

My birthday's coming up, so I thought about other birthdays I've had. Quite a few, my birth certificate tells me, but I can only remember a few of them, so I should be ok...

The first one I remember is my 12th or 13th birthday (see? I can't even remember which one..). My sister was in the States as an exchange student, and called home to congratulate me. I didn't come to the phone because "I didn't know what to talk to her about"! The first and last time in my life I kept my silence...

Then I remember my 16th, I spent most of it outdoors with a couple of friends, fighting our way through the sleet (on the ground and falling from the air...), tossing the odd snowball at passers-by, and not doing anything worth mentioning, really. Why we were out there I'm not sure, but even if I weren't enjoying it particularly at the time, it's one of the few I remember...

My 18th birthday my friends came round and had cake and all, while I was hacking away one the last many pages of a dissertation that was due the next day... Oh, and they gave me a teddy bear that I've still got - that is, I donated it to the kids (super kind).

No. 23 (will this never end, you say, is she now 75? But not quite...) I had a whole lot of people over, I think everyone were having a grand time. But me. I was rushing around making sure everybody was happy, had plenty to eat and drink and generally cleaning up. Hmmrphf.

When I turned 24 my flatmate, Børge, arranged the whole party in our flat - he cooked, served, cleaned, etc. and made me look good to my friends (amongst them, Rarity). I loved him for it - still do!

At 30, my hubby managed to arrange for a surprise party - about 20 family and friends were there when I got home from town! Excellent work... And when our then 11 month old Jakob spilled all his food on my (only!) dress, I was told to open one of the parcels that contained - you guessed it! - a new dress... Was Jakob in on it all along?

Now, I'll stop right there. Never trust a woman who tells you her age, she'll tell you anything! Oh, and I'll be 37 next...

Armaedes had a list of horrible things happening to him on his every birthday! Hopefully others have had more pleasant celebrations most years...

28 October 2005

Viking blood?

With the snow falling a few days ago, and Rarity's post on Norwegian hostile winter behaviour (and not least her commentators' reactions!), I started thinking why we're really like this. I mean - winter, who's it for?

Ok, give me a sunny, still winter's day, with around -5 C (I haven't got any idea what that'd be in F...), and bright, white snow all around, I can handle that. Sure, it's beautiful, picturesque and all that, and I know how to dress for it... But it's rarely like that, isn't it. There's Sleet, Slush, Ice and their cousin. And I loathe it. (Having to dress 5 kids to go out in it every morning has not, funnily enough, changed that attitude.)

Hey, I even grew up north of the Arctic Circle, you'd think I'd wallow in degrees below freezing point!

Admittedly, some people do. Like my cousin - she lives further north than were we grew up, and they may have snow from October to May! So where do they go for summer holidays? Their destinations vary. It's Canada (read: northernmost areas), Greenland (sic!), the Alps and other Norwegian mountains that are covered in snow all year round... But always, of course, skiing holidays. They must be "realler" Norwegians than me, who prefer a beach in Greece any day...

Can you imagine the vikings, on their way to some joyful pillaging and raping and what not, would stop because of a few snowflakes? And say, no, it's getting a tad chilly, let's go back to our cozy huts and wives and ...

There wouldn't be that many blond Irishmen around if they had, now, would it? ...

Reading and goosebumps

Yesterday I finished The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I'd been meaning to read it since forever, and finally got 'round to it.

I read the last part on the boat going to work in the morning. There was a passage towards the end - when reading it, I got goosebumps all over! I've never experienced that when reading before. (Listening to music, that's another story, I do it all the time. I can put on a certain song or musical piece, and I know exactly when to watch the little hairs on my arms starting to lift..)

In case some of you haven't read it yet I won't say anything about the plot.. I'll just mention that I didn't think it was quite as awesome or unique as it has been made out to be.
But for the feeling it gave me for a little while - totally worth the read!

26 October 2005

A truly, deeply, madly accurate test...

"Your subconscious mind is driven most by Kindness.

This means you have a deep desire to be kind and fair to others. You may even be preoccupied with finding kindness in the world around you, far more than you realize on a conscious level. It is possible that the underlying reason you seek kindness in the world around you, is that you fear cruelty, the opposite of kindness. That could drive you to unconsciously project kindness wherever possible into your world. Regardless of its origin, your steadfast adherence to being kind to others is felt by people you are close to. You are probably more susceptible than others to being overwhelmed by emotions — both yours and others'. It is possible that your unusually empathic nature is a result of your natural sensitivity to others' pain, and your desire to help them avoid it. For this reason, things might affect you more than they affect your friends and family. To protect yourself from too much emotional intensity, you might want to keep an eye out so you can recognize it when it starts. That will allow you to slow things down until you feel grounded again. Overall, your strong orientation towards kindness gives you an optimistic nature, which translates into you seeing the best in the people around you. Because you're not one to be overly judgmental, others may seek out your company when they need a friend to talk to. People close to you likely know that you care deeply about the inner lives of others and can listen to what they have to say without imposing your views on them.
Though your unconscious mind is driven most strongly by Kindness, there is much more to who you are at your core."

Right. Well, it must be true, such thorough questioning and all... (Actually, it's not completely off the mark. I guess I'm just easy to read.)

Thanks, Sam :)

Name dropping

Be careful what you name your child, especially if you ever travel outside your country... The following Norwegian names (and stories) are true:

My second year in England one of the other Norwegian students introduced himself as "Bent. Both ways". And he was... As was the couple Odd and Even - such a shame they broke up!

Three friends travelling together in the US were Baard, Are and Arnt. You guessed it - pronounced 'bored', 'are' and "aren't" - and noone believed them...

Njaal was also travelling. Now, his name is supposed to go something like Nyawl (with a 'ya'-sound like in yacht, and to rhyme with haul). When he travelled in South America, people really tried to pronounce his name. It would end up like 'Nord' or 'Neil' or something, but at least they gave it their best effort. When he introduced himself travelling the States, people simply said - "that's alright, we'll just call you Bob"!

So, if anyone wondered why our kids have solid Greek names (albeit also common in Norway and England), now you know!