31 May 2006

Mr. Comic Messiah himself

Now, as you guessed / found out - I went to see John Cleese yesterday. Yes! The one and only!! He was giving a lecture on creativity. Some of my colleagues were obviously expecting Python sketches for hours on end and were rather disappointed, but not me. I found him fascinating, and what he talked about quite something to think about too! He started off by telling a couple of stories from his time in Oslo... If I'm lucky, you can find one here, or maybe even here:
this is an audio post - click to play (For those who can't make it work - it's HIS voice...)
Now, I guess you can't really tell this is him at the stage, you'll just have to trust me...
Just before we were off to this happening (which was rather expensive, 820 kroner equals about $ 120 or £ 82 per person), several of "my" lawyers all of a sudden couldn't make it after all. Spouses and siblings were called, two appeared. Two friends also. But there were still two tickets left and the show was starting in 40 minutes, we were leaving.
I called Rarity. She couldn't find any bosslike persona but figured it was a once in a lifetime, left a note and joined us about 15 minutes later. At which time I'd just called another friend, TL, who did some similar escapism and joined us 5 minutes before it was about to start.
At least the three of us and T (my colleague / the ipodcoverliningmaker) loved it... Seeing JC in real life, having his brilliant wit pouring upon us for two hours, listening to casual remarks about Graham Chapman and Jamie Lee curtis... Say No More!

29 May 2006

Tomorrow I'll be with this person!

I and 7,000 others...

And I really don't care that he's here to inspire the trade and industry, I'm just thrilled he happened to be in town on my boss' 50th birthday so he figured we might as well all go to see Mr. JC as part of the celebration!

For more fun, go here...

28 May 2006

Try this

From Matt:

I am enjoying blogging and sunshine, simultaneously, at the moment
I want Liverpool to win Premier league next season
I wish I had a house in Greece
I hate spiders
I love holidays
I miss - can't think of anything right now!
I fear spiders
I hear my hubby coming home from football training
I wonder if I'll ever get that house in Greece
I regret not taking Brokeback Mountain (book) from my bag and reading it while sitting next to this guy on the bus (who's a happily married (registered partner) gay that lives close to us and that I really want to get to know) just because I had in fact finished it earlier that day and I'm such a bad actress I didn't think I could make a credible attempt at reading it - even though he's a sociable bloke and would probably have struck up conversation if I had
I am not quite as weird as you may be thinking right now
I dance only with my kids
I sing most of the time
I cry at happy endings, sad endings, Extreme Makeover, The Champ... But still not quite as often as I used to, and not always in discussions! - See, mum, I've grown ;)
I am not always happy about my own priorities
I make with my hands - now, it's hard to make anything with my hands when they're fixed to this keyboard...
I write because I love words
I confuse Greek and French. Not because I speak French (anymore), but because Greek somehow occupies the same space in my brain that French used to have, so when someone says Comment ca va I promptly reply καλά, ευχαριστώ...
I need a parallel universe where I can blog 24/7 without anyone finding me
I should possibly spend less time on this machine (and others, similar to this...)
I start my new job on Thursday!
I finish this post in a minute
I tag anyone so inclined.

Filip's present

Remember that U2 iPod I was given for Christmas? It needed a cover, of course, and luckily - Filip (my youngest, a whole minute younger than the next quad) had woven, no less a purse for me for Christmas. It was so nice, and he was beaming with pride as he gave it to me.. I've been using it ever since - and now it was beginning to be a little tattered at the edges. My friend T ran to the rescue, and has given it a velvet lining. Tres chic... Just look!

27 May 2006

A quick preview into editing

3 more working days before I'll start my new job. Quite a few people ask what I'll actually be doing. So, to give you a hint, I'll set you a task! Here - two words:

1. Stupid
2. Drunk
(Imagine them both being in Norwegian, for sake of dictionary-making..)

As editor, I'll need to translate them. Now, these both have multitudes of synonyms. I'll give you a handful, then explain further.

1. foolish, silly, gormless, dumb, oafish, dense, thick, dim-witted
2. inebriated, intoxicated, pissed, well-oiled, pickled, potted, crocked, sloshed

The game (erh, sorry, the work!) is as follows:
- decide which words (translations) to choose, add or remove others,
- decide the order they should appear in,
- add more information. Informal? Slang? British? American? Taboo? Medical? Old-fashioned?
- then provide examples / expressions. (Thick as two short planks. Well and truly plastered.)
- keep it short, you're compiling a dictionary, not a novel...

If you think this sounds boring - be happy that I'm the one going to do this! And if you enjoy this kind of thing - feel free to finish this task...

- And for the best example ever of a row of synonyms, read - or preferably listen to - this!

26 May 2006

Found it!

Beautiful Chloe sent me a postcard and I couldn't find it. Well, it was right there on the board - and I only looked everywhere else... Looks stunning, don't you think? More about the Pelion region here.

And for anyone interested - I just posted a little something on the midnight sun on my Greek blog. Even if you can't read Greek you can always look at the photos...

25 May 2006

Berlin behaviour

While in Berlin, getting off our tram near the hotel, we were suddenly surrounded by police cars, policeMEN (I didn't see any women!) and for every ten of them, one football fan... We asked about (German really is quite hard to forget, even though I hadn't really used it since high school) and found out Dynamo Berlin was meeting with Berlin Union at a stadium near our hotel. We're talking football, and not even top division. But a very emotional encounter, apparently! I have no idea who won, though...
The police cars numbered at least 50 - for once I'm not even exaggerating - and they kept coming. There were 5 or more policemen in each, getting out, putting on full riot gear - including body armour and guns (Norwegian policemen don't carry weapons, so we were slightly put off by this).

One of them was standing in the tram as we were getting off.
It was packed, and he was right in front of the door, looking as if he owned the world. As people tried getting off, he didn't budge an inch. We all sneaked (snuck?) past him. Now - imagine a British policeman doing something like that?? I mean, possibly even a Norwegian policeman would have gotten out to let us off before going back in himself. A British one would have apologised for being there in the first place... Whereas this German officer (and not old enough to be a leftover Stasi..) had us feeling we really ought to stay until he was ready to get off...

(Right: getting into riot gear.)

We vigilantly clad in grey so as not to be mistaken for fans of either team, and pussyfooted back to the tram station, and on to the Mitte district...

To be fair to the sour policeman - other Germans weren't really that much nicer! In service professions, no less; A couple of shop owners shouted at us to make us leave, and a waiter at a restaurant made remarks at us - for complaining about the appallingly stained tablecloth... (Yes, we left him.) Though the people at our hotel were nice, there was that little old lady on the tram, and several non-ethnic Germans that knew how to behave!

I'm going to stop this...

... Eventually!

I figured I wouldn't be celebrating every visitor after 5,000 - but then realised I may never reach 10,000, so why not celebrate? My visitor no. 7,000 came from Brooklyn, having googled for Reasons to be proud of being Greek, and spent a whole 0 seconds at my blog... So visitor no. 7,001 may well step in to take the prize! Erh, the honour and glory, that is - and that's Kimananda! Now, get yourselves over to her blog and be entertained.

(Don't forget to come back!)

24 May 2006



1. A roundabout way or course, especially a road used temporarily instead of a main route.
2. A deviation from a direct course of action.
intr. & tr.v. de·toured, de·tour·ing, de·tours
To go or cause to go by a roundabout way.

Finally - the two opposing parties have agreed on whatever they weren't agreeing on, and as we speak, the boats are back on track, erh, on water.. I will not miss the rushing-the-kids-off, half-hour-drive, half-hour-train-ride-and-being-late-at-work-feeling from this week!

21 May 2006

We are not amused!

It's collective bargaining time. Which means strikes. My trusty boat has kept it going, at least some of the departures, but now they're going on total strike. Which means - no 23 minute, comfy boat ride for breakfasting and conversation, but 9-10,000 people trying to find their way around the fjord. That is, off this peninsula and into the already way too jammed traffic into Oslo. Alternatively, avoiding the worst traffic at the junction and trying to take a train from there. Which is already packed with commuters.

Last time the boats were on full strike, in 1993, it lasted for 3 weeks. I've got 7 more working days as a legal secretary. I really don't want to start my new job by not being able to get to work on time. Or at all..

I support the right to strike. And possibly the sailors are underpaid. But I really don't like it when it backfires on common folks, like us. Let's hope it doesn't take 3 weeks for the bosses to grant them higher wages..

17th of May - our national day

May 17th is our national day, Constitution day. In memory of the signing of the Constitution in 1814 (on the 17th, as you may have guessed..). You can find a detailed (and rather boring, but very factual) description of it here. A lighter version, with photos right here! But basically it's celebrating how we broke free from the Danes after about 400 years of them ruling us, and conveniently not celebrating how we at the same time entered into a union with the Swedes.. (That ended in 1905 though, there was much ado about that last year!)

From about 1860 or so the national day has been celebrated with lots of flags, ice cream, cakes, hot dogs children's games and, not least, children's parade. Every school has a marching band, and schools most places parade alone or in twos and (like here) with kindergartens. In Oslo there are lots of schools going together, marching past the royal palace, where the royal family are out on the balcony waving at their subjects for four or five hours... (Incidentally, I think all Norwegians own their own flags, and waving them or putting them up outside your house is not considered nationalist behavious, unlike e.g. in Sweden. We do that on birthdays, flagdays, happy days, for funerals etc.)

The photos at the right are from breakfast one 17th at my friends' house - the date spelled out with bread and rolls - before my married life began... In the middle - some friends in national costumes, "bunad", I'm not there, but I've got the same kind as the three in the middle. Further down, tiny photo, me and S in front of the palace - passing it at least three times by infiltrating the children's parade was our least effort in the years after moving south... Last photo is M, on the left, for once keeping her eyes open when being photographed..

Further down: quite a few years back... Me with a friend, me with my big sister, me with plastic trumpet, me smiling bravely in that dreadful headscarf... I was only 4 1/2, it wasn't my fault!

Anyway. It's a lot of ironing shirts and keeping clothes nice until the parade starts, a lot of waving and shouting hip-hip-hooray! while parading, a lot of eating, generally, going on all day. And unless you're having a barbecue with family and / or friends at night, actually a rather boring afternoon ahead, but not so this year, Champions league final was on :)

20 May 2006

der Reichstag

Another amazing building. But we didn't go inside, there was a 100 metre (sic!) line waiting to get in...

Because of the football world cup coming up, the Reichstag park had been asphalted, and this pretend stadium complete with large screen for an audience of 10,000 been erected in its place. - As told us by our velotaxi driver...

On tv tonight...

Been watching the Eurovision Song Contest from Athens tonight, and as usual, the evening highlight - and the only real music playing - was the performance during the interval. Vangelis and Greek folk music was truly the only thing worth watching...

Update - the show ended on time. For the first time in history. And that from a country that the world didn't expect to have anything ready in time for the olympics back then. Pah! They can do anything!

Potsdamer Platz

For some reason I just couldn't wait to get to Potsdamer Platz while we were in Berlin, I think I went on about it from the moment we landed. When we actually got there, there wasn't much of a square (as Platz means) at all, but plenty to see nonetheless!

Looking into an art installation by Pythonist Terry Gilliam

This un-square square must be the obvious spot to take your geometry class...

The Sony Center

My perfect "room" that is just for me and me alone

"D" wrote an excellent response to my call for an explanation about the Roman helmet-wearing tricycle-riding dad, it's actually quite moving, go see for yourself! She also challenged me to respond with the above title, so I'll give it a go...

To be fair,
Devil Mood also undertook this challenge without thinking twice - you'll find her explaining-away here!


I started writing this post weeks ago - exactly a month ago, actually - and I have been thinking about it, at least. I found that my perfect "room" these days is having the time to do whatever comes to mind, to be impulsive. And that's what my sister and I did while in Berlin - we jumped on buses or stopped at monuments etc. whenever we felt like it, and the greatest treat - to us - was that we didn't have to get to anything at any special time...

(Here at Potsdamer Platz, my sister not usually so much shorter than me...)

Something old, something new, something blue missing..

There was supposed to be a picture here, of the beautiful blue-sea'd postcard Chloe sent me from Pelion. But now I can't find the card! You'll just have to imagine it until I'm able to retrieve it, possibly, from some child's stack of papers...

And I haven't been blogging for a while, old news. Too little time and all that.

So, what's new? Well, I've actually started a new blog. I'm not sure what I'll be doing with it yet (- maybe somebody wants to co-write it?), but the general idea is still my wish to learn more Greek... Well, you'll find my feeble attempts here if you want to see!

16 May 2006


There's just so little time, what with 17th coming up etc. (More on that later.) But as some of you may know, I spent last weekend in Berlin, and I'll give you a quick look into the first leg of the journey:
- My local boat at sunrise / my packed lunch and bottle of water which I enjoyed on board

Arriving at the airport by train / My sis taking the last goodbyes before take-off

As viewed from the taxi: Brandenburger Tor / Siegessäule

Landing, literally, in the hotel room / view from same room (East Berlin, Weissensee area)

I'll get back to this. We loved Berlin! Two days isn't nearly enough though - we felt like those Americans (begging your pardon..) travelling "through" Europe in a week, saying things like 'it's Tuesday, so this must be Berlin'... But we saw enough to take a lot of photos! And to decide we'd better go back sometime.

Plans for tomorrow (erh, today) - generally ironing shirts and flags for the 17th!

11 May 2006

... then we take Berlin

What did I say? It's Thursday, a few raindrops have started to fall... [I haven't been totally abstaining from the internet, I must admit, I've been - very sporadically - working on two different blogs, one on my travels and one as a sort of personal Greek language training programme... I'll get back to you on what and where if it ever turns out as anything.]

But - why bother with the rain... tomorrow morning at 06.30 I'm taking the boat from here, and at 11.35 my sister and I will land in Berlin! And BBC has the following to say about the weather there:

Friday: Sunrise 05:16 (CEST) Sunset 20:48 (CEST) Max day 26°C / 78°F Min night 15°C / 59°F
Sat'day: Sunrise 05:14 (CEST) Sunset 20:50 (CEST) Max day 23°C / 73°F Min night 12°C / 53°F Sunday: Sunrise 05:13 (CEST) Sunset 20:52 (CEST) Max day 18°C / 64°F Min night 5°C / 41°F

Oh, and I've borrowed my dad's camera again. (Luckily he's not going to Crete again until after the 17th of May.) Yes, my travel photos will come back to taunt you a second time! In the mean time, Berlin will experience sister's who're doing it for themselves.. According to Google earth, we'll be staying not far from the Berlin Reichstag. And now I guess I really should start packing..

09 May 2006

10th of May!

Today (well, actually tomorrow, as I write this) we'll be celebrating
Bono - one of my absolute favourites!

Today is also the birthday of a Welshman I know whose name doesn't scan (and he knows it). [Hi there!]

Last, but not in any way least - the world's greatest, most patient, fun and loving dad and husband, my husband, also celebrates his birthday today. And as by serendipity, so does his twin sister :)

All together now; For they are jolly good fellows, for they ...

08 May 2006


This last week there's been SUN. Like any sane Norwegian that means I'm not spending a lot of time indoors.

Oh, and according to the weather forecast, summer ends Thursday. I'll be back.

"How do you tell someone they're not a good kisser?"

he said, and continued "we've been going out since forever, she'll be ever so mad if I were to tell her now!"

I was talking to my friend. He and his girlfriend have been together for years. He told me he'd been well known for his kisses in his time. I said I'd take his word for it...

"It's not that I don't like kissing her, but it's somehow all tongue, no lips. Passion, but no feeling... If I tell her now, though, she'll think I haven't been enjoying our time together. But I have! And if I don't tell her, well, nothing has changed... But sometimes I think it could have been even better."

I didn't have any advice. I understood his thinking. I'd probably be put off too, if my hubby'd told me there's been something missing all these years... Anyone know a way around this?

03 May 2006

Tomorrow, tomorrow...

The photo's taken in twilight, but still shows the flowers my hubby brought me today:

As a reminder of previous flowers such as these:

And although it seems close to impossible - me being so unbelievably young still! - tomorrow's our 10th anniversary :)

With no real alternative "babysitters" to hold the fort for days on a row, we took the whole clan to a hotel last weekend and celebrated the first ten years in the swimming pools, on the cinema (we saw Ice Age 2 - great fun!), on a Greek restaurant, out playing pool & bowling, visiting friends and stopping in Sweden for about half an hour - the kids desperately wanted to visit "abroad"! Felt like a holidays and not just a long weekend!

At 20 we just might get to go away by ourselves...