Saturday, November 30, 2013

Anna's recital

Anna's getting pretty good at piano. She loves it, practices a lot, and it shows. She played her third recital of the week, this time at Olavskvartelet. It was a good concert!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Eddy and Marii visit

My friend Eddy visited from America, bringing with him his new wife Marii. I haven't seen Eddy in years and years and years, but we've kept in touch. It was just like old times. We had a wonderful weekend, despite the cold, wet, dark and dreary weather.

Eddy and Marii – come back again! Next time during the summer!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wind storm

We had a HUGE wind storm that shook the house. The next day our trampoline was gone. It had flown over two fences into our neighbor's yard, where it landed upright and intact.

We decided to just take it apart and put it away for the season.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chess fever

Chess fever has gripped Norway! An unprecendented number of Norwegians are tuning in to watch young chess star Magnus Carlsen compete in the World Chess Championship. Magnus, just 22 years old (23 next week), is currently the world's best chess player. His fame brought him a deal modeling clothing, which made for a funny moment when Maggie came home from school as asked me if I knew what was happening in Norway with chess. She went on to explain that a 22-year old clothing model has become the world's champion chess player. It sounds funny when you say it like that!

Here is a typical scene from Norwegian TV right now… the news program is running in the main window, and on the side they are keeping the population up to date with the latest moves in the championship. So when they're not featuring the chess match, they're still showing it. I've never seen anything like this national craze, not even with the Olympics.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Selling a car for scrap

Time to get rid of our old car. We bought it for 15.000 kroner two years ago, and it's been pretty good. Lately, it only starts about 2 out of 3 times, so that's not good. The solenoids need repair. And the speedometer doesn't work anymore. Oh, and it's waaaayyyy overdue for a timing belt, and it' the kind of car that if the timing belt goes, the whole engine is destroyed. There's also front end damage from an icy road incident last year involving a signpost. There's other stuff wrong too, but that's the important things.

To get this car in shape to sell it would cost 12.000 kroner. That's not even including fixing the body damage, and we could not recoup that money on a sale. I decided we just sell it as is for 3000 kroner, with full disclosure, and call that good. Maybe someone wants a cheap time-bomb.

Pam suggested we find out selling it for scrap. So I asked around and found out that scrap companies will pay 3000 kroner for any car, even if it doesn't work. So, no fuss no muss, no ads, no test drives. We drove it down to the scrap yard and got three 1000 kroner bills. I tried to get more for it because it runs nicely. The scrapyard owner tried to get me to buy a car and/or a GPS system. Neither one of us was successful.

The owner is a man named Ragnar who rides a Harley and calls himself a viking. He was quite a charming and eccentric character, wanting to show us his 800 pictures from his ride across America on Route 66 last summer. We let him show us 200 pictures of Graceland before politely telling him we must get back to the city. Pam laughed at me, claiming I have a knack for being a magnet for strange characters. Thinking of my friends… I guess that's kind of true!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


We have Netflix now and I started watching Lilyhammer yesterday, a series about a mafia boss who moves to Lillehammer to hide out and ends up resuming his old habits. I've had many people recommend the show to me and I'm surprised I've taken so long to start watching.

I am absolutely charmed. The Norwegian culture is well-captured, maybe a little exaggerated at times, but everything is very familiar. The Norwegians in the show speak mostly Norwegian (subtitled of course) and Jonny replies in English. Quirky, funny, original. I'm hooked.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New electric car

We bought a new car. A 2013 Nissan Leaf. Red.

It's cool. And fast. And red. And 100% electric.

Norway has the most electric cars per capita in the world. They are so popular that it took 9 weeks for our car to arrive. Norway is really pushing electric; they're giving lots of incentives for people to buy them. There is no yearly registration fee (which is expensive), parking is free, tolls on the highway are free, ferries are free, you can drive in the taxi/bus lanes, and there are free public charging stations everywhere.

Pam is very happy to finally have a "grown-up" car.