Wednesday 28 January 2015

One of twelve

I could of course continue in the vein of yesterday and feel very sorry for myself (which I do actually, I got a cold to top off the disappointment), but that would be very draining on you lot that come back every time to read about my life. No need to put you all on anti-depressants! 

Seeing as it nearly is the end of January, I thought I would have a little look at this past month. Prompted by Ginny Marie of course! And then it turned out that the buckets I set at the beginning of this year were not met at all. 

The more blogging went out of the window because of two weeks of feeling rotten. None of the other buckets were filled either. It being the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, there were a lot of documentaries on television about the Holocaust. I have seen quite a few of those. Not the most uplifting I can tell you. Especially not last thing at night when you need to get some sleep. 

The book I am reading at the moment (to fulfill my Goodreads goal of 50 books this year) got off to a slow start as well. Not because I am not reading, but because of the book I am! It's the Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Not the easiest to get through and certainly not a beach read! Death, destruction and forced labour all are part of this book. And I only read the 500 page abridged version... 

The weather this month has included a full out storm, one of the worst to hit the West Country of Norway in two decades, a bit of snow, rain, rain and more rain. Some of my rooftiles ended up on the ground which were replaced a few days ago. My surroundings (although still beautiful) are grey and brown due to the weather. Puddles and icy roads are also included in this lovely mix.

On the plus side though: new heater, lovely companion (ie Oswin), great friends, good job and soon I will be operated on, get a visit from my sister and hopefully fill my buckets. Oh, and sorry for having written such a depressing blog post. I promise to do better next time!

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

Tuesday 27 January 2015


If you think that I am this nice girl that uses words like bother as curse words, you are unfortunately very much mistaken. In fact, this morning I uttered something very unladylike indeed, which has more to do with female anatomy than the quite nice sounding 'bother'. But, to keep all you (cyber)friends on my side, I will not go further into what exactly I uttered in Dutch.

There was however a reason why I uttered (exclaimed more accurately) said unmentionable word. I had just gotten a phone call. From the gynaecologist. And guess what? Those caterpillars that had moved in? Well, they are here to stay a while longer. Because my operation was cancelled. At least...

The operation here in Haugesund has been cancelled. Because it will now take place in Bergen, hopefully soon, but no word on that just yet! And the reason is that stuff running through my veins. The first time I had my bloodworks done, the values (of what I don't know) where a bit too high. And yesterday's handywork showed that the values had actually gone up a notch. 

Because I was at work and in the middle of something, I was disappointed of course, but it was only after I finished work that it really hit me: I will have to wait even longer! Even more pills have to be taken. And then going to a hospital that is not even close to where I live! It's bad enough not having my mum around, but now nobody? It quite upset me. 

Anyway, I will be fine tomorrow again. After all, my sister is still coming and you never know: I may still get operated on next week!

Monday 26 January 2015

The caterpillars are moving in!

Now, as most of you know by now, I will soon going to go under the knife. No, I won't get liposuction or a boob job (as one colleague suggested, as if I need one!) or something else cosmetic. The operation I will be having will be life enhancing though. At least I hope it will be. 

I have written quite extensively about my troubles in the past year. It all started in February when I had some trouble. We thought it might be intestinal and samples were sent off. All results came back negative though and the problems disappeared after a while. Then a month or so later, a stripe of pain on my right leg appeared. Not constant, but annoying nonetheless. Another trip to my gp and 'more moving around' was the answer this time. 

The months came and went. By June the pain in my leg was almost constant severely hindering sleep and making me cry in frustration on several occasions. The summer was half good half bad. Not too much hindrance, but it hadn't gone away either. August it all came to a head. Several nights with frozen peas or chips on my leg, no sleep and a very tired me on holiday. So, back to the gp it was.

After I had explained all the symptoms (leg, hips, back), she thought it might actually be prolaps and ordered an MRI scan. Two weeks later we found out that everything was worn down to the level that can be expected in a person my age/height/weight, but there was something else that was not good. By that time I had already started to suspect my lady bits to be very unlady-like and that turned out to be true. On to the gynaecologist!

The gynaecologist felt around, did the ultrasound, let the intern feel around (with permission), called in the head gynaecologist and he felt around a bit as well and in the end the result was: yes, there was a growth in/on my uterus that shouldn't be there and there were more growths on my ovarian tubes. It all needed to come out to spare me from more pain and trouble. That was just over six weeks ago.

Between then and now I have had a blood test done which came back with too high (not quite sure what was too high, but I guess it was the values of something or other) which in turn led me to have a CT-scan. So they would know where to operate me: in my local Haugesund hospital or in the further and more specialised Bergen hospital. I didn't hear anything anymore after that until Friday when I got a call from my gynaecologist: another blood test was on the cards. I headed to my local friendly vampire this morning and hopefully this time the values will be good, which would mean Haugesund!

Scottish butterflies 'caught in the act'
In the mean time though, the caterpillars are moving in. Not that many at a time, but still a steady stream. Some of the caterpillars have been cocooned and are now starting to emerge as nervous butterflies. Not so much because of what is going to be removed (uterus, ovaries), but more the fact that it is going to be removed. I have after all never had an operation before. In my life!! Ah well, as long as I won't be spitting butterflies...

Sunday 25 January 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-03

Seeing that I will soon have surgery and then at least six weeks of convalescing, where apparently I am not allowed to lift heavier than a carton of milk, I figured it was going to be cold in my home. I rely quite heavily on my wood burning oven to keep me warm and toasty, but having to get up every ten to fifteen minutes and throwing another log in or even worse, getting down to the basement and getting a whole sack full, is probably not the doctor's idea of no heavy lifting. 

I needed a solution. A solution that would keep me warm. And for that reason I bought a radiator. And I love it! Even warmth, no heavy lifting and no mess. In the photo you can see the old and the new. The towel on the wood burner has a specific purpose as well: keep the room somewhat hydrated.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Going on holiday (well...)

Another easy-ish prompt this week: answer two or three or all of the questions about holidays and travelling and such. Well, I am never one to shirk away from answering questions, so I decided to answer the whole bunch!

1. Would you rather take a road trip or fly?
This is a tricky one. I do like flying, yet I do like driving as well. I think for longer distances that have to be covered in a short amount of time, I prefer flying. But I would love to take a roadtrip one day, which means driving!

2. Where is your favorite place to travel?
Oh wow, this is a question and a half isn't it? But it's safe to say that anywhere that is not here, would be a close enough answer. 

3. Do you have any sanity-saving tips for traveling with kids?
Don't take them along! Sleeping pills (for them). Lots of wallpaper (the Dutch will understand this one). But, in case you want them to have a nice family holiday as well, take along pleeeeeenty of games/music/films. And go places that are interesting to you and to them as well. I once encountered a group of British school children in Pompeii. The children were about 9 and bored out of their faces! It could have been a fun trip even there, but it had to have the 'educational' bit as well! Stupid if you ask me!

4. If you could take a vacation without the kids, where would you go?
Anwhere where there are no or not a lot of children. So definitely not one of those all-inclusive holiday resorts. Gruesome!

5. What is your favorite activity to do while traveling? Do you like to read, sleep, listen to music, or play games?
I take my iPod with me and listen to music while I am reading. I just have to take care to what I am reading, last year I got caught out crying at Copenhagen Airport, because the book was so sad!

6. Is there a place you would travel to just for the food?
HOME! The bread, the desserts, the meat, the way my mother/father/family/friends cook. A good second would be Italy, but mainly for the ice-cream! I am easily won over...

7. One of my goals is to someday come home to a clean house, but it hasn’t happened yet! When you leave your house for vacation, is it messy or clean?
This is a trick question right? Put forward by my parents? Just to catch me out? I know it is. Anyway, my house is not messy as such (can't have the catsitter think I am a dirtbag), but it will not be on the 'cleanest house of Norway list' either. If such a list exists of course. But I won't be on it!

8. What is one thing you would never travel without?
Toothbrush/paste and clean underwear. Although having said that: I have been caught out twice now with only my toothbrush and not toothpaste. Annoying! 

9. My husband cannot sit still for very long on vacation; he has to be constantly on the move. How about you? Would you rather have a relaxing vacation or have activities planned from morning ‘til night?
I love a relaxing holiday. Starting at 11 in the morning is fine by me. Seeing some of the sights and then going home for a nice dinner and a glass of wine enjoying the sun setting. Or staying home all day and reading a book. Again though, my holidays seem to consist more of doing things and seeing things. But always at my own pace!

10. If you could photograph (or see) any place in the world, where would you go?
Northern Norway to see the Northern Lights. That is still a dream of mine and I hope to make it a reality at some point. (the photo is taken by American Cody Duncan, who travels to Lofoten (Norway) a fair bit and takes the most gorgeous photos, not only of the Northern Lights, but of the mountains and lakes and the rest of nature as well. If you click on this link, you will come to his site where lots more of his fantastic photos are shown!)

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

Thursday 22 January 2015

I am back!

Well, I hope I am back anyway. I have had a rotten two weeks. Last week was awful, dealing with menstral cramps (the last time, which made me feel a tiny bit better), the usual pain and headaches. Oh and work of course! I was in no mood to do anything else but just veg out once I was home.

By Saturday it had gotten better, but I had to work and then a work do, which meant I didn't get home until quite late and at that time I didn't want to do anything but watch a bit of tv before going to bed. Sunday was a day where I actually did turn on the computer, yet hardly did anything with it. 

Monday and Tuesday were spent updating the photo book I make for work. A lot of new drivers, a lot of drivers had changed team, so it was a bit of a job. I managed in the end. And then the headaches returned. This time due to the extremely dry weather. But whatever they are due to, they are awful and really interfere with my day. I have yet to call in sick for a headache (not counting the weeklong horror of a few years ago), but if I wake up tomorrow with one, I will. Sick to the bone I am of them. 

The date of my operation is getting nearer and nearer now. My sister is due to arrive next Sunday and I am going into hospital the next day. Several people have offered to pick me up. One from Bergen if needs be, the other saying her car is better (higher) and therefore easier to get in and out of. Besides lots of colleagues have offered to give me a hand if needed. And I probably will, since I will not be allowed to do any heavy lifting for about six weeks. 

Right, time for Antiques Road Trip on the BBC. 

Monday 12 January 2015


They had warned us about her for two days already. She was due on Thursday, then Friday and in the end she showed up on Saturday. And what a showing it was! Hurricane force winds that would give the West coast of Norway its worst storm in 20 years. We noticed!

Oh boy, did we notice. The wind was howling, the rain was driving, things flew through the air and people were told to please stay indoors. Which I did! I didn't get out of the door again until this morning. Checking the damages!

Well, I had seen the rooftiles on the ground already yesterday, one unbroken in the grass and one broken on the gravel. Where I used to park my car before. Fortunately I don't anymore and my car was fine. Yesterday morning I found another tile broken on the gravel. On the kitchen side two more were down. 

The remainder of the fence that was still standing got so damaged I will have to take it out. Branches everywhere in the garden. I had to gather up my wheelie bins, since they had gone AWOL. Well, two of them anyway. But in general I think the house and garden survived quite well. 

And where I usually have severe problems watching British television when there is a force two wind blowing, I was able to watch all night without any interruption whatsoever! Well, apart from when the power went out for about ten minutes that is! And I was lucky: others had their power cut for hours!

Sunday 11 January 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-02

Shocking isn't it? Painkillers. Just for me. But don't worry: I won't be taking them all in one go. They should last me until early February: my operation. 

PS: the doctor okayed this amount!

Friday 9 January 2015

Christmas gift

Since I always buy my own Christmas gifts, I always get what I want. And this Christmas just past I wanted an iPod. I have an mp3 player, but it can only hold a certain amount of music, which meant that I had to leave out a lot of my favourite numbers. Like Eurovision! Which is like sacrilege in my book!!

Anyway, I had saved up all year in my 'only to be opened with a big hammer' piggy bank and when Christmas neared, I got out said hammer and smashed the bank. And then I went out and got myself an iPod. I wrapped it up nicely and put it under the Christmas tree, ready for Christmas day when I would unwrap it, scream in delight and thank Santa. 

After a few days of looking at my iPod, I finally got to work with it and within no time I had it up and running. Lots of music was put on for my enjoyment and I was a happy bunny. Today I wanted to update it, since there was some music that was missing. Turns out: half of all my Eurovision was missing as well!! The cheek!

So, guess what I am doing today...

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Only 351 days left

Until Christmas that is. Now, I thought I would be taking my Christmas decorations down yesterday, but in the end it happened today. Packed everything away in a few boxes that I will take upstairs as soon as the biathlon is finished.

Last year I had been a fool and left the lights (two seperate strings) in the tree. Which meant I couldn't take the tree apart and had to take it upstairs in one piece. Since the tree comes in three pieces, it was a struggle to get it upstairs. It was a bigger struggle to get it downstairs again and set up! So, this year, I took all the lights out and put the tree back (with some difficulty) in its box. That way I shouldn't have any major difficulty next Christmas!

Only 351 days left...

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Words are not enough

A word for the entire year she asks. One word to hopefully describe the year ahead. The first word that sprung to mind was madness. Because how can you describe a year that is not even a week old? That is still in its infancy? I mean, you don't look at a week-old baby and go: brain surgeon! Well, there might be people who do, but they are usually mightily disappointed when said baby grows up and decides he rather wants to be a turkey farmer!

But of course, me being me, I got to thinking some more. Painfree flashed through my mind, but that would only be highlighting one part of my life. Fitness would be the same and knowing me, quite a grasp! So, what word would be good? What word could fit a whole year? 

I really had to get my thinking cap on. And then: happiness! Why not? It could fit. It could be good. Yet, there was a niggle in the back of my head saying it wasn't enough. It wasn't... IT. And then I remembered my love for the Doctor. No, not a real doctor, although I do love the two doctors that reside in my life, but the Doctor. And his advice to one of his companions a while ago (I think it was David Tennant's Doctor to Billie Piper's Rose) which was: live life!

Looking at the bucket list I made yesterday, that fit perfectly. Live life! But of course there was this little hitch: live life is two words and only one was needed. So, my word for 2015? 


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

Monday 5 January 2015

The buckets for 2015

I made a list last year of all the things I would like to get/do/learn in 2014. And I managed several on that list. Half in fact! Which I was very pleased about. Here is that list. I have highlighted the ones I actually got/did/learnt.

1. Have a professional photo shoot
2. Learning how to ride a horse
3. A visit to Northern Ireland (my sister lives there)
4. A tattoo
5. A German Christmas market
6. A musical in London or just London with my sister
7. Aurlandsdalen (ie hiking)
8. Visit my parents
9. See more of Norway
10. Get a satellite dish
11. Get a dishwasher
12. Meet a fellow blogger

For this year I am going to do the same again. Write a bucket list and hope I can get at least half crossed off! Here it goes:

1. Go to the Edinburgh Tattoo
I love tattoos and the best known one is probably the one in Edinburgh. My parents and my sister also would love to see that one, so guess what...
2. Learn how to play a musical instrument
It doesn't matter how badly. Honestly. Just would love to learn.
3. See more of Norway
I have been living here for just over two years and have still not seen a great deal! I would love to change that. So, it's back on the list. 

4. Get rid of the pain
This should be entirely feasible. The surgery is on the cards already and even though I have some trepidation about the whole thing, being rid of the pain will be so great! 
5. A musical in London
I will give this one another outing and hopefully it will come real this year!
6. Meet a fellow blogger
Yes, again, but it has worked so well in the past, why not do it again?
7. A German Christmas market
I even missed our own local one this year, and the German ones are such fun. So, back on the list it is!

8. See friends and family
Either here in Norway or back where they live. 
9. Start walking again
I have been slacking of lately and that is not good. I should really start again and perhaps get so good I could do another of those Norwegian 'walks'! 
10. Holiday
Now, I would really love to see Morocco or Poland. I know people from both countries who might be willing to give me a hand in planning a trip to either of those two. However, I do have a holiday to Scotland in the cards already (see bucket 1), so I am set (sort of).
11. Do a sky-dive
I will probably need to wear a nappy, but I would love to be able to say I have done it at least. Not sure how I would feel if it were really happening...

12. Find Ed
And no, that doesn't mean getting another cat!
13. Blog
I was only going to put down 12 buckets, but then I thought: blogging should so be on the list as well! Especially since 2014 was a bad year for blogging. I had my second worst full year of blogposts and that so needs to change! So, my goal is to have at least 250 blog posts by the end of the year. Which would still not be top (the most ever was 2009 with 321 posts), but it would/should be managable!

Here's to 2015!

Sunday 4 January 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-01

I am not normally somebody who takes photographs of snowploughs willy nilly. But, when said snowplough has been standing still in the same spot for about ten minutes, I get curious and have to find my camera. And then of course take a photo (or more) of said snowplough. 

I am not entirely sure of what happened last week, but I think the snowplough must have skidded a little and in the process hit a pole. The one to his immediate right. And since wires are hanging from the poles... It knocked down several of those wires, including the one that you can see coming from the far right of the picture at the top (the one hanging down to the road). That one is attached to my house, although my power supply doesn't come from it.

I could see the driver walking around his vehicle, talking on the phone and generally trying to salvage something. In the end however he went on his merry way, hindered somewhat by lowhanging wires! He was resourceful though and drove with one hand, while hanging out of his vehicle guiding the wire, until he had to stop and take the wire and get it over his lorry, see second photo, before getting back to his job of ploughing the road.

About an hour or so later, a service vehicle arrived to take a good look at the site of the loose wires. They put up some barriers to stop traffic, but they only remained a day or so, before they were pushed to the side, letting traffic through again. If you look closely, you can see the pole on the right is broken and the stump is just to its left. And that situation has remained to this day!