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.)