29 July 2006

As is my wont...

I'm hurrying on to a lighter post...

This postcard arrived from Portugal the other day, from my friend DevilMood and the lovely Algarve coast. She tells me "Al-Garb" literally means "the West" - a detail of the kind I like! Thanks, my kids love the Swedish-coloured doors... And as noone else, myself included, writes snail mail anymore, postcards from bluddies are truly welcome!

Tomorrow we're off to Denmark, land of lots-of-things-surely-but-not-least-amusementparksandthelike. Jutland contains Legoland (the original), a lion park, a huge aquarium with sharks and stuff, fun fairs and amusement parks and waterworlds no end, and the whole of Jutland is surrounded by beaches. I wonder if the Danes think of it as a non stop summer holiday spot as much as Norwegians tend to?! (Anyone? Kimananda?) We'll be back in a week's time.

Can't wait to go. Not only because Denmark's a uniquely lovable country (somehow so unlike Norway, yet so close - and they love Norwegians!), but because Jakob is already there. Our 8 1/2-year old went there Wednesday with some friends and seems to be having a blast of a time, and says he doesn't miss us at all. Wonder if we'll have him back...

And my niece has arrived safely and happily in San Francisco, after her 3 day training & sightseeing in New York. All is well with the world. Well - part of it.. (See below.)

28 July 2006


A few months back I told you of my friend who was living with her cancer-sick husband, and how I managed not to take it all in...

Well, she's not living with him anymore. Today I went to his funeral. This photo was on the song sheet - he loved hiking in the mountains! (I haven't asked if I can put it in my blog so I blurred his face a little...)

He was only 47. The church was chock-full, people were even cueing up outside. The readings on the wreathes - "you and I, P, your M" (from his wife) and "we love you so much, daddy, and miss you very much" (from his five kids) were just too much to bear.

My friend held her head high through the whole ordeal. Necessarily so, to support her (plus his other two) kids, but still, impressively so, may I add. She only cried when the coffin was lowered into the ground. Stronger than most, I think she may have managed today by thinking he's only gone off for a walk in the mountains. And will be coming back soon...

24 July 2006

Hubby really IS a saint...

I've been home "alone" with the kids today. One day. My head is spinning. Anna, sweetheart, has been visiting a girlfriend, having suffered 3 weeks at the cabin with only brothers and neighbouring boys around...

So I've been savouring the company of four constantly-quarrelling-fighting-and-possibly-heatstruck boys. No pause in the noise (erh, sound) level before they all passed out in their beds at 8.30. (Including the then-returned Anna, who'd had more action in one day with her friend than in 3 weeks in her own company at the cabin!)

And this was only one day. Hubby was alone for almost two weeks with them before I started my holidays. Yes, his parents was there with him - and they're great company - but he had to be in that noise for all that time! Truly, he is a saint. Luckily, there's something I can do to pay him back ;) And I've only got 4 more days to go...

14 July 2006

Just for the fun of it

... and because it's free...

I've opened a new domain, www.scholiast.tk, that seems to only work every now and again, but if it does work, it will lead you directly here... So should you - for whatever reason, I cannot think - forget the word "xrisimopoio" or even "Not quite The Spectator Essays", but manage to remember "scholiast", you're home free..

It's the Pacific island of Tokelau that has decided to give away domains to the needy (or just greedy, or inquisitive minds), go ahead and have one for yourself!

And now I'm off for real, will be back in computerland some time next weekend.

Things never go according to plan

Of course, sometimes things go according to plan. But that's not what I mean. I'll elaborate...

By way of example - my now husband started working the same place as I was years ago, and after three days I started wooing him... No, really! After 8 months he finally "caved". But, while I was wooing, courting, trying to charm him etc. I had numerous ideas of how IT was going to happen. Would he finally "cave" at work? Outside work? At lunch? And how - ask me to marry him straightaway? Sneak a kiss?

So I had detailed daydreams of how this was going to happen. And every time I thought "... and then he'd say this, and look like that and..." I immediately regretted. Because - what are the odds that things will happen exactly as you planned them in your mind? (detailed plan) A little higher even than the odds for having quads, I think... So every detailed daydream meant hubby-to-be had one less option of actually getting together with me, as I saw it, so I did try not to think about it, but I was pathetic at it ;)

Eventually he / we managed without the detailed planning - then after 4 months he proposed and after 4 more months we were married, so we hardly had time to plan the rest!

- There's a reason why I thought of this now. Because on arriving home, Wednesday night, I saw in the papers that Ronnie O'Sullivan was in town! Now, some of you may remember he's my all time hero and the most talented snooker player to ever lift up a cue - and he was right here! Only I wasn't in town anymore, I'd taken the boat home, and I had visitors, and I really couldn't go back... (He was here to play pool, in some tournament or other, he does that sometimes when snooker's off season. But Norway's a totally underdeveloped country when it comes to pool & snooker, so I'd never thought...!)

Anyway. The next morning, on the boat and then walking to work, I couldn't help thinking about him - maybe he had stayed overnight? Maybe in one of the many hotels I pass on my way? Maybe he'd just step out to take a taxi? Maybe I'd get a chance to say hi? (Just before leaving the house, I thought - what if I did meet him? I'd want to take his photograph. So I grabbed the camera. And then thought - if I bring a camera I'm doomed not to meet him. So I put it back, thinking - I could always take a photo with my mobile. Then, seeing the mobile was only half-charged or less, I thought it may not have enough power to take a photo, so maybe ... I almost didn't catch the boat just because of it.)

Then for every plan, for every hotel I passed, for every fictitious conversation I made up - I immediately thought "NO!" - I'd just ruined the chances of just that happening.

I didn't see him, of course. He probably left Wednesday night... Update - I just read in the papers he hadn't been here at all, had to pull out of the tournament due to an ear infection. Phew... If I had bumped into him I'm sure I wouldn't have said anything at all, I'd just have been standing there, mouth agape, and watched him get in that taxi.

At least there was one option I hadn't contemplated...

13 July 2006

Wow - there really is a connection!

I wrote a post recently on my Greek blog about Henrik Ibsen, this year being the centenary of his passing away and all.

Now it turns out Ibsen & Greece go together like ham & cheese! Palin & Cleese! Jason and The fleece! My nephew and niece! (I admit, I did find a rhyming dictionary...) But I'm not just making this up to get a chance to throw rhymes at you. No - the Norwegian embassy in Athens has Ibsen & Greece all over its homepages and there is actually a lot of Ibsen action going on in Greece too, this year...

There's too much to actually type it out, but for a list of rare moments of Norwegian culture in The Capital of Culture (my titling...) you can check out this list. Or not ;)

Leaving Europe - or entering?

As of first of July, we've officially split with a substantial part of Europe. Connex gives up after four years, and we've just got back our more reliable bus service.

You know, I've felt sort of at home when I've read about people in England or France complaining about their Connex bus services - we've had just the same complaints in our local papers.

But now that's over, possibly the buses won't even a) be too late b) be too early c) not show up - we'll be totally separated from the rest of Europe.

Incidentally, someone showed me today a brand new reason why Norway ought to join the EU (and that wasn't to be able to exchange words about Connex) - namely this:

It reads: "I feel that Norway should join the EU without delay. Not for any political or economic reasons, just to stop Sweden and Finland from looking like a big cock and balls on the new euro coins. Andy Dunn, Stroud"

I always knew there had to be a reason I'd overlooked, and there it was! You may now all cut and paste Norway onto the photo to see how much better it looks...

For your information, I'll be joining my darling hubby and kids on our cottage / cabin (whatever) on Friday. Don't know if I'll post anymore before then, but I'll be back. Don't know where, don't know when, but I know we'll meet again...

12 July 2006

Greece is out - and I'm not talking world cup (for once)

Just in case you hadn't heard -
Greece isn't allowed in on any international footballing from this moment on. (Actually from a few days back.)

If you want to know why and how and who it'll affect, you can read EllasDevil's post on this.

I'm just feeling bad about it even given all the reasons. I screamed like a madman (well, mad woman) when Greece because European champions two years ago, and I'm proud there's a Norwegian who's successfully trained Olympiakos to another league triumph. I'm even proud - still - about the Norwegians that used to play in Greece - Mykland for Panathinaikos and Sundby for Iraklis Saloniki, since you ask ;) - even if it's been a while.

But at least I hope they won't be coming to collect my kids' kits... Here (half) seen in Chania, Crete, last summer, wearing their kits with pride (Thomas obviously wearing it with pride somewhere else, as he's not in the picture...), Anna in a sort of Greece-coloured cheerleading costume. Oh well, anything looks good on her...

Any opportunity for a connection, right?

10 July 2006

The cake that caused Filip's flustering

Filip, along with the rest of the kids - and guests - seemed to enjoy this cake so much I thought I'd share the recipe. My mum used to make this (almost?) every Saturday when I was little. I used to make it every time I had guests, when I was young free and single. Apparently I've been making it a little too rarely these past few years, seeing how amazed my kids were...

I didn't take a photo while I still had a chance - it disappered rapidly! - but this one sort of resembles... (Except this one's got an extra layer that mine hasn't got, and it's probably got 1 zillion more calories even than mine...)

By the way, with the number of chocolate cake images I've leafed through by googling, it would probably have saved a lot of time had I just baked and photographed it instead...

Procedure is very simple, you just mash it all together as you go:

150 g (3/4 cup or so...) ground almonds

3 eggs (without the shell...)

100 g (a little less than 1/2 cup) white sugar

1 teaspoon of baking soda (hey, I'm not going into 1/3 of a 1/16 of .. you check it out here... I'm no baker, there's a reason my kids were utterly flabbergasted!)

splash it all together until it's like a thick soup. Grease the cake tin (round, not too big..) on the bottom, but not the sides, it keeps the cake hanging on to be possibly half an inch thick at least..

30 minutes in the oven at about 180 (355? F). Leave to cool.

(Then people of course put all kinds of stuff on top of this, strawberries and cheesestuff and whatnot, but we've always had a bit of a sweet tooth, so here's what we do:)

100 g unmelted (I give up the conversions..) butter or margarine - to be mixed with -

100 g icing sugar (7/8 cup!) (apparently confectioner's sugar in American?). Mixmixetc.

Add 1 egg (without the ... yes! You remembered! Amazing...)

1 teaspoon coffee (some regular sort. Shaken, or even stirred.)

2 tablespoons (1/8 cup?) of cocoa powder. Or enough to make the stuff as brown as you wish. Not too brown...

2 tablespoons or more - vanilla sugar. More mixmixetc.

Put on cake when cake has cooled down. Sound the foodbell. Dig in. And kids? DO try this at home!

The cows are here!

The cows have been to Athens, they've been to Lisbon.

Now they're here.

This one's "dressed" like Norwegian milk cartons used to be when I was little.

I still don't get it though. Noone's paying me to travel through Europe's capitals, although I'm sure I'd appreciate it a lot more than these papier-machees or whatever they are...

The Messiah's retiring?

Seems I was lucky to see Mr. John Cleese when he was over here in May. (I had to be told by Sam, obviously I read British papers too rarely) - but he's now claimed to be retiring from performing. John Cleese, that is, not Sam...

The Guardian says:

"Comedian and actor John Cleese said yesterday [June 12th] he will retire from performing to write the history of comedy for the younger generation. The 66-year-old will become a "comedy professor", holding masterclasses with students on how to make people laugh. The book will cover "the greats of silent cinema to Ricky Gervais, who is the height of modern entertainment". The book will also include Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers and Harold Lloyd. "It is very rare today to see someone with that grasp of old-fashioned comedy. The last truly excellent performance I saw was Eddie Izzard. But Ricky Gervais is also a match for the great American sitcoms." A chapter in the book will be on "creating the perfect comedy-drama" for the stage, citing influences such as Tom Stoppard, Alan Bennett, Alan Ayckbourn and Michael Frayn."

Citing Ricky Gervais as "the height of modern entertainment" seems to suggest he hasn't entirely stopped performing...

And while we're onto Messiahses - Christine's pointed out it's a hazardous profession...

I was going to put a photo here, of course, but all of a sudden blogger's decided it won't let me post any more pictures. *sigh*

09 July 2006

iPod Shuffle - Scholiast's haphazard listening habits

1) U2 "touch" (live). Very topical on my U2 iPod...

2) Morphine "radar". One of the almost 700 songs I ripped from Daniel's iPod when I visited him and his Børge in Lisbon.

3) Billy Joel "she's got away". The man's got the biggest eyes in modern history. And a big voice to go with it.

4) Jan Eggum "lillebror Per". This Norwegian artist's been around since I was little.

5) Morten Abel "keep yourself in motion". A Norwegian would-be popstar. He's actually quite good (I find), but his English has kept him within the borders of Norway...

6) Billy Joel "still rock'n'roll to me". Rather disproportionate him showing up again within 20 songs...

7) The Beatles "piggies". Liverpool lads! Yeah...

8) Rodrigo Leão "Alma Mater". Another one from Daniel.

9) Sting "mad about you" (live). I'm mad about Sting. Bo Kasper (# 17) may be cute, and Sivert Høyem (# 16) has the sexiest voice ever, but Sting's got it all...

10) Various artists "Finale" (from Never on a Sunday). Greek, in case you wondered.

11) de Lillos "fullstendig oppslukt av frykt". My all time favourites! Norwegian band.

12) Ane Brun "little lights". Better known for her duet with Madrugada's Sivert Høyem. But this one's nice too.

13) The September when "darker and later". Morten Abel's (see # 5) old band.

14) The white birch "storm-broken tree". One more off Daniel's iPod.

15) U2 "please" (live). Did I mention I've got a thing about U2?

16) Madrugada "try". Have to love his voice... Incidentally, they're from almost the same place as I'm from.

17) Bo Kaspers Orkester "bara förr din skull". My favourite Swedish band. The information is in Swedish, but this music map may help you! The singer is also the cutest guy...

18) Dead can dance "Yulunga". Amazing atmosphere in their songs.

19) Cracker "good times bad times" (from Tribute to Led Zeppelin)

20) Franz Ferdinand "take me out"

08 July 2006

Scholiast's facts about gardening

Did you know that:

1 - even if you don't have green fingers you can still have green feet? (That's our doormat. Noone should be surprised it looks like a football pitch...)

2 - a pine cone that gets stuck in a lawn mower will suddenly free itself with amazing speed and shoot out in your face?
3 - a wheelbarrow full of freshly mown grass is not enough to hide the stench of cat poo, somewhere in the middle of it all?
4 - there are reasons why people (other than me...) wear gloves when they cut raspberry bushes?
5 - (whatever Newton said:) apples fall upwards? (At least tiny green apples. Cf. # 2)
6 - homegrown strawberries make for the greatest lunch ever?
7 - if you came over here you could have all the pinecones you wanted? There'd be no end to the number of cone-animals that would be made...
8 - blisters can burst and start stinging even before you knew you had them?
9 - three straight hours of gardening make the sound of a coke can being opened the most desirable sound ever?

10 - this is my 200th post?

1 year ago today (or Home Alone part 1)

Last summer I was also home alone, and surfing the net. (What's new?) But exactly 365 days ago I fell over Josh and Josh's blog! This post was the first I stopped at. God only knows what I was googling when I landed there... That was their "old" blog. I read everything. Now, you probably think I stayed up till 3 to read their new one as well? Pah. Did not. Stayed up till 4.30, actually... It's one of the very few blogs I've read every post of - their old and new. They've been very inspirational in my making my own blog.

Then it isn't so strange, maybe, that Harvard's probably very precise and accurate research came up with this:

It also turns out I have a slight preference for dark-skinned people compared to light-skinned people. Which would explain the get-a-tan-NOW-frenzy I used to get every summer... If you're unsure whether you are as biased as I am, you can take the test
here. And I'll try not to hold it against my poor, white, straight hubby when I see him again next Friday...

07 July 2006

Home alone - day 2 1/2

Work is FUN. I found myself sitting at my desk shouting "yes!" and waving my arms about several times during the day. Was having intensive training in the database programme we're using - via email, from my boss who lives in England. The loudest "yes!" was brought forth by the sudden popup of a message in the middle of the programme, saying "You made it!" I'm wondering if they'll reduce my wages if they notice how I'm enjoying this...

After work I met up with a friend. We walked about a little in the baking sun, spent half an hour or so waiting to be seated in an outdoor restaurant, another half hour waiting for the food. But - who cares! It was sunny, we had company, no kids were waiting and the banana split was enormous when it finally arrived... (Yes, like good children we did finish our dinner first!)

Yesterday I went home with my silversmith friend. Her hubby'd prepared a barbeque dinner, and she'd prepared a very summery dessert - marsh mallows and strawberries. Hang on grill for about 10 seconds (or less, lest the marsh mallows catch fire...), then eat while marsh mallows wrap themselves around strawberries. Enjoy...

Tonight, after our shot at waiting & dining (pun intended...) we went for a stroll. Truly, it was too hot and humid (is it going to rain soon?) to do anything but saunter... I've got an ancient digital camera (nothing like this!) but I took a few photos anyway. Thought you might like to get your eyes off the bloodsucking needle in the previous post ;)

First and second: from Akershus fortress. Third: southwesterly view of the Oslo fjord, taken from Akershus. Last: The Nobel Peace Center. Perhaps I should visit one day, see if they've given my great great granddad a mention...

05 July 2006


Yesterday my hubby and the kids drove off to the cabin, to stay for three weeks. I'll be working another fortnight. So - left to my own (de)vices, what did I do?

First, my contribution to society, donating a little blood. (Don't look if you don't like that kind of thing...) No, reallly, I think everyone who can ought to do it, I've been doing it since I was a student.

Then I met with my childhood friend M who works in the same building as the above hospital unit, and we sat out on a street cafe. The sun was baking, we had so-so iced coffees and became so dizzy in the heat I didn't manage or even remember to take any photos...

In the evening I went to football practice. Cycling to and fro, as the rest of the family - as is fair - had taken the car.

Made it home just in time for the semi final were Germany was luckily beaten, well-deserved by the Italians! (Notice the great, new bike, by the way...)

And if you think I'm not really blogging at this hour - sadly, I am... But now, off to work!

England lost - Robbie won!

After a long busride we arrived at the magnificent stadium of Nya Ullevi, Gothenburg. Where we waited. And waited. And waited...
In the midst of all our waiting, England failed to succeed in the World Cup (wipe that smirk off your faces,
Børge and DevilMood!), and depressed us to no little extent.
We were also wondering what the effect might be on Robbie, knowing how mad he is about football. The support band came on. They're probably really, really famous, but I'd never heard of them - The Basement Jaxx (ok, hit me now). They were, at best, very energetic. And obviously prepared to make the best out of supporting Mr. Robbie Williams. But really - supporting is very unrewarding. They did earn 4 huge rounds of applause, every time because they announced they were leaving...

Eventually they left. So we waited some more. After sitting down in the bus 4 hours, and then standing up in the stadium for another 4 hours, I was honestly beginning to wonder if it was all worth it?
Then Robbie came on. All doubts aside...

Robbie is amazing. Really - I mean, I like a lot of his songs, but he could probably be singing Baa Baa Black Sheep and leave the audience feeling the same way. He may be a lot of other things, but he's definitely a born entertainer! After a couple of songs, where I felt he wasn't really there, he came clean - asked us if we could feel his pain after England's exit. Of course we could...
And by the comfort of 57,245 in the audience (a sell-out, as it was the following night. The only others to sell out two nights in a row were Springsteen, Sting and Stones. And as Robbie said - "I'm the only one under a hundred"... Admittedly, U2 never tried having more than one show, moving on to Stockholm for the next.) Robbie gave us all he had. Which is A LOT. And in case anybody wonders - there were a lot of guys there too. I didn't even see a lot of fourteen year old girls, and there were about 40 per cent guys, my guess would be. A lot of couples, a lot of Really Old People (like me, 37 - or Robbie, 32) - quite a few in their 40's and 50's, quite a few of any age, actually.

At one point I realised that Denmark had shipped all its tallest men to Sweden, and they were all standing in front of me with their tiny girlfriends. But suddenly they all vacated the area (we were at a fence, about 50 metres / 160 feet from the stage) and we were left in clear view of Robbie. (The close-up is from one of the papers, the others are mine..) And, after another few songs, his "bestest friend in the whole, wide world", Jonathan Wilkes. Now - except for the local newspaper, all Swedish papers gave the show their highest marks. But none of them had much good to say about Jonny's appearance. We quite enjoyed it, though, their having a kind of football shoot-out competition in the midst of it all... Also, their performance of "their" song, Me and my shadow, wasn't that great, but here's a sample anyway:

this is an audio post - click to play
Robbie claimed he didn't say it on every concert. Then he stated we were the best audience on the tour so far. Whether it was true or not, it didn't particularly make for a worse atmosphere... He also claimed that "you're all f*ing gorgeous! Even the guys are better looking than me!! Thank God I can sing..."

He obviously did more encores than he'd planned to, so we must have made him feel better after England's loss... The whole thing ended in fireworks and whatnot, and everyone were extatic. Yes, my hubby had also screamed his voice hoarse, as had I...
Arriving at our house, Sunday morning around 5 AM (...) we found this note on the door: Jakob had taped it to the front door to make sure we saw. And even though it broke our hearts to see two of our Liverpool heros had missed, at least it was the Chelsea player whose name was spelled incorrectly.
Oh yes, the kids had been fine with the babysitters all along, and I did get to sleep in...

04 July 2006


While we were busy crossing the Swedish border (not much of a hassle, I must admit I slept through it), someone was crossing the - to me - magical line of 8,000 visitors.

The person concerned came from Josh and Josh's blog and from Kingfisher, Oklahoma, and stayed a whole of 0 seconds. Yeah, for an interesting read...

Going to Sweden to see The Man

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