Friday, June 17, 2011

Dinner's over

It's Friday, 6:49 pm, and we just finished dinner. Pizza tonight, just like most every Friday night. Benjamin was here for dinner, as he's spending the night. Johan loves having friends sleep over, and Benjamin is one of his very best friends, so they are pretty happy. Anders has a lot of fun with Johan and Benjamin, too.

Espen wasn't here. He and the rest of his class are on a bus on there way home from Skånevik, south of Bergen, where their teacher has a summer house. They are done with all of their finals, but school isn't officially out yet, so his teacher and her husband offered to take the whole class(28 sixteen-or-soon-to-be-sixteen-year-olds) to their house on the west coast. His teacher just turned 60, and she's been a teacher for a long time, but this is the first time she's done this with a class. I think the class is pretty great. They're a pretty good group of teenagers. Espen has been gone since Tuesday morning. It'll be good to get him back home again.

It's been raining a lot here, and there's been lots of flooding along some of the big rivers in Norway, although luckily nothing in Oslo. It was pretty nice this weekend, with lots of sun, but the rain started again today. The bonus is that we never need to water, and everything is very green. While I was sitting at the dinner table tonight, this was my view:

Here are a few pics I took yesterday, too, while the boys were outside fixing a flat tire on Anders' bike:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Off to Gothenburg

Gaute, Anders, Johan and I are headed to Gothenburg, Sweden today. A little mini-springbreak. The big amusement park downtown, Liseberg, opens for the season today. The kids have never been there, so we thought we'd check it out. They open at 12, and it's about a 3-hour drive, so we'll drive down there this morning. They don't close until 10, and we want to make a little vacation out of this, so we booked a room at the hotel across the street. Then we can do some sightseeing and shopping tomorrow. Unlike Norway, Sweden lets stores stay open on Sundays and holidays.

The boys are super excited. You would have thought we were going on an African safari. I think we'll have a good time, though. It's supposed to be sunny and warm, and it's hard not to have fun when it's sunny and warm in April!

I'll take pictures...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sure sign of spring

Today is not quite as sunny and warm as yesterday, which was gorgeous. But, all of the snow has melted and there's no school tomorrow, so the tents are out. Anders and Johan have their tent set up on our lawn, and the neighbors have theirs all ready to go next door. Rain is in the air, and I'm happy I can sleep in my own bed, but they're excited!

Espen is leaving tonight to visit his girlfriend at her family's cabin. Both of Malene's parents come from the west coast of Norway, not far from where Gaute's mom is from. They have a really nice cabin (house?) up there where they spend most vacations. They invited Espen up to stay for a few days this Easter. They have 3 kids and no room for him in their car, so he's taking the night bus up there tonight (it's about a 10-hour drive). I think he's looking forward to sitting on the bus with his computer and iPhone. And I know he's looking forward to hanging out with Malene :-). The cabin is on an island out in the Norwegian Sea which is well-known for the huge numbers of seabirds that inhabit the cliffs. I've been there a couple of times and it's gorgeous.

View Larger Map

UPDATE: I just got back from getting Espen all settled in on the bus. He was pretty excited. I think he'll have a fun few days. When I got back, I found these two little guys all settled into their tent. Good night, everyone!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


My hard drive crashed. It's one of those things you hear about happening to other people, and you think "Thank God that didn't happen to me".

Back up your hard drive - right now, before you read any more!

I backed up mine last time in December, and I am so glad that I didn't lose all of the pictures and music and other fun stuff that I have on my computer. Luckily, I have most of the good pictures I've taken since then on my Facebook page, which makes me oh, so happy.

I've only had my computer for a year and a half, so the hard drive was still under warranty, but I haven't been able to use it for almost 3 weeks. I live on my computer, and I have sorely missed it. I love my iPhone, too, but it's just not the same thing. I was VERY happy to get my good little computer back again yesterday!

No pics today, but I am posting my new favorite song, Lost Together. It's by Frazey Ford, and as she says in the intro, it's about being the product of dysfunctional hippie parents. I can kind of relate to it. (BTW, my parents are extremely functional these days!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I got paid on Friday, and I did what I vowed I would do when I got my next paycheck. I bought a Nespresso machine. I'm the only one in our family who drinks coffee, so it seemed like an unnecessary luxury. I managed to rationalize it, though. Even though the coffee pods cost a bit, I was using a lot of coffee in my french press each day. And although the first cup out of the french press was delicious, the second cup wasn't quite so good. Now, each cup is hot and delicious. And no clean up. Aaahh, the joys of technology...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Music and a bit more...

This past week has been winter break here in wintery Oslo. Gaute had to work the first part of the week (including a mini business trip to Bergen on Tuesday). Our plan was to be here until Wednesday or maybe Thursday and then head up to our cabin. But, you know, it just didn't work out quite like we'd planned. I discovered last week that Anders and Johan needed to renew their Norwegian passports, and that Espen and Johan needed to renew their American passports. The Norwegian ones aren't such a big deal, but to renew the American passports, we have to make an appointment at the American Embassy (only on weekdays before 12), and both Gaute and I have to appear in person with the kids. So, I managed to get an appointment for Wednesday (not really, but we got in regardless), and set about getting everything we needed in order. It is such a hassle! You have to go a special place downtown to get special pictures taken (at $40 a pop). Then when you finally show up at the embassy, they make you wait outside the gate until they finally walk over to see what you want. Then one adult and one child are allowed into the little guard booth, where you go through security control that is - literally - worse than anything you experience at the airport. They check your hands for any residue explosives, every little piece of anything you have in your pockets has to come out, before you walk through the metal detector. Then you have to leave your purse at the guard booth when you go inside. Everytime I'm there I consider giving up my American citizenship!

But, I never will do that, despite the fact that I need to go to the police station every 2 years and wait in line for at least 2 hours to get a visa stamped into my passport. And this year, when I went down to do it, they said that I didn't have enough pages left in my passport. It costs $80 to get more pages put in my passport, and $100 to get a new passport, so I decided to go for it. Since I'm over 16, I don't have to show up at the embassy in person, but I had to go get a cashier's check and a $40 picture before I sent my application in.

And - the Nordic Skiing World Championships started here in Oslo on Thursday. I realize that it is probably not primetime programming in the U.S., but it is here. And it's in Oslo this year! The last time the World Championships were in Oslo was in 1982. So, we kind of felt like it was stupid to leave Oslo right when the excitement was starting...

I've been on my computer a lot this week, and I've been listening to a lot of music. I decided to make a playlist of stuff that I've been listening to most lately. Because I'm SURE everyone is dying to know. So, here it is:

  1. We Used to Wait - Arcade Fire (I love this whole album, and I've been listening to it a lot ever since I bought it in September. I love the fact that it won a Grammy for Best Album of the Year.)
  2. Rambling Man - Laura Marling (A great folk singer from England. She used to date one of the guys from Mumford and Sons and has played with them a lot.)
  3. Hull i Himmelen - John Olav Nilsen og Gjengen - (Trying to get some great Norwegian music out to an American audience. This isn't their newest song, but I think it's their best.)
  4. Howlin' for You - The Black Keys (Another great album with lots of good songs.)
  5. Devil Town - Bright Eyes (I first heard this song, with Tony Lucca singing, on Friday Night Lights, my new favorite show. I love this version, and I love Bright Eyes.)
  6. San Jose - Joe Purdy (This is so good...)
  7. Save Yourself - Sharon Van Etten (Another great female singer, American this time.)
  8. Crash Years - The New Pornographers (This song makes me happy.)
  9. The Girl and the Robot - Røyksopp (This is a Norwegian electronic band. Robyn, a Swede, is singing on this song. She has become very popular with her latest albums, but I love this song best. Listening to her music a lot lately, because Gaute, Espen and I are going to see her in concert in March. Her live shows are supposed to be incredible, so I'm excited!)
  10. Monster - Kanye West (I don't listen to a lot of hip-hop, but I love Kanye West's music. He acts like a complete idiot (his tweets are very entertaining...), but I think he makes consistently great music, and this album is really, really good.)
I made this playlist on iTunes, too, so you can head over there and here a bit of these songs. Just open this link in iTunes and you're good to go.

There is one more song I would have loved to have put on this playlist, but it's not available on iTunes. Here it is on my blog, though! It's called Warrior Song, and the artist is Ingrid Olava (another Norwegian). It's lovely.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Our hotel room on the 33rd floor

The view from our room
Lots of apartment buildings built during the Communist time with modern high rises popping up here and there

Warsaw Uprising monument

Warsaw was completely destroyed during WWII, just a pile of rubble. Everything was built up again after the war, including Old Town.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Off tomorrow

Finished packing, more or less, and we're headed to Poland tomorrow. Our plane doesn't leave until 2, but I have the whole day off, which is so nice. It'll be good to be able to be home until the kids leave for school and be able to take it easy in the morning before we leave.

I'm charging the batteries on our good camera, so hopefully I'll have some cool pictures to post here when I get back. In the meantime, here's a silly iPhone pic to tide you over...

Saturday, January 15, 2011


So, Gaute and I are headed to Warsaw in a couple of weeks. Just a short weekend break from Friday to Sunday. We basically chose Warsaw because we got cheap plane tickets, but I'm pretty excited about the trip. I love travelling - and especially when I get to stay at nice hotels. And Poland is cheap compared to Norway, so we are staying at the Intercontinental. Nothing like a 5 star hotel to make me smile...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Mmmm, Sunday evening

Another weekend is winding down. It's been a nice one. We were all pretty worn out on Friday - it's hard starting back to school after a two week vacation.

Yesterday Gaute went skiing for the 4th day in a row. Espen had two indoor soccer games (the first game was a tie, and they won the 2nd one). Anders, Johan and I headed to the mall to get some errands done. We delivered Espen's ski jacket to get the zipper repaired, took my 20 year old winter boots to the shoemaker to glue the heel back in place, returned a shirt Anders got for x-mas that he didn't like, and returned a lamp which wasn't working. And, bought some pencils and erasers for the kids. Lots of little things that I've been putting off doing, which I was very happy that I finally got done.

After that, we headed to the grocery store to do "big shopping". I always used to plan a week's menu in advance and buy all of the groceries I needed for the whole week. Since I've started working, I haven't been doing that, and our dinners have been suffering. When I get off work at 4 or 5 and I'm hungry, I often end up buying a frozen pizza at the store on my way home. But, if I know what we're going to eat and the food and the recipe are waiting for me at home, we actually end up eating a healthy, well-rounded meal. So far, so good in 2011...

Anders and Gaute went on a big cross-country ski trip today (I think they skied 43 km all together). Espen, Johan and I stayed around home. Espen's girlfriend came over for a while, and then he watched the big game between Manchester United and Liverpool (Liverpool lost...). Johan made a fort in the snow - it's been snowing like crazy yesterday and today. I've been enjoying having a day at home. Got lots of laundry done, cleaned up the house, made dinner for tonight, and got a start on tomorrow night's dinner. And for dessert I made a treacle pie. Haven't tried it before, but it looks good!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Year!

I feel like I was just writing about how vacation was just starting and now tomorrow is the last day. It's been a nice vacation, though. I feel like I've had enough time to relax, and we've been relatively social, too.

Christmas Eve was spent at Kari and Grim's house, as usual. Kari made a nice traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner and Grim dressed up as Julenissen and came to the door with presents for the kids. It was a nice evening.

Later we went home and hung up the stockings. Anders and Johan each wrote notes for Santa which they left with the cookies. They don't really believe in Santa anymore, but they're not quite ready to take any chances.

Christmas day started bright and early. Everyone was thrilled with their gifts, but Anders and Espen didn't sleep much at all the night before, so they were pretty out of it by early afternoon. We had Kari and Grim over for a Christmas brunch, and after they left, we all pretty much passed out :-)

The next day, Sindre and his kids were in town. Sindre turned 50 on January 1st, and since he wasn't going to be in town on his actual birthday, he took us all out to a nice celebration dinner on the 26th.

I don't have photographic documentation of the rest of my vacation, but that doesn't mean we didn't have fun. On the 28th, my friend Sandra from Salt Lake came for dinner with her Norwegian husband and kids. They just moved to southern France from Salt Lake at the end of summer, and were in Norway spending Christmas with Bjorn's (her husband's) family. I haven't seen Sandra for 8 years, and it was really fun to have them over.

The last big event was New Year's Eve. We invited quite a few people over, but it was pretty last minute, and most people had other plans. We did end up having two people over, though, and it was a nice evening. Almost everyone in Norway makes a turkey for New Year's Eve, and since we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we made a Thanksgiving dinner for New Year's. Tasted delicious!

And now there's only one day left. The nice thing is that we start back to school on Tuesday, so this Sunday night isn't like a real Sunday night. It feels like we get a bonus day.

Happy New Year, everyone!