Thursday, 30 June 2011

#30 - A Door

Well, that's my June challenge finished with this picture. Hope you've enjoyed my pictures, I've sure had fun trying to find a picture for every day.
30 Day Photographic Challenge

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Breast cancer.

The first time someone very close to me got breast cancer, I didn't know about it until a few years later. He's fine now, luckily they caught in in an early stage, because he insisted that they cut him open and got it out. The doctors didn't think it was cancer. Neither did he, but he didn't like the feel of that lump, so he insisted they got it out. It's when the doctors got it out that they realized it was cancer. And yes, that's right, it was a HE! So guys, remember to check your chest for lumps, it might be more common in women, but you can get it too! It's 100 times more common in women than men... But if you think about how many people are in the world, 100 isn't a lot...

The second time someone very close to me got breast cancer was today. Or at least she got told about it today, then she told me. This time there were no lumps. It was in the tissue or something. So ladies (and gentlemen), get your breast checked properly, regularly and don't just feel for lumps yourself and think it's okay if you can't feel any... Sorry, don't mean to scare you, just want you to take care.

The doctors are positive about it though. It's in an early stage, and they've not rushed her back to the hospital to have surgery. I think she said she was going to have surgery next week. They were also going to do some more tests to see how much needed to be cut out or something... And she's gong to get laser treatment. But the doctors didn't say anything about chemotherapy... She didn't think to ask about it either though... I guess when you get news like that you can't really think of everything at once...

I feel bad about going to Australia and leaving her after getting this message... And I feel like a bad person for still wanting to go to Australia and leave her... Of course I will keep in contact, and if she does get worse then I will probably come back to Norway as soon as possible. Of course I hope she doesn't get worse!!! I try to stay positive. It's hard...

I hate how common cancer is!

Everyone, no matter if you're male or female, please check yourself and be aware of any signs of cancer, not just breast cancer, but all other types as well. The thing that scares me most is how some people don't worry about getting it. As if they're immune or something.

Expecting life to treat you fairly because you're a nice person, is like expecting a bull not to charge at you because you're a vegetarian.

If you have one of the few (I hope) doctors that are difficult when it comes to testing: INSIST! It's your body! It's your LIFE!

#28 - Reflection

30 Days Photographic Challenge

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Glassblower of Murano

My 9th book in the 100+ Reading Challenge

The Glassblower of Murano
by Marina Fiorato

Outer back cover: Venice, 1681.
Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic and Venetian mirrors are more precious than gold. Jealously guarder by the murderous Council of Ten, the glassblowers of Murano are virtually imprisoned on their island in the lagoon.
But the greatest artist of their number, Corradino Manin, [deleted]
Centuries later his descendant, Nora Manin, escapes an unhappy life in London, determined to apprentice as a glassblower in the city of her ancestors. Passionate and gifted, her famous family name places her in danger within the ancient foundries when timeless rivalries rise to the surface. As she finds new life and love in Venice, Nora's fate becomes inextricably linked with that of Corradino [deleted]

As you can see I have deleted some of what it said on the back of the book. I did not read the back until after I had read the book and was going to write this, and I'm glad, because it would have ruined the book for me. It gave away most of the ending, so I decided to delete it, so as not to ruin too much of the book for you. If you want to read it anyway I'm sure you can find it somewhere on the internet, or you could just get the book.

The book switches between Corradino's life during the Renaissance and Nora's in the present day. The parts about Corradino was written so well that I thought he might have been a real person, I actually looked him up on the internet, but he's just a character Fiorato has made up.

Corradino's first couple of chapters were a little confusing, but when I got into the story it was really exciting. There is murder, corruption, a secret daughter and amazing description of glassblowing, and also of Venice. Nora's chapters are also very exciting as she tries to find out what really happened to her ancestor, while finding some very confusing love, and getting into her own problems.

I have never been to Venice and so a lot of the places the book wrote about was lost on me, but it did make me want to go there. Not that I didn't want to go before, but earlier I just wanted to go because of all the hype about the canals and all that, but after reading this book I want to go because of... not how it's described, but the way it's described. With so much love, with the eyes of someone that hasn't just been there on holiday but has lived there.

My favorite part of the book was the first encounters between Nora and Alessandro. I had butterflies in my belly. But after the first meetings it got confusing, and I actually wasn't sure how it would end which just made the book more interesting to read.

My favorite character in the book was actually Aldo Savini, who only has a very small part in the book. He's a librarian and I just loved reading his thoughts about Nora. He was a very cute character, but I'm also glad his role wasn't bigger.

#26 - Shadows

This is not the book I was reading today, as that one wouldn't stay open on it's own, it's just a random book I pulled out of the bookshelf. But the book in the picture is aptly named "The shadow of your smile". Interesting title, maybe I'll read it someday.
30 Days Photographic Challenge

Four Things

Another post inspired by Petty Witter... over at Pen and Paper. Click here for her 4 things.

Four jobs I have had in my life....
  1. Au pair. 
  2. Museum guide. It was at a tiny local boat-builders museum that was only open one summer. But I did learn a lot about local boat-building history.
  3. Body Shop at Home Consultant. Not really the job for me as I don't like standing in front of people talking, and I don't like to try and make people buy things.
  4. Barmaid. 
Four books I would read over and over....
  1. Any book by Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice.
  2. Most books by Roald Dahl.
  3. The Solitaire Mystery and Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder, I've only read those in Norwegian
  4. The Twilight Saga
Four places I have lived....
(I have moved a few times withing the following towns, I have moved a total of 13 times, not counting the 3 different part-time (I went home in the weekends) rented rooms/flats in upper secondary school)
  1. Vestnes, Norway
  2. Molde, Norway
  3. Oslo, Norway
  4. Chesterfield, United Kingdom
Four books I would recommend ....
  1. Heaven by V.C. Andrews. It's been quite a few years since I read it, but I remember it being one of the first books I truly loved.
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
  3. The Gift by Cecelia Ahern.
  4. Any book that has been made into a film, just so that you know how it should "really" be and also to maybe get more out of the film.
Four Places I have been ....
  1. France. 
  2. Bulgaria.
  3. The Czech Republic.
  4. Spain. 
Four of my favourite foods....
  1. Potato balls... It's a local dish, very filling. Maybe I'll make it while I'm in Australia and if so I will share a picture and a sort of recipe for it.
  2. Taco!
  3. Aubergine Parmigiana
  4. Spaghetti Bolognese
Four of my favourite drinks ....
It was really hard to think of something for number 3 and 4 because I usually only drink water...
  1. Water.
  2. Home-made smoothie
  3. Hot Chocolate, preferably with loads of cream.
  4. Solo, a Norwegian orange-flavored soft drink
Four places I would rather be right now ....
  1. Australia, I want to be there already
  2. With a friend
  3. America
  4. United Kingdom, I didn't get to see everything I wanted while I lived there.
Four things that are special in my life ....
  1. Books
  2. Friends
  3. Travel
  4. Blogging
Four bloggers I hope will do this meme ....
  1. Any blogger.
  2. Anyone looking for blogging ideas
  3. Anyone reading this
  4. You
Please leave your link below if you decide to participate, I would love to read your Four Things!

Saturday night customers...

Now that out store is so big (In Norwegian standards), the main office has decided we have to keep the store open one hour extra on Saturday night (and also open earlier).

As I was locking up tonight I saw a car driving towards our door, looking like it wanted to stop and do some shopping, so I shook my head like "no, sorry, we're closed" through the window as I was getting ready to lock the door. Then, right before I got to the door to lock it (it had already closed) two of the guys jumped out of the car and one of them forced the doors back open!! "Luckily" I was standing right in front of the door, so they didn't manage to get inside. The guy that forced the door open did most of the talking and seemed very drunk.

Me: Sorry, we're closed.
Man: Oh come on! Let us in!
Me: No. We're closed.
Man: Don't be difficult. Just let us in!
Me: No.
Man: Actually it's five to, so you're not closed yet!
Me: Well, our clock is 11.
He tried to force his way in, but I managed to stop him. If I had been a guy he would have maybe tried harder... I helps being a girl sometimes...
Man#2: We just want to buy some cigarettes.
Me: I'm sorry, but we're closed!
Man: I'm gonna report you!
Me: Go ahead.
Man: What's your name? 
I told him.
Man: I'm gonna report you! I'm gonna tell your manager!
Me: Okay.
After that "threat" he turned and walked away, while giving me the evil-eye over his shoulder.

What I didn't tell him is that my last day is in less than a week, and the manager is in a two week holiday! What I really wanted to do was to punch him in the face as soon as he forced the door open.

This is what's going to happen when we have to stay open so late on a Saturday night! The thing is, there is a gas-station right across the road from us, where you can buy cigarettes 24-7! And I mean right across the road! They are more expensive, but they should have thought of getting it earlier! Maybe before they started with the drinking...?

Why is it so hard for some people to understand the word closed?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

#25 - Spots

My spotted cupcake cups on my leopard spotted blanket.
30 Days Photographic Challenge


Book number 8 in the 100+ Reading Challenge

put together by Frank Warren

Outer Back Cover: You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything - as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.
This is the project that captured the world's imagination. Created by Frank Warren, the instructions were simple, but the response was overwhelming. The secrets were both provocative and profound, and the cards themselves were works of art. This extraordinary collection brings together the most poignant, personal and beautifully intimate secrets, touching on every aspect of human experience.

It was funny, sad, thought provoking and just amazing to read people's secrets like this. Just on a postcard. And the cards were so cool! The amount of work some people have put into them was really impressive. Reading other people's secrets reminded me of some of my own. Maybe I will send one of two of them to the Postsecret project?

The only negative thing about this was that it took me only an hour to get through.

If you want to send in a secret, here is the address:
13345 Copper Ridge Rd
Germantown, Maryland

There is also a website:

This one made me really sad.... I wonder how many soldier feel this way...

Friday, 24 June 2011

#24 - Weather

I took this picture on our way home from Ålesund the other day, I thought the way the clouds were between the mountains made it look like a kind of volcano! 
30 Days Photographic Challenge

Thursday, 23 June 2011

#23 - Dirty

This is a picture I took on a walk when I moved to England in 2007. I wonder how log it had been there, and if it's still there...?
30 Days Photographic Challenge

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A Perfect Proposal

Book number 7 in the 100+ Reading Challenge

A Perfect Proposal
by Katie Fforde

Outer back cover: It's time to live a little...
Sophie Apperly has spent her whole life pleasing others - but when she realizes her family sees her less as indispensable treasure and more as general dogsbody, she decides she's had enough. So when an old friend offers her the chance of a lifetime, she decides to swap Little England for the Big Apple, and heads off to the land of opportunity.
From the moment Sophie hits the bright lights of Manhattan she's determined to enjoy every minute of her big adventure. And when fate throws her together with Matilda, a spirited grand dame of New York society who invites her to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, she willingly accepts. English-born Matilda is delighted with her new friend - though her grandson Luke, undeniably attractive but infuriatingly arrogant, is anything but welcoming.
When Luke arrives in England a few weeks later, Sophie hardly expects him to seek her out. But Matilda has hatched some complicated plans of her own - and so Luke has a proposal to make...

I loved this book! Proper chick-lit. I stated reading it around 3pm today, and I wasn't able to put it down once! I only just finished it about half an hour ago.

What it doesn't mention on the back cover is that Sophie goes to visit her "Evil Uncle Eric", who she finds out when she meets him, isn't evil at all. During Sophie's visit to Uncle Eric, she finds some documents labelled New York in his old desk. It turns out a relative of Uncle Eric has some drilling rights for an area of Texas. This relative has been trying to organize all the share holders to go together so that they might actually start drilling for oil. As Uncle Eric hasn't heard anything from this relative in a while he sends Sophie on a mission to find out more about it while she's in New York.

I thought both Matilda's and Uncle Eric's "missions" were very interesting to read about, along with all the other things happening in the book. I actually think Matilda and Uncle Eric were my favorite characters, and I really wish they had met each other, they would have been brilliant together! And I felt like punching Amy (a coworker of Luke's) in the face, trust me, if you read the book, you will want to do that too!And I loved Moira, a friend Sophie makes in Cornwall.

My favorite part of the book is a tie between the part in Connecticut, and the first visit to Cornwall. Because of the interaction between Luke and Sophie in those places, and also getting to know Matilda more in Connecticut.

#22 - Bottle

Would anyone like a drink?
30 Days Photographic Challenge

Monday, 20 June 2011

5 Countries

I got a letter from my American friend, A, a few days ago (I love writing and receiving "old-fashioned" hand-written letters). Like me, she loves travelling. She wrote that a Moroccan man had told her that she should just pick five countries, and that's it! A and I feel the same way about that: NO WAY!

Visiting only 5 countries might be alright for some, but I'm not one of them. I've already been to... 13 or 14 countries I think... N, a British friend of mine, would maybe be able to only visit 5 countries though. I have talked to N about what's following before, so I'm not gossiping about her behind her back...

N fell in love with Marmaris, Turkey, during her first visit in 2008 when she went with a friend C and C's family. In 2009 I went to Marmaris with her, I did tell her that if she wanted to go somewhere else in Turkey or another country since she'd already been to Marmaris, then we could do that, but she said she really enjoyed Marmaris and she knew it, so she wanted to go back. I did enjoy our trip, which was my first time to Turkey, but I have to say I preferred Alanya, which is where I went last year with my family, which was my second time in Turkey.
Alanya in the sunset
Last year N went to America with a friend D and D's family. They visited Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada while they were there. This year she's gone to Marmaris again, with D this time. D and N has also booked a trip back to Orlando for next year, but without the rest of the family this time.

I can understand why she wants to go back to Orlando, there were loads of things they didn't have time to see and do the last time, and there is loads of stuff to do there. But going back to Marmaris 3 times (Maybe more to come)? I don't get it, even if she does love the place. But maybe that's just because I haven't found a place that I love as much as she loves Marmaris?

I can understand why elderly people or people with small children would just want to go to the same place, maybe even in their own country. But I don't understand it about people with no obligations and with enough money to go to a new place. Like Marmaris, N could go to a different country, or just a different city in Turkey for the same amount of money...

I don't mean to say it's wrong or anything, I'm just saying I'm not the kind of person that could do that. What do you prefer? Going to just a few places/countries, maybe "getting to know it", or travel to as many places as possible?

If I had to choose only five countries that I was allowed to go to from now on, I think I would choose one from each continent. Yes, I know there are 7 continents. Most of the countries I've already been to are in Europe (although I would love to see even more), and although it would be fun to travel to Antarctica, just to say that I've been there, it's not on my must-see-list. I would also go to a different place in each country each time I went to visit one of the 5, so that I got to see as much as possible of them.

So the 5 countries I would pick are in no particular order (except for the two A's):

Australia (And I'm actually going there so; yay!)
America ("United States of" for all you nitpickers)
Kenya (Or possibly Egypt, so that I could see the pyramids...)

Which 5 countries would you pick if you had to?

#20 - Flower

Daisies in my mother's Linda Amdam bowl, great use for it I think.
30 Days Photographic Challenge

The Bowl

My grandmother, mother and I went to an exhibit the other day. It was by two sisters (Amdam). One of them made jewelry, the other ceramic stuff; bowls, pots and decorating items, that kind of stuff. There were also a couple of paintings by their mother. They also have another sister, I don't know whether she makes anything or not. Anyway, I think it's amazing that a whole family can be so talented! They are very lucky.
My mother bought a necklace and two rings from one of the sisters, and a bowl by the other. I think the bowl is cool. For my mother anyway, it's not something I would buy for myself, but I do like the colour inside. We've actually got a designer item in our house, which is a bit funny.
A real Linda Amdam.
A real Linda Amdam.
A real Linda Amdam.
Do you own any designer items?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Garden Party

Book number 6 in the 100+ reading challenge

The Garden Party
by Sarah Challis

Outer back cover: Alice Baxter knows the best things in life are free. 
But the approach of her fortieth wedding anniversary and sixtieth birthday surely warrants a proper celebration. Her husband David isn't so enthused: he's lost his lust for life since retiring. And he's not the only one who isn't in the mood to celebrate. Each of Alice and David's four grown-up children has their own problems to contend with and things aren't going as smoothly as any of them had hoped.
As Alice focuses on preparations for the perfect party, her family begins to unravel around her. Even her husband's sudden rise from apathy isn't as great a blessing as it first appears. It's only a matter of time before Alice's special day is a risk of disaster...

This book changes between a lot of characters: Alice and David and also some of their children, in-laws, grandchildren and friends. But with exception of Alice and Anne it wasn't very confusing, and it was mostly only confusing with Alice and Anne because of their similar names (I can be rubbish with names).

The book is about the life of all these characters, the tension and dilemma of family life, and the search of true happiness. Often in books you only know what the main character is thinking and how he/she sees other people, but in this book you got all sides of the story. It was very interesting to read about what was happening in each characters life and what they thought of it, and at the same time read what the other characters though of them. It was also interesting to read about the differences and similarities between generations. I think all of the characters were really believable.

I'm not really sure what was my favorite part of the book. Maybe the ending... I also liked the parts with Sabine, Alice and David's step-daughter-in-law, it was interesting (I seem to used that word a lot...) to read about her views on her parents, their separation, their living in different countries, her step-parents and step-families. And I was really worried about her when she was going to France to visit her father.

I also didn't know how the book would end, which was nice as it made it even more exciting.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a little bit slow to start with, but after the first chapter it got more exciting.

#19 - Music

The ukulele I got from my grandfather last Christmas. Still haven't learned how to play it, and now it's packed away in a box for when I leave...
30 Days Photographic Challenge

Saturday, 18 June 2011

#18 - A Bridge

This is the Old Bridge where I live. It was built in 1844, and restored in 1971. It's not used much today, except for cyclists and pedestrians. The 17th of May parade used to cross it, but it's not safe anymore. I can actually remember sitting in a push-chair in what was probably one of the last time the parade crossed it. There are now two other bridges, right next to the Old Bridge, that people use.
30 Days Photographic Challenge

Late night

So yeah. It seem closing up takes 45 minutes longer now. I just hope we get paid for it, our boss can be a bit weird with hours and stuff (and I'll be in Australia when that paycheck comes out).

I didn't know I was going to finish so late tonight. Late-ER, yes, but 45minutes?! No. We have to run more than twice as long now to do various things, because everything is further away from everything else. Oh well, at least I get some exercise. I was not happy when I finished. Maybe the boss and his wife should try to do a late shift on their own. See if they manages to go home 20mins after the doors are locked? Fat chance!

The problem with running around at work so late at night is that I get stressed, and it takes me ages to stop stressing, so I'm hardly tired at all now! It's 1am...

Random evening shift experience: We got this woman in at 9.58pm saying she wanted to buy a lottery ticket, before 10pm (that's when the lottery sale closes, or maybe it goes over to the next day, I have no idea). Today is the first day that we actually sell lottery stuff in the store, so we're not really super fast. The woman kept nagging "Before 10! Come on, before 10!I need it before 10" (one of the few I've not managed to squeeze a smile from yet). We did manage to get her the lottery ticket before 10, I think it was dead on 10 actually. But I really wanted to tell her "Maybe you should have gotten here a bit earlier then!!"

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Plastic or Canvas?

We've been closed for a few days at work now, because of building work. Today we opened the doors to a store twice as big as it used to be. I think we should get roller-skates or scooters to get around. (Still isn't even a fifth of the size of some of the big Tesco's/Sainsbury's/Morrison's etc in England though.)

Anyway, we had coffee and cake for the customers, a bouncy castle and loads of free things. One of the free things was "our" canvas bags, which normally costs NOK16 or something like that, you only pay for it once, and if it gets ruined or anything you can come into the store and swap it for a new one, free of charge. Environmental friendly and all that... (Which is a bit weird as out boss is always telling us to sell more plastic bags...)  It also had our bonus card attached to it, which you don't have to pay anything for normally either but it's just to see if we could get anymore people to register for one.

When I was working in the tills I just gave all the customers one of those bags. I gave it to one lady, she'd already said that she wanted a bag, so I gave her one of the canvas bags. To which I get this comment: "I don't want that! Don't you have any plastic bags?"
...Seriously? You want the plastic one?
I'm sorry, is it just me being weird here? Would you get a plastic bag when you can get a canvas bag for free? I did give her the plastic one though, what else was I supposed to do? Refuse to give it to her? (I was tempted...)

I actually had a "mid-shift" today, so I finished at 6pm instead of the usual 11.30pm. The weather was really nice as well. So I just had a quick dinner, changed into my shorts and flip-flops, and went for a nice walk in the warm sunshine. (I took the picture for #16 - Round on this walk as well)

Another photo I could have used for "round"
Daisies, one of my favorite flowers
Shorts and flop-flop are on!

#16 - Round

Some round logs
30 Days Photographic Challenge

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I think I love you

Book number in 5 the 100+ Reading Challenge

I think I love you
by Allison Pearson

Outer back cover: (I have blanked some of this out because I think it gave away too much, if you want to read it anyway, just highlight the bit between the **) 1974. Thirteen-year-old Petra and her best friend Sharon are desperate to win a competition to meet their teen idol. 
Meanwhile Bill is unhappy in his job, ghostwriting the fanzine of the man so adored by the girls - and slightly unnerved by the extreme emotions of some of the fans.
Fast forward to 1998. Petra is pushing forty and on the brink of divorce. *While cleaning out her mother's wardrobe she finds a letter declaring her the winner of the competition she and Sharon had agonized over decades ago.
So, twenty-four years after entering the competition the girls claim their prize and are flown out for an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas to meet their hero at last. Bill, now the magazine's publisher, flies out with them...*

The first half of the book is set in 1974. Reading about 13-year-old Petra reminds me of my own teen crush. I can also relate to Petra, even though there are many years between us. I think Pearson has captured the emotions and thoughts of a 13-year-old girl very well. Reading about the 1974 thoughts and days of Bill is very funny. It was funny to read what he thought of Cassidy, ghostwriting as David Cassidy, and the letters that fans wrote him, thinking he was Cassidy.

In the second half of the book, it's very interesting to read about how the characters have changed, but at the same time not. The start of 1998 part was actually my favorite part of the book. Petra's thought and feelings after loosing her parents felt very real. I can't relate to that as both my parents are alive, but it was so well written that I almost started crying.

I didn't actually know that David Cassidy is a real person until I was about half-way in the book, and I though I should just look him up to check. But it didn't really matter that much, all it mean when I found out was that some of the events were real. I read the book in two sittings, 1974 one day, and 1998 the other, it was practically impossible to put down.

I think this was a good book, funny and a little bit of romance, just my cup of tea. Slightly confused at one word at the end of the book though, which annoys me because I don't know if it means what I think it means or not, but either way it's extremely confusing, and irritating. It also made me want to visit Wales, sadly I did not go there while I lived in England...

#15 - Chocolate (plus recipe)

I made cupcakes with chocolate icing today!
30 Days Photographic Challenge

So I figured I should use my new cupcake cups today. I found the recipe for cupcakes here, it's in Norwegian so I've translated it and you can find it further down this post.

One batch makes 12 (small) cupcakes. I made two batches, one plain one, and one with chocolate. I only needed to make one batch of icing/frosting (what's the difference? American vs. English?) though, and there was even some left. But that might be because I didn't put a very thick layer on...

100g butter
100g sugar
3 eggs
150g flour
1ts baking soda
0.5dl milk or orange juice ( I used milk)

Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one. Mix flour and baking soda. Add the dry and the milk alternately while stirring.
If you want Chocolate cupcakes, substitute 4tbs of the flour with cocoa powder.
Bake in the middle of the oven at 175 degrees (Celsius) for about 20 minutes (depending on how strong your oven is, I had to cook mine 5 minutes longer)

Icing (buttercream):
250g room temperature butter or margarine
250g icing sugar
3-4tbs cocoa powder (if you want a chocolate one)
1 egg

Cream butter and sugar. Add the cocoa powder. Add the egg and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Plain Batter
Before going in the oven...
Nice and golden after
Chocolate batter
I wouldn't mind just eating them like this...
Making the chocolate icing
Something's still missing...


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