Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Can you hear it?

I've been a little scarce this week. But I blame it on the weather! We've had absolutely gorgeous summer weather for almost a week. And since we only got one week of summer weather last summer, and had a crappy summer the year before that, you learn to thoroughly enjoy and use every second of nice weather you get. So we've been outside for days!! The grill has had it's baptism by fire this year. Literally...it caught on fire the other day. Don't worry, we've got it all fixed up now though. We put the pool out, have had the sprinkler running, weeded the flower beds, washed the car, went to a BBQ party, ate too much ice cream and even went to the beach.




 And believe it or not, the TV has hardly been on for days!! It's been glorious. It was also a long weekend so it couldn't have come at a better time. Ahhhh!! Can you hear the sun soaking into my soul from there?? Cause it's loud and clear here. ;)

I do have a few little projects on the go though. I found some very pretty cotton yarn on sale the other day. It was such pretty, summer colours that I couldn't leave the store without it.



And who can resist a good sale, I ask. So I've been crocheting some summer dishcloths from this lovely, free pattern I found online. Our girls' group (called "forening") had our last get together before the summer break last night. We decided to play BINGO for fun and each of us brought a little prize for the winners. I brought 3 of the dishcloths, one in each colour. I didn't win a thing. I guess I need to work on my bingo skills.  So  now I'm working on some dishcloths for myself.




We also have started working on the stair/foyer makeover. My absolutely awesome husband closed in my stairs for me. And I'm sooooo happy. No more dirt and dust collecting under there anymore.

  I know the picture is sideways. I have it saved the right way on my computer but for some reason when I upload it to my blog it reverts back. Dunno.

Today I'm starting the sanding and I'll hopefully get to some wood filling at some point this week. The stairs are in really good shape seeing they're only 7 years old but there are a few nicks and dings I want to fix before we paint. I want to paint it with a high gloss, white paint. This makeover is going to take some time. We're just doing it a little at a time when we have the money and the energy.

Other exciting news this week....I think I'm getting a new piano!!! Not new new but new to me new. It's a black Yamaha about 20 years old. My current piano has pretty much come to the end of it's life, may it rest in peace. We're going go take a look at the Yamaha tomorrow so wish me luck!!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

How to Celebrate Your Country

Having lived in (and loved) 2 great countries is a pretty special thing. It really broadens your perspective on a lot of things.  I remember having an online discussion with someone who insisted that Americans are more patriotic than other nationalities. So not true. One thing I can say for sure is that both Canadians and Norwegians are very proud... fiercely proud...of their countries and are both patriotic in their own ways. And we have lots to be proud of.

One thing Norway can be VERY proud of is "Syttende Mai" which translates to "the seventeenth of May".  May 17th is to Norway as July 1st is to Canada, or July 4th to Americans. It's our national day. Norway has a very long (much longer than Canada obviously) and interesting history. But I think it was Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson who took the initiative in the late 1800's to make May 17th belong to the children. The Children's Day. Instead of military parades and firing of canons, May 17th is celebrated by children all over the country in long school parades and marching school bands. Everything is geared towards the children. And in true Norwegian style, the 17th of May is celebrated outside.

It's truly a special day that children look forward to almost as much as Christmas. Our 17th of May starts bright and early by the "reveljen". This is a long parade of tractors, cars and trailers, dirt bikes, decorated with birch branches and balloons and, of course, Norwegian flags. The purpose? To make as much noise as possible!! To wake the entire town! My girls love this! They stand up with their heads out the sunroof of the car with their flags and noise makers. This year, someone had an entire drum set on the back of their trailer! The parade goes slowly around the whole town. People come out to their verandas and windows with their coffee cups and morning robes with smiles on their faces.

The entire town then gathers in the school yard for the celebrations. The national anthem is sung of course, there's a few speeches, and then the main event. The thing we've been waiting for. The children's parade. The marching band goes first and then the 17th of May committee, followed by all the daycares and then the school children in their perspective classes from 1st to 7th grade. Everyone is dressed in traditional Norwegian dress or in their very finest.



And we march around the town. Each group has their own cheers they yell during the parade and of course, many "hipp hipp hurrahs!". The louder the better!




After the parade we stop at the memorial to commemorate our landsmen that died for our freedom. Then there's a church service. Then we all gather at the school again for FOOD. As much ice cream, hots dogs and cake you can squeeze in. The afternoon is spent in outdoor games and competitions like horseshoe throwing, 3 legged races, bag races, and milk bucket throwing. And the day is still not over. At the end is the "humoristisk opptog". Basically another humorous little parade where adults and children dress up crazy and have some kind of funny sign or political jest.



Then, all the prizes are given out for the winners of all the games during the day, plus the winner of the "opptog". We all go home then, completely exhausted after being out in the cold and wind all day. It's a terrific daylong celebration that's much anticipated by children all year long.

I think Canada could learn from Norway here. Canadians are very proud of our country every day. But how to really celebrate your country on your national day? Involve the children. And if the country doesn't belong to the children...who does it belong to?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Secrets

Sorry for the long hiatus everyone! I would have warned you all about the long break but I didn't want to give away my big secret. The one where I was coming to Canada to surprise my cousin and bestest friend for her wedding. (All others will remain secret for the time being. *wink*)

It truly was the trip of a lifetime. I can't even say how much I enjoyed it. I've been married for 10.5 years and have 3 children. Traveling alone has never really crossed my mind. We're a family orientated kind of family and we pretty much do everything together. Sindre and I were looking at quick trip to a European city for our 10th wedding anniversary, or maybe even to some place warm like Crete or Greece. But in the end, we decided to wait when we could afford to bring the whole family and ended up buying ourselves a nifty camera for our anniversary instead. To take pictures of the kids of course.

But I wanted sooo badly to be at the wedding. And we had already booked our tickets to spend the summer in Canada and couldn't afford to send us all in April too. It seemed so selfish though, to spend so much money on a ticket just for myself. But, in the end, I just decided to do it. And my friends even had a surprise birthday party for me and gave me a nice envelope with some cash to help fund my trip. I think they were afraid I wouldn't go ahead and spend the money on myself. I have nice friends (you know who you are!). Don't worry girls! I spent every last kroner!

It was like rewinding the clock. Hanging out with my girlfriends like we used to before we all got married and had kids and one of us moved to another continent (not mentioning any names). I laughed like I haven't years. And shed a few tears too. Like driving in the car on the way to Moncton, right girls!! Ya, I did the laugh/cry thing where you really don't know what you're doing. It was so cleansing! Haha!

And then there was surprising my cousin. It's an experience that I'll always remember. And there wasn't a dry eye in the room.

video

It's not very often things turn out just as you imagine and hope them to be. But this was.