murmeldyr.no

The weblog of a traveller

   Nov 13

Sir James macPølse

I present to you: Foot warmer, killer of doormats, fart machine, charmeur, Mister Floppyears!

voffer_small

A trained eye will observe he is not doing precisely as he’s supposed to in this picture: Eyes fixed on the yum when they are supposed to be on the trainer. But hey, we’re all learning this game.

It’s just crazy, that you can buy yourself a kid just like that, without a certificate of any kind. I kind of feel there should be some sort of mandatory exam because it’s such a big responsibility, but then again I guess I feel the same way about human babies.

He may scare you if you’re scaredy because he’s so happy to see you he doesn’t know what to do and will resort to jumping and snapping, but he’s never shown aggression in the half year he’s been alive. You can tug his tail, take his food, sneer at him (if you’re a dog) and all he will do is lick his cheek to say “please stop”. This is part of the reason we’re choosing to let him stay “intact”.

We’re doing our best to make him into a happy citizen. He gets daily massages and belly rubs, and a very enjoyable evening ritual consisting of  cuddles, nail clipping, lots of treats and tooth brushies before bed. Yes, he gets a nail clipping every evening, but not all toes at once because that’s just tedious when you’ve got 18 of them. Best way to avoid having to pay the vet to do it.

Did I say he’s a beauty? I would probably say that no matter what my dog was like, but he also gets a whole lot of praise from random people. While in a group of puppies, people ask specifically about “the brown and white one”, and breeders stop us on the street to ask where we got him. There’s one thing putting me off from enlisting him on dog shows, though: The people. While most “dog people” are great, there’s a vocal minority who enjoy telling others, and especially newcomers, how they should treat their dogs. This “helpful” advice is often transmitted in a patronizing manner, and while I haven’t been the one on the receiving end of much of that yet, I’ve heard enough of it to put me off from even looking into showing off my beauty.

Having a premium dog can be impractical in the everyday; he can’t be tied outside shops, the risk of dognapping is too high. Especially since he will instantly regard his dognapper as a friend of the family and hop happily along.

He is love on four legs, and he is mine!


   Nov 03

Ping!

Blog hasn’t been updated in a long time, for three reasons. 1) keeping busy and occupied 2) not that much is new (not entirely true, there was a magnificent trip to Ireland) 3) Expressing ideas all day at work makes me want to do other things after. With a possible 4) Getting self conscious comparing myself against the incredible and well executed blogs created by brilliant people all over.

This was never intended to be a regularly updated blog anyway. Life moves in waves, habits come and go. In the meantime I’ve been keeping an offline journal on this same wordpress, very convenient – with the danger of mistakenly pressing Publish instead of Save draft, which would have been bad.

I’m finding myself in a state of flow and stability, a welcome change after two stressful and worrisome years. Work is consuming, intense and rewarding, and any free time is spent recharging. The weeks fly by so fast. I’m struggling to find time for family and friends, but hopefully people appreciate the happier version of me they get when I do get around to seeing them.

I did create another blog, conceived around the bonfire, a place for everyday concerns of the modern heathen. Have a look over at http://rosahedning.wordpress.com (Norwegian). Just a little project, but I am very pleased by how it turned out. If you’d like to contribute on there, just give me your contact info and I’ll provide a password.

A post concerning the tan, hazel-eyed kid we adopted is in the works, you won’t be disappointed.

Puppy training

Puppy training


   Sep 28

Dog moved in.

For the two weeks to come, my home has the pleasure to accommodate one of the most lovable dogs in existence. This is nice practice for the furry addition to the family that is planned for next summer. We’ve registered for the same brand of dog, in fun size because the normal size was discontinued (booo).

Lounging

Lounging

 

Day 1

Dog was confused when her parents left, but soon accepted her new home. Home is where the bed is, apparently. At bedtime Dog asked very nicely if she could sleep on the bed with us, to which I happily complied. Boyfriend who came to bed a bit later was not overjoyed, but saying yes and then no would be plain mean.

Day 2

Was greeted at the door by enthusiastic package of happy. House had been very carefully guarded, and all furniture survived. We immediately went exploring the neighborhood, found a new shortcut and confirmed that the nearby community garden has no such thing as a name or sign and prefers to stay a well kept secret. Intriguing. It has all the fragile, English appeal of a secret rose garden in September. Will bring camera tomorrow. Climbing the stairs when we got back went veeery slowly. Stiff old lady legs or disappointment over going back inside already?

Boyfriend dropped a piece of plastic while working on a project. Dog ate it, then gave him a long intense look. What was that supposed to mean?

Day 3

One thing I discovered is I don’t know the social codes for dogwalking at all. Like, what is the polite way to approach another dog on leash – so far I’ve gone with asking the owner if it’s ok to let them sniff, that can’t be too wrong.

Dog was very interested in the sandwiches I was making. Put a slice of cheese on her back. Cue spinning round in circles for several minutes, apparently fur has excellent cheese retention properties. Way to keep Quadfoot entertained. Next time try rolling, might work better for ya.

Day 4

Should I do something in particular while walking this animal? Like, shouldn’t I be training it or something? She’s very gentle and not really in need of training, so it would be mainly as a form of meaningful play, or showing off how good she is, or an excuse to administer treats.

Day 5

Dog decided to take a shit while we were crossing the road in the morning rush. Talk about stopping traffic! She always wants to take the bus, but in the other sense of the word “take”. When we actually did travel by bus today she freaked out so on the way back we strolled, which put the walk at 3 hours total. The animal is now snoring on the couch.

Day 6

Car ride! My favorite thing! That was another story than the stupid bus altogether. In other news, we’re both sore and stiff from the unexpectedly long walk yesterday. We probably needed it.

Day 7

We picked up a chaise for free, came home to find it did not fit in our living room at all. Dog loved it so it will be dog bed for a week and then off to the flea market.

Week 2

Dog is attending her job as footwarmer faithfully, with occasional breaks for catching pieces of bread in mid-air (no worries lass, you’ll learn it eventually) or hide-and-seek, which she masters to perfection.

She was completely stressed out after a metro ride (nope, not any better than bus) so we called Husband to come pick us up with the car. The moment she jumped into the car the dog went from an adrenalin factory to total tranquility. This is a car girl for sure.


   Jun 12

Nespresso frustration

I have been frustrated with Nespresso ever since I got one of their espresso machines a few years back. The coffee is decent, but I am not impressed by their environmental efforts, which seem cosmetic at best. Eager sales representatives would call me frequently to enquire “if they could be in assistance in any way at all”, so I asked the following:

*When will there be an ecological option

*When will it be possible to return the capsules for recycling.

Every time, the sales rep would politely say they needed to check up on the information and call back, which they didn’t do. The calls stopped soon after. At least they were wise enough not to tote their self-invented AAA-certification, which claims to be about preservation and workers’ rights but has little to show for. If they did care about the environment they would have committed to existing, trusted certifications.

With 16 different tastes, you would think there would be room for at least one eco capsule. There’s enough customers willing to pay extra for un-sprayed produce to warrant at least one alternative. But no – presumably because it would make the rest of the range look bad, a fair concern.

Aluminum is a superb metal in the way that it can be recycled forever with very little loss and energy use. Mining and refining new aluminum, however, is so energy consuming that the refineries are usually built on top of a power plant. In other words, a very worthwhile item to recycle. While it is possible for me to cut the spent capsules open, remove the grounds and put the empty capsule in the recycling, I am not happy about having to use tools to make my garbage acceptable.

So I do what any Internet vigilante would, I blog it.

Problem is, the other capsule-based brands are not better. And I’m not expecting better from cheap plastic machines with 5 choices of coffee (anything that comes with powdered milk inside is a big nope), but a self-proclaimed high-end provider should do better.

I’m no feinschmecker, but I do spend upwards of 15 dollars a week on coffee, mainly because of the nice little cafe outside my door. Did you know Norway is the top coffee drinking country in the world per capita?

At one point I am going to have to upgrade to a real bean-munching espresso maker to experience real “freedom of espresso”. For the time being I resort to third-party refillable capsules, they perform perfectly as long as you can be bothered to fill and empty them, and work with any brand of coffee one could desire (even tea). These do the job: Nexpod   Ne-cap  emohome (more durable)


   May 01

Buy nothing quart-year, summarized

On the day before the big moving day, I conclude the buy nothing-project. I’m quite happy with the result: The supply of edibles have been reduced from a well-stocked cabinet to two 10 liter boxes; one with teas and one with munchables, with good help of a cleaning elf who insistently throws out anything that is starting to look like you could almost say it’s empty soon.

The selection of bottles and jars in the bathroom has been substantially reduced too (though there still seems to be a lifetime supply of soaps and lotions). Why do these things accumulate? It seems only natural to empty one and THEN open the next, but somehow in a girl’s bathroom it doesn’t work that way. In order to empty some old jars, I’ve committed atrocities such as applying eye cream on my hands instead of getting a new hand cream. Let’s face it; I don’t need separate lotions for the eyes, rest of face, hands, feet, rest of body, and for massaging. Maybe you don’t either?

The deal said buy nothing, except for perishable food such as bread, fruit and veg, drinks, etc. I’ve mostly lived up to that, with the exception of the tights I’ve already confessed, an antiperspirant because I really did not wish as bad for my surroundings as being without, and that seems to be it. I did find a few treasures at a flea market, but made up for it by donating at least the same number of items to the market.


   Apr 21

Dark days are coming

The secret war is online as of today. It is super shiny, but no fun alone and I want you to come play on the green team while we all wait for the big release on june 19. If you facebook, click here to experience the awesomeness.

It is no secret that I am far from neutral when it comes to the number one game this season. Matter of fact, I am hopelessly partisian to Dragon (GO DRAGON!) and as you can see from my little screenshot we are not currently exactly winning, so get in there and fast!

No, this is not the beta of the game itself. It is the facebook version, if you like. Except facebook games are lame and this is not.


   Feb 26

New nest <3

Two human and two bunny beings have found what we firmly believe is the single best residence on earth.

Just where the busy feeling of downtown gives way for open spaces, looking over a park, sits a roomy flat with a tub and a kitchen that is way too fancy. Have a look:

(disregard the TV, these are the promo pics)

 

As far as we have been able to tell, there is not a single thing that needs doing here. What a relief! Summer is saved.

The outdoors is so nice I can’t wait for summer. They even plant trees. Is this faith?

It keeps getting better: The central heating was recently hooked up to the district heating network, meaning the place is reasonably green.

It will take two months (also known as FOREVER) for the previous owners to get their butts out, giving ample time to mentally furnish the place. There WILL be hammocks.

I miss having my own kitchen immensely, and a roomy, organized desktop just as much. Most of all, I miss inviting people over, can’t really do that in a shared residence. To those who feel it should be my turn now; I’ll make it up and beyond!

So I’ve embarked on a Buy Nothing-project. Until the moving date I will not buy any clothes or cosmetics, and use up the stocks of food as much as possible. Because there is too much stuff. I can’t live off preserves alone so the food part is not as strict, but I will design my meals around what I have. There’s enough rice, pasta and beans on these shelves to feed an army, and it would be perfect to not move those old, opened bags and packets into that elegant kitchen. Still, throwing out edible food is not an option. We’ll se how the project goes!

…And so I went right on to breaking the vows when I saw these. I feel that I can’t be blamed. Buy Nothing-project take II starts now.


   Feb 03

Fun fact: When removing the web of a hand-sized venomous spider, take the yellow thread last.

I visited the wetlandsin Florida one time with a local friend. We balanced on fallen logs to avoid stepping on snakes hidden in the undergrowth. On several occasions, giant webs blocked our path and we nonchalantly picked them down (“just take the yellow thread last, that’s the sensing thread”). Today I found out the owner of such a web is most likely this badass, the golden orb weaver.

It EATS BIRDS if they fly into its web.

*Shudder*

(On a somewhat related note: Fabric made of the yellow threads from a million golden orb spiders)

After waiting around for a while, we even got to meet a fantastic old gator (at least his nostrils). I was in a state of respectful awe, my friend was less impressed. In my eyes a living fossil, lion of the sumplands, sovereign of the food chain. In his, a toddler eating beast. How different we see things that are exotic to us from those close to us, though they may be exotic to others.

I think it was on the same day we took a break from swimming due to a snake that wanted to swim too. Ever seen a snake swim? Totally fascinating. So we let him have the pool for a while, until he eventually got tired and zig-zagged off.

Good times.

 

For the urban jungle; I had to let my wonderful porch box stay in the old flat (only good thing about that place), and the chances of getting anything like that again are miniscule. As a consequence of this, I’ve signed up for tending a local organic community garden, and can’t wait until growing season! Yes, those things do exist here in Oslo too, they’re just better kept secrets than over in Scotland, where they generally are better at that sort of thing. COME SPRING COME SPRING COME SPRING

Want to join us? Contact info


   Dec 14

Dear Santa

Blog is good for answering the most pressing question these days: What do you want to see under the tree this year?

This toughie tops my list: Motorola defy+ with the +. My current smart phone started acting weird right from the start, and has really developed a personality by now (Sometimes I can hear you, sometimes not. It will freeze for no reason at all. It frequently loses reception in broad daylight, with or without telling. I’m in luck if I can get online.) In short, I need a new phone. And this time a durable one. This is Norway, not California.

Though it is hard to keep a dressy wardrobe in the current, temporary residence with little room for such, I dress reasonably business-esque for work. This necessitates the use of blouses on a daily basis (who’d have thought?) I love green, turqoise,  dark, intense colors in general, and unusual cuts. And this: 

 

Oslo can be a cold place in more than one way, and I’m always out of warm sweaters. I love the style with a huge, wide neck and a slim body that covers the butt. Color preferences much same as for blouses, plus grays. Continues under the image (stupid linkback feature, that white wall beneath the picture was completely unnecessary).

H M sweater

No acrylics! My work computer has a metal case, and if I build up static from moving around in synthetics I zap it several times a day (sometimes with visual and auditive effects)! I don’t think inadvertent electrocution is beneficial for macbooks OR human hearts. I know the trick in which you touch the metal object with a key in your hand to spread the charge exchange over a bigger surface, I just can’t do this every time I touch my comp.

I would be very thankful for thin socks, but no need for warm ones -I have a bag full and they don’t wear out.

 

Jumping out of character for a moment, I observe that posting a list of stuff is completely out of fashion. All it-blogs (that are not paid to do otherwise) are currently pouring home-made, non-consumerist gift ideas (which mostly require heaps of fancy supplies, but let’s not do the math). I do care about the extra spending at Christmas which can be quite wasteful, and I too could have made an anti-materialist let’s-send-it-all-to-children-in-need-post. However, these posts tend to be just as vain as anything else (yosh look at me, I’m being selfless!) and change little. The above items are things I will be getting myself anyway, and putting them under the tree will not lead to more spending. The best strategy to reduce Yuletide overspending is making specific and sensible wishes.

In other news, we are still looking for our flat, it’s good to have ample time to wait for the place that feels just right.

What do you want to see under your tree?


   Oct 30

Good bye Kolbotn – Hello Oslo!

One more week and this beauty will be out of my hands. So long Kolbotn, it’s been four peaceful years between a pond and a skiing slope. If only our friends had been more mobile (it gets lonely when no one else dares venture across the city border!) we might have stayed longer.

Human and rabbit companions and myself have flown already, to a tentative residence right above nightlife bonanza Grünerløkka. The place is great, but one room is a tad small when you have 25 plants and not the willpower to bin any of them (they’re alive, dammit! How would you feel).

Plan for the rest of the year: Dig through the real estate section of every medium, find the perfect crib and invite everyone to said crib before we need to replace the calendar.

These are exciting times. It is such a blessing to have this room in the city, enabling us to sell the Kolbotn place on a move-right-in-basis and have ample time to find a new nest.

I’ve made a list (several lists, in fact) detailing the requirements of the new place.

  •  First of all, it needs to be practically on top on a public transport transit. Failure to comply with this is a deal-breaker.
  • The second room needs to be big enough to fit a double work station with at least five monitors.
  • Nothing about the building can in any way resemble a communist living machine. This point rules out many options in the upper right corner of the city, as well as anything over ten stories.
  • Lastly, the place needs to have an x-factor, something that peeks the interest of a couple of nostalgic minds. Non-right angles, non-standard windows, an unexpected built-in shelf or a blue door are possible x-factors.

We’re prepared to pay the extra heating costs that come with an older flat, simply because older flats tend to be more interesting.

 

Work is still killing me, but people keep telling me it only gets better from here. November is the time when new teachers have depleted their energy stores from summer, but have not yet established the time-saving routines that are so vital in this profession. Makes sense. I counted my hours for this week, and according to the economy curriculum I’m teaching at the moment, my current workload is not even legal on an hour-to-hour basis (this comes down to me being too thoughtful about the things I do, and having to prepare all material from scratch. My employers are great and gives me all the flex that they can, it is not really their fault the previous science teacher took a hike and took all the materials with them).

So I bite my lip and do my best, the feeling of always lagging behind is horrible but I try to not take it personally -there is just no way I could do more.

Also I need to say that sorry everyone; the prize for best Halloween costume of the year is already taken by this guy: