31 October 2006

What's cooking?

Come all ye unfaithful monsters, witches and scarecrows, and ye shall have...

(Sidenote: A friend thought he might go as himself. Ring the doorbells and tell the people he's gay. That'd scare them...)

30 October 2006

Birthday Celebrations. We either love them or hate them!

Another Tuesday tale - very topical this time, don't you think, Merujo...?

Tell me about your birthday this year
Well, it hasn't been yet, so it's a bit hard... But it's coming up shortly, and there'll be 8 of us (girlfriends) going to the studio recording of the Norwegian version of Have I Got News for You. It'll be great fun (I know, I've been there 8 times before...), and afterwards we'll go out to eat somewhere. That is, if I remember to reserve a table. Soon...

What is your best birthday memory?
Well, let's see. I went through a few birthdays last year. My favourite, though? The next one. Always the next one.

What is your worst?
My 18th wasn't that great, as I had to work all day and finish a dissertation and only through the corner of my eye watch my friends having cake. (What? Start the work before the last due date? Sorry, don't understand the concept. Brain overload.)

What was your favourite present?
Hmm. I want to say my iPod, but that was for Christmas. And I want to say the trip to Berlin, but that was for my sister's birthday. Then I want to say the exquisite tape recorder amplifier thing - but that was my morning gift after the wedding (yes, those were the days of cassette recorders. And I've never been one for jewellery...) So - which one? Surprise me!

Your least favourite?
If there ever was an unwanted or unpleasant gift I've repressed that long ago. I remember nothing but nice gifts... (I'll let you know Friday if it holds true!)

Photo: I don't actually know if this is my 3rd or 4th birthday. Still, I think the yellow suit is, erh, just beautiful, mum, simply stunning...

Correct celebration

It's unmistakably drawing nearer, Halloween...

Norwegians only started celebrating this 5-6 years ago, I think. And according to an American woman (in our local paper) we're doing it all wrong.. Apparently, we're breaking the .... unwritten laws of Halloween celebration:

1. We've (I use the term "we" loosely, as I've never been anywhere near such celebration...) been celebrating on the nearest Saturday. To avoid keeping the kids up late on a weekday, but still - horribly wrong.

Drawing: The Grim Sower. Loved it...
2. Kids up to and including teenagers go trick-and-treating. The older ones are supposed to stay indoors and party.

3. If not given treats, Norwegian kids will play tricks on said (sad..) person. Viz. by throwing eggs on the windows (which is really hard to wash off!) and / or wrapping toilet paper around the nearest shrubbery. I know, they're bad bad kids... (No, we haven't actually denied anyone sweets. But when the quads were smaller we kept the house dark and quiet to avoid people ringing the doorbells and waking the kids up. Bad karma. Lots of eggs.)

She didn't even mention that we have no idea what it's about. We have had All Saints' Eve too, but never any celebration of it other than in church. And what's the pumpkin got to do with anything?

While we're at it, I hasten to utter my sincerest apologies for our celebrating Christmas on December 24th. This is clearly wrong and in violation with the unwritten (American) laws of celebration too. I can't promise not to keep this tradition up, though.

The Swedes always celebrate Midsummer's Eve on the nearest Saturday. So they'll have plenty of time celebrating. Norwegians tend to laugh at them - because even if we don't get a day off, a lot of Norwegians spend the evening totally sloshed in a boat or on a beach somewhere, and therefore inexplicably have to call in ill the next day... See? Day off after all... (I, for one, wouldn't mind the nearest Saturday thing, but then I'm 1/8 Swedish and don't drink much, so I'm disqualified of any opinion on this...)

Now, next we'll start celebrating Thanksgiving. What for, noone will know, but hey - at least we all get to dress up like turkeys! ;)

A grand night out indeed!

(Admittedly not such a grand cell phone photo opportunity, but it may give you a vague idea..)

What can I say? Bo Kaspers Orkester - though the name sounds a bit dubious (like one of those unmentionable Swedish bands that play accordion and all wear the same suits and sickening smiles), they're absolutely fabulous!
Here, bass player Micke's playing guitar, as is lead singer Bo Kasper. Drummer is playing bass, guitarist is playing drums, and outside the photo the piano player is on another guitar. I believe the trumpeter was still on his trumpet, though.

The extremely civilized crowd (part of it)... The house was full, meaning 1200 people were jammed in. I'd say there were about 60 % males, and about 75 % (well) above 30. And we were all so civilized that a band from any Americas or Southern Europe would have left halfway through, believing we hated them and / or had fallen asleep. But being fellow Scandinavians, the band recognized our enthusiasm through our half smiles and our polite applause. When real ecstatic, some even ventured stomping their feet and / or wolf whistling. The nerve ;)

The vocalist claimed, with apparent sincerity, that they'd been looking forward to their only gig in Norway this autumn. He also said that they'd voted against a support band because they had so many songs they wanted to play...They played for almost 2 1/2 hours, including 2 encores, so we believed him. Eventually, we even reached the last boat home (1.30), not bad!

And for those who asked - the video in the previous post is from this album, and there are others well worth listening too! If you read Swedish you may as well visit their homepage...

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27 October 2006

Bo Kaspers Orkester - a grand night out

Hubby and I are going out tonight (yay!) and we'll be going to see these guys. One of my favourites. (They're Swedish, but you just might like it even if you don't understand..)

Don't worry, the kids'll be safe, my parents-in-law are coming over and they're among the favourite baby-sitters :)

25 October 2006

Slippery when wet

Jakob and Filip both take swimming lessons. Jakob to improve his skills, and learn new swim methods - Filip to learn how to swim. (This autumn Thomas & Mathias also started. They had loved playing around in the sea in the summer - but swimming was different, so they quit..)

Last Thursday I first took Filip to his class. Everything was fine, he was happy, he's almost learned how to swim now (even though he mostly swims under water...), which he's really happy about. Leaving the wardrobes afterwards, and walking up the steps to the exit, he slips, falling head first onto the stone steps. Big bruise on forehead. (No tears, though.) Guilty-feeling mother...

Then I took Jakob to his swimming a good hour afterwards. Everything was fine, he was happy, he's almost always doing most rounds in the warm-ups (very competitive...), which he's really happy about. Heading for the showers afterwards, going down from the pool, he slips, falling back first onto the stone steps. BIG bruise on lower back. (And a scream that scared the other kids no end...) Very guilty-feeling mother...


But before they fell, and before I had so much to feel guilty about (what was I there for, if not to hold their hands in the steps?), I had a chance to observe their swim coaches. There are about 8 young people, taking turns in training them. I noticed two especially (my boys' favourites), both around 18, I guess:

T - Tallish (6'?), blond, rather good-looking, very popular with the older kids. When he's giving directions, he's assertive in that insecure way, the way only shy people will give off an air of confidence... When he's not directing, though, just helping, he's loving it, and will play games for free :)

J - Tall (6'3''ish) and big, not excruciatingly handsome, but still adorable... He gives gentle directions, but there's no mistaking that they've got to do what he says. The younger kids love him dearly. He says things like "will you hold my hand, I'm a little scared out here" and "I really don't remember how to do this", and they feel like they're all kings..


Incidentally, I bumped into handsome T in the shop, he was there with what could well be a date, and I almost said "I didn't recognise you at first, with your clothes on!" which might have been a bummer, what with the girl and all... But I checked myself in the last minute, and said only "I didn't quite recognise you out of the pool" which seemed to go down well.

Hobbies, we all have them, some of us have more time than others to induldge in them, but we still have them

It's not that late for a Tuesday tale, really, it's still Tuesday in, say, Hawaii... So, here we go :)

What is your hobby?
There are a few... Blogging, obviously, since last year some time. And singing, I'm in a choir (octet, rather) again. And learning languages, i.e. Greek, the past few years. I'm supposed to be playing football (= soccer) too, but training's exactly when everyone else is training in this family, and, well, I'm lazy. Sue me...

How have your hobbies changed over the years?
Well, I've moved from choir to choir, moved to more advanced Greek classes, started and stopped going to football practice and started a few more blogs...

Is there something else you want to learn to do?
Definitely. I'd love to learn Portuguese. And webdesign & html. I wouldn't mind learning proper photography or drawing either, but I'm not really artistically blessed when it comes to form and colour..

How did you get into your hobby?
Which one?
Well, I've been singing since forever, as I just told you. As for blogging, I started reading Børge's blog as soon as he started it, then Josh & Josh's blog, as soon as I discovered it, and Rarity's blog, as soon as she told me about it. She also told me I might as well start my own, so I did.. And the Greek? Well, if you're really interested, there's some explaining here. Jakob asked why I still go to classes - "you already speak Greek", he says - but no, I'm far from fluent, and it's really annoying when I speak it and I have to leave all the verb endings pending, for someone else to fill out, 'cause I'm never quite sure what to put there..

Do you have pictures that show you doing or the results of your hobby?
Is the pope catholic? This one's of me practicing my part in rehearsal. (Incidentally, it's also of my classmates in Greek class, listening to my unfinished sentences..)

22 October 2006

International Friday

Yesterday I went to the annual International Forum Day. There were "Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests..." - and I'm not the former, so I guess I had to be the latter. I was there accompanying a friend, who works for the foreign ministry and was allowed to bring a guest - but most others were paying guests. Paying a lot, because all income was for charity. And then there were most ambassadors living in Oslo - but I don't know what they look like, so I couldn't tell you who were there... I also met my boss, and a former colleague (of my new job), very friendly environment!

The whole reception took place in Fanehallen, a part of Akershus fortress. It's an awe-inspiring building - there were too many people to get it properly photographed, though. But here's a bit of armour and weapons for you..
Australia's stand (I tasted the meat balls with some bbq sauce, very good)
France's stand. It looked like a work of art! But none of the food actually appealed to me..
Italy. I had to taste Italian pizza, just for the chance of being proven wrong. But I wasn't. Italian pizza really isn't very good. They may have invented pizza, but they can't prepare it anymore...
I absolutely loved Ireland's stand: Guinness! And lots of it! And that was it... (The platters of food you can see belong to other countries.) Genius. The fact that I didn't have any of it doesn't diminish the geniality factor.Perhaps it doesn't startle anyone to learn I headed straight for the Greek stand. They had cheese pies and spinach pies in abundance! Well, they did before I got there...
For dessert - Canadian butter tarts (on the left)...
And our favourites, on the Portuguese stand (I shamelessly confess - we ate as many of these as we managed, then brought the rest home with us when we learnt they were going to throw the rest of the food in the bin as soon as everyone had cleared out!)

Ok - it's not the pastels de nata (sp?) of Belém, but these were also good. VERY good. I even wrote down the name of it, so you will know what to look for when in Portugal; Queijadas leite and bolinhos de areia.

And in between the Greek pies and the queijadas? Thumbs up for Costa Rican empanadas, Argentinian empanadas (...), Moroccan, erh, pita-bread-look-alikes-with-honey, Sudanese falafel, Spanish meatballs, Turkish Köfte and börek, Indonesian chicken satay, Russian pretzel, Belgian chocolate cake, the Canadian butter tarts and possibly some others that I can't remember... The only things I didn't finish (even though these were tinysized portions) were the aforementioned Italian pizzas and American pumpkin pie... I'm really sorry, it wasn't that horrible or anything, just, erh, boring, really. I didn't waste space on that... (Also my ex colleague, an American, said she had yet to meet a Norwegian who liked it. Possibly it's an acquired taste and we're not good at acquiring things...)

- I've still got a bunch of queijadas leite and bolinhos de areia (correct, I don't know which is which..) in my fridge, anyone?

19 October 2006

Bad hair day. Must go to Berlin.

My hair is getting like this again. A little too long to be short, a little too short to be long. The wavy / curly shape makes the hair gather around my neck like a scarf. I really hate it. If I want to wear a scarf, I'll put one on, I don't want to live in it. So I must go to Berlin.

See? This was me after arriving in Berlin in May. I look a bit flustered. And I've got a hairscarf.

Sister did not listen to my complaining about the hairscarf for long, but pushed me into the nearest hairdresser's.

A blessing, as it turned out. I can't remember this hairdresser's name, but she was wonderful, everyone was really pleasant, my sister got coffee while waiting and we were all happy.

Just look how happy I am without the hairscarf!

And see who I landed with this new hairdo... (Yes, he'll go for anything with a pulse, and yes, of course that's the real Robbie we bumped into in the airport in Berlin...)

So far, so good...

I mentioned a while back that we were going to buy a pedometer to encourage the family to get out more.

Well, now we've got one. Since this morning (it's now noon) I've walked 2 054 steps, and counting...

Only in America (a never-ending story..)

I've heard it before, but it's just as amusing this time. Americans' fear of being sued knows no limit... This time an elementary school in Attleboro, Massachusetts has banned playing 'tag' and other such games where kids may get hurt. Other schools have similar bans on games where kids may be in physical contact with eachother.

Yes, kids do get hurt sometimes when they play. But sue? Sue the school, the teachers, the other kids?? Really, doesn't make any sense. It's putting too much restrictions on them. It's a little like all the EU regulations about playgrounds - you've got to have the right kind of sand under the swings etc. So when a kid's off school or kindergarten - and away from the safety sand and the ban on games - how will s/he know that falling off a tree will actually hurt? That throwing a rock at someone is not a good idea?

An entirely different matter - someone apparently tried to dry their poodle in a microwave, it died (of course), they sued; "the instruction didn't say you couldn't dry animals in it" - and won. Or so the story goes. So now, the instruction's got a "do not attempt to dry dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters....", does it?

And a few years back, some friends were travelling in the US in a rented car. Their son got his hand stuck in the car window, two of his fingers nearly came off (sic!). Luckily, they were right next to a private hospital, so his dad carried him there. "Look, his fingers are coming off!" to which the receptionist answered "payment?" He produced a travel insurance card - not valid, they said. But when he produced a wad of gold and platinum credit cards, they were ever so helpful. Really. And when his fingers were back on, and he was transferred to a different hospital for recovery, this first hospital called every hour. Really! They were so afraid they might otherwise be sued...

On a lighter note, Sting was once asked by an American film company if he would consider playing in their next film, it would be set in the remote English village of Newcastle, they said. "That's where I was born and bred", he answered... (And "the village" holds 276,000 people, when including surrounding area it's England's 5th most populous
conurbation.) Don't they do background research?

I've got nothing against Americans. (Although I'll make an exception for
Dubya..) But all of this is a big contrast to life here in our secluded little corner of the world. A few years back, a man sued a ladder company after an accident. The case went all the way to Supreme court, where they ruled in his disfavour - as an average person ought to understand how a ladder works (or more precisely "the producer was not to foresee that a user would put the ladder upside down")...

And should anyone now feel a need to diss Norway, feel free ;)

No more 'Beckham of the baize'

I wasn't going to post anything about this, it makes me too sad. But then I found this image - it was created 3 years ago, but is eerily topical..

Paul Hunter, one of my snooker favourites, died from cancer last Monday, 5 days before his 28th birthday, leaving behind a wife and baby girl. He'd been fighting cancer for the past 19 months.

I knew he was ill, but was somehow sure he'd make it. I didn't know him, I've never seen him play live. And now I never will. It's making me so very sad, much sadder than I thought I'd be. It's never fair when someone dies, especially not his age.

Here's to all the great matches he gave us!


18 October 2006

Pros and cons...

If you don't have kids, you

  • don't have to share your bed with a kid who is as peaceful as an octopus caught in a net
  • don't have to have fish fingers again this week
  • don't have to get up in the middle of the night to give that unfortunate kid a shower and change his / her linen
  • don't have to receive tons of drawings "especially for you" every day...
  • don't have to feel totally inadequate and a right failure just because you're a parent
on the other hand, if you don't have kids, you

  • don't get to share your bed with a kid who calms down just because of you and wraps his / her arms around you
  • don't get to eat fish fingers because you're expected to do sushi
  • don't get to cuddle that fresh-showered towel-clad kid up and watch him / her go back to sleep in your arms
  • don't get to receive tons of drawings especially for you every day...
  • don't get to feel totally loved and unique just because you're a parent

I guess there are ups and downs to everything...

17 October 2006

Family. We all have them. Big, Small, in between. Tell me about yours

So, maybe I just need a little push. Maybe it's just that the new look on my blog fills me with such peace I can't muster the strength to lift my fingers to the keys. Anyways, a little Tuesday tale...

Tell me about your immediate family
Well, there's me, hubby, Jakob and the quads. (Jakob & the Quads sounds like a rock band, like Bob Marley & the Wailers...) Hubby's got two parents, I've got four... I've also got a sister, she's got a husband and three kids. Hubby's got one twin sister (with husband and three kids) and one brother (with wife and four kids). None of our grandparents live. But there are quite a few aunts, uncles and cousins around. Oh, they're not immediate...?

Do you have family get togethers or reunions?
Not really. Nothing annual. Or planned. But we try to get together for birthdays, in the holidays etc.

Is there a black sheep? Who?
Actually, we're kind of a boring family. Can't really think of a black sheep. Unless it's me, of course, spending too much time on blogging and too little on everything else... Come to think of it, though, my great uncle used to own a black sheep. Does that count at all?

Tell me about your fav family function memory
Hmmm. There's been quite a few nice get-togethers. But my favourite... Well, one of the more recent ones - my sister's wedding, after I'd held my maid-of-honour speech... And then, last year, hubby's mum celebrated xx years, and the whole family - 20 of us - went together to Crete. As you can imagine, I quite liked that...

Tell me about your least favourite family function memory
You'd think it'd be a funeral... But family funerals - and so far this has been restricted to old members of the family - albeit sad, they tend to turn into rather nice family gatherings. Oh, but I remember my least favourite family function very well. Not sure I ought to elaborate. Ok... It was a Christmas party. With very little merriment, as it turned out. Someone decided she hadn't had enough attention and blurted out all she had to say about everyone. Which wasn't little. And no, it wasn't me. But I remember my sister and me leaving early...

16 October 2006

Quote of the day (12)

(Not a very recent quote. Jakob was in Vigelandsparken with his kindergarten, he was about 3, and hubby and I were at home with the quads, then babies.)

- Kindergarten assistant: This must be your father, with those four babies!

- Jakob (without hesitation): No, 'cause my dad's willy's bigger than that!

Needless to say, there was much amusement amongst the staff...

15 October 2006

Back in business!

I've taken up singing again. Last Wednesday I met up with 7 other ladies, and the 8 of us will rehearse and fine-tune a handful of Christmas songs to be performed on December 17th. Can't remember exactly where, but I'll find out in time, I hope. The local cantor will provide accompaniment, and we'll have a conductor, even, for the last few rehearsals and the concert.

(This isn't us, but it could easily have been!)

We'll be doing some Norwegian traditional Christmas hymns - with untraditional arrangements - and a few English, possibly American. These aren't simple or easy songs, neither learning nor listening to, but I really enjoyed it, and hopefully, so will the audience...

I've been singing in choirs since I was about 6 (? mum?). Starting out in Sunday school (which happened to be Thursday school back home), then children's gospel choir, ten sing (not to be confused with Tenzing), and then various choirs including university choirs as an "adult" (using the term loosely, as I'm not sure I'm an adult still).. I stopped singing - in choirs, that is, when I was expecting the quads. The space they took up literally made me unable to take deep breaths, which is somehow rather useful when singing!

I love singing actively again. I love learning stuff that sounds impossible to begin with. I love being able to sing my part (contralto, in case you wondered..) regardless of the number of other voices and other parts being sung straight into my ear. I love the feeling when a number of voices sound like one.

These are a few of my favourite things...

13 October 2006

Once a year, and once again

Once a year, the whole world (more or less...) listen to Norway - and that was today at 11 AM, local time, when the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize was announced.

And once again, it was someone I'd never heard of... Which says a lot more about me than about him, 'cause I'm sure you all knew all about him already! But just in case you didn't, you can learn some more about Mr. Muhammad Yunus' winning here.

I don't believe this...

Sam, are you doing this on purpose?

Anyway, you're visitor no. 11,000 also... And that on a Friday 13th.


No smoke without a fire

You've heard that said, right?

But here there are smoky clouds, no fire, only sunrise... Reine and Storvågan, this morning.

Got 6 minutes 23 seconds to spare?

This is the cutest thing I've seen in a long time. I just had to show you... (Thanks for the link, R!)

12 October 2006

Similarities (or daydreaming..)

Top photo was taken by my mum on her new mobile. It's from Svolvær, Lofoten. The bottom one I don't know who took, but it's from Ipsos, Greece.

Different, but same. See?

11 October 2006


Look at what Chloe has done! Isn't she just amazing? (Yes dear, I stole your photo..)

Thank you, darling, the world would not be the same without you :) I'm so lucky to have you helping me! I'll be staying up all night, now, just looking at those waves...

If you're wondering what I'm on about - the template, guys, the BLOG!

Music for one apartment and six drummers

I found this over at Marina's site. It's incredible! Now you know why your flat is such a mess when you come home from work... Ah, the Swedes...

- If that doesn't work, try this link instead.

10 October 2006

Ah well...

I'm not telling you what my weight is. I'm not mad...

But it would be nice if some of me got lost! So I thought perhaps, if I put it up here... Might be worth a try!

And the design should somehow inspire me to do this before summer. Which means plenty of time and I get to eat at Christmas...

(Don't know about kilos? Try this.)

Grown-ups say the darndest things

To parents of multiplets, at least... Some things are fun, some are weird, and some are vile. Here's a few, on "shuffle", and these are true stories:

- they're twins? Are they both yours??

- if one of them dies, will you be really sad? (sic! Someone really said that...)

- you don't have to populate the earth on your own!
(Said mostly humorously - but one mother of triplets, while expecting another baby and wheeling her triplets in a pram, were almost physically attacked by someone uttering this. That they were as surprised as the next man, finding how they were suddenly pregnant after 11 years of trying, and decided to keep it, didn't somehow find its way into the conversation...)

- howadorableandtheyalllookcompletelyalike!
(Most had had this thrown at them, disregarding the fact they & we have un-identical multiplets, boys / girls, bright-haired / brown-haired... People see "lots of kids", people think "identical". Funny, really.)

- you poor things! Now I can't complain, at least, I've only got [fill in fewer kids]!
(Was I complaining? And anyway, yes, you can - being deprived of sleep, having things thrown at you, changing another diaper - these things can tire you out even if you've only got 1 child..)

09 October 2006

Note to passers-by

There's been a lot of snoozing lately. A lot of it.

Now there's marginally less of it.

There has been little coughing.

Now there's fractionally more.

There has been no working.

Now there is some.

There has been vain whispers of joy at the kilos passing.

Now there's a whispered sigh as at least 3 of them has returned. Thanks, Violet, gee, thought I was onto something there, worried I was actually losing weight ;)

There has been no new posts lately.

Now there is one...

- And thanks for all the well-wishes! It seems to have worked. Keep it coming, and I might post again. This week. Promise.

04 October 2006

un-fun exercise (but it works)

- Start feeling cold at work. Very cold. Borrow a woollen jacket from somebody.
- Start feeling dizzy. Decide to go home early. Sleep on the way home*.
- Go straight to bed. Sleep for 24 hours, only waking up every now and then because you shiver so much. Get hubby / significant other / neighbour / WHOEVER to get you another woollen blanket.
- Wake up. Decide you've got to eat. Swallow two painkillers. Stagger back to bed.
- Wake up again (a little later). Eat two dry biscuits. Ok, just one and a half then. Go back to sleep.
- Wake up (fx in time to kiss your kids goodnight). Eat one slice of bread. Go to bed. Lay awake most of the night, but have no strength to go elsewhere.
- Finally. Wake up. Headache should be slightly easened by now, fever's gone.
- For want of something better to do, find the scales. Notice how you've lost 4 kilos (8 pounds?) in two days. Smile bravely as you stagger back - no, not to bed, but to the couch.
- etc. etc. (And what with all the shivering and knocking your teeth and elbows etc. together, your muscle mass isn't what's gone missing...)

if you're more into fun exercise, look here, here and here!

* Only if in public transport or being driven...