Monthly Archives: December 2012

2013, A New Year

super_sweet

As we stand on the threshold of 2013, I’m sure we’re all thinking the same thing -New Year,  new start. 

After stuffing myself silly in honor of Christmas this past week, I went to the gym last night. I got a tremendous cramp in my right side while attempting to run on the treadmill and spinning made me nauseous. I left having burned off maybe five, of the fifty Christmas cookies I’ve eaten. I once again went to bed vowing to give up sugar.

It’s my vow every year and yet the longest I’ve ever gone without eating sugar is two weeks back in 1997 (and thats probably because I was sick). Sugar is my weakness, it’s my addiction.

I lived down the street from a little bakery when I was pregnant with my first child and would go there at least twice -okay, three times a week to buy cake. I’d always buy a chocolate/vanilla marble, buttercream cake and eat the whole thing myself. For nine months I ate three cakes a week, before giving birth to a sweet little girl. Sugar and spice, thats what little girls are made of… Right?

My stomach would never allow me to do that today, but I still eat way more than I should.

Because of time and other commitments I’ve also recently announced that I need to give up blogging. But as you can see, that seems to be another addiction…

I may not be commenting as much, but I still read posts as often as I can and will continue to post myself on occasion. I know its a you follow me, I’ll follow you, world out there but I need to put that aside. Forget about stats and do what I can, when I can. Instead of vowing to give up sugar this year, I’m going to vow to cut back -way back and to blog without pressure.

I’d like to thank my friends Maddie and Kathy for kindly bestowing me with the Super Sweet blogging Award (it was fate). I’d also like to apologize and thank everyone for all the awards I never found the time to properly acknowledge this year. It is all of you, that I would like to pass this award on to.

Silliness aside, I hope with all my heart that 2013 turns out to be a great year for all mankind. Happy New Year!

Christmas 2012

Welcome

Welcome

A White Christmas

A White Christmas

Table set

Table set

Dinner served

Dinner served

Baby's first Christmas

Baby’s first Christmas

Christmas is over

2012

Fly Away Home

photo by Martin Brigdale

photo by Martin Brigdale

I’ve hit a milestone today and I’m celebrating with tea. This is my 100th post!

Last year at this time, I had just made the monumental decision to publish my life story. In other words, share the good and reveal the bad. All of it. To-the-entire-world!

If that wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, I was also strongly advised to start a blog. Me? A blog! The thought was terrifying. I was afraid people would show up looking to read great posts, written by an experienced author and instead find me. What would I write about and what would it sound like without an editor to help polish things up?

Obviously I found stuff to write about, this is my 100th post and everyone’s been great in overlooking my bad grammar. Everyone except my daughter Michele, that is…

 Stick it out for one year, or one hundred posts, whatever came first. That was the deal I made with myself last April, when starting the blog. But what will I do now? I honestly don’t know.

My biggest dream is to have my book translated to Norwegian and yet I haven’t spent much time working on that. I have one son leaving for college and another who will be a senior in high school next year. I also have three, precious little grandchildren living right up the road and I’d love to spend more time cuddling with them. I hate that I sit at one end of the house and my husband the other, on our computers every night. If there was only more time, or I had more energy.

For now all I can do is thank everyone who’s followed along, stopped by once in a while, and pushed the like button. I’m also giving away a signed copy of my book, Fly Away Home. If you’re interested, pop over and visit Janneke, at DrieCulturen and leave a comment. She writes an interesting blog about growing up in other cultures. Check it out…

win a free copy!

win a free copy!

 

 

maggiemyklebust:

A lot is being said about the tragedy in Connecticut but as the mother of an autistic son myself, I hope you’ll take the time to read this post. Thank you!

Originally posted on ProfMomEsq:

My daughter is five years old.  She is in kindergarten.  She likes to wear a hat everywhere she goes.  As she falls asleep, she gently rubs her blanket with the tips of her fingers.  She is afraid of the vacuum.  She loves bacon and stealing sips of my coffee.  When she’s hurt, she’ll ask me to kiss her “boo-boo-owie.”  She’s watched “A Bug’s Life” so many times, she has the dialogue memorized.  When she’s tired, she’ll sometimes crawl into my lap and fall asleep curled up next to me.  She’s mostly left-handed, but sometimes she’ll decide to write with her right hand … because she can.  She gets into trouble and sits on time-out, which she does not like – not one little bit.  When she says, “I’m sorry” or “I love you,” she means it.

This is what autism looks like.

When I heard the news yesterday about the horrible tragedy that happened at Sandy…

View original 932 more words

Day three, stranded and somber

courtesy of Emily, 3 and Adam, 6

Courtesy of Emily, 3 and Adam, 6

Being snowed in can be quite exhausting and that’s why I went to bed early last night. With my husband away, I allowed the pups (Mia and Khloe) to join me. After two cups of tea and four episodes of Gossip Girl (I watch strictly for the fashion) it was lights out. This was about the same time as the new storm that was predicted hit. It blew with all its might until early morning. The windows shook and the house whistled, as mighty gusts lashed against it. I woke up this morning expecting to find more snow but instead, freezing sleet and bad news is what I found.

At an Elementary School in Connecticut over a dozen people were shot and killed, twenty of them were young children. I can’t even imagine the pain their parents are going through and my heart breaks for them. America is not the only place where tragedy happens when a gun falls into the hands of a sick individual. In the summer of 2011, Anders  Brevik went on a shooting spree, killing sixty-nine teenagers, all attending a youth camp on an island near Oslo, Norway.

There’s been much debate on Facebook over the right to bear arms, today. I read in one post that people sell guns at garage sales in Florida! I think its time for people to sit back and take stock of what’s really important here…

The sleet has turned to rain, the wind has died down and the snow is melting. It’s a sad and somber day.

Day two, stranded

DSC03691

Yesterday morning I woke up to snow and since we live at the bottom of a private road, no one would be coming anytime soon to dig me out. I made the best of it with a good book and plenty of hot tea.

Last night a friend called to tell me there was another storm on the way. Afterwards my husband called from an oil platform in the North Sea to tell me his helicopter had already been cancelled and he wouldn’t be coming home before Monday!

Feeling cooped up and worried about my empty refrigerator, I decided to take a walk up the road to get some air and check the mailbox. (my mailbox is about a quarter of a mile up the road). All my neighbors live at the top, there are only empty summer cottages and boat houses down by the water, where I live. Trekking up, the snow felt crisp and frosty beneath my feet, not too slippery and this gave me an idea…

I decided to try to get my car up the hill. I have good winter tires and four-wheel drive (but that didn’t stop me from spinning off the road last winter). I gave it gas, went zooming upwards and then made the mistake of trying to shift gears, half way up. The car lost momentum while shifting and the tires began to spin on the ice under the snow. I backed up (or down in this case) and tried again. This time I stayed in first and floored it all the way!

I parked the car at the top and walked home. This morning I bundled up, walked back up the hill to my car and drove to the store. I ended up buying five bags of heavy groceries and therefore, had no choice but to drive down again. Throughout the night strong winds had blown even more snow onto the road…

I held my breath and kept a light foot on the brake as I drove down through the snow drifts.

I don’t think I’ll be brave enough or that it’s even possible to get the car up again. But I have tea and plenty of chocolate in the house now, so who cares… I’ll be alright.

DSC03686

Walking down to my house in the winter

35449_4678394763674_1576070762_n

Walking up from my house in the summer

 

 

Stranded

DSC03662

I’m stuck inside today…

We got at least eight inches of snow dumped on us last night and I can’t get my car out of the garage. We live at the bottom of a very large hill and since it’s a private road, no one will be coming to plow. It’s even too slippery for me to walk up. My husband is out on an oil platform in the North Sea and my son is visiting friends in the Netherlands, so they can’t help. I tried to shovel a path for the dogs, because the snow was too deep for them to walk in. The snow was heavy, but after an hour of hard work I manage to dig out a little spot for them.

Right now, I’m just sitting here watching the boats go by…

DSC03669

But I guess it’s time to build a fire, make some tea and settle down with a good book, or maybe I’ll pop on a Jane Austen film…

DSC03679

It may just be a good day after all.

 

 

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…

DSC03629

“Christmas in Egersund”

I put up my Christmas tree last night -thats right, I broke tradition and put it up early this year. Lets just say I needed some early Christmas cheer. My mother puts her’s up the day after Thanksgiving and it stands there until after New Year. I love Christmas, but thats just a little too much Holiday cheer for me. I guarantee we’re the first house in Egersund Norway to have our Juletre (xmas tree) up -oh they’ll decorate, but the tree won’t go up before the 23rd. I’m quite the American-rebel this year.

I know its a bit morbid, but every time I pack away the ornaments I wonder if I’ll be here the following year to unpack them again… A lot can happen between one christmas and the next, right? Go away bad thoughts, it’s Christmas!

For the sake of my marriage, my husband and I bought a pre-lit (lights permanently on) artificial tree, in America and brought it with us home to Norway. It would take all day in the freezing cold for me to find a tree that was good enough and I hated all the needles dropping on my floor. My husband and I had some of our worst fights over stringing lights -hence the pre-lit, fake tree.

One summer while visiting my family in New Jersey we went to a pool store in search of diving masks for my sons and found a Christmas tree clearance sale. Turns out, during the winter the Pool Supply Store, becomes a Winter Holiday Supply Store and all left over trees are sold half price the following summer. Its been ten years since we hauled that tree home and it still smells like chlorine. Ho… Ho… Ho…

Norwegians are very patriotic and love their flag. They fly it for all occasions, but never after dark. If it’s even near dark and we haven’t taken it down, neighbors will start calling to remind us. They even hang paper flags on their Christmas tree’s and that’s one tradition I like to keep. Along side the flags of my adopted country hang all the ornaments of my past. A collection of sentimental reminders. Some from my children, some from places we visited and places we’ve lived.

Have a peek…

In honor of our two years in Houston

In honor of our two years in Houston “Deck them halls Y’all!

In honor of three years in the Netherlands

In honor of three years living in the Netherlands

I may live in Norway but I'm still a Jersey Girl at heart

I may live in Norway but I’m still a Jersey Girl at heart

And just to even out all those Norwegian flags on the tree, an American angel

And just to even out all those Norwegian flags on the tree, an American angel on top

maggiemyklebust:

The best Christmas present ever. Thanks Laura!
and thanks to all of you, who will take the time to read it. xx maggie

Originally posted on Laura Stanfill:

It takes a lot of courage to write about one’s life.

In her memoir Fly Away Home, Maggie Myklebust tells an honest, heartfelt tale about identity, place and belonging.

Maggie Myklebust, author of the memoir Fly Away Home.

Maggie begins at the beginning, with her Norwegian relatives, and then moves into the story of her parents, her birth and her girlhood escapades in New Jersey. Fly Away Home shifts between those two crucial settings, both of which she calls home as her life’s journey zigzags back and forth across the ocean and, along the way, twists into something new and unexpected.

Maggie takes an unflinching approach to narrating her own life, laying emotional moments on the page without sugarcoating them or, conversely, exaggerating them for dramatic effect. The result is a fascinating, feel-good memoir, chock full of insights, surprises, humor and tension. There are so many lovely, quiet moments that speak…

View original 1,035 more words

Norwegian Holiday Traditions

Princess netbutikk

Princess julebutikk

Today is the first Sunday in Advent and the Christmas season in Norway has officially begun. The Norwegians call it, Juletid. Four purple candles, symbolizing anticipation and preparation are progressively lit each Sunday counting down the four weeks until Christmas.

A wall hanging with twenty-four numbered pockets representing the days in December, before Christmas is used as an Advents Kalender. The pockets are filled with little treats and sweets for the children to take each day.

DSC03576

It’s not typical for Norwegians to put Christmas lights on their houses, although they do sometimes light up a front yard tree with white lights. They also put electric candles in their windows.

DSC03567

December is a dark month and the sun can no longer be seen in the North. I live in the South and while the sun never gets very high, we still manage to see daylight. Lighting candles, playing music and buckets of tea, help  a lot during this time. By March, the days will start getting longer and by June, we’ll be going to bed with the sun still shining… It’s a pretty fair trade.

DSC03548

This is also the time of year when Norwegians like to bake Christmas cookies. They’re called Småkaker, which translated means small cakes. Since I mostly bake American cookies, I went around to few of my Norwegian friends (Marita & Anja) and took pictures of their cookies. I even got to sample and take some home. There are many different types, here are just a few:

Pepperkaker (Gingerbread)

DSC03541

Sandnotter (Sand nuts) which are not made with nuts, but with potato flour!

DSC03594

Kakemenn (Cake men) which can be cut into different figures, here are some pigs:

DSC03601

Fyltekjekks (filled cookies) two wafers filled with icing. And Brunepinner (Brown sticks) which is a brown sugar cookie and my favorite.

DSC03605

December 23, is called Lille julaften, or little Christmas Eve. This is when most Norwegians decorate their tree and eat Risengrøt (rice pudding). The grown ups drink Gløgg, which is a mulled wine with spices, nuts and fruit… And sometimes a dash of spirit (brandy, rum or vodka).

On the evening of December 24, families gather for a festive dinner. A traditional Christmas dinner for this area of Norway is; Pinnekjøtt (lamb chops) Ribbe (rib roast) and a white sausage, winter vegetables, cranberry sauce and rich gravey. In my house it’s turkey (after all – we did miss out on Thanksgiving) Riskrem for dessert, it’s made by mixing whipped cream and cold rice pudding together and topped off with a sweet red-berry sauce. There is an almond hidden in the bowl and who ever finds the almond in their dish, wins a prize.

Afterwards, the children wait while their father takes a quick trip to the neighbor… And that’s when Julenissen (Santa) always seems to come knocking on their window. They open the door, invite him in and giggle at the sight of him.

Julenissen, unlike Santa is neither fat nor jolly, he wears a red robe, a mask and mumbles when he talks. His first words are always, “Are there any good children in here?”

He open’s his sack, hands out a present to each child and shakes their hand. After asking for directions to one of the children’s friends houses, he leaves and their father returns, cursing for having missed Julenissen, AGAIN!

DSC01538

From the first day of December until the last, I play Christmas music, in my house and in my car, non-stop! I love it.

En Stjerne Skinner I Natt (A Star Shines Tonight) is my favorite Norwegian Christmas Carol and is sung by The Oslo Gospel Choir. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do…

God Jul (Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 382 other followers