Saturday, March 31, 2012

Maggie in Turkey

The school got an EU grant to send four students to Turkey for a week. Maggie competed for and won a spot on the team. She was in Turkey from Sunday until Saturday, visiting with a school, seeing Istanbul, and staying with a Turkish family.

What an adventure she had! The family she stayed with spoke no English (not sure how that happened in the planning), but they were very welcoming and treated her like a pet dog. She studied an English-Turkish dictionary and learned to communicate. 8 people lived in the house and they had 3 cows out back. In the morning she got warm cow milk with sugar and honeycomb on bread. She helped cook dinner one night: chicken and rice wrapped in maple leaves. They ate the leaves, too. The bathroom was outside, a tiled room with a hole in the floor. She played dodgeball with neighborhood kids and was taken around to visit lots of families in the area. The kids has a few days in Istanbul visiting museums and mosques, and because of the traveling back and forth she can now claim as a result of this trip that she has been to Asia three times! The hosts were very gracious, and she returned with presents for all of us.

We talked with her on the phone every night, and she was so excited each time we talked. Lucky Maggie! We are happy to have her back.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Spent the day in Tønsberg, the oldest city in Scandanavia. I came to do a one-day high school teacher math workshop, which was very fun. Afterwards, my host took me around to see the downtown and the fortress. He gave me a photobook of Tønsberg, and we stood on the fortress grounds high above the city and flipped through the book as he pointed out locations depicted by the pictures in the book. It was a fine way to experience the town in a short time.

Tønsberg was founded in 871, making it 126 years older than Trondheim. Tønsberg is located in southern Norway, about 100 km south of Oslo on the western side of Oslofjord.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Operation Mac

We have a macbook with a broken screen, and another macbook with a broken processor and case. So today Peter and I took them both apart and transplanted the screen from the one machine to the other. It is not an easy operation – the entire machine needs to come apart and there is real danger of cracking the screen when removing or inserting it. After removing and replacing dozens of tiny screens, 1:45 later we had a fully functioning machine. Success, and some good father/son time. It's true, they actually become useful as they get older. Huh.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wack-A-Doo Zoo

Today was the performance of the school musical, Wack-A-Doo Zoo. Anna has been excited for a month about this, learning her lines and the songs and getting costume and make-up together and going to practices. Anna had a key role as one of the professors visiting a zoo where all of the animals said the wrong noises. The professors tried to teach them to speak properly, and everyone ended up unhappy. It was a play about learning to like yourself for who you and telling meddling professors where to stick it because they don't know nothing. "Go home professors go home go home/ go home and leave us alone alone/we were so happy before you came/why don't you leave on the very next train/Go home to your university/go home to your bongos and LSD/..." (OK, I made up that last line about bongos and LSD).

There were 2 shows executed in conjunction with grandparents day, and a neighboring school came to see the play as well. The staging was well done, with 5 stages and the audience sitting all around in 5 seating areas. Pam did popcorn for the show.

It was a slice of parental bliss.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Risgrøt: Rice porridge. I've made this Norwegian dish the past two weekends, and we all love it. There's various recipes, but after a few trials I just make it up as I go along. Here's the theory:

Cook one cup of rice in one liter of milk for an hour or two. Keep adding milk or water to keep it from burning to the pot. When the rice is really mushy, remove from heat and serve.

Did you catch that: a liter of milk. It's a lot of milk, and it all gets absorbed or boiled away and leaves the good stuff. Use whole milk otherwise you're wasting milky goodness. I add a splash of vanilla extract in the beginning and it fills the kitchen with a wonderful scent. The kids anticipate it for an hour, making it taste all the better when it's ready. As the milk cooks down, the porridge becomes sweet from the milk sugars. Oh, it's lovely.

Set the table with butter, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and jelly. Folks can put whatever they like on it. The kids like a sprinking of cinnamon, I like butter and salt, but sometimes throw a spoonful of cherry jam on top. That one cup of rice somehow eats up all the milk and expands to make enough for a family of five.

Norwegian breakfast happiness, and so easy. You can cook the rice as normal at first in water and then add the milk gradually, or you can cook it right in the milk. It really doesn't matter. Just remember to check it every ten minutes or so and stir and add water or milk. It's no fun if it burns!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Art Studio

Pam is renting out studio space from another glass artist. The space is close to our house, an easy 10 minute walk. The other artist is friendly and awesome and both she and Pam are eager to have someone to chat with as they work. It could be a very nice arrangement. Pam plans to use the studio space also for children's art classes.We got the keys Saturday and took a van load of stuff in Sunday morning. This will a lot of fun watching the studio take shape!

Unlocking the door for the first time
Moving in furniture and art supplies
Happy Move-In Pam!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

from Milan

Got a call from Maggie tonight from Milan. "I love this country!" she said. It is her second time to Italy now, and I have never been. Next year she'll be going to Vietnam for 10 days. How have my children suddenly become so worldly?

Monday, March 5, 2012

To Italy

Maggie left for Italy with her class for 5 days. They shall visit with students from an international school in Milan, and then go hiking for a "camping trip" in the mountains. Their destination for the camping trip is a hotel, so it's maybe not going to be the kind of hiking and camping that Norwegians are used to! Goodbye Maggie, good luck!

Maggie in the car on the way to airport, 06:45. Ciao Bella!