Monday, March 28, 2011

Awesome moving company name

A moving company truck rolled down the street today. I ran for my camera. I've never seen a moving company name that better reflects my feelings towards moving!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Eerie view

The snow continues, but I have the feeling it won't last long. Spring wants to come, and we all want it to come too. It was easy to persuade the kids to go out and play in the snow today, perhaps the last snow of the season. Warmer temperatures make for good packing.

Here's Peter, sledding down the hill on a shovel, looking a bit like a Hogwart's student on a broom. And through the trees the eerie sight of a church glowing through the falling snow in the dusk.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winter or spring?

Twice I thought spring had come. Several days of warm weather and rain washing away the snow and ice, and then winter weather again. The last couple days have been harsh. Rain mixed with sleet mixed with hail followed by snow and wind – so much wind! It was difficult sleeping last night with the loudness outside. To top it off our furnace stopped working so we're keeping warm by burning wood.

The light is back though, and wow is it back. It changed very quickly from dark all the time to a whole lot of light. Me and the kids are waking up very early now, waking up early and not feeling tired. How our bodies are tied to our environment...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pål sine høner

It was my friend's father's 80th birthday party today. As is common with important birthdays in Norway, there was a big party with 40 or 50 family members gathered, complete with an entertainment program. I came in to play guitar for a rendition of Pål sine høner (Paul's hens), a traditional folk tune that my friend had written new words to match events from her father's life. I got some gifts for my guitar playing, so I suppose this marks my debut as a "professional" musician.

Here's a video of the song. It tells the story of a boy who is watching after the hens and one escapes. A fox gets it, the boy fights off the fox with a stone, but the hen is mortally wounded and the boy doesn't dare go home. But he takes the hen to the local mill and trades it for a bag a flour, and thus can return home with head high. It supposed to be some kind of social commentary where the fox represents intrusive government. I'll leave it to you to figure out the metaphor.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Winter again

Wow – after two days of delicious spring weather it starting snowing with a vengeance!

Here's a couple of pictures from downtown near the river.

Winter again

Wow – after two days of delicious spring weather it starting snowing with a vengeance! It's pretty, though! Here's a couple of pictures from downtown in the old section near the original city gate. It's nice down here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green dinner

St. Patrick's Day! It was important for the kids, so we had a green dinner. Green noodles, broccoli, and pea pods, served on green plates with green soda.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Warm weather and gravel

We've had very weirdly warm weather yesterday and today. The ice and snow are quickly vanishing. We were briefly puzzled by the thick bead of gravel that appeared to have been poured along our lawn. All winter they've been graveling and plowing the road, and this is what is left after the deep snowbank is gone.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Grand Hotel Oslo

I was in Oslo for a seminar not long ago and stayed at the Grand Hotel, a well known hotel in the center of the city. In the morning I had breakfast in their cafe, and was told by a seminar visitor that this was the very cafe that Henrik Ibsen, the famous author, came every day for 9 years. Henrik Ibsen is considered the father of modern theater, scandalous in his day. He's considered the greatest playwright since Shakespeare.

Here's the hotel, and an interesting back stairwell from the pub.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anna's unit presentasion

Wow, that was hard to write the word 'presentasion' in the title of this post. In fact, it still looks wrong. It should be 'presentasjon'.

...Ok, I just looked it up. It's 'presentation' with a -tion, not -sion. No wonder it looked wrong. I'm a former spelling bee champion, mind you. But languages are starting to blur together in my brain.

Likevel, today was Anna's unit presentation. Every month after her class finishes a unit of study, they put on a show for the parents. It's amazing how many parents take off from work to come to the show. There were more parents than second graders there. Children are the highest priority in Norwegian culture, it's not hard to understand why this country is so successful.

The unit was on houses. Here's Anna showing off her dream house, and her self-assessment rubric. She made all of the smiley faces look like her friends. Cute!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Art class

I started teaching a math-art elective at the international school for 7th-9th graders. I have 10 kids for two hours per week. We're using mathematical ideas to inspire and create art – very fun! I've wanted to teach a class like this for a long time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Electric repair

Our massive power converter shorted out again. I hauled this thing over from the United States in carry-on baggage a couple of years ago. Its a 2000-watt converter that let's us run Pam's kiln on European power, and it's essentially two giant coils of wires. Rather low tech. I soldered it last week, but it still wasn't working and I needed circuit testers to find out what else was going on. With Pam's glass party yesterday it was time to finish the job. Tonight I had Martin over with his box of tools and he fixed the problem in short time. It's good to have neighbors like Martin.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Art club

A lot of women in Norway, we are led to believe, belong to a syforening, or sewing club. We have several friends who are in clubs with friends they've known since high school. Some of the clubs don't even bother to sew anymore, they just each bring a bottle of wine and talk for hours.

Pam is in an art club with 4 other women artists. Once a month they meet at someone else's house to work on an art project. Today it was Pam's turn to host, so the dining room table became a work table strewn with broken bits of brightly colored glass, soon to be smelted in the kiln, and the afternoon was filled with happy sounds of laughter. A good tradition.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Skiing mania

I had a great authentic Norwegian experience yesterday. We had a staff meeting that was kept short so that we could watch the women's 4x5.0 km ski relay. Our whole department sat riveted, watching the Nordic World Skiing Championships on a big projector screen. Cheers of "Heia heia Marit!" and "Heia heia Kristin!" and "Å! Nei nei nei!" filled the room for the race. It was tense with Norway behind after the first leg, but the team made a comeback on the second leg and stretched the lead to over 30 seconds by the end of the race. It was Marit Bjørgen's fourth gold medal she earned in her four events at the competition, a first for Norway.

The United States finished far down the list. Friends consoled me by telling me "It doesn't matter, today you are Norwegian!"

Thursday, March 3, 2011


6 weeks ago I reopened an old circus injury in my deltoid muscle (upper arm/shoulder) making it difficult to raise my arm in a particular direction. I made a doctor's appointment, which took two weeks before I could see the doctor. I got a recommendation for an x-ray and MRI, but it took another week to get a letter from the lab with the appointment date, and now 6 weeks later I finally got to visit the lab.

Ting tar tid, as they say here. Things take time. Next week they say I should hear from my doctor and be able to arrange another appointment to find out what's wrong. By now it's nearly healed, but I still want to find out what's wrong, as this was an injury from long ago.

 But, the cost is very low. An x-ray and an MRI scan (in the big scary machine) cost 218 kroner, about $30. If my medical bills exceed $300 in a calendar year, everything beyond that is free. So, good cost and good technology, but slow service.

I loved the sounds of the MRI! Sounds like heavy metal music, I might be just enough inspired to write a song that uses some of the sounds. Here's a link to the sounds of the MRI. Enjoy!