Thursday 25 September 2014

A new job

I'll whip 'em into shape!
Last week as I was about to go home, I was stopped by the human resources lady. Whether I had seen the ad? Yes, well no, I hadn't. What ad? The ad for a team leader. She was sure it would be a perfect fit for me! 

Well, I wasn't as convinced. As a matter of fact, I turned her down immediately saying it wasn't something I wanted for a few more years yet. Because a team leader has to be able to communicate with the members of the team (fellow busdrivers) and relay information to them. Plus write a weekly report, do some basic illness follow-ups and several other things. I felt that I hadn't the necessary Norwegian knowledge to do all that. 

For some reason though, I kept thinking about it. Mainly because one of the colleagues present when she asked me, kept talking about it. In front of others. Great! And he seemed to think I would be perfect at it. So did the current team leader I would be taking over from. 

In the end I wasn't sure anymore. I needed to know more. My own team leader was away on holiday so I asked another one. What did it entail, how did he like it etc etc. In the end I went up to the human resources lady and said that even though I was still not 100% (about 99% actually) convinced, I was willing to give it a go. I had done something slightly similar years ago in Italy and that had worked out fine, so why not here? 

The end of the story is: you can congratulate me! I got the job. I will still do the driving I normally do, but add to that all the other duties! It will be temporary, but with a chance of becoming more permanent! I am moving up in the world...

Wednesday 24 September 2014

The doctor

As you may know I have been battling pain in my leg and lately in my lower abdomen and side. And even I realised I took a few too many painkillers. So, two weeks ago I made an appointment with my gp and today I was finally able to go. Because I was due to go to the doctor I had decided not to take any painkillers this week. Turns out, I needn't have done it all during the summer: the pain usually subsides after an hour or two/three! Typical!

However, the doctor listened to me (after adding the tetanus shot to my details first) and then told me to put my right foot to my knee and slowly down again. Same with the left foot. Then I had to take my shoes and socks off and walk on tippy-toe. And then on my heels. No problem! I had to lie down and she scratched the soles of my feet with needles and other thingies. Whether I felt it at all? And all the while I was thinking: it's my abdomen woman!

After a few more things with my feet and my legs, she told me why she was testing my lower extremities. By what I had told her, she severely suspected something wrong with my spinal cord! Okay...

Anyway, since I could feel everything (including the vibrating thingy to which I couldn't find the right proper Norwegian term. It was vibrere. Duh) and was in no pain when she tried to put my legs in my neck, she was at a bit of a loss. However, she felt it would be wise to get a second opinion and now I am being referred to having a picture taken. Not quite sure whether it will be x-ray or something else, since she asked me whether I was claustrophobic. But, something is being done to find out the whys and whats!

Now I just have to wait until I get called in for my photo! Oh, and I have to make an appointment for my favourite kind of examination: a surgical smear!

Sunday 21 September 2014

Photo on Sunday 2014-28

Well, this week's focus was of course mainly on Oswin and her run-in with the cow doo-doo and its aftermath. 

My arm has stopped hurting again and the scratches/bruises are nearly gone. 

However, last weekend I spent at the Tide Games in Voss of course. 

And on the way back home we had the most glorious weather imaginable. 

Blue skies, little wind and added to that beautiful views of Hardanger Fjord amongst others. 

I couldn't pick the best one (if you could please, I might use it in this year's calendar!), so a little collection of the views. 

Please remember that all photos were taken from a moving bus through a not dirty but not clean window either. 

I did my best!

Friday 19 September 2014

What if?

What if I hadn't gone to Bergen on holiday?
Would I have been working in Norway now?
What if? What if I had gone to nursing school? Would I have been a happy nurse right now? Working in a Dutch hospital, caring for the sick? 

What if? What if I had stayed in France as a tourguide? Would I have married some Frenchman and had lots of French babies?

What if? What if I had stayed in England as a waitress? Moved hotel only instead of moving back home. Would it have been a better choice?

What if? What if I had gotten into the army as I planned? Would I have been sent on a mission to Bosnia or Afghanistan and come back a different person?

What if? What if I had been offered the job in the biscuit factory? Would I have been content with packing chocolate biscuits for the rest of my life?

What if? What if I had left ten seconds later from the last stop in Belgium? Would he have lived and made his way over to England eventually? 

What if? What if I hadn't moved to Norway? What would my life be like now? 

What if? What if? What if? One of the most dangerous questions in the world. It's an easy opening to the blame game. I know. I played that game. If I had left ten seconds later, I would never have seen, let alone hit him. 

The game is a two-way street however, even if he couldn't 'play' it with me. The person who did though (Miss Vavoom who was a psychologist I think), gave me the other side of the what ifs: What if he had not crossed the road or what if he had run faster/slower? 

What if bananas were square and blue?

Second Blooming
This post is prompted by Spin Cycle. Thank you Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie. 

Thursday 18 September 2014

The story continued

What about those scratches though? Those scratches that Oswin had finally (after her fourth bout of water) had decided to give me. Two long ones on my chest and a couple of shorter ones on my left shoulder where she had just attached herself, trying to get away from the water in any way possible. 

I am used to being scratched by cats. I have been scratched by every single one I ever owned. It's part of being a slave to a cat. But these scratches were a bit different. Because these scratches were made right after she had become intimately aquainted with cow faeces. Cow faeces that probably contained all sorts of weird and definitely not wonderful stuff. 

So, after my shift today, I made my way to the 'legevakt' or emergency doctor's help. I told my story and they agreed with me: it might be handy to get a tetanus shot. Especially since the last time I had had one, was in November of 1991, right before my move to France! Out of date perhaps?

I didn't have to wait long, told the whole story again and then I got the shot in the arm. Now I just have to watch out for pussy (as in the yucky yellow liquid) scratches and fever. Other than that: I am sorted!

PS: It's a good thing this is not smell-o-blog, because even though her bottom and tail now smell like apple shampoo, her head still smells like shit, which really is a bit wrong way round to be honest. She has forgiven me though and was drooling all over me last night. 

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Apple shampoo

After her first soak in clean water
Since the weather is absolutely gorgeous right now, Oswin is allowed and very very willing to go out. Yesterday as well. She was back soon however. And completely soaked! When I picked her up, I didn't smell wet cat though. I smelled cow poo! 

Oswin is so interested in the (cattle) farm not too far from me, that she probably fell into something she shouldn't have fallen into! It was awful. I tried to rinse it all off, which she didn't particularly like, but after the rinse she still smelled like cow poo. Harder measures were needed.

I filled up the sink with warm water, added a good dose of apple shampoo and dunked her in. I managed to give her a good washing, before she was completely fed up with it and started fighting back. But, after a good soaping, she needed a good rinsing, so off to the shower we went. Not happy there either, but I got her clean (enough).

I got the big fluffy towel out, the one I had been saving for myself if ever I felt really sorry for myself and dried her off. And then I gave her a bit of food, which she gobbled up, smelling like apple shampoo. 

See, not so big after all!
Well, at least I now know that most of her is hair! Because she was decidedly thin after her wash! I just hope she will leave the cow shed well alone...

Tuesday 16 September 2014

The reveal

I had found the perfect dress-up dress to wear to the Tide Games this year. Only problem was the size: the largest girl size doesn't really fit that well on a woman with a bit more size than the average girl. So, I needed to adjust it somewhat. Tried with the sewing machine, failed and had to do it all by hand. Quite a bit of work, especially since I started it the night before we were due to leave. 

Seine is the (local) Norwegian word for either late or slow.
In my case it meant slow, as in slow up a mountain.
I looked fabulous though. Well, perhaps not fabulous, but pretty. Perhaps not even pretty, but I definitely got noticed. That's what you get when you dress up in bright (nearly fluorescent) pink! I only had the skirt though, so the rest was a mish-mash of things. My normal walking shoes, so I could be comfy all day long. Pink leggings, just in case I needed to run and/or get upside down. Or as the case turned out to be: use a toilet! Just drop the skirt and I am still decent. The t-shirt was supplied and then the hat.

Edgar wearing my hat
Of course the hat was brilliant as well. It wasn't pink as some of the others were, but ordinary dull brown. Which I had fiddled with somewhat by using pink ribbons and pink and purple stick-on thingies. But, as every cowboy knows: a cowboy ain't a cowboy without a horse! I don't know any horses. And showing up with a real life horse for our trip to Voss (nearly 5 hours on the bus) was not something I was willing to do. But...

There was an other option though. One of those toy horses. Well, a horse's head on a stick to be precise. When shaken it would make the noise of clattering hooves. Or a whinny or a pppfffffrrrrrtttt. It was brilliant. I called him Edgar, even though he was pink. And where last year they made a prize especially for my hat (I was the only one wearing one then, this year there were lots of hats), this year they made a prize especially for Edgar. Or the horse from Haugesund. Three kilos of chocolate! Now I have to think of something really good for next year!

The open class nominees. The guy on the left won. 
In an aside: I didn't win the open class of the Gold Bus, the one I had been nominated for. But chocolate is good as well!

Sunday 14 September 2014

Photo on Sunday 2014-27

Fits like a glov shoebox!

Friday 12 September 2014


Remember last year's Tide Games. The games where I won first (and only) prize for my orange hat? And doesn't time fly, because it's time for this year's installment. Last year somebody told me I should wear my orange hat again this year, but that is boring. The same hat two years in a row. And then I was told the 'theme' for our gang for this year: cowboy! Well, you can say a lot about my orange hat, but cowboy it ain't!!

So, I needed a cowboy hat. Which I got. And I had planned to get the rest of my outfit while on holiday in the Netherlands. Make it a proper Dutch cowboy. I got egg cups and plates. And a painting. And some other stuff I didn't really need. But no clogs. Or a Dutch 'farmer's shirt'. Or anything else that might say: here comes a Dutch cowboy. So, I needed to rethink. I felt a bit like Winnie then. But in the end an idea came out. 

Tomorrow, at the Tide Games I will be wearing my cowboy hat. And... well, it's a secret. Which I will reveal on Monday of course, because I am not the secretive type. But I like my outfit. A lot. 

Second Blooming
This post is partly prompted by the upcoming Tide Games and partly by Spin Cycle. Thank you Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie and Gretchen at Second Blooming.

Monday 8 September 2014

Better than television

As I was watching a bit of television last night, waiting for Strictly to begin, I happened to glance out of the side-window. And what I saw had me puzzling. I know sheep are known to flock together, but what made them flock together? There was no dog, there was no person, yet the sheep were all huddled together.

For some reason I ran for my camera and when I took a photo, I saw a man in the field. And then a boy and a woman joined the man and the sheep. They were herding the sheep, trying to drive them to one area in the back of the field. 

The sheep were having none of it. They made a dash for it and nothing the boy could do, could stop them. Over the rock they went to the back of the field. They would have to be herded back to the front again. 

By this time I had opened my window and was shamelessly taking photos, while hanging out of said window. The second attempt to get the sheep to a certain place, didn't meet with any more luck than the first attempt. They were herded to the front alright and then escaped once more. 

The boy rounded them up again, but this time they didn't even make it back to the front before they played Houdini. This was riveting stuff. My camera went in overdrive!

Finally on the fourth attempt, they managed to get all the sheep back to the front of the field. And then slowly and carefully they drove them to the corner. Where they 'escaped' to the adjoining field. Job done. 

I just wonder which sheep were in the first field this morning? They looked the same to me...

Sunday 7 September 2014

Photo on Sunday 2014-26

During my week's holiday in the Netherlands I was able to indulge in several food wishes. Like proper patat with mayo, frikandellen en kroketten, a tosti and poffertjes. And ice cream. Now, you would think that in a cold country like Norway they can do ice. Think again. Not a single Italian gelateria* to be found! Perhaps they think it is too cold!

But I did indulge back home. Twice! First with some cinnamon ice cream (mmmm) from a gelateria in Zwolle and later that day a white chocolate and smurf ice cream from a snack bar somewhere in the country side. I could have one right now! For breakfast!!

*gelateria: from gelato, the Italian word for ice cream

Saturday 6 September 2014


Ginny Marie and Gretchen set a challenge this week for Spin Cycle that says: 'If I Were Queen'. So, I looked at Oswin and she looked back and I knew I knew exactly what to write about. Or more precisely, I would let Oswin do the talking. Which was short and concise! Here's what she had to say:

If I were Queen? *purr* Ha, I am Queen! *purrrrrr* And I would rule that I should get more food, more strokes per day, more kisses and more sleep. *purrr* The occasional mouse to play with would be good too! *purrrrr*

See, short and concise!

Second Blooming
As I already told, this post was prompted by Spin Cycle. Thank you Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie and Gretchen at Second Blooming.

PS: The photo isn't that recent, but she loved her catsitters so much that she ate everything they gave her. Which was a lot! She is outside as I am typing to work off some of that excess weight. 

Friday 5 September 2014

I am still here!

One of the rides
There were a few things I noticed when I got back home on Monday. Number one was that Oswin had not been hungry during my time away from home. At all! Which is a good thing. In fact, she desperately needed some excercise other than walking to her food bowl. So, she was let out for a few hours and every day since. 

Eating in the bath? Only in the Efteling!
A novelty bin
Number two was that my lovely green suitcase is in desperate need of replacement. It really has been through the wars it seems. Over the years it has been everywhere with me, mostly on the coach, but in the last few years on planes as well. And especially the latter has done some real damage to the suitcase. A hole, a rip and the latest: the wheels. So, before my next trip I will have to go suitcase shopping. A good thing my next trip will not be before next year, so I can save up a bit. 

Scene from Sleeping Beauty
Number three was the grass in my garden: it was long! It would need some severe trimming before it would be too long again. Yesterday I tackled that and now it looks lovely and short again. I hope to get in at least one more trim before winter really sets in, but I remember last year: rain every day (it seemed like) or work that interfered with my grass trimming. 

But of course you didn't want to know about all the things that happened after my return. You want to know about my weekend away. As you may remember my mother reached retirement age last week and we usually decide to give them a present from all of us for those benchmark days. This time we had given her a weekend away in the biggest amusement park in the Netherlands. It originally started as a fairy tale park drawn by Dutch artist Anton Pieck. But soon the first merry-go-rounds and rollercoasters started appearing. And then a few years ago the hotel was built as well. 

Long Neck. The most famous inhabitant
I wasn't completely convinced that the present would be right. I just knew it was going to be busy (it was, although not as busy as I had feared, 45 minutes was the longest wait I saw/was in). And with our luck, of course it would rain. Which it did. A lot. On Saturday anyway. Sunday was a beautiful day. 

Scene from Little Red Riding Hood
When my sister and I finally joined the rest of the party, they had already been cooked (the cauldrons, a bit like the teacups), been in a rollercoaster in the dark (scary according to the two eldest children) and several other rides. We saw some of the fairy tale woods, had some lunch, went on a sedate ride called the Fata Morgana and of course went on rollercoasters. The wooden 'George and the Dragon' was a scary one. It didn't do a loop, but it changed direction so much, you were just jolted about a lot. 

Toothache anyone? (Fata Morgana)
After a day walking around in the rain (and a really bad night the night before), I was completely pooped. So, we spent a lovely dinner 'en famille' with a lot of gifts, since not only my mother was celebrating her birthday, two of the children had their birthdays as well and needed gifts. 

The room/bed my sister and I shared.
If you watch closely you might see the mouse...
Because neither my sister or myself will be going home again this year, we thought it would be best if we bought gifts for number three as well. Which she didn't mind getting. We asked. After dinner most of them went back to the park again to enjoy some more rides and some night shows. I stayed in the hotel with my sister and my mother. 

Game of the Goose. Great midnight game.
Especially if neither can sleep
On Sunday the weather had cleared up and since we were staying in the hotel, we got into the park earlier and had some quiet rides and some quick lines. More rollercoasters, including one with two loop-de-loops and two corkscrews, but nowhere near as scary as the one on the first day. A large show featuring horses, a bobsled ride and some of the rides we did the day before, like the wild water one. I got soaked! By the end of the weekend we were all done for, but it had been a great weekend. 

Perennial favourite. Hours of fun!
And now I am back home. Again. With a thinning Oswin, short grass and a suitcase that needs replacing. And on Monday it will be back to normal: work. After two wonderful weeks.