Dec 27, 2005

At peace for Christmas

In Norway, all the eating and gift-opening and caroling and such is on Christmas Eve. No one goes to bed early, if they can help it. That leaves Christmas Day as a true day of peace (sleeping in, lethargy, whatever). It's a lovely calm and still wonderfully Christmassy. We got out and stretched our legs, in crisp and clear weather, with a light seen only at the extremes of midwinter and midsummer. Now at 3 pm, it was almost sunset, and the sun gave us its best pale light, transforming the landscape into deep blacks and umpteen pastels with hints of gold here and there. I was totally fascinated by the uniform and undisturbed frost of the piers as well as the light on Lysefjord (with the island that was Ole Bull's last home in the background).

Goofy for Christmas

I had help goofing off and being goofy for Christmas. On Christmas Eve with a dear friend and his two teenaged kids, I lost 30 years off my own age (and maturity), and totally enjoyed myself. Flower stuck in my hair and "bunny ears" courtesy the 16-year-old of the house. I was the photographer (again).

I totally relaxed, totally had fun (and lots of tickle fights), loved every gift and every hug I got, and had a most happy Christmas.

Dec 23, 2005

Meme stolen from Beep

I do have something better to do, but want to let my just-finished frozen pizza settle first. Therefore, 40 questions, stolen from Beep's entry on her Livejournal.

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before? Take an animal to the vet to be put down.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? My New Year's tradition is to spend a moment on New Year's Eve, meditating on what I want for the year ahead. I actually found my note for 2005, cleaning up. It reads in full:

Over the years, I have prayed for many things every New Year's Eve. It really boils down to this: God, always be with me. For 2005, I want God to always be with me.

And was God always with me? Well, actually, yes. That resolution is definitely worth repeating and keeping in 2006!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Oh, boy, yes. My sweet grandma, in July. I no longer cry myself to sleep, but I just realized that I'm not going to watch the New Year's concert from Vienna on January 1 with her. That makes me all sad again. And I put my cat to sleep in February.

5. What countries did you visit? The US. I was back in California for the first time since I left it in 1981.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005? More patience. Less irritability. I'm already on my way to getting that.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? July 17, the day Grandma died.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Improving relations with my mother (she helped), and achieving a huge change in behavior at work (something I was given a big compliment for by upper management today.)

9. What was your biggest failure? Two: Not being more patient and less irritable with Grandma, and not being able to find another solution for my cat (I miss her, too).

10. 10.Did you suffer illness or injury? No. Except for a cold this month (which is just my immune system saying it works great), and an odd rash earlier, I actually have the best of health and haven't been accident-prone since childhood.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Oh, where to start. :-) Plane tickets to the US. All the meals I shared with my mom when she visited me this summer. My new DVD-recorder with hard drive. Frames for paintings Grandma made.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Mine! :-)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The US government's handling of the Katrina disaster. Didn't make me depressed, though. Made me pissed off.

14. Where did most of your money go? Who knows? Such is the mystery of life. (I have actually toyed with the idea of setting up a budget for 2006, just to find out.)

15. What events did you get really, really, really excited about? Changing my behavior at work.

16. What song will always remind you of 2005? "Rock and Roll All Nite" by KISS. Old song, but sung loudly with my friend Ann as she drove me to the airport. So it gives me happy memories.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. Happier or sadder? - Happier.
b. Thinner or fatter? - Thinner.
c. Richer or poorer? - Definitely richer, both financially and spiritually.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Foot massages for Grandma.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Watching television. (Hmm... Another New Year's resolution?)

20. How will you be spending Christmas? Christmas Eve with Torleif and his kids; Christmas Day with Torleif's parents. I'm really looking forward to it!

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with? Torleif.

22. Did you fall in love in 2005? Not in a person, but in life. I rediscovered joy.

23. How many one-night stands? This year? None. As for the other years, I ain't tellin'. ;-)

24. What was your favorite TV program? "Law & Order" and all the flavors of C.S.I. Again.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I have never hated anyone.

26. What was the best book you read? All sorts of Emmet Fox books (I read several) and one I'm still reading, "Creating Miracles".

27. What was your greatest musical discovery or rediscovery? Eric Clapton's "Back Home". I have never listened to Eric Clapton before, but really like this album.

28. What did you want and get? Warm gloves. Got them for my birthday.

29. What did you want and not get? More time with Grandma and Grandpa. Weird that, how I had more than 30 years with both of them, and it suddenly wasn't enough.

30. What were your favorite films of this year? Seen on TV: "Purgatory" (the way a western should be). "Favorite" in the sense that it made an impression and I want to see it again.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I served pumpkin pie at work the day before (since my birthday was on a Saturday), and on Sunday, I went to the aquarium with Torleif and his kids (wearing my nice, new warm gloves). I can't believe I'm 45!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Knowing sooner what I know now.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005? "Does this look good with jeans?"

34. Who kept you sane? I'm never not sane. That's why I manage to drive myself crazy.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most/least? The most: Noboby I can think of, off-hand. The least: Madonna and her kabbalah kick and her awfully boring song with the ABBA-sampling as its only positive trait.

36. What political issue stirred you the most? Nothing stirring happened in Norway that I noticed.

37. Whom did you miss? Douglas Adams. Re-read all of the "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books over again and wished he were still around, writing.

38. Who were the best new people you met? Sidsel, a woman I tried to start an astrological club with this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005: People are not out to make my life a misery.

40. Do you have any lost feelings of others? Uhm, I think I have a lost feeling of linguistics or something. Or maybe that's "last feelings or others" that is supposed to say. No, that didn't make sense, either. Ah, another life mystery!

(Thanks for playing!)

Dec 20, 2005

Christmas stuff

Last night, I finally felt peace descend on me. Final Christmas presents were in the bag, mail to America sent (late, but on its way), and I was suddenly a free woman again. I found myself in no hurry and decided to just sit for a bit, doing nothing. And so I discovered this year's Christmas decoration at our local mall.

I'm not into nativity scenes. As far as standard Christmas decorations go, neither are Norwegians. They tend to stick to "nisse", their local version of a leprechaun, who is associated with Yule, or even the American Santa Claus. Previous years have had some rather tacky giant Santas hanging from the ceiling. Not so this year. I was a bit surprised at the gathering of wise men, angels, a shepherd and the parents with their new-born. Funny thing is, it appealed to me. I liked the subtle and simple way the eyes were made (so subtle you can barely make out the little crescents), the simple but effective way they differentiated between the magis' fine garments, and Jesus' family's simpler dress. There was a gentleness to everything. I moved in for a closer look, and enjoyed the tableau so much, that when I noticed some bottle caps tossed in the hay, I removed them.

Respect for a nativity scene... I must be getting soft.

I don't mind.

Dec 18, 2005

Under Construction

I'm redoing my homepages. Slowly, but surely I'll have something different to offer. I'll be spending the Christmas holidays working on it. Yes, in Norway's it's Christmas, not something generic in order not to offend anyone. We have a state religion, our king is head of the church, so it's Christmas. But I digress. I'll be taking some days off during Christmas and I hope then to get my website whipped into its new shape. For one thing, I have some things I want to write and publish, but want a cleaner style for that. I also want to publish photos more frequently, so am turning my main page (index.html) into a blog. So stay tuned!

Dec 13, 2005

How to raise ostriches in Norway.

Indoors.

Dec 9, 2005

The miracle of ostriches, sort of

One of these days, I'll figure this whole miracle thing out. I mean, it must be possible to be instantaneously cured, to have people just walk into your life and fix stuff for you, to create blue feathers out of thin air (that last is for those of you who have read "Illusions").

In the meantime, I'm still doing the material version: I have a problem, I pray for a quick and speedy solution, and the solution appears as an item with built-in time factor. My slow miracle works, yes, but it reminds me that I still have a way to go in getting a grip on this whole spirit-in-a-material-world thing.

So, I woke up at 4:30 am this past Tuesday, told myself (and God) that both the cause of and the cure for the rash in my armpits (!) would quickly and easily present itself to me. So what do I end up doing Tuesday afternoon? Visiting an ostrich farm, eating ostrich meat, and being told the virtues of ostrich oil on all sorts of skin problems, especially eczema-type stuff.

I now own a bottle of ostrich oil, and I no longer itch. Ostriches rule!

Dec 3, 2005

It's my birthday, part 3

It's been a long time since I baked pumpkin pie. It's my favorite, and I much prefer it to regular cake for my birthday. I don't consider myself housewifely at all, but there are some things I am very good at, and baking pumpkin pie is one of them.

I'm good at rolling out dough. Don't know why, but me and rolling pins get along.

My mother showed me a trick years ago: Pinching around the rim of the crust to make a decorative edge. It certainly does present the pie beautifully!

Time for the pumpkin filling itself. Grandma loved my pies. She always thought I got the spices just right. I'm not telling you what I put in. That'll be my secret. ;-)

I made two pies. One's done baking, and now it's the second one's turn.

Yummy! I had two slices!

It's my birthday, part 2

My mom sent me this cat figurine for my birthday. I was delighted, and chuckled at the feather sticking out of the left corner of his mouth. He caught him a bird! Then I turned the figurine around.

I howled with laughter when I realized this cat has never been neutered. Thanks, Mom!

It's my birthday, part 1

So now I'm 45. It's a bit weird, thinking I've made it to 45. Don't quite know why 45's so different. Maybe because, if this is halfway in my life, that means I have to live to 90, and that may not be as likely as living to 80. At any rate, I woke up this morning feeling a bit weird. But, I shook that off, and had a great day, including a visit to the optometrist.

I have to laugh at myself. I am very well aware that the two sides of my body are quite different from each other. I have an uneven walk (mentioned before here); when I hit puberty, I had a right tit for 6 months before I also got a left tit; the wisdom teeth on the left side of my mouth grew in straight and perfect, while the ones on the right went sideways and forwards; I have a lopsided smile; and today I learned that my left eye is slightly near-sighted while my right eye is slightly far-sighted. The optometrist suggested that what I really needed was balance. Heh.