Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Goodbye to our visitors

Judi and my nieces left today. Farewell dear family! It was a really nice visit for us all. Here's some pics I stole from her Facebook album.

Arrival at Værnes. They loved the Trollmobile.
Trolls would become the theme of the week!
The kids coming up the steps to our house.
Maggie borrowed Rachel's animal ear hat all week.
Maggie, Rachel and Frøy had a lot of fun together.
Troll sighted at Steinvikholmen!
Reading 'Where the Wild Things Are' in Norwegian
Jordan's boyfriend visited us often via Skype
One of the many handknitted things Judi made for us
Norway has gnomes, too!

New hair

... well, no hair! Yes, I know shaving my head is not the way to prepare for winter, but it feels so good! Peter was eager to do the honors, and in fact he did a great job with the electric razor. After 25 years with long hair, it's time for something new. Awesome!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Anna came running upstairs at a ridiculously early hour yelling "Daddy! Daddy!" It was snowing. She was so excited. Me, less so. The forecast calls for above 0 temperatures all through this week and next, so hopefully it won't stay around.

Yes, it's pretty. And I'm glad the snow stayed away long enough for us to finish the move. I'm hoping for a very mild winter. We deserve one after the last two winters!

Inside we stay warm and cozy with candles, good food, and good company.

 Judi, Jordan and Rachel went to church at the cathedral this morning. They didn't understand the service, but loved the acoustics and the awesome feeling of sitting in the big beautiful stone medieval cathedral.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


According to the weather report, we might be in for some colder temperatures and snow tomorrow. We've enjoyed remarkably mild November weather, today might be the last of it.

We took our guests to visit some of our favorite sites and sights in the Stjørdal area. This is the latest in the year we'd visited these places, and though it was getting cold and windy it was still pretty good. Hegra festning was a hit, although the tunnels were closed for winter. Then we visited Steinvikholmen, a Leonardo daVinci inspired medieval fortress. It felt particularly stark and foreboding today – a storm last night had blown all kinds of weeds and sticks all over the beach, and the sky was big and full of dark clouds and low sunlight. The bridge was down for the winter leaving only the bare support posts, but the tide was out and we could pick our way across the stones to the fortress. The entire scene was a bit surreal. We could sense the trolls watching us...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Troll hunt

My sister loves trolls! She used to collect them a child, figures called wishniks. For the next few days we'd be hunting trolls.

We walked around downtown today visiting the cathedral and a few shops. Tourist information has a very good shop with lots of trolls and moose and viking stuff. Here she found a couple of troll figures she loved. We took the trolls to visit the cathedral and then took them for hot chocolate at Choko Boko in Bakklandet.

In the evening, we settled in to watch Trolljegeren (The Troll Hunter) with English subtitles. We'd taken Maggie to this wonderful and scary movie last year at the theater. Anna watched it this time, she sat on my lap the whole time!

We are now prepared to go troll hunting in tunnels and fortresses tomorrow!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We had six others join my family and my sister's family for Thanksgiving in our new house. It was very koselig (a great Norwegian word meaning "warm and cosy and nice and fun"). Our small house felt full but not crowded. We had traditional American Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, brown gravy, corn and sweet potatoes. And plenty of red wine of course.

New appliances

Martin came over last night to get our house ready for new appliances. We had to remove parts of a kitchen cabinet and shorten a cupboard door to fit our new BIG fridge/freezer. And we had to remove parts of the bathroom cabinetry to fit the washer and dryer. We cut the full-height doors in half so it looks hilarious right now. It doesn’t matter, the bathroom is covered with crappy tile that’s falling down and dozens of holes in the wall where I pulled out all kinds of mysterious chrome plastic holder clips. It needs and will get a make-over when we get other things in order. Today we get cable-TV, broadband, fridge, oven, and washing machine. This place will be awesome eventually! We will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with my sister and nieces tonight – nice!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The weather

Last November we had the coldest November in 222 years. This November must be one of the warmest. The temp has dropped to freezing only 2 or 3 times for a couple of hours. We’ve been enjoying 8°C (46°F) temps all week, which has made moving houses so much easier. We are very lucky! It’s warmer here than it is in Michigan and Wisconsin right now.

Sister and nieces arrive

My sister Judi and her two daughters Jordan (20) and Rachel (14) arrived from Wisconsin to visit for the week. They brought two suitcases full of gifts and American food and treats. Our living room quickly filled with all kinds of stuff. We are so excited, and ready for a great week!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Butter shortage!

Norway is out of butter. I should have asked my sister to bring some. Friends say that there’s a new low-carb high-fat diet kick in the region that involves eating a lot of butter. The factories are out, the stores are out. The dairies will be gearing up for butter production again, but we won’t have any for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

House progressing

House has been going great! Everyone’s working as hard as they can and we’re enjoying very much seeing the house come together. We’ve done a lot: new warm flooring and wood flooring in the basement, new electrical system, lights and wiring and switches and outlets, new kitchen appliances, newly wired and plumbed laundry room, new cabinets and furniture and moving all of our things into this little space. It’s been a joy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Anna's play

Anna has been in an after-school drama club in the community (which means it's a Norwegian-speaking group). They performed their play today as part of an arts weekend in Svartlamoen, the industrial/artsy/hippie section of Trondheim. Their play was part of a 90 minute music and drama program that concluded with a free lunch. Other concerts and programs were running all day .

Anna had the main speaking part, playing the part of the narrator and one of the characters. She has a good stage presence and strong and clear voice. I love hearing her speak Norwegian, her entire voice and inflections change and she hits the accent spot on. Aaahhh... to learn a second language at a young age.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rock Band party

Maggie had 5 friends over for a rock band party. With our house mostly empty, the acoustics are that much better!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moving weekend

Big moving weekend! We have moved every year for the last 5 years. I'm not even kidding. (Moved to Norway 2007, moved back to U.S. in 2008, big move back to Norway 2009, moved to different house in 2010, moving now to our very own house 2011.)

The last two moves have been gruesome. This time, we are moving 200 meters, and we have two months to do it, so it is much less stress.

On Saturday we had a big moving day, just for 4 hours from 10-2. We'd expected about 12 people to show up. At the end of day, I counted 23 people working on the move. We were just blown away by how much help we had. We'd expected two big days of moving, but most was done on Saturday. The final people reluctantly went home at 3:30, but they would have stayed until midnight if we hadn't insisted.

It was a fun day. Friends brought brought pumpkin soup and fresh baked bread, and so many hands make for fast work. We were surprised how quickly it came together, and we asked people not to return on Sunday. Seven people did return on Sunday though, and that was the perfect number for some unpacking, cleaning, rearranging, and sending a few more things over.

Now we will take some time to organize and figure out how we fit in with this new space.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New house preview

It's been a busy time! I've been sick and Pam is having some foot and hip troubles, so it's a difficult time for us to be moving. But dozens of friends have come forward to help with our new house and our move, and we've been overwhelmed with how much help we've received. It really drives home how many friends we have here and what an amazing and supportive community we're in. Thank you awesome friends!

First, here's some pictures of the inside of the house. Here's a route from the front door, up the stairs to the left to the upper level I've been calling "the loft" because it's one big airy room with the kitchen attached to the side.

A friend likened the house to a tree, rooted into the cliff. You enter and your in the middle of the tree with the roots below, you climb up and you're in the tree branches looking out over the valley. It's a special feeling, for sure. It makes me happy every time I walk in.

Below are some pictures of the bathroom. It's from 1956. The hot water heater for the house is over the bathtub, with the shower head attached. It looks weird; it works great. There is a drying closet in the room, a large room with a heater on the floor where you hang up your wet clothes to dry. It's brilliant! We're putting in a washer/dryer instead and moving the hot water heater to this closet also. Notice the paper towel dispenser? Awesome! It's a solid bathroom that we'll remodel next year.

The bathroom and toilet are on the main floor, along with bedrooms, coat closet, and utility closet.

The basement was very rough. A lot of friends came over on many different days to work on it. Several friends painted. Others installed warm flooring and wood laminate in the basement. Others put in cabinets in the kitchen and assembled furniture for us. Thank you friends!

We're redoing the electrical down here entirely, including putting in a circuit breaker instead of a twist-in fuse box. It is totally transforming into a beautiful space.