30 November 2006

cuddly company

Should I feel lonely working at home, I go find Filip's best friend - the polar bear Fimik! (The name was Filip + Samik, the name of Jakob's tiny polar bear baby...) He's such a personality :)
I found him reading a Greek (children's) book the other day...
Filip takes Fimik everywhere (except to school, where they're not allowed). They're very much like Christopher Robin and Pooh, walking down the stairs...
The other quads have got polar bears too. But theirs are still white, if you get my drift!
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28 November 2006

Norway on the map - again?!

And it's not even December 10th!*

Merujo told me Norway's the "Place of the Week" at National Geographic.

And Washington DC's celebrating Norwegian Christmas for the 10th time. And my Canadian friend R suddenly told me they eat lutefisk at Christmas. (No, they're not Norwegian Canadians..)

Is the world going Norwegian on me??

*When the Nobel Peace Prize is given out.

Hubby's little Christmas decoration workshop

Have I mentioned I've got a wonderful hubby? Here's some of what he and the kids made Sunday. (While I was busy cleaning the house, admittedly, but still - I'd never have volunteered for the workshop...)

Cute, right? Posted by Picasa

Literary Tuesday Tale

Who is your preferred author?
Preferred, it's hard to say.. There are several. But I haven't yet been disappointed by Lars Saabye Christensen or Terry Pratchett, and Shakespeare still sneaks in from time to time. So choose between them? Nah... You choose...

What genre do you prefer?
Anything that makes me laugh I think it's fair to say. Which includes all of the above... Fantasy fiction with a sense of humour (i.e. not Mr. Potter and friends..), or historical crime novels with a twist (i.e. not Da Vinci and friends..). Stuff with longwinded sentences and intelligent ideas behind the gibberish. Is that a genre?

Do you belong to a book club? If so, what is it named?
Well... Sort of. It's the New Yorker Fiction Club that I mentioned earlier. It's more of an online reading circle, actually - and it's not particularly crowded, so if you want to join, please do :)

What is your favourite all-time book?
I'm not saying it's the best book of all times. But it's the one I've read most times. (As an adult, that is. I did read The Secret Garden 10-12 times a year when I was younger!) It's Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - it's absolutely hilarious and very intelligent. Go read it now!

What did you like most about the book?
You're still here? I thought you went away to read Good Omens? Oh well, before you go then, know that these may be side effects of reading this book: Your cocoa will congeal while reading, any music you play in your car will turn into Queen (not so bad, is it?), if you see a pothole you will start looking for Tibetans and you will never again hear the words "grievous bodily harm" without sniggering. All of this in addition to you being curled up on the floor, laughing, of course.
After you've read it you can test yourself in it right here.

- If you want a Tuesday Tale, please help yourself :)

24 November 2006

What's this then..

You know, sometimes when things rhyme, they don't exactly rhyme...? Stuff like:

I love you dear
more than a bear


you are my sweetie
I'll say it in graffiti

(well, that last one sort of rhymes, but...)

What I need is the word for the kind of rhymes that don't really rhyme... In Norwegian it's "emergency rhyme" -- only it doesn't sound quite so ridiculous in Norwegian.. Anyone?

My favourite songwriter, Lars Lillo-Stenberg (Norwegian, you guessed it!) once said something like; "It's not necessarily [emergency rhyme] if it doesn't rhyme, as long as it fits the context - but if you have a perfect rhyme that's just thrown in there for the sake of rhyming, then you've got yourself an [emergency rhyme]."

(He'll have words like - and I freely translate - "sent her" rhyming with "centre", and would never just throw in an "abuse" to go with "accuse" if he feels "misuse" would be more accurate...)

So I might have got the definition wrong. But I'd still like the English word for it. And it's not too late (Claire...), the next edition isn't due before March. What you get in return? I'll have to think about that...

I know -- you get to write your own, almost-rhyming poems right here in the comment section!

23 November 2006

Funny quote of the day

Tommy Cooper said this, entering the stage in way too short & tight breeches (not that he was too big for them...):

- These are plus-threes. They used to be plus-fours, but they shrank!

Well, I laughed, anyway... (And how did you guess I've arrived at "p" in my current glossary?)

Several reasons to be happy - despite the torrential rain

Liverpool FC won last night's game against PSV Eindhoven, and is through to the final 16. (Porto also won their game, as I'm sure DevilMood has noticed...) And there is more - Chelski lost. Hah... And Man United lost! To Celtic!! And what does Celtic and Liverpool have in common? Actually, quite a lot - but also the "anthem" You'll never walk alone.

... Which - not incidentally - is also the ringtone of this, hubby's new phone!

That's the Kop singing on his phone as well... We're not pretend fans! ;)

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (Live At Wembley Stadium 1986)

This one is just amazing... I haven't seen it for ages, but it still gives me goosebumps all over! I watched every single second of
Live Aid - on telly, that is - and Queen's was by far the greatest performance! Freddie Mercury had the 72,000 people at Wembley stadium eating out of his hand... Tomorrow (Nov 24th) it's 15 years since he died.

And no, that thing in the middle is not cheating, it simply cannot be performed live..

22 November 2006

There's really no end...

This May I went to Berlin with my sister. We had such fun - so we've decided to go away again, and bring her youngest daughter... Not to Berlin this time, no - we're off to

My oldest niece is spending this year in San Francisco as an au pair, and we'll be staying with her.

My darling hubby has agreed I could go - even if it does leave him with everything for the entire week I'll be gone. Wait, he does all that anyway, doesn't he? What should I do in return?

(In case anyone noticed - we never did go to Liverpool in the autumn break. Silly national teams playing at the time and no Liverpool matches, so we stayed home...)

21 November 2006

'nother Tuesday tale

What is your fav summer memory?
My first, and most favourite summers - probably Hvaler, until I was 12 or so. We'd drive south from Svolvær every summer, 1500 kilometres (932 miles) to see family in Oslo, then onward - about 125 km (77 miles) to Hvaler. (That's right. It's actually closer to Sweden.) Spending a few, glorious weeks there, with our summer playmates, and I can't remember it ever rained... I had three boyfriends (no, not like that, male friends) that I used to hang out with, they were eachother's cousins and stayed in cabins close by. There were no roads - and obviously no cars - on the island. We'd either walk to the shop on the other end of the island, or row to the shop on the next island when we needed something. We had to get water from a well nearby, and the outhouse was really not somewhere you'd want to spend a lot of time in... Possibly it was more of a holiday for us kids than for our parents! I'd still really like to go back one day, to see how it really was.

Also, I didn't dislike that summer when I was going to England - I had time off from the end of term at the university of Oslo (April) until term started in England in October! And of course, my 4 months in Crete in 1994 I would never have wanted to miss... Actually, all the times I've been to Crete (12) are my favourites too! This one's from Chania, last year.

Do you still take a summer vacation?
How can anyone survive without one?? I realize in some countries holidays is hardly an option but yes - absoulutely, we take summer holidays. Besides - the kids' after school care is closed through July, so they've got to have holidays..

IF so..where will you go this year?
I'm going home. I'm taking hubby and the kids with me to Lofoten. I was there two years ago, for a school reunion - the family hasn't been there since 2003. We spent 18 days there - and there was sun every day and night. That just doesn't happen... But it did! So we're hoping it will happen again... We haven't decided yet if we fly to Bodø and go on by coastal steamer, or perhaps should go by car. Those 1500 kilometres may not amuse the kids, though...

What is your least fav summer memory?
Least fav? Can't say there's a lot about summer I don't like... Must be when living in Svolvær, those summers we didn't even get to take our woollies off the whole year -- but that wasn't often. And you can't really tell from this photo that the water holds about 5 degrees C (41 F), can you...

Describe today for me, I want to experience it with you.
You do? Well, then you're a little late to begin with... I got up at sixish, got washed and dressed before waking the kids up (unless they wake up by themselves). Around 7.15 we were out of the house, and off to school. I made sure the kids started eating their breakfasts (packed lunch) before I left and set off for the boat. (Most days I go home to start working, once a week I work in town.) I have my own breakfast onboard (packed lunch). Full working day at the office, including packed lunch for lunch and at 4.30... Off to Greek classes at 5, where my father and 3 others joined me in our wait for our Greek teacher. Noone should be surprised he was late, he's Greek ;) Then my dad drove me back to the boat (it's not really that far, but it was pouring down - and besides, it gives us some time to chat), and I arrived home in time to kiss the kids goodnight. Then I donned my oilskin jacket and wellies and went off to shop some food, and later I sat down at the computer (sic!).

Ah, the excitement of it all...

Incidentally, if you'd like to tell your Tuesday tale, you can find out how here.

20 November 2006

Who'da thunk it!

See me morph into Josh Hartnett

Create your own Celebrity Morph™ on MyHeritage.com

I know - it's very silly. But it was either him, Sally Field -- or George Clooney! I must have some really good genes...

Since you've asked...

The aforementioned "Norwegian toffee cheese" has nothing to do with cheddar. Or toffee, for that matter. It's a kind of goat cheese. Except some types haven't got goat's milk anymore... We usually call it "brown cheese", very inventive! No, I think - if you really want an explanation, go to THIS place. And I'll just mention briefly, in passing, that on average, every Norwegian eats 2 kilos (4 lbs) of this cheese every year. We eat 3-4 kilos a month in my family. Hubby rarely eats it, so that leaves about 7 kilos (?) each to the rest of us... Yummy :)

If you come over, I'll be serving waffles with brown cheese...

Oh, and the other invention? The paper clip. Really puts Norway on the map, that one ;)

Emotional Sunday night

Last night, as I was about to lullaby the quads (hubby had gone to football practice, and Jakob was having a bath), Anna said "today's M's birthday". M's a boy in her and Filip's class. Then Filip said "oh, I have an invitation!". My heart sank. Filip hasn't been to that many birthdays - for some reason the kids in his section of the kindergarten seemed not to celebrate that much, whereas the kids in Anna & Mathias' section seemed to always invite everyone. Unpedagogically, I said "perhaps the party was today!".

... In tears, Filip then scrambled through his rucksack. And true enough, an invitation. (In the plastic pocket especially made for messages, firmly attached to the inside of the rucksack. As the school had provided a different one - unattached - we hadn't checked this one.) Still sniffing, Filip stood by my side, the other quads on standby to comfort him. I opened the invitation and read "... on Tuesday, November 21st"! "It's TUESDAY!" I shouted -
and Filip broke down completely, but from relief, this time... He lay sobbing in my lap and the others petted his hair...

After that the lullabies were sung with quadruple force! And I could text M's mother to say yes, Filip would indeed be coming to the party...

17 November 2006

The other morning

Hubby had baked bread. It's called Greek bread - and even though I've never seen bread quite like it in Greece, it's still very good...I can't quite remember what the cupcakes were for......But it made for a good start of the day! Here, bread with "Norwegian toffee cheese" as it was dubbed in my local cheese shop when I lived in England. And milk. Always milk. (And the cheese slicer! Not to forget. One of Norway's TWO inventions to the world... Want to guess which is the other one?)
I just love the new camera's close-up function!

Oh well, time to start working... Posted by Picasa

Working from home - so I need you!

These homemade cars - could be any standard from three planks to proper replicas, but always without engine (other than the feet of the driver and / or helpers...) - have they got a name in English? Or do you buy all your cars at Toys'r'us...?

Incidentally, working on a long, alphabetical list, I reached words with "morning-" today. And as I browsed down I found myself wondering where the afternoon- and night- words were... What can I say? It's Friday...

Quote of the day (13)

"When the midnight sun is up, where is the other sun?"

Anonymous tourist, Lofoten

(Incidentally, this is not one of my photos. But the quote is still true...)

Fado (again)

I was just youtubing for fado - and this one, of Camané - in addition to being a good song (though a poor quality recording) - the guitarist at the back was the same one I saw in Lisbon! You can see him in this post :) I didn't know he was famous too..

16 November 2006

Online reading circle, anyone?

A friend just started this, an online reading circle, if you like. He writes:

Every week for the next ten weeks (through the end of January 2007) an excerpt of the weekly fiction and a link to the (free!) story will appear on The New York Fiction Club blog.

After you read the story, just hit the "Comment" button if you're feelin' it, and let it fly. Discussions are open. What worked for you about the story? What made it great? What prevented you from enjoying the story, what do you think would have been more effective? Did you like a particular detail, line, or passage? Did you find a character abhorrent or fascinating, did the storyline make you think of something that has happened to you? Let it all out.

- I started reading the first story, can't really continue during working hours, though, so I'll have to take the rest later... If anyone else wants to have a go, you're very welcome :)

15 November 2006

Google is spying on me. And you?

I'm not being paranoid. I'm being realistic and even taking notes.

I've got a gmail account, as well as most other things beginning in "g" that Google's come up with. But I've only recently started to notice how really well they know me.

Opening a mail about a concert - the right margin will fill up with advertisements on how to buy tickets for concerts, how to find concerts etc. I wrote about the coeliac disease in a mail - the margin showed me gluten-free recipes. I wrote about a card - the margin showed me where I could find e-cards. And so on and so forth...

I'm presuming it's a machine doing these things, not an actual person. (What a boring day they'd have, reading through my mails...) But still - what's a machine doing reading my mail? Is there no such thing as privacy? Or are we all such good friends (after all, you need an invitation to have a gmail address, don't you?) so we ought to share our mail content with the world?

J'aime Paris!

Last night hubby and I went out. Again! I know, twice in less than a month is totally irresponsible... But we were given these free cinema tickets by some friends for our 10th anniversary in May, and now had to use the tickets before the 6 month date.. Baby sitters came with the tickets - the same as last time (sitters, that is, not tickets). The kids were just as delirious with joy...

I met up with hubby after my Greek classes, and we went out for a meal. Never mix wine and beer, right? ... Hubby had a lamb filet and I chose chicken breast. The room you see is more or less the entire restaurant, except for the table we were sitting at.

And then... We went to the cinema. The only film I've been wanting to see (Borat's not here yet), is Little Miss Sunshine. Which of course wasn't running Mondays. So we searched, then randomly picked "Paris, Je t'aime". 18 short stories all featuring Paris, and some element of love, but with nothing in common except that. (It was showing in a tiny hall, we were seated at the very back (row 8...), right in front of the machine room - here captured before the film started rolling..)

Loved it. Absolutely loved it! If it's on anywhere near you - and you don't (can't see why you should!) for some reason hate Paris - go see it!

We've both been to Paris before - but never together.. We'll try that on our next weekend off!

This last one is actually from the film :)

14 November 2006

School Days

My, how time flies. It's Tuesday again! I feel another Tuesday Tale coming up...

Tell me about your favourite school
There weren't that many... I was at the same school from 1-9 (compulsory), and one from 10-12, before going to universities in Oslo and Guildford. But favourite? Oh yes, that would be the summer school at the university of Thessaloniki - way back in 1991!

Tell me about your first day of school
I can't say I actually remember it. Just look at the photo (that's me on the left) - it's a fair assumption to say I didn't have a clear thought in my head that day... I do remember the first day in 2nd grade, though. My best friend and I were strutting throught the streets after our first day, shouting "we're 2nd graders!" -- at least until some girl passing by casually remarked "I just started 3rd grade". Devastating...

Tell me about your favourite subject
I'm one of those geeks who actually quite liked school. I'd still be studying if I hadn't needed an income... Favourites? In primary school it was everything but PE and music.. Even maths! In lower secondary school I loved English, German and Essay writing in general. In upper secondary - apart from those few (few? Hah!) months every term I was quite fed up - I mostly liked English, French, Norwegian, linguistics and German, in that order. So, all in all, English seems to be the favourite. No surprises there...

Tell me about your favourite teacher
Definitely Mr. A, our form teacher in lower secondary school. We'd had the nicest lady teacher before - but she was almost too nice, and we were quite a wild bunch.. (As you can't actually see in this photo...) So at first we really hated Mr. A. He was extremely strict. He made us stand in line outside the classroom, in twos. He made us stand by the desks at the beginning of every class. If it was the first class of the day, we'd sing a psalm and say The Lord's Prayer. If it was later in the day, he'd read us a poem or two. Once or twice he made us run outside as soon as we'd come in, because the light on the sky was so amazing - or there was something extraordinary happening downtown. He called us by our last names, and we called him by his - I think I was an adult before I knew what his first name was...

Now, things may still be like this elsewhere, but to us, this was 19th century teaching. And no other teachers did anything like this. We didn't know they had surnames...

In our second year with him, Mr. A was growing on us. He did give us a lot of homework. He could be very harsh, if you didn't pay attention or was able to answer a - to him - very simple question. But he was always fair. And he knew everything. And was completely enthusiastic about teaching!

He tricked us into understanding how you can't actually trust everything you read. He lured us into liking poetry (well, some of us already did..). He showed us history wasn't at all dull. And his compassion for what was fair and just seemed to rub off on us. I'm not saying he turned us all into heros or anything, but he did make us all do the most of what we had.

Our third year with him we mostly spent wondering what we'd do without him next year... A handful from my class spent a 10th year at school (a non-compulsory half-working half-studying year) mostly because he was teaching it.

When I was a student, possible while I was doing ancient Greek, I stopped just thinking I ought to have written him a thank you letter, and actually did. On my visits back home after I moved away, I always stopped by the school to say hello to him. First time I brought hubby - then boyfriend - I stopped by to show him off. When Jakob was born and we went up north, we stopped by school as well. Mr. A beamed with satisfaction and said: "And now, Lord, You are releasing Your servant to depart in peace, according to Your word. For with my own eyes I have seen Your Salvation". Then laughed a little, partly because he wasn't really that religious, partly because he didn't actually believe Jakob to be the second coming, and partly because my dad's a minister and he didn't want to put his foot in it... But he did appreciate us coming to see him. When we introduced him to the quads later he was ever so pleased...

We had a 20 year reunion two years ago (yes, I'm an old woman), and Mr. A was there with us. One of the "rogues" in my class, a kind but rough guy, a manual worker who doesn't do a lot of reading, asked Mr. A if he could please, please read another poem... Yes, he was a special kind. When he passed away last year, the church was filled to the brim and beyond.

Tell me your favourite school memory
You mean except Mr. A...? I feel I'm a bit exhausted by school memories right now. (And so are you, I wager!) But I will say, in general, that learning is my favourite memory on the whole. Trite, but so be it!

13 November 2006

Quote of the day (11)

A friend came back from abroad with a pair of jeans that fitted her 13-year-old daughter so well, the daughter immediately & joyfully exclaimed (and pardon her language):

"F***ing **ll, mum, have you mugged up my a**e?"

Such a gift of the gab... And I didn't know she'd even been to Ireland!

(Hmm. Well, she didn't quite pronounce all those asterisks...)

Do to others...

The Hippocratic oath supposedly morally binds medically trained personnel to help in case of need. In America, I've been told on occasion, medics are more afraid afraid of being sued than actually having people die at their hands... (A doctor friend of mine, just after graduating, was sitting peacefully in a tram when the tram hit an old lady. And the call "are there any doctors present?" passed unnoticed until she realised she was just that... She was horrified she'd do something wrong, still felt she had to help. And yes, all went well!)

Some of our friends were in the States a few years back. Their son had an accident - two of his fingers almost came off - and they ran off to the nearest hospital. A private, luxurious thing... They carried their son in, pointed at his bleeding hand, whereupon the medical secretary's face went blank and she said "payment?" They produced their travel insurance, to no avail, this was a private hospital that didn't deal with this kind of paperwork, they were told... Then our friends produced that kind of accordion-like wallet with credit cards - theirs were all gold and platinum - and suddenly the blank left the secretary's face and she seemed to remember all about Hippocrates and his oath, and the boys' fingers were stitched back on... Oh, and later, this hospital called every hour the next few days to make sure he was alright. Or, make sure they weren't sued, rather...

We haven't quite come that far over here... So when a Norwegian was travelling in the States (quite) a few years back, he was walking the streets of Las Vegas on a particularly hot day, and an elderly woman fainted just in front of him, he didn't shun the area, as everyone else seemed to do. He took her to shelter from the sun, had an ambulance called, and as noone seemed to know her he kept visiting her while he was in the city. A little while later, she died (not from the fainting thing..). With no family and, seemingly, no friends, she left all she had to the kind Norwegian...

He now owns what's apparently the largest limousine company in Las Vegas. There are a lot of these companies. I don't know which is his.
But if you're Norwegian, at least, and going to Las Vegas - it may be worth checking out. He'll chauffeur you himself, for free!

And in the meantime - wherever you are - perhaps Hippocrates wasn't such a nitwit...

12 November 2006

Scholiast trivia

Visitor no. 12,000 came by the other day, and it turned out to be my old friend Timo, whose blog you will enjoy if you understand Norwegian... Here he is, though, 19 years ago, in a strikingly Norwegian pose on a gorgeous Easter day in the mountains!

And as trivia goes, my next post will be my 300th...

Note to self:

Next time Jakob gets the machine for conversation with his little msn-friends (most of whom live next door or thereabouts...), tell him exactly how to turn it off so you won't go two days without internet as a consequence of someone hitting random buttons.


Luckily, though, when the net had let me down, snail mail brought this lovely card from

09 November 2006


Remember I went to a Bo Kaspers Orkester concert?

Remember they're one of my favourite bands, and that the concert was excellent?

Well, I did a - very poor quality - video recording with my mobile phone. Added it to my youtube videos.

And yesterday someone commented on it. And not just anyone, but the guitarist who travels with BKO! He even added the thing to his favourites.

(If you heard a thud just there, that was me falling to the floor.)