Category Archives: Stories in general
I feel like it was just Christmas, I blinked and now it’s March!
Time really does fly… In five years, I will have lived half my life in Norway!
While Norway is my home now and I have no regrets, New Jersey is where I come from and where my loyalties will always reside.
I follow a blog called, It’s All About Purple. It’s written by Debbie, in New Jersey (we went to school together). I’m especially fond of this blog because it always makes me feel at “home” and somehow -a little closer to New Jersey.
Yesterday’s post especially pulled on my heartstrings.
In late September 2012 Super-Storm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City NJ, which was already mostly underwater due to a full moon and high tides. The storm slammed the New Jersey coastline with 90 mph winds. Registered only as a category 1 on a scale of five, it packed astoundingly low barometric pressure, which gave it tremendous energy to push water inland. The storm caused massive power outages, that went on for weeks. People were left stranded and some dead. It destroyed tens of thousands of businesses and homes. It ripped away parts of our famous boardwalks and blew the sand from our beaches. It was the nightmare you never think will really happen.
All over the world devastating disasters such as this strike and we feel tremendous sorrow. Unfortunately, as the media buzz around them dies so does our interest. That’s why with summer on the way, I just want to shout out, “I haven’t forgotten about you New Jersey and I’m rooting for you to come back, bigger and better than ever!”
Read Debbie’s post and see pictures (not of devastation, only the beauty) of our Jersey Shore, here.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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…
It may just be a good day after all.
I was a shy girl, who grew into a guarded teenager. I never had the nerve to try out, or join anything at school. I was afraid of failure and being made fun of, that’s why my only goal was to blend in with the crowd. I probably never even raised my hand at school and I’m sure half of the people there didn’t even know my name. Don’t get me wrong – I had friends, but never wandered outside my circle. I played it safe at all times.
I grew up and although I gained some confidence in becoming a mom, I still worried about what other people thought and kept my head down. On the heels of a nasty divorce, I left America and started a new life in Norway (not because I was brave). After visiting numerous times throughout my life, I thought I knew what it would be like to live there. I was wrong.
Learning a new language and adjusting to a foreign culture is hard. I felt more like a refugee in this small local town, than an expat. My children didn’t seem to have any problem; They turned into little Norwegians overnight. Again, I kept pretty much to myself and tried not to be noticed. I knew there were people who thought I was unfriendly, when really I was just scared. Afraid of saying something wrong, afraid of being judged.
Only in a close group of friends was I able to open up and be myself, or as much of myself as I could be – talking another language…
My husband is the complete opposite. Once a local football hero (back in the day) he never cares what anyone thinks and oozes confidence. He’s dragged me kicking and screaming to events, in which I was forced to smile and meet new people. Together we have done things I never imagined myself doing…
Like cycling through France.
Sleeping in an igloo.
Hiking 2.4 miles up to the top of Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen).
And publishing a book.
The whole time I was writing Fly Away Home, I never, EVER thought anyone other than family would read it. Why would they? I wasn’t a writer, or anyone famous, just a woman trying to explain her side of things.
There’s no hiding now…
One of Khloe’s favorite pastimes is chasing her own tail. She’ll spin around and around in hope of catching it, but she never does. Sometimes I feel like I’m chasing my own tail as well. Meaning – nothing I ever do seems to get done!
I can spend the whole day washing clothes, go to bed, wake up and the basket is full again!
I go food shopping twice a week and yet we’re always out of something.
I sent my first child off to school in 1982 and my last child still has two years left to go. That means I’ve been packing gym clothes and school lunches for thirty years now! Don’t even get me started on the homework (If I’m not helping, I’m nagging them to do it).
Day after day, year after year, Its my job to decide – WHAT to make for dinner? I don’t even mind cooking it as much as I hate deciding WHAT to make.
And as hard as I try, I just can’t seem to get my inbox empty these days either (I guess thats thanks to blogging)
I’m not complaining… Well, maybe just a little.
My husband works and travels a lot, so its hard to count on him for any of the ongoing tasks that keep our house running. Instead, he’s in charge of projects and repairs. These things can take weeks, even months to finish, but eventually they get done and he can move on. After he’s finished everyone will praise him for a job well done, or tell me how lucky I am to have him. Sometimes I wish our roles were reverse and he could chase his tail for a few years…
He just called me outside to show me the new project he’s started. He’s building steps from our house, which sits on top of a cliff, down to the water.
I took this picture to show you what he’s up to…
I better go – I think I hear the dishwasher peeping…
This is not a blog-award-post, but I am going to tell you two things about myself.
First, I love sugar. Especially when it’s in cake.
Second, I hate exercise. I’m more of a sofa lying, cookie eating type of gal.
I struggled for a long time feeling tired and unfocused. I also had headaches and a persistently runny nose. Fed up with feeling bad all the time, I begrudgingly decided to cut back my sugar intake. I also gave up dairy, and was determined to exercise a bit more than just walking my dogs everyday. I joined a gym.
Everyone says (and I read), the more one exercises, the more one likes it – Not true. (for me)
Everyone also says (and I read), the more one exercises, the better one feels – This is true.
I also found it easier to stick to my diet when exercising. I didn’t want all the work I was doing to be in vain. I spent half an hour on the treadmill and went to a forty-five minute spinning class three to four times a week. Luckily I had friends who also joined, otherwise I may have given up (I’m very easy on myself).
I also bought a juicer and started making my own juice every morning. This gave me energy to keep up at the gym and get my ‘five a day’. I tricked my son, who doesn’t like any fruits or vegetables into drinking it as well and we had a remarkably healthy winter.
Then summer came – School ended and we started traveling. I had no time for the gym, and who passes on desert while vacationing? Not me, thats for sure.
Once I was off track, I started using that as an excuse to stay there. For example; I’ve already had one piece of cake, so why not have another.
Now here I am, back to square one…
Thats why as much as I love summer (and I had a good one) I’m ready for it to end, get back to the gym and get my sweet tooth under control. For some reason, I can only make fresh starts after summer and Christmas.
So here goes…
A list of what I put into my juicer every morning (it may vary from time to time):
1 pepper (any color)
A small piece of ginger
Half a cucumber
1 celery stick
Half a lemon
A couple of radishes
A couple of carrots
A piece of pinapple
A handful of Kale
I love tea and have been wanting to do a post about it for quite some time now. It’s my addiction and I cannot make it through the day without it. I brew a pot every morning and am still drinking long after its cooled off, I’ll drink it at any temperature, but never spoil it by adding milk or sugar. My favorite is green tea with mint, but I’ll drink all sorts. In good times and bad, I’m always comforted with tea. So if you ever come to visit, you can be sure I’ll serve tea.
Back in June, a good friend and fellow tea drinker named Marita, (who at this very moment is on her way to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro!) informed me of a tea party that was being held at a local lighthouse. As most of you already know, I live on an island in Norway and there is a light house out on the very tip, called Eigerøy Fyr.
The tea party was being hosted by a Canadian artist, calligrapher, Asian scholar, and tea historian named Bryan Mulvihill. He travels the world talking about tea and its origins some 4,000 years ago, in China. He also talks about the global journey of this precious commodity and how almost every culture has a tea tradition.
He has served tea in a palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice and in a greenhouse in Kew Gardens, London. He has also served tea at International art fairs, local community centers, Buddhist temples and Jewish synagogues. He has served to as many as 17,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl, during the World Festival of Sacred Music in 1999, and to as little as twenty people at Eigerøy Fyr in Egersund, Norway.
Marita and I took the 2km. hike out to the lighthouse on a winding path that ran both up and down green hills dotted with grazing sheep. Wind and rain pushing and pulling us all the way. Once we arrived, we were served four different teas, in tiny porcelain cups. Each of them tasted light and refreshing, with a flowery sweet aroma.
A few weeks later I received an e-mail from a Norwegian named Christi, living in Ningbo, China. She heard about my book and wanted to congratulate me, she would soon be coming home to Egersund for the summer, and asked to visit.
She came by last week, we had a delightful chat and to my surprise, she brought white tea, all the way home from China. There were two shiny bags inside a small canister, one held tea leaves, the other small rose buds, used in flavoring the tea. The canister was then covered in a silky green kimono.
Yesterday, I decided to share my good fortune with another friend named Anja.
As the sun shone down on a lazy Saturday afternoon, two friends whiled away the hours…
Enjoying fresh strawberries, sweet cake and a delicious Chinese nectar
In Anja’s beautiful rose garden, in Norway.
The tea was fantastic! Thanks again, Christi.