Thursday, 25 May 2017

Drab

A while ago. Well, a long while ago really...
And then it's Thursday again. My, doesn't time fly? I have been knitting, hanging up the curtains, doing laundry, cooking (which I should do every day, but don't), reading until the wee hours on a work night and today I've been off, thanks to the Christian holiday of Ascension. I bet most people here don't have a clue to what its origins are, but they are celebrating another day off anyway.

Not that it was the best day today. In fact it was rather drab. One day I have to turn the heater off because the sun is shining and heating up my apartment, the next I have to turn everything back on, because there is no sun to be seen anywhere and it gets cold again. No rhyme or reason at all. And for some reason the fine days always seem to happen on my days at work!

Spot the odd one out!
As I said, I have been knitting a bit and so far I have managed to knit about 18 mice. At the end of next month I will have more to tell on that, but they do look amazing. Albeit a bit crooked at times... 

Today I also got some more information about my step-cousin twice removed, the one who died in Burma. It throws up more questions than it gives answers though, so some more research is required. A few weeks ago I sent out letters to family members and one aunt wrote me with some details. Not much, but definitely more than I had expected. Even if she did call me Gera (which is my sister's name) at some point. Then again, so do my parents occasionally, usually when she is standing right beside me.

Anyway, on to the next mouse now. I wonder which colours I will pick this time around.


Monday, 22 May 2017

It's curtains for me

In just under three weeks I will have a visitor. Of the sororal variety. Also called my little sister. And where I had two bedrooms when I still lived in a small red cottage in the countryside, over here... I don't. I have one bedroom and that's it. I do however have plenty of living room space. In fact so much that my landlord is planning to make a second bedroom where my television is living. But only after I've moved out.

Anyway, sister and bedrooms. Because we prefer not to sleep in the same bed (we will if need be), she will have to sleep in the living room. Either on the sofa bed or on the spare bed. The thing is though, the living room is quite light in the evening because it's facing north-west. Ie where the sun sets. And the only thing I had covering the windows were highly inadequate voile-type draperies. I needed curtains.

Well, I got curtains. And really nice ones as well. They are so-called darkening curtains and they turn my student-like tv room into a cosy nearly grown-up place to be at night (Pepperfly, do you think it's catching?) . 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-16

No, I am not on a diet! This is in fact the plate of food my Mum got when we were there! Compare that to the plate my Dad got for himself below and you can see a definite difference.

Now, don't worry, the plate my Mum got, was exactly right for her. With her operation just a few days ago at that point, she wasn't really into food yet. Coffee yes, food no. As for my Dad: he seemed to have a lot, but it was mainly rabbit food, since there weren't enough potato croquettes to go around. More on that in a later episode!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

New home

Part of a kitchen we both liked. We would want it to be bigger though
My sister and I have a plan. When we are a bit older and have a bit more money, we will buy a house. Together. Where we will both live. We will each have our own bedrooms and bathrooms, preferably in a tower on either side, but we will share the kitchen. Which will have to be large. And none of those kitchen islands for us. We will do with a large kitchen table thank you very much. 

Detail
So, two weeks ago, we made our way to the local Ikea near our parents and had a look at kitchens. Because if she wants black and white checkered and I want pink flowers, we will have a bit of a problem. Fortunately we don't. Either black and white checkered or pink flowers that is. So no problem. 

A Belfast sink, albeit in the wrong size kitchen
And we found a kitchen we both liked. I didn't mind the wooden counter top, my sister did, but I love granite as well, as does my sister, so, problem solved. We both love Belfast sinks, double please and lots and lots of counter space and cupboards. Sorted!


My sister's suggestion for a house.
It's missing the towers on either side, otherwise it would be TOO LARGE!
Of course, having the kitchen and the bedrooms sorted is one thing, we would still need to come up with the money to get said house. We would still need to figure out where to get said house (Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Northern Ireland or somewhere else altogether). And we have to decide on how big the actual house would have to be. Mind you, with the amount we have saved so far, we would be lucky to get the kitchen we want, let alone the rest...

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

May 17th

I would have liked to wear this today, but alas...
I had to work
Congratulations. That's what I have been hearing all day. Happy birthday. Not mine. Norway's! 203 years ago, the nation now known as Norway started. After Denmark 'lost' Norway due to the side they took during the Napoleonic wars, it was given to Sweden. However, Norway felt it might be the time to do it themselves and wrote their first constitution. It took another century though before they finally became independent. 

Anyway, that fact is celebrated each year on May 17th and there are children's parades in the morning (got stuck in four different ones this morning), people's parades and the graduate's parades in the afternoon. Plus lots of other things. Here where I made my home, there is the rowing race. Old fashioned wooden boats, six rowers and a cox and off you go. 

In my first year here, aren't they the cutest?
I took part in my first year here in Norway, not really knowing what I had signed up for and after that I took over as organiser of our little band of rowers. Ie, I organise the training sessions. This year for some reason, I managed to get several other people interested in joining and all of a sudden we had two boats!

I thought it might be fun to row against each other, the rest didn't agree. Then we had to anyway and in the end we didn't. Team two was on first, but unfortunately the boat they were racing against, didn't get out of the way enough and it was hard getting away. They did in the end though and finished after a respectable 6 minutes and 53 seconds. 

During our last training session
After that it was our turn. Team one. We got away finely, but were playing catch-up with the boat we were racing. However, we had decided to take it slightly easy on the away stretch and then going full tilt on the home stretch. They rowed, I yelled, they rowed some more, I yelled some more and we slowly crept past the other boat. My voice went everywhere, but when we got over the line, we had beaten our direct opponents by one boat length. 

But that wasn't the most important to us, we wanted to beat our colleagues and we did with a time of 6.28. Only because they were hindered at the start, otherwise it would have been very close! However, even though we did beat our direct opponents (who were a mixed team as well), there was one more mixed team left and they eventually beat us by 14 seconds. So, team 1 ended in second place, while team 2 ended in fourth (out of five). 

Team 1 was green, team 2 was pink
We will have a great competition next year!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Oops!

It's that time of the year again: Eurovision! Well, it was last week. By now the winner is safely home, being regarded as a hero. First things first however, the ones I liked and didn't like. Let me say this first though: my favourites usually don't count for much. I tend to pick out the ones that end up in the nether regions of the final, or don't make it to the final at all. So, keep that in mind when reading this post. 

During the first semi final a week ago, there were two favourites that stood out for me. Belgium and Portugal. Belgium had a young girl in a dress that seemed to belong to her mother, but she had a beautiful song. Portugal had a young man in a jacket that was probably two sizes too big for him, but he sang a fantastic love song. In Portuguese as well, which meant he got an extra point from me. 

During the second final that took place on the Thursday, it was very much samey-samey, but there were a few songs that stood out. Croatia had the most awful song (I thought) sung by a guy who looked too slick and slightly on the creepy side. Norway was a close second on the bad-front, although when I listened to it again, it wasn't that bad. 

My favourite though was Romania. Who knew the combination of rap and yodeling was any good? And of course you are wondering about the Netherlands? Well, for me it was neither here nor there. The message was good, but it just didn't do it for me.

Of course the semi finals is one thing, you have to bring it on the night of the final, which was Saturday. All the countries mentioned went through plus the 'big five' (UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany) plus the host country (Ukraine, after last year's win) who were already in.

Anyway, everybody sang their songs, there was a horse head, semi-naked men in a paddling pool, a moon, the always present violins, big dresses, little dresses, a mask and basically it was a good night. Until the voting started and it became brilliant. First off it was the jury's votes. And my favourite got points. Lots and lots of points. And then some more. Something special was happening. At the end of the jury-vote, Portugal was leading by just over 100 hundred points. But everything could be lost easily in the viewer-vote.

They started with the country who got the fewest votes and worked their way up. Even though the jury had given the Netherlands a fair amount of points, the viewers didn't feel the same and only gave them 15. Norway didn't do much better with 29 (they ended on 11th and 10th place respectively). Croatia had not been popular with the jury, but the viewers liked it a bit better, it ended in 13th place. Romania had gotten a bad score from the jury, but the fun of the song made sure it got lots of points from the viewers. It ended up in 7th place.

So, what about Belgium then? It had been in the middle with the jury, but again the viewers liked it better and it went all the way up to 4th. In the end there were only two countries left on the board that hadn't got their viewer scores yet. Bulgaria (who was in second place) with 278 points and Portugal (in the lead) with 382. The next country to be called would most likely be a deal breaker. It was tense, it was exciting, it was Bulgaria with 337 points! Which meant that for the first time in the 53 years of their participation in the contest, Portugal had won! They got 376 points which made them the clear winner with nearly 150 points more than the runner-up Bulgaria!

PS: Salvador sang alone during the final, but for the reprise of the winning song, he asked his sister and writer of the song to join him on stage. I think it's even better! And yes, just in case you hadn't figured it out yet: this was my favouritest song.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Brace yourselves!

Well, not really. But to start with the first thing, I found out my finishing time from yesterday's 5k run. It was 52 minutes and 54 seconds. Nearly nine and a half minutes faster than last year. There was another run I did last year, which had an even better time (51.50), but that is on different terrain. Ie flat. According to Norwegians. But it is a lot flatter and easier than last night's run, so no real comparison.

Today I also got some knee supports. I had been using a sleeve (thank you Yamini), but it was too small, despite being the largest they had. I just have extraordinarily large knees for some reason. Nothing (well, something, but only a small part) to do with my weight, because they were nearly this large when I was underweight! The knee support I got now is basically a bandage that I can wrap around as loose or as tight as I want and need. Fingers crossed.

While I was running (ahem) last night, my parents phoned. I didn't know until I got back home and immediately called back. It was my Mum. With fantastic news. The bits they took out of her had been sent to the laboratory and they all came back negative, ie: clean edges, which means NO CANCER! Yippee! Now it will just be recovery recovery recovery without this scare hanging over her. She was very appreciative of all your (virtual) hugs and well wishes and thanks you all. 

And that's basically it for today. Tomorrow I will be off to Kiev (Ukraine) for the third time this week. Eurovision time you know!!!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Running

During Monday's running training
There is this saying, don't run before you can walk. Well, I can walk, so running should be a possibility. I think. And lately I have been doing some running training as well. Twice a week (unless I have a visit from H), me and a friend will drive to a local area to do some running. On Monday it was bridge to bridge, but that turned out to be a bridge too far for me. I managed about a third and would walk the rest. But, I managed a bit more on each try. 

Today should have been another training, but today was Hydro rundt, a local 5k run. I did it last year in just over an hour, wheezing my way around the course. This year, I would have to be faster. My knee played up, which made my calf play up, but I did manage to run (downhill and not fast). I would say about a kilometer in total, but comparing that to last year's slug, I was quite happy. The time too made me happy: around 53 minutes, which means around 9 minutes faster than last year. 

Today's 5k run
Recently I have also been thinking about the upcoming triathlon. It's only four and a half weeks away and apart from the running, I haven't done much training. I feel it is too soon for me and my body. I don't want any injuries or having a terrible time doing it, so I have decided not to take part. There will be others later in the season that might fit better, especially if I can get some cycling and swimming training done during the summer. 

So, that's me being sporty. Or not so much. You pick!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Coming home

I arrived at my parents' place just after noon on Friday, finding them both there, albeit they had only gotten home from the hospital about a quarter of an hour earlier. In other words, my Mum was home. As I said the operation had gone a lot better than expected, although it had been a bigger operation. There are still some issues that need to resolve themselves naturally, but she was home and that was the biggest thing. Much better to recuperate at home in your own environment than on a ward with men and women and beeps and bleeps and alarms at all hours of the day and night. 

On Saturday my sister (who had arrived late Friday) and I did some errands for my Mum before heading to a friend of ours who took us to see an uncle of hers who had recently lost his wife. A nice man, although religion was a subject better avoided he said. I suggested politics and was met with a fairly stony glare. We settled on dogs (he used to show border collies with his wife and there were still four running about the place) and his old job. Lovely afternoon. 

On Sunday we took it easy, a bit of late grocery shopping for me, a bit of reading, a bit of television and a bit more reading. My Mum took regular bed breaks, because even though the operation went fine, she still tires very easily. Even when my sister and I were NOT there!

This morning I was dropped by my Dad at the train station, before heading back home to Norway. Train, plane and plane. Some grocery shopping and back to Miss Oswin. Who was so glad to see me, she was out the door before I had the chance to say hello! Ah well, the weather is good, so it's fine. 

Tomorrow it's back to work again. The next time I will see my parents will be when I drive (yes, with my little car) home in August for a week's holiday. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Going home

No, I am not talking about the going home I will be doing tomorrow. I am talking about the going home I did today, after only a few hours at work. And once home I slipped out the pussycat and then proceeded to the couch, where I slept/dozed for three hours. 

It wasn't the worst case of an h I have had in the last few years, but it wasn't the best case scenario either (like non-existent). It not only kept me from working, it also kept me from the running training today. Now, I will be honest here, I am not grieving particularly over either of those. I am however a bit anxious over this coming weekend. It had better not be a repeat of my last visit home!

Anyway, the h has abated somewhat, I have been eating fine and I have drunk plenty of fluids. I will now go and pack my suitcase and head to bed early (ish). And crossing everything I will be fine tomorrow. When I will be going home!