Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grateful Sunday 32


Wednesday is my dads birthday and I want to dedicate this Sunday to him.

I am so grateful

311. that the midwife who delivered my dad managed to save his life when he was born by quickly dipping him in hot and cold water.

312. that his grandfather managed to save my dads life twice when as a child he first almost went under the ice in the river and later when he fell head first into a pond and couldn’t get up on his own.

313. that my parents both went to work on the Coastal Cruise Liner in the late 60’s and then met when they worked on the same boat.

314. that my dad now as a retiree finally has time for fun.

315. that my dad’s health is still pretty good and that he can still go on long hikes with me.

316. for my dad teaching me to always do my best and that it doesn’t matter the result as long as I have done my best.

317. for my dad trusting me and not getting angry when I make mistakes.

318. for the love my children showers on my dad and the love he gives them.

319. that my dad not often comments on my mistakes.

320. for my dad being my dad.

Friday, July 29, 2011

On my mind


July 22nd

Two tragedies happened in Norway today. A bomb in Oslo, the first since WWII, and a shooting in a youth camp, the first ever in our country.

We learned about it when we turned on the TV to watch the news.

It is unbelievable. This is something that happens elsewhere, not here in our safe little country.

We still don’t know how many is dead or hurt or who did it.

I just hope and pray it was no one I knew.

I am glad I am home though, instead of in the US not knowing what goes on.

I am not scared, not really angry either, just confused that it should happen here.

What an end to an other wise wonderful day.

I give a white peony to those affected by this tragedy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Poem


A child’s hand

A Lady bug

Where have you been, where are you going?

Please stay a while?

Little lady, I will care for you

Little lady, take of your red coat and stay for a while

Little lady, please don’t leave

Little lady, with not words of good bye

A child’s tears streaming down red cheeks as the little lady takes her coat and flies off into the world.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mom’s Sunday steak

One of our favorite Sunday dinners are boneless beef stew meat. (A little disclaimer here, my husband is a meat cutter, he is not here with me in Norway and I am not able to ask him exactly what this is).


Fry the meat with salt and pepper in some oil till it is brown on all sides.

Put the meat in a big pan and add some water to the frying pan to loosen all the bits and add to the big pan.

Make a brown sauce by using the brown sauce mix from the grocery store also in the big pan.

Let it cook for three hours or more till the meat falls apart.

Serve with cooked carrots and potatoes.



My mom cooking in the the free.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Safety in boats


Lately on Norwegian TV there has been a lot of focus on Boat Safety and the use of life jackets.

When it was decided that we were coming here on the summer and that we were to spend most of the summer at our summer house I told my mom that we needed new life jackets for the kids.

My kids have never had their own life jackets and when ever Isabel has been with my dad in his big cruiser she has never really needed to wear one, but has had my old one just in case.

My dads view is that it is good to have, but just not necessary. My parents keep their gear in the boat, never wears it and if something were to happen they would not have time to put their gear on before they drown.

At least now I have managed to get my mom to wear hers, my kids got tip top life jackets, I am wearing mine and my dad is not so much. Hopefully he will at least provide whoever is with him in the boat a life jacket from now on.

I beg you, if you are ever in a boat, especially small like ours, to please use a life jacket.

Monday, July 25, 2011


My dad went home to my home town to pick up some supply and to get a haircut. Unfortunately for him all the hairdressers but one had vacation and the one left was booked up. Lucky for him my mom new where my old hairdresser kit was and brought it back to me.

Mind you I have never had any training as a hairdresser, nor have I ever worked as a hairdresser. My only training is the fact that I have cut my husbands hair since we got married 10 years ago and also my dads, my cousins, my kids and my own hair on and off too the past 7 years.

I didn’t get any pictures of my dad, but I did get before and after pictures of my kids.


Isabel who has been growing out her hair since she was two and for 5 years has refused to see a hairdresser more than once a year decided to let the locks go.


It is a little uneven, but not too shabby and the girl is so happy.


Sofie has been so hard to get to sit still that I decided to save her bangs and get them long, but now she refuses to have me pull them away from her face using clips or ties and it was time for the cut again.


Look at that pretty little face. Haircuts not so fun though.

Always looking up

When I go on vacation I always try to read a lot. Having my E-reader with me made this task very easy. The night before I left for Norway I went online to my local library and checked out several books. What I love about this system is that I end up borrowing books I never would have read otherwise.

The first book I read was “Always Looking Up – The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” by Michael J. Fox.

This was a far stretch for me. A memoir divided into themes of work, politics, faith and family. Me reading about American politics, it would never have happened before the E-reader. (I’m sorry this is sounding more and more like a commercial for E-readers, but I really do love mine).

Rarely do I find a book that makes me laugh out loud or make me want to read passages out loud for people around me. Fox really is an optimist and he has a way of describing his hardships of living with Parkinson’s that is so right on, raw, but still positive and humoristic.

He also explains his view on stem cell research. I have never been able to make up my mind on this topic. It’s not that it doesn’t interest me, but it just hasn’t been necessary for me to learn much about it. Not being able to vote in America and it being to much of a hassle to vote in Norway (not that stem cell research has been on the agenda in Norway as far as I know anyways) I have just let the topic rest. This spring however I got to learn about the option there is out there to adopt frozen embryos that in vitro parents have offered for adoption and while that sounded like the perfect solution, Fox offered a more nuanced view of it and I find that I have to support him.

No matter what you think of stem cell research, or what you thought of Fox as an actor I believe you would like this book.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grateful Sunday 31


I am so grateful

301. for hand me down clothes for my kids, making it feel like Christmas in July.

302. for having lots of aunts around for the kids to always have someone to turn to other than mommy.

303. for hot baths without kids interrupting.

304. for getting to chat with my hubby on Skype.

305. for surviving two nights all alone with two kids at the summerhouse for the first time.

306. that after the storm comes calm sea.

307. for 75 degree Fahrenheit, thunder, lightening, heavy rain and hail.

308. for hearing Sofie starting to talk more and more and for it being in Norwegian.

309. for hearing Isabel communicating more and more in Norwegian and also understanding more.

310. that there is more Mackerel in the fjord than ever before.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pictures from our third week

In our third week here we got visitors over the weekend. My aunt and uncle from Bergen and my aunt, uncle and cousin from Senja.


Some mornings are slow. So slow that mommy even forgets to change and get the girl in proper clothes before she runs out to play or as she is doing here, putting the last finish on our new patio.


My uncle from Bergen is married to my mom’s older sister, loves hiking, used to run a marathons and morbidly likes to take pictures of dead mice as they get caught in my dads traps.


Isabel wearing one of many dresses and other outfits brought by my aunt and uncles, trying to figure out her new sling shot from Greece.


My youngest cousin, loves to take pictures, hates to be taken pictures of, my favorite cousin, my God child and Sofie’s God mother.


Hanging out and enjoying the beautiful weather we had this week.


Sofie showing off her new dress from Greece.


My aunt from Senja has been with my my moms younger brother for 22 years and she is as important to me as my mom, Isabel’s God mother, owner of a horse, not camera shy like my uncle, funny and spunky.


My aunt from Bergen is immensely crafty, mother of four of my cousins, she is my moms older sister, big loving heart, reminds me always of my grandmother.

It was so wonderful to have so many of my family come here to see us. I had not seen my aunt and uncle from Bergen in 5 years and it was such a happy coincidence that this would be the year they were coming up here to visit as they only come this way every other year.

My family from Senja are coming back later to spend more time with us here before we go up to visit them. Isabel might even travel up north with them when they leave here.


This little fellow is a baby mouse that had managed to get trapped in a bucket in the barn. I found it and decided to see if I could keep it for a while for the kids to see and I actually got to feed it and study it for half a day before Isabel let it loose. Now it might be one of the many my dad have trapped…

Friday, July 22, 2011

The History of Aanderbakkan


There has been people living in Aanderbakkan for at least 5 generations. What I know for sure is that my great great grandfather was married to a woman who had been married to a man from Aanderbakkan and that might be how it came to be in my family. My great grandmother was born to my great great grandfathers third wife and was his 7th and last child.

The house as it is today was built by my great grand father sometime between 1904 when his second child was born and 1907 when his third child was born. My grand father was born in this house in 1911 as was two more of his siblings. 5 children was raised here in the early 1900’s.

My grandfathers oldest sister had polio when she was young and was therefore more or less unable to walk, but that didn’t stop her from getting around. In the summer she would go from farm to farm on her three wheeled motor cycle sewing for people as she was a very talented seamstress. She lived almost her whole life in this house, but the last 5 which she spent in the neighboring farm of her oldest brother.

The oldest brother got his own parcel of land from his father and built himself a house there where he raised his one son. The son and his son and granddaughter now uses that farm as a summer home.

The next sister got married and moved to a bigger place with her husband.

Then there was my grandfather who took over the family farm and raised a stepdaughter and a son, my dad, here till they moved in 1954. They didn’t come back to the farm for close to 15 years till my dad got himself a speedboat. That is when this became our summer home.

The youngest brother bought some land in town and brought up his kids there. That farm too is now a summer home.

The brothers lived off of their farms and their fishing boat. Then in the 50’s things got harder and my grandparents moved to the town where my parents are living and where I grew up. There they worked in the fishing factories till they retired.

My dad still remembers living together with his parents, his grandparents and his aunt in Aanderbakkan. He still remembers falling in the river as a child being rescued by his grandfather who was chopping wood by the barn. He remember the child safety of being tied with a rope so not to run off and fall into the ocean. 

These days my parents being retired gets here as soon as the snow is gone in spring around mid April and leave before the first snow in fall around mid September.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

10 Years Together

Sofies daap8

I must admit that the most resent picture I have of me and my husband is almost 1.5 years old.

I don’t think anyone thought we would stay married this long. A little sad to admit, but we had a lot stacked against us.

We met in 1996 when I came to Santa Rosa, California as an exchange student. He was a senior at the high school I attended as a senior as well and we came to share two classes together.

I first became friend with his best friend and slowly we became good friends too.

When I moved back to Norway we lost touch and I started at a new school, got new friends and a boyfriend. I ended up moving in with my boyfriend, but after a destructive relationship I moved out and decided to try to get in touch again with my friends in the US.

This was February of 2000. Jesse answered and we soon became pen pals again. In August he came to visit me in Norway and proposed to me. I didn’t even know he had a crush on me. I said no as I felt that I really didn’t know him. We kept in touch and he didn’t give up. In December of 2000 I came to visit with him and he proposed again on New Years Eve. I said yes.

June 21st of 2001 he moved to Norway and we had 1 month to learn to know each other. July 21st 2001 we got married.

It has been a roller coaster relationship. The first three years was spent getting to know each other again. Time and time again I questioned whether I had made the right choice getting married to him. Then Isabel was born, Jesse got depressed and homesick and after 5 years of marriage, living in Norway, we moved to the US.

Living together in the US has brought with it it’s challenges as well. I had just finished my education as a teacher of comparative religion and was hoping to find a job here, but no luck. Instead I have stayed home with the kids. My husband has realized what makes him happy and we have grown stronger together.

In our 11th year we have a lot of changes coming again. We are selling our condo, moving in to a rental and preparing to move to Norway.

We have spent 10 years trying to figure out where in the world we belong and have finally arrived on Norway. It is exciting to be able to go on another adventure with my husband and knowing that he and I are so flexible that we can do this together.

Happy Anniversary honey, I love you.

And we really need to see a photographer soon for some better pictures of us together again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Laundry Day


Depending on the amount of clothes the girls go through I do laundry ones or twice a week while I’m here in Aanderbakkan.

The first thing we have to do is fire up the oven under the water tank. A lot of wood is used to get the water hot.


Here you see my mom filling the tub with hot water from the big hot water tank my dad built about 10 years ago after the old one cracked open.


The bathtub is handy for washing the clothes in. First we let them soak with soap, then we rinse about 3 times with clean water before we rinse once in water with softener.


My dad built this rack when I was a baby over 30 years ago and it still looks brand new. It  is all about the kind of wood you use.


Instead of wringing the clothes we have a clothes roller that presses out the water. We do this between every change of water. And after that last rinse we run the clothes two times through it before we hang them outside to dry.


This room is not only our laundry room, but also where we take our baths and showers. You find it down in the barn next to the room where we keep all the firewood.

This morning, July 6th, I went down to fire up to heat water for cleaning the house as it is too hot to fire up the stove inside the house to heat water there. While I was preparing the fire a little mouse climbed up on a bucket right beside me. When I moved, it froze and stared at me with big round eyes. Then it scurried down into the corner behind some stuff. I went over and started to dig down there and all of the sudden the mouse ran right over my foot.

It is the joy of living simple, close to nature.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Isabel’s Collections


Almost every day Isabel will take her little bucket and run down to the beach to go treasure hunting. She finds all kinds of seashells…


Dead little crabs…


The parts of big dead crabs…


Rare big shells…


Beautiful rocks…


She keeps her collections in jars in our bedroom window.