Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Winter in Norway

When Pepperfly and I made our way over to our sledding adventure, it actually snowed in Haugesund. I was a bit worried about that, because when it snows here, it usually snows elsewhere as well and much harder. However, after only one kilometer, the snow had stopped and the roads were clear. Very clear. 

The distance to Sauda from where I live is about 100 km. And along the way there was a worrying lack of snow. Of course we saw it on some of the mountain tops and occasionally a bit further down, but not much more. Were those colleagues in Sauda really right? 

But then we saw snow by the side of the road. Granted, it wasn't much and definitely not enough for sledding, but it was snow. The closer we got, the more snow we saw. And then once we got to Sauda, one colleague actually drove ahead of us to an area where there was more than enough snow to satisfy all those snow wishes I've had lately. Two feet of snow. Easy!

But not only was there snow, there was ice as well (as my poor knee can testify). Everywhere in the mountains, melting snow/ice was dripping down and freezing again once the sun set. Or little streamlets of water that come through the rocks, freeze on coming out. 

There was even a small waterfall that was still going strong, but its spray had caused some severe freezing. In fact, we wanted to see it up close, but the path was just sheer ice and in the end, we had to walk in the main road to avoid any mishaps. 

We were lucky in our choice of Friday though. On Saturday the weather had changed and it was much worse. In Haugesund it was snow, sleet, rain and a lot of wind and I know there was quite a bit of snow on the roads towards Sauda as well. But we had the most perfect day.

Monday, 27 February 2017

That walk

Pepperfly has made her way home by now, but when she was here last week, we went on a short walk together. When I wrote my blog, she hadn't sent me any of her photos yet, so I needed another post to get them in.

I was trying to photograph something under water, but the seaweed kept waving in. I did get it in the end though. See photo below.


Something went wrong. I think. Not sure. The hand in front of my face is an equivalent of rolling eyes in any case. Just so you know!

We found some bricks on the shore and this one had stamped text in it. I tried finding the other half, but alas, no such luck.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-7

Repairing an old rag blanket I made while in my teens has been an evening activity for several weeks now. Every time when I think I have fixed it, I see another hole!

PS: the rag blanket you see in the top left hand corner is made from old rags: clothes and curtains and stuff and will only be repaired with something similar. The yellow blanket was made with new and is repaired with new.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

More sledding

video
I hardly showed you any of the photos and even little videos of me sledding yesterday. That has to be rectified of course, so here goes... 

I think the video speaks for itself. Lay on flat board, go down, face in snow... However, our first attempts had been while sitting down on the board. The icy slope was very uneven though and halfway through I fell off. Right with my shoulder on a hard piece of ice. It's colouring nicely as I write this, plus it's more painful than the knee. Ah well, sacrifices had to be made, but after that, I kept to my stomach.

Look at me go! Like lightning (ahem)! After several goes down that slope, the underground had actually become a bit smoother. Which in turn made it harder for me to walk up of course, so several times hands and knees were used. Especially the lowest bit, where there was less ice and more deep snow.

However, the top bit was very steep and unless I made a toe-hold every single time, I would just slip down. So hands and knees it was there as well.

You can see the difference between the icy bits and the snow bits. The snow is lovely and smooth and pristine. The icy snow was actually shoveled over the side of the slope to clear the parking lot and that was much harder.

I was standing up in the snow here and it came well up to my knees. On the right you can see where we tried to go down further, but it was just impossible: 2 feet of fresh snow with a heavy person on top just means that the person goes down and down and down. Into the snow!

Pepperfly was filming and taking photographs from the bottom up and now you can see very clearly the amount of snow I bit in every time. I couldn't seem to lift the front of the board in time, so I had several faces full. This was the worst it got. Mainly because I stopped after this, since everything was wet and/or frozen!

Good thing I wore a scarf as well. That way I could dry off to some degree. 

All in all, it was a perfect day and I haven't even shown you some of the other photos we took of the surroundings and the way to and from. Those are for another day!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Sedate 40+?

According to some, once you have passed a certain age, you need to behave a certain way. I don't really buy that. Just because I am 45 doesn't mean I don't like certain things. And today me and Pepperfly did something I last did in the winter of 1992, when I was only 20. 

Going doooooooooown...
This morning I picked her up early and then we drove for nearly two hours to Sauda, a small community inland where, according to colleagues who live and work there, there was plenty of snow. There we met two of them. One lent us some snazzy looking flat boards and the other showed where it would be perfect to actually use those flat boards. He drove in front of us for nearly half an hour until we were deep into silent snowy country. It was gorgeous!

Pepperfly almost running up the hill again
We got dressed for the snow and then we took the boards for our very first attempt in a couple of years of sledding down a hill! It was brilliant. It was painful. It was cold. It was deep!! But it was so much fun. After our first attempt of trying to sled on 2 feet deep snow, we gave that up and only used the frozen over bit, which was still deep, but easier to sled on, since it didn't give way.

I trudged
After a bit of lunch, we gave it another go. And another and another. In between goes, we lay on our boards, enjoying the sun and its warmth and the quiet. It was so lovely there. We knew however it was over two hours back and we still wanted to take several photos underway as well. 

I may be 45 and Pepperfly a similar age, but we had a great day of 'childish' fun. Of course, a day of fun and activity would not be complete without a fall and while getting our gear back to the car (10 meters, if that), I slipped, fell and hurt my knee on some ice. But the day was great and nobody can take that away...

video
The video is of my last run down. The photo with me flipping my scarf over my shoulder is taken right after I cleared my face of snow. The scarf was soaking, as were my gloves and the inside of my coat. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Plans

As you may have realised by now, my friend Pepperfly has made her way over to Norway and is spending a week here. Not with me, but we do see each other on occasion. Yesterday she had asked whether I wanted to come to Utsira, an island in the ocean, about 75 minutes by ferry. Since I needed to go to the dentist first and didn't know how long that would take (10 minutes as it turned out), I wasn't saying yay or nay. 

This morning however, I thought I would much rather go to that island when the temperatures are a bit higher, ie the summer, so my answer was nay. She then texted me back that the ferry seemed to be having problems and that she was thinking of going for a walk instead and did I want to come. We went on a walk.

It is a walk I have been on before with a friend, so it was nice to be able to show it to somebody else this time. We walked, we talked, we ate and we took photos. The weather was perfect, the ground quite soggy in some areas, the finish (pizza for her, burger for me) was yum. A good day.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Right...

Around 1981
Work day today. No, not driving a bus, but cleaning, clearing and sorting. I hung the washing up to dry, I cleaned the litterbox, I emptied and filled the dishwasher (isn't that a wonderful invention?) and I finished sorting the first box. Then I had some tense moments with my printer, which I wanted to throw out of the window at some point. I did refrain myself however and got it to work eventually.

The Rocky Horror Show, 1992
I was planning to make 'beschuit', a type of Dutch breakfast biscotti, but it turned out I had everything but yeast. So, I need to get yeast before being able to make any. Brownies are a good alternative though (I think) and tomorrow is another day.

Around 1995
I just checked how far I had come with the books and my maternal side is 42 (without contemporary stories) and my paternal side is over 60 (with contemporary stories) pages. I had ordered some information about three family members, but got a notice the day before yesterday that before they could handle my request I needed to pay for an earlier request. It had arrived around the time of my sudden move last year and I had completely forgotten about it. I payed and I hope they are dealing with it now. 

2003
Other than that my days are lazy days. I read a bit, I sew a bit (will show soon) and I do a bit of nothing. My friend is in Norway of course, but she has her own plans, although a plan we have together is something I have wanted to do for a long time: sledding! We have to drive inland for that, but according to a colleague who lives there, there are plenty of places we can go without having to walk for 5 kilometers first (and on the return as well).

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Me

After spending the morning in my pj's, I decided this afternoon I was going to be a bit more productive with my time. So, I cleared three more levels in Candy Crush and then started sorting photos. Like the proper ones! I found lots and lots of the five monsters that came before Miss Oswin, but since they are all scanned in, I decided to throw them away. I still have the negatives, which take up a bit less room!

Then I found lots of photos of yours truly. On the dance floor, holding babies, looking into the distance, listening attentively and of me holding a large stuffed gnome. Don't ask, I have no answer! And then, in order to actually post something sensible (ahem), I thought I would show you some of them today and they will probably pop up over the next few days as well. Just so you know...

Of course the first one is quite clearly me. It's taken in my maternal grandmother's bathroom. She did not have a shower when I grew up, but she did have one of those super large granite sinks. The seond one is also taken at my maternal grandmother's, but about a bit later. Note the yellow tupperware cup!

The third photo is my official 1986(?) school photo. I knitted that sweater myself. And then the next to last photo is of me looking through some serious equipment. It was on a bird watching tour and at that moment we were looking at (according to the text on the back of the photo) the red breasted goose.

The last one of course must be the gnome. I remember vaguely when and where it was taken (around 1989 in the textile museum in Enschede, the Netherlands), but other than that: nothing!

Monday, 20 February 2017

*Sigh*

At least the chocolates are all gone.
With all the time of the world at my disposal and blergh weather outside, it's the perfect time to work on my books. Yes, both books, because I am still working on my father's book as well. It too should be finished this coming summer. But apart from reading all those letters on Friday and working to get some of the text from those letters translated to the book, I have done very little. VERY little! 

Okay, I did finish the second half of the story of the soldier who died in Birma, but I haven't got all the necessary details yet to finish the first part of the story. Or even start for that matter! I did find a potential candidate for the military draft for the period between 1811 and 1820 (Napoleon and right after), but even though I found the candidate, I did not find any records and I know he did serve. I hope I will be able to find some information though. 

My work area. It needs a bit of a clearing...
Other than that my attention was taken up a great deal by (oh yes) candy crush. Ah well, the weather today is again blergh and I don't know when or indeed if my friend Pepperfly will ring the doorbell. So, some clearing of the kitchen, vacuuming of the hall way, changing of the litterbox and a little clearing of the living room might be in other before my attention goes back to the books. 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Friday, 17 February 2017

They're dancing

Yep, there were chocolates involved as well (top right hand corner)
The first day of my holiday was spent reading letters. A lot of letters. Since I have actually kept every single letter I have ever received (since 1983), had several pen pals from all over the world and apparently was quite a writer myself, there were lots to work through. It was good fun though and all in the name of genealogy!

One of my pen pals was a paternal cousin who is two years younger. And we wrote a lot. A lot of nonsense in the first few years, but after that she (at least, don't know about me) started writing a bit more serious about her life, growing up, boyfriends, school. We kept it going until about 1994 when her life (with work, home, boyfriend and pets) became busy, while my life was probably as busy but in different ways. 

However, her letters give a great insight about things that I think should be in the book. She talks about her nursing education and that fits beautifully with the education chapter I am planning. She even provided me with a photo of her when she's nearly finished. Perfect! 

Other than that, I found several letters my sister wrote me from Wales, where she was living for a short period during her studies. However, there is one letter I never managed to decipher. Mind you, I didn't really bother either...

I also found an Italian love letter and a Dutch (very bad) love poem and a fair amount of letters from completely unknown people. I probably did know at some point who they were, but it's lost in time! So, all in all a good day.

B^%#@%r

Or words to that effect. Basically. 

My Mum had the results back this week and unfortunately they were not as good as we had hoped. The surgeon had tried to remove all of the diseased tissue, but apparently it went deeper than expected. Which means that in about 8-10 weeks, when she is completely healed from the last surgery, she will have to go under the knife again to get the remainder removed. 

However, one light in the darkness is the fact that my Mum did not talk about it having spread anywhere else. Which is a big phew. But other than that: B^%#@%r!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Spending time with friends

Even though I just had a short break to see my Mum and Dad, I have a holiday coming up as well. Because I am getting visitors. Well, I say visitors, but unfortunately one of them had to cancel due to illness in her family, so visitor.

The cancelling visitor was due to come and stay with me and I had it all planned. She could help me with the remainder of the boxes downstairs, we could go on shorter and longer hikes, perhaps go to an eat-all-you-can-buffet and of course we would have chocolate and wine and chats and whathaveyou. Instead she will be taking care of an elderly uncle and aunt and their dogs. 

The other visitor is due to come and stay in a hotel. Not so much planning going on there. We will probably meet up at several points and do things together, but nothing definite yet. Mind you, Pepperfly (yes, she) has been to this neck of the woods before and makes her own plan anyway. She did say one thing though: if I wanted, I could work and we could still meet up! 

Really? After looking forward to my holiday for several months? Give up said holiday for work? As if!!! So, tomorrow is my last day, well half day really and then bliss. No alarm. No work. 

If you're in the area...

Monday, 13 February 2017

After the silence

I had thought about pre-posting some posts, but in the end I didn't. Then I thought I could post while at home, but in the end I didn't. A weekend free of internet isn't all bad in my opinion and that was what it was.

There had been a plan of me going to the archives in The Hague before going home, but in the end I opted to wait for my sister to arrive (she usually arrives two hours after me) and go home with her. After all, I went home to see my Mum. And let me tell you: she was doing fine. Getting thoroughly fed up with the couch (she's a chair person), but otherwise fine. No great deal of pain, just some discomfort, hence the couch. 

Making sure the plane doesn't freeze when in the air
My sister and I spent a few hours in town on Saturday, both needing some clothes and both succeeding to some degree. On Sunday we went to a craft fair that was in town. It was big. It was busy. There were an awful lot of women there. But, we did get hold of some nice things as well, so not all bad. Unfortunately my body had decided that the 'so far so good' line was too good to pass up on and gave me a nice big H which lasted all weekend. I was not pleased I can tell you! I am still drinking like it's going out of fashion, but somewhere along the line something else went wrong.

This morning my Dad took us to the train station again. Where we took the Right train to the airport. Always a challenge for us you know! The next time my sister and I will see each other is in June, when she will come over for a week and a half and then again in August when we will both be at my parents' again. 

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Pros and cons

There are always some things that you don't like about a job. Like starting at your place of work where the inside temperature is the same as the outside temperature. Ie: -5 degrees (that's 23F). Hat, scarf, gloves and coat were worn during the first half hour. Brrrr

But the view when driving later on in the day of snow capped mountains in the distance and bright blue skies made me forget all that. The above photo doesn't even show the best view that day, but there was no way I could stop to take a photo of that.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

So??

Well, my Dad phoned last night to say that he had been to see my Mum and that she was still groggy, but back on her ward. The operation was a big one, but it went well. Hopefully she will be able to go home today. The bit the surgeon took out will now be tested and checked and next week there will be more news on that. For now though, she is doing fine. Can't wait to see her though.

In other news, you may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the H that much lately. Of course I didn't mention it every time I had the H, because that would have resulted in 2-3 times every fortnight and lately, every week. However, there has been a break-through. And no, no doctor has been seen, I figured it out all by myself.

I mentioned in the past that it might be chocolate, or cheese or somesuch and I am pleased to say: nope. It's not. Which means I can eat chocolate to my heart's content (ahem). Then I just knew it was because of tense shoulders and neck, mainly due to driving a bus and to some degree cycling. I changed my driving position, I stopped cycling, used tiger balm and heat pads. Yet, it wasn't enough. Which got me to think.

Why did I not have a single headache in the period right after my operation? And the simple answer is: Apple juice! Gallons of the stuff made its way through my body on a weekly basis. Of course that doesn't mean that a glass of apple juice would make a headache go away, but drinking enough of the stuff, will give something to my muscles, which then don't tense up as much. 

I did exchange the apple juice with water though. Just ordinary tap water with a hint of squash to give it some flavour. And I have been drinking gallons of the stuff over the last few weeks. At times I feel the hint of a headache and I grab my bottle and drink: hint gone! I have taken a few paracetamols over the past few weeks, but nowhere near as much as normal weeks go. Or went rather. Plus, once taken, they actually worked, together with the amount of fluid I drank. 

So far, so good.