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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.

Book Giveaway

A quiet summer at home, well that was the intention…

The only plans my husband and I had this summer were to paint the house and work in the garden. After finishing up a lot earlier than expected and in desperate need of sun, we decided to spend a week in Italy.

Some friends have talked us into taking a long-weekend in Dublin, at the end of August. I’ve been invited to join a group of women-writers, meeting in Scotland the weekend before that, and now a trip to America has unexpectedly dropped into our lives.

My husband was asked by his company to give up a week of his vacation and go to Houston on business. Of course he agreed to do it, as long as they were willing to buy a ticket for me too. I then decided to trade in my ticket to Houston for a ticket to New Jersey, which is where I come from.

Tomorrow morning I’m heading home to the Garden State, for a whole week with family and friends. (Plus shopping, no tax on clothes in NJ). When I get back, my new baby granddaughter will be coming to stay with me, while my daughter and her family go to Lego Land in Denmark. There’s nothing like cuddling with a new born.

There is also an Austen in August reading challenge over at Roof Beam Reader. If you’re a Jane Austen fan (like me) check it out! I will also be participating in a book giveaway there…

Leave me a comment if you’re interested in winning a free copy of my book, Fly Away Home. At the end of August, I’ll pull one name out of a hat, contact the winner, and send the book anywhere in the world.

Sense and Sensibility is my favorite Jane Austen novel however, I’ve decided to read Persuasion, because Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine. I’m also very fond of Elizabeth Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice. Which one will you read?

I’ll be gone for the next two weeks, but am leaving you with these awesome pictures, people have posted on Facebook. I hope you’re all having a great summer…

Un-Happy Memories…

 

My daughter (the one in the pig tails) recently posted this picture on facebook, it was taken on Mother’s Day 1981. When I first saw it I smiled, seeing myself again at twenty-three-years old, adorned with three beautiful children brought back happy memories. I had just given birth to my third child and that baby lying on my lap is now waiting to give birth to her third child. Where do the years go?

My heart swells with pride remembering my children at this tender age and now knowing the wonderful people they have grown up to be. I also see a slender arm and a smooth face, but there is unfortunately a flip side to this picture…

Behind the Farrah Fawcett hairdo is a girl, trapped in a controlling and unhealthy marriage. Weighed down in responsibility and much to embarrassed to let anyone know.  If you’re wondering how bad it was, I’ll tell you…

Throughout the pregnancy I begged my doctor to sterilize me after the birth. At first he wouldn’t even listen, but after pleading at every visit and discussing all other options, my hopeless tears got the best of him. He performed the surgery immediately after the birth and I was left barren at twenty-three. A desperate act, of a very desperate girl. Now take another look at the picture…

You never know what secrets are hiding behind a smile in a picture. Since my story has been published I’ve surprisingly received numerous messages from different women, some I know, others I don’t admitting abuse.

Six years after this picture was taken my life took a hard turn and I was thrown out into another direction. I was later able to have the surgery reversed, and was blessed with two more children.

I was fortunate enough to get a do over, not everyone’s that lucky.

 

 

 

 

Cozying up next to Bill Clinton

 

 

The two women you see in the picture above, are me and my oldest friend Annie. We met on our way to kindergarden when we were just five years old and here we are almost fifty years later, (I said almost) and still friends. Whats most surprising about the longevity of our friendship is the miles between us. Annie lives in America and me here in Norway. When I left America over twenty years ago, there was no facebook, twitter or even e-mail! Telephone calls were outrageously expensive and who had time to write letters?

The one condition I gave my husband when we decided to settle down and make Norway our permanent home, was one trip to America each year! Every summer we’d pack up the kiddies and head stateside. We’d stay with my parents and I’d hang out with my three childhood BFF’s Annie, Donna and Ellen. All three of them flew to the Netherlands for my book launch, and Annie flew back to Norway with me afterwards. The picture was taken from my terrace while she was here.

Before leaving to go back home Annie informed me that mine was the second signed memoir she owned. The first was My Life, Bill Clinton’s 2004 autobiography, which sold more than 2,250,000 copies. It’s believed that Clinton was paid 15 million dollars and the book has over one thousand pages! He has also stated that he wrote his whole first draft by hand, filling twenty-two thick notebooks.

The time came for my friend to leave and as I watched her make her way through airport security, I began to miss her already. Why is it always harder to watch people go than to leave yourself?

With an ocean again separating us, it was business as usual on facebook, and on the other side of the world there are now two memoirs standing next to each other on a bookshelf. One written by a former president and the other by an American expatriate.

Here’s hoping some of the luck rubs off.

 

Keep on knocking, but you can’t come in!

 

A good friend of mine from America has been here visiting for the last few days. Sadly, she had to leave yesterday and her plane was departing at 6:20. We live one hour from the airport, and she had to be there at least one hour before departure. Getting in our last hours of nonstop talking, we weren’t able to make it to bed before eleven and set the alarm clock for 4:00. Whenever I go to bed knowing I have to get up early and do something important (like driving someone to the airport) I always wake up before the alarm. I was awake at 3!

I returned home at 7:00, got my son off to school at 8:00, took the dogs and went back to bed. I woke up two hours later to a knocking sound on my window, which in turn caused the dogs to stir. I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, but there was no convincing the dogs. Tap, tap, tap.  As the fog began to clear, curiosity got the best of me and I got up to find out what all the knocking was about.

It turned out to be a little brown sparrow striking the window. At first I found it somewhat amusing, but it didn’t take long before it became quite annoying. The dogs barked at the window and chased it away several times, but the bird was not about to give up. It was almost as if the little birdie were goading them. Tap, tap, tap. 

Having been gone from my computer this last week and with 250 e-mails to read, I decided to turn a deaf ear to my new feathered friend and get busy. Tap, tap, tap. But the bird was relentless. Tap, tap tap. It was time to release the hounds!

Two silky little, floppy eared, King Charles Spaniels scurried out the front door to chase the sparrow off. After a good ten minutes of barking I decided tapping had to be the lesser of two evils, and let them in. Giving up trying to work, I took a shower, did laundry, made the beds and vacuumed. Tap, tap, tap.

By now the dogs had given up and were fast asleep on the sofa. Tap, tap, tap. By mid afternoon I began to wonder if the Universe was somehow trying to relate a message to me through this tiny bird. I checked and saw all of my children had logged into facebook. Tap, tap, tap. I called my parents in America and asked about my ninety three-year-old grandmother, who is in the hospital with a collapsed lung. Tap, tap, tap. Everything seemed to be fine. Then I remembered hearing somewhere that a bird in the house meant a death in the family. Tap, tap, tap. Although he was not technically in the house I began to worry, my friend was flying back to America and my husband was flying home from a business trip. Tap, tap, tap!

I spent several hours trying to take a picture of the pesky little beast, because I figured no one would ever believe my story. The bird obviously didn’t want its picture taken because every time I tried, it would fly away to another window. I chased the damn thing from window to window snapping endless pictures of tail feathers flying off. If anyone saw me they would probably think I was crazy. Tap, tap, tap!

My persistence finally paid off and I got two good pictures of the bird and fifty-three pictures of various windows around my house. Tap, tap, tap. By the end of the day my friend had arrived safely in America and my husband safely home. The bird finally stopped tapping as dark set in, sometime around nine o’clock in the evening. I went to bed exhausted and thinking if the Universe was in fact sending me a message, it was probably that I was cuckoo. Tap, tap, tap.

 

Khloe on bird patrol

The perfect number ten?


Its already 1:30 in the afternoon and I’m sitting here at my Mac, trying to write my tenth blog entry. Both the dryer and dishwasher are finished and now annoyingly peeping away. The dogs are lying by the door, still waiting for their morning walk. I haven’t taken anything out for dinner, my grandchildren are coming by later and I promised to make brownies. Oh yeah, and I’ve had five cups of tea, and I’m still in my pajamas!

I’ve always been a control freak and the thing I controlled most was my house. A place for everything and everything in its place. That was my motto. Well, things have changed.

I am now trying to write a blog, which I’m finding to be a very new and exciting challenge. I’ve made oh so many mistakes, which I will not point out in hopes that you haven’t noticed. Along with this, I’m constantly on the look out for something to tweet and have become hooked on Pinterest (its like shopping without spending any money). I dedicate hours to all my friends on Facebook and I’m trying to find people to review my book. Hint, hint…

The best and most surprising part of my new adventure is the ‘other’ blogs I’ve discovered. You see, not only am I a first time blogger, its also the first time I’ve read any blogs. In the past few months I’ve literally combed through hundreds of blogs before clicking the follow button on sixteen of them. I’d love to follow more, but as you can see I’m pressed for time.

Instead of giving out the names of these blogs, I thought I would tell a little about them and hopefully you’ll understand why they have come to mean so much to me. Maybe you’ll even recognize yours:

  • A father telling his childhood stories to his children, and we’re lucky enough to listen.
  • A sweet twenty-something working through depression and trying to change her life around.
  • A fellow tea lover who’s gearing herself up to chase a dream.
  • A poet sharing her sadness, yet finding the good in everything.
  • A blogger on the threshold of forty and coming to terms with personal purposes.
  • A former expat wife sharing her expat/repat experiences.
  • An old classmate of mine sharing beautiful pictures and craft ideas.
  • A fashion savvy Norwegian living in London.
  • A feisty woman blogging about life, love and the occasional shitty day.
  • A life from a writers point of view.
  • A grown up TCK (third culture kid).
  • An expat writer who also happens to be a white muslim living in a post 9/11 world.
  • A multitasking Californian who’s into everything.
  • A blog about living overseas, away from families and beyond comfort zones.
  • A young American married to a Norwegian and starting a new life in Norway.
  • The adventures of an American family living in Norway.

I love true stories about real people. Thats why I now rush to my Mac every morning eager to check my inbox. If anyone’s curious to find the name of one of these blogs, just ask…

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