Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happiest countries

I just clicked on a news article about rankings of the happiest countries. Scandanavian countries always score high. It was nice to see Norway took first place this year on the 2013 Legatum Prosperity Index.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween party

Norways are split on Halloween. Younger folks and kids love it! Many older folks are cynical, viewing it as a way for stores to make a lot of money on an imported, non-tradiational event. I try to remind folks that it simply is a lot of fun, has always been one of my favorite 'holidays', and absolutely does not need to cost much money.

Pumpkins, however, do cost a lot. Last year we paid about 200 kr. per pumpkin I think ($30), but this year a lot of stores are selling them cheaper. We found them for 39,. (about $7), a good price.

On Sunday we went to a big Halloween party some of friends have thrown every year for 17 years. It's a big to-do, with themed food, costume competition, bobbing for apples, pinata, crafts, etc. About 40 people come each year.

Here's most of our family on our way to the party (minus Peter, plus Frøy, our "other daughter"):

Monday, October 21, 2013

Frosty fall colors

Frost on the fallen leaves. Gorgeous today. (In a week or two these will all be brown and ugly but today – wow!)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

First snow

The first snow of the season came to Trondheim yesterday. Peter sent me a text from school "IT'S SNOWING!" and another friend sent me a picture of a snow-covered field. This morning we have frost on the grass and leaves.

Norwegians are excited about the snow, me... not so much. But it did hold off a long time. Temperatures are forecast to be between 4°-13°C this week, so we've still got plenty of "warm" weather ahead.


Our friends were playing again at Cafe Rampa in Hommelvik last night, so we joined them for a fun evening of music and dance. This is the third time we've caught their show, and it's just gotten better each time.

Here's Pam and Lena and Sharon dancing while Robert plays and sings on stage:

One song that they played that I liked quite a bit was Vinsjan på Kaia, a song by Trønder group DDE (Trønderock is a rock music from our part of Norway). It's always an amazing feeling to be half-way around the world from my homeland, immersed in this society dancing with friends to local music that I would never ever ever hear otherwise. Here's a little slice (with lyrics so you can appreciate the difference between local dialect and bokmål):

There's not much deep meaning in the lyrics, it's the tradition of a lot of Norwegian folk music where they're describing something rather mundane. Maggie jokes that the songs are kind of like: "Then I saw a bird, and and old lady sat down on a chair." Still, great melody and feeling in this song.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Slow TV in Norway

Here's great article from the Chicago Maroon on slow TV in Norway... live coverage of the 8-hour train ride from Bergen to Oslo, live video of a 5-day ferry boat trip in the northern fjords, 8 hours of wood burning in a fireplace, and the upcoming special on November 1st: 5 hours of people knitting.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Seigdamer return!

Seig Damer, the jelly candies shaped like ladies, have returned! They were our favorites last year, appearing only in a real-fruit-juice variety. Then they disappeared. Now they are back in traditional Seigmenn style, sugar-coated sugary jelly, under the name "Deilige Damer" (Tasty Ladies). Not as good as the fruit juice version, in my opinion. But they still have boobs. And that can't be bad.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ticket to Ride

We played the board game Ticket to Ride for the first time a couple of weeks ago and had to get a copy ourselves. Actually, we got two copies, the America version and the Scandanavia version. Changes in the rules make both games interesting for different reasons – the Scandanavia version is great for 2-3 people and the America is great for 4-5.

The best part of the Scandanavian version: Trondheim is on the map!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall break at the hytte

This will probably be our last visit to the "our" hytte in Stordalen. The owner is switching to renting it out for a year at a time, at a rate that is more than we can afford given the number of visits we would make. But we did have one last rainy week at the hytte up in Åfjord, about two hours north of Trondheim across the fjord in Nord-Trondelag.

It was an easy few days of poking at the fire, playing guitar and board games, reading stories, playing "monster" and walking in the woods.

Here's a few pics...

Maggie led the charge to run across the river!

Anna found a deep spot on the way back. Chilly! This is Norway in October remember!

The kids built pillow and blanket fortresses of course.

Dinner cooked in the fireplace never tastes better!

 Driving to Stokkøya

We pass huge fish drying racks

And a scrap iron yard

Dodging waves on the beach at Stokkøya

And a few happy family pictures...