Thursday 30 November 2017

So, does it work?

The question I have been asked quite a bit recently is exactly that one: does it work? And it refers of course to the physiotherapy. The honest answer to that is: I don't know. I have a feeling, but I have had those type of feelings before and they were always (proved) wrong.

The thing is, I will usually go without a headache for up to two weeks and the last time I had one was November 14th. Just over two weeks ago. Granted, it was only a level 1, meaning I could work and was not hindered much by it and the next day it did not grow into a level 3 headache, which would usually have happened. Positive!

This week however, would be the clincher. According to the old pattern I would be due a headache. Guess what: I got one! 

Now don't all sigh in frustration (I certainly don't), because this is NOT a tension headache. Nor is it a migraine. I have an absolute stinking cold and that always comes with a side order of headache! Which means I am keeping warm (hard to do in a bus that is -4 degrees when you start her up), drinking lots, swallowing paracetamol to keep the fever at bay and generally feeling a bit sorry for myself. 

My nose is the same colour as that jacket and hat
On the subject of a cold though: where does all that snot come from??

Monday 27 November 2017


It was early in the morning of the 26th. The lorry was coming that day and we had some last minute business to finish off. Once the lorry arrived, it was soon filled with the stuff that was going. And before long, it drove off. Carrying the stuff to a new life.

It was even earlier in the morning of the 27th. It was the day that I would follow the stuff to a new life. 

I don't remember too much of those last two/three days in the Netherlands. Yes, I spent one day at my friends' house making silly things. Yes, they were early mornings. But I think part of me worked on auto-pilot. 

I had forgotten about the snow though
I do remember quite well those first few days in Norway though. The tension, the bad nights, the loneliness, the newness. I knew nothing and nobody, I hardly understood anybody (although they understood me just fine). It was hard! 

Over time (read a few weeks) I got used to things. I got to know people. Having my sister come over for Christmas was great (in fact, she is coming again this year) and very helpful. 

Today it has been five years since moving to Norway. What will the future hold?

Sunday 26 November 2017

Saturday 25 November 2017


I needed several things. Like food and drink. I wanted to get some more metallic thread and I needed to pick up my soup terrine. So bright and early this morning, I made my way to the shops. 

Miracle of miracles, I kept myself to the list I made. Which wasn't long at all. I got the food I needed and I did not put any 'treats' in the cart alongside. The next shop was the craft shop. As I said I wanted some metallic thread and perhaps some other little craft-type thing. No thread, but some small other things. I was doing great!

I bought the one at the top. The others I already had.
Then it was time to change the shopping center. Metallic thread? Still no, but I did get some lovely Christmas fabric. My soup terrine had come in, but had had a fault and had been sent back. The likelihood of it arriving in time for Christmas was slim to non-existent. I got another terrine. Christmassy, nice and (best of all) cheaper! I got part of the booze I needed, but the Madeira only came in large bottles. I only need a small amount, so I would need to head into town after all!

First though, I went home with the shopping so far, put it away, got Miss O inside, gave her a treat for being a good girl and then headed out again: this time to take the bus into town. Still on the hunt for metallic thread, I made my way to the shops I like to frequent. The first one came up empty and the second one had only one colour I didn't have yet. They did have some lovely Christmas fabric though...

Next stop: the Vinmonopolet*. I had seen small bottles of Madeira there before and fortunately they still had them. I got myself one. And then... I took the bus home! I feel really pleased with myself for being such a good girl. Where did I put my treats?

'Dram' glasses. Oh, and Miss O's foot.
Oh no! I had forgotten: I had actually bought something that I did NOT need. Just because it looked so pretty and Christmassy... I guess no treat for me!

*Vinmonopolet: Wine Monopoly in English. Basically the only place you can buy alcohol in Norway. Apart from beer and low percentage wine I think which is sold in supermarkets as well. There are two such places close to me: one in the center of town and the other in a shopping center close by. 

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Animals and humans

A human (well, me) and a pussycat
I am looking for a new charity for next year. For what you ask? Where have you been? For Mice for Mama* of course! The first two choices have been made: out of animal, vegetable or mineral you chose animal. And then the majority of you picked option C: animals and humans. So, that's what it's going to be! 

There are however so many charities out there, that I find it hard to find one, let alone pick! There is a horse riding for the disabled charity in the UK, pets for vets in the USA, dogs for the blind in Norway (and a lot of other countries in the world). But... what is your suggestion? 

Yamini sponsored this beauty called Isaac to be a fully fledged guide dog
So, here's what I am asking of you this time: the name and location of a charity (preferably one you know personally and trust) that deals with animals and humans. It can be anywhere in the world, local, national or international. 

*Mice for Mama: where you can find a mouse to share your bed/travels/life. Or somebody else's for that matter! Half of the price of the sold mice goes to the chosen charity. This year's charity is a Dutch charity called the Stomach Liver and Bowel Foundation. Very close to my parents' hearts (and mine), since my mother (hence Mice for Mama) suffered from bowel cancer earlier this year. Fortunately she has been given the all clear a few months ago. 

Detail of one of the special Christmas mice
If you want to order a mouse, here are a few pointers: the last batch will come out on December 1st. The batch will include two special Christmas mice. If you want the mouse/mice to arrive before Christmas, it would be wise to order before December 5th. Just so you know!

Monday 20 November 2017

Brom goes to school


Long time no see, but I was a wee bit on the tired side after my lovely holiday in the Bonny Land. I got spoiled rotten by Auntie Yam, but I did miss home. But now I am back and guess what: I went on a tour as well.

"On the road again"
Last time it was Mouse who joined Mara on that weekend course, this time I got to come! First we took the bus to the hotel where we checked in. I was left in the room while Mara went down for the first evening's dinner and school work.

Can you spot the slice of cucumber?
The next day though I was raring to go. We started with a good breakfast. There were sausages and egg and bacon and salmon. Mara says it was quite yum.

Then we went to the classroom where everybody (some alone, some in pairs) had to give a presentation. Mara and her partner did a presentation about the 'Battle of Menstad'. It happened in 1931 and basically was a conflict between employer and employees. It is very important in the history of the Union, because one effect it had was bring about a Basic Agreement that is still used (with alterations of course) today. 

After the first half was done it was time for lunch. Which Mara said was really yum! I am only showing the dessert here, but it was certainly a goody! 

Then, once lunch was over, it was back to the school room and more presentations. Mara said she learned a great deal during those presentations, which I gather is good, since it was school after all!!

It's tea! Honestly!!
Early in the evening we finished and it was time for a pre-dinner drink. A glass of tea she said. Well, Tatra-Tea. Made in the Tatra Mountains in the North of Slovakia. 52%, so I guess it wasn't exactly tea. It tasted good though (I had a sip, but it was quite strong).

Dinner itself was in a restaurant in town. I got to come along as well: I had to keep an eye on Mara after that tea!! Later that evening there was another quiz. Mara's team won again, but somebody said they had cheated and they had one point deducted. That way they were equal with the team that ended in second place and there had to be a face-off. Which Mara's team lost! But, it was a good night anyway.

Saturday's dinner
Sunday started bright and early again. This time we got a little presentation from the teacher, which gave Mara even more information she didn't know about. They had some more work to do in groups and then it was nearly time for lunch and going home. 

If school is like this, I don't mind going every week!!

Sunday 19 November 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-39

Taken last Sunday, early in the morning. Well, a quarter past nine, but that is early for the Norwegian sun! I tried to take a photo of just the clouds, but my camera said no. But this is nice too!

Friday 17 November 2017

Done! (I think)

Today I put the finishing touches to our presentation. My partner had written most of the same of what I had done, but he said we were using mine! Smiley face. I just wanted some photos included in our presentation, so had to chase the google machine to find some I wanted to use. 

Then I had to rush to the physio for another turn. He worked my neck (ouch) and my back (ouch) and in the end I felt fine. Isn't it amazing how he can seemingly break your neck and you come out feeling better than you did before! 

I got the tires on the car changed. Haugesund is not known for its huge amounts of snow, but driving on summer tires during the winter is not something I relish doing. So, the spiky tires are back on and they are noisy as usual. 

I had to get some cat food for a certain Miss who will be staying home, holding the fort together with Mouse. Because this time Brom gets to come. He has recovered from his trip to Scotland (it took a wee while) and is raring to go! 

And then (shock horror) I got me some scarves. Yes, you read it right. Scarves! Not the keep warm in winter ones either, more the look pretty at any time of year ones. That Flying Duck scarf I bought from Yamini has gotten me addicted.

Well, that's it from me. Just filling you in on what's happening in Casa Mara

Wednesday 15 November 2017


Once upon a time I would drive groups of men who hadn't seen their wives and girlfriends for a couple of weeks. On our way home they would buy little stuffed animals with hearts and such. They would phone their wives/girlfriends and there would be a lot of 'miss you' and 'kissy kissy' going on. Okay, and once a porn film, but that is another story altogether.

Anyway, when seeing what those men did and hearing what they said, my stomach usually tried to a few somersaults. I felt that if I had a boyfriend/husband who behaved like that, we would need to have some serious discussions! Mind you, some might think it's romantic. 

The boyfriend who was romantic with me one day, did not come with teddy bears and roses. He did not say smooshy words on the telephone. He brought painkillers and the most regular bar of chocolate he had in his cupboard. But to me, that was so romantic (the relationship didn't last. Lack of romance on my part really). 

When I started my current reading frenzy (read something with some cultural oomph), I was told Dr Zhivago might be good! It was romantic after all....

It was worse than the kissy kissies. It was worse than the stuffed animals. And there was not a rose in sight either. Instead there was revolution. Attempted murders. A young girl led astray by a much older man. Hunger. Terror. A man with an arm and a leg cut off as a warning. Deportation. War. Burnt down villages. Ruined crops. Oh, and there was a two-timing B^%$#@^d. Well, three-timing really! 

I don't know what some people call romantic. But honestly: dismemberment and war are romantic? A married man having it off with not one, but two other women and yes, having children with both of them! 

Juliet's balcony in Verona. 
All that aside though: I thought the book was really good. Once I got into it, which took a few chapters. Having read the (abridged) Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitzyn helped me to understand some concepts Pasternak was talking about, mainly about the deportations and the gulags. The translators (Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky) did a great job. The footnotes they provided helped as well, explaining about the Russian Orthodox Church and its rituals and several other things like the revolution and its aftermath. 

So, what's next? Well, ehm... probably a simple romance novel where a boy and a girl meet, have a fight, fall in love and live happily ever after. 

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Men's wear

Nice and toasty, but not really fit for work
Today I had my second appointment with my physio (same torture, but less painful) and after that I went on the hunt for gloves. 

I had lovely gloves. Really nice ones. Leather. Comfy. Warm enough. They did not hold up very well when moving a fridge...

Great for making snowballs, but a bit too chunky
So, new gloves were needed. Leather, comfy, warm enough. But for some reason there didn't seem to be my type of gloves in the shops. In the end I admitted defeat: men's wear! Surely they must have some! And they did. Cheap as well (0,95 euro or even better: 0 Icelandic kroner). But (there's always a but, isn't there?) they were the wrong size. They were large and I need medium. He checked the other store: nope. A third store: nope! Grrr.

Perfect. Well, almost...
I did buy another pair. They are leather. Comfy. Warm enough. They just aren't the really nice ones I wanted. They did however come in medium...

Oh, and just so you know: I do NOT have abnormally large hands. But men's gloves just seem to have a better fit for me. 

Sunday 12 November 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-38

"I can see you!"

Can you see it?

Thursday 9 November 2017

More updates

First let's start with the give-away currently going on. You may not have seen it yet, but you still have a chance of winning one of OUR calendars. Yes, our, since none of us had enough photos to use for either his or my calendar. We had to steal a photo from Yamini as it is! Oh, you want to know how to get hold of one? Well, easy: go to this post and leave a comment. And by doing that you have a chance of winning one of two calendars that I We give away. 

Secondly: have you picked between A, B and C yet? You don't know what that is? Well, you had better skedaddle over to this post then! At the moment, C is out in front (4 votes to one each for A and B), but perhaps you haven't put in your vote yet? Better do it soon!

Thirdly: I have been beaten. He then tried to break my neck and he eventually decided on electrocuting me. Now before you send me 'get well' cards and try to console me on my misfortune, don't worry: I was at the physio's. I have to keep track of when and how bad I get headaches from now on (yes, again), but it should be getting better: longer periods of nothing and less painful headaches. Next week will be my next appointment, where he will probably beat me again. And try to break my neck and electrocute me again. 

Wednesday 8 November 2017


You picked animals? Fantastic choice!
Well, the choice has been made: an overwhelming majority said animal. In fact, apart from the one social (which I class under animal, but the human animal), there were no other picks! Mice for Mama will go animalistic(!)

Be wise now. Like me!
On to the next stage now. You have picked animals, but what kind of animals: the furry, scaly, feathery, creepy, cute kind or the two-legged kind who think they know everything and somehow get it wrong so incredibly often. And with those I of course mean us humans.

Do you need a Bongo to help you pick?
So, conservation of tigers versus a homeless shelter. Save the fishies versus a breast cancer charity. Or perhaps you think that combining the two might be great: working dogs (like guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs), a charity to help homeless and/or poor people care even better for their animals or horses that can be ridden by children and adults with (learning) disabilities. The list is endless of course.

We know you will make the right choice!
Back to the choice:
Choice A: animals
Choice B: humans
Choice C: animals and humans together

Monday 6 November 2017

Animal, vegetable or mineral?

This large mouse found a home in Norway
As you know I have been knitting mice this year. So far I have made around 50, a long way off from my grandmother's total of around 2,500! However, she started in 1973 and continued until her death in 2005. So, I have a few years yet.

Like my grandmother I make the mice for charity. She also gave them away to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (and friends of...). My choice of charity this year is the 'Stomach, Liver and Bowel Foundation' in the Netherlands. Close to my parents' hearts, especially after the scare earlier this year of my mother having bowel cancer (she is clear now). 

This small mouse lives in Scotland now.
For next year however, I want to donate to a different charity. Which one though, since there are literally hundreds of thousands out there! So, the first thing to do is decide whether it will be an animal, vegetable or mineral charity. And here's where you come in, because I want you to decide!

An animal charity could be a local, national or international charity that deals with animal welfare. A local shelter, World Wildlife Fund, the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals are just a few examples. I will also include human charities; cancer, pre-natal wards, alzheimers, care for veterans etc. 

This cutie made his home in the Netherlands
A vegetable charity could be (again) local, national or international. The environment, parks, clean-up of the sea or anything else like that. 

And finally the mineral charity. The upkeep, maintenance and restoration of houses, factories, ships and anything else that has historical value. Local, national, international. 

And this is Mouse, Brom's friend
Up to you now: which one do you pick? You just have to state animal, vegetable or mineral. Once I know that, we will go further and in the end there will be a charity that will receive money from Mice for Mama at the end of 2018. 

PS: You think you might be able to give a mouse a good home? Why not go to Mice for Mama and see if there is a nice friend for you! New ones are added each month.

Sunday 5 November 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-37

Another trip in the car (Brom was too tired to come)

I had to help show the way to the shopping center

After the shopping Mara had some hot chocolate

While her friend had a cider

Those chips were yummy

All photos by our friend UL.

Friday 3 November 2017


Miss O tries to escape the camera
Having Brom back home means a few things: Mouse is not sad anymore, I am not worried anymore and Miss Oswin sleeps. Mind you, she does that a lot, so I don't think she is that impressed, but anyway. With Brom being home again, we went through all of our photos for this year, because it is time again for a give-away. 

Yes, it's calendar time!! 

Because we did not take that many photos this year, it was hard to make calendars for both me and Brom, so in the end we were clever: we shared. Some of his favourites, some of mine, some of Mouse. The only one missing is Miss O, but she sleeps. Next year she can be in it as well!

I have been giving away calendars since 2010 (only missing out in 2012 due to a small move) and this year I have NOT changed any of the rules. The only thing you have to do is leave a comment on this post by December 5th, midday (Norwegian time) and from those I will pick two names at random. The winners should receive the calendars before Christmas (fingers and paws crossed).

She is mentioned in the calendar: April 27th, her birthday!
So, you want a chance to win? Just post a comment and you might be lucky this year...