Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Of teeth and money

It was time for my annual teeth inspection. Otherwise known as a visit to the dentist. Which went great. Until she came closer with that needle. And closer and closer. And then it didn't hurt. I did squeak however, but since I had told them I would, they were not that surprised. The teeth themselves were fine. It was just that one (of two) fillings was a bit loose and needed to be replaced. Which was what she did. I got out with a new filling, but a bit less money!

My next visit was to the bank. I had heard so many conflicting stories as to what was possible regarding buying a home for myself, I decided to get it straight from the horse's mouth. She was of course nowhere near horse-like, although I didn't hear her laugh...

Something like this would be nice!
Anyway, horse play aside, buying a home. It turns out that some of the things I had heard were true. I needed to have 15% own capital to be able to buy. The other 85% were then put up by the bank. We then proceeded to find out how much the house could be. After some adding and subtracting, taking the square root out of the carrot bowl (whatever happened to the circular root?) and a lot more calculating, she figured that I could buy a home for around 900.000 kroner. Provided I had the 15%. 

Which... I don't. I have 4%. Meaning I am only a teensy tiny bit short. There are a few options I could pursue though. Getting somebody else to co-sign. Putting up their house as collateral. Which for me is a no-go. If I can't do it, I am not getting somebody else to do it for me. Another option is to find a community that will actually loan me the 15%, a so-called top-loan. The community in which I live at the moment is not very top-loan friendly. There are however communities around here that are. A third option is to keep renting and to keep saving.

I will let you know what happens in due time.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-06

Stripey socks. Not too bad for a first attempt! I will make another pair of stripey ones soon, but they will be white and red as opposed to red and white...

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

I wonder...

Trevi Fountain, Rome
What ever happened to acid raid? When I was growing up in the 1980's, they were talking about it non-stop. Buildings and statues deteriorating so fast they could turn to dust before you finished saying acid rain. And then.... nothing! Not a single mention for years now! Did it go away? Did it get a different name? What??

Why can't Norwegians be bothered to put a grocery divider between their groceries and mine? Why do I always have to do it? And why are most grocery dividers too large for the belt, so the dividers have to be at an angle so as not to get stuck? 

On our way to Germany
Why does asphalt (or black top apparently) go lighter with age? I have always learnt that when something gets dirty, it goes darker. I would think roads are pretty dirty, so why do they go from black to grey to almost white? 

Why is it so difficult to make one size book? Perhaps two or three sizes, but when I look in my book cases there are so many different sizes, it's annoying. It ruins the look and because some are too large they won't fit properly. While others are so small you might loose them!

Learning how to knit socks. 
Why is it that to like knitting is being perceived as you being old? I have had knitting as a hobby since I was in my early twenties but for some reason people think you must be old if you knit! What's all that about? Have they not heard it's hip to knit? Or in? Fat? Raw? Sick? Or whatever they call it now! Mind you, I just smile and nod and tell them I am "old" and ask them if they want socks! To be paid for of course!

Why is the sky blue? 
Why is it colder up a mountain when you are clearly closer to the sun? 
What on earth is "stofhagel"? I heard it on the Belgian news and literally translated it means dust hail. They have some funny words...
Why does cucumber taste good, but when you blitz it for a smoothie it tastes like the worst thing ever. It's the same thing!!!

I bet Mathilda never wondered about any of it!
Just a few things I wonder about. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

...and that's the answer 4

Now for those of you who read my blog regularly, you might have noticed a little oversight in the past few weeks. On my 'ask me anything' post I had received seven comments, six of those were questions. I answered them in chronological order as they came in. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6. Number 4, the question by Anvilcloud was missing. 

He was sneaky. He didn't just ask me one thing. He managed in his one comment to ask me two/three things. Related, yet seperate questions. Questions that needed some serious thinking about before I could give an answer. Because they didn't deal with the weather or my dinner, but with something completely different. Something deeper. So, without further ado, here is his first question: On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with your decision to move to Norway? 

I knew before coming that life in Norway would be different from the Netherlands, even if the lifestyles of those two countries are very similar. Or so I was told. Some things are definitely better. The area in which I drive every day has so many beautiful spots and views that I am always amazed by it. Of course I lucked out on finding the amazing place where I live in this beautiful spot. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful. Something I would not get back in the Netherlands. A 9,5 for that. 

Some things are not so good. Although they could be different if I were to choose so. The job, even though the views and the routes are lovely, can be really boring. In my heart I am a coach driver. Driving a group around for a week, showing them lovely sights. Not that stopping every. single. stop. to let somebody get off or get on! I could of course get back to touring. It would mean less pay and getting back to working all hours of the day. I do not want to go back to that, however much I love that job.  A 6 for the job.

Some things are more or less the same. Yes, everything might cost more over here, but I earn more as well. I don't starve, I don't have to count my pennies (or øres) and when I want to buy something I can. The health service is comparable and so is the red tape. Love it or loathe it, it's what it is. A 7,5. Which means that the average would be 7.6. Average!

Anvilcloud's second question can be seen as one or two. I took it as two. Here it is: Do you envisage staying forever or someday returning to The Netherlands? 

The answer to the first part would be no. Not because I don't like it here (I do), but financially. I have built up some pension in the Netherlands and some here in Norway. Once I retire those two pensions will be put together. However, the Dutch pension will not be adjusted to Norwegian living costs, meaning I would have less to live on. And with the higher living costs here, that would mean I could probably not afford it, meaning I would have to move to a place where I could afford to live. 

The answer to the second part would be no as well. If I were to move anywhere, it would be to Scotland or Northern Ireland. Closer to my sister. Get a place and be disgraceful together! That is however far in the future and you never know what life throws at you!

I hope I was able to answer everybody's questions in a satisfactory manner. And if you have any more...

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-05

Just enjoying a lazy day.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

...and that's the answer 6

Pain yes, crying no!
Murphy and Stanley wanted to know about what three words I would use to describe myself. And I really had to think about that one. 

I have always seen myself as a bit of a cry-baby, until I was told that in fact, I am not. I will continue doing what I do even when others would have long since thrown in the towel. Meaning I might not be as much of a cry-baby I always thought I was. 

I never really saw myself as adventurous. I just liked to see new things and meet new people and go new places. Is that adventurous? I would have said curious more than adventurous, but perhaps in my case they might be the same.

Christmas and knitting in one go.
I know that some people think me strange. I love Eurovision and war documentaries. I love Christmas and food programmes (just not Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver or that awful Marco Pierre White who gives me the heebie jeebies). I love biathlon and knitting. I love the cinema and reading. 

I would like to be thought of as a writer. I know now that a novel might be beyond my grasp, but if I can write a story that others want to read, even if it is only about Miss Oswin and her dislike for snow, I feel that I am a writer.

I know for a fact that I am lazy. If I get the choice to go for a walk or sit in front of the computer/television, I choose the latter. If I get the choice to do the dishes/laundry/cleaning or sit in front of the computer/television, I choose the latter. I am always hopeful that some magic elves come out and do my housework and make me fit again. I think they might be stuck in that time machine in my basement. 

I would like others to think of me as loving. I love my friends and family, although I don't always show it in a good way. I certainly don't say it often enough. But I do. Love them I mean. As I told a friend recently, if I didn't, they wouldn't be in my life. Because over the years I have realised that even if you don't always see eye to eye about something, some people are better in than out, even with the differences.

Out of all those things, I think I would want to use the following words to really describe myself: adventurous, loving and writer. And I think that encapsulates most of what and who I am.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

...and that's the answer 5

Lottery numbers? Seriously???
Frankie Furter and Ernie were a bit cheeky and requested to know the lottery numbers. Which I could give them of course, but they would only work if they had a time machine! Which I don't. Unless you count that weird thing in the basement, but I have yet to figure out how to work it...

They did have a second and more serious question though: the average temperature in Norway! Now, there is a question for me. And virtually unanswerable. It's like asking the average temperature of the United States. Alaska brings the temperature down, Hawaii takes it up. It's the same with Norway. 

The country is so long and thin that there are so many differences. The northernmost part of the country is within the polar circle. The southern part is just above Aberdeen in Scotland. Then it depends whether it is east or west, especially down south, where the country is at its widest. I live in the west. It rains. Winters are usually brown/green with a lot of water and low, but not freezing temperatures. In the east, winters are usually white with below zero temperatures. The far north white and below zero again. 

Summers in the west are green and wet. In the east green and a little less wet. Temperatures are okay, although in 2014 it was a perfect summer with a lot of warmth and very little rain. 

Of course, even where I live snow and cold can come. As long as the wind is from the east (Russia/Siberia), we get below and snow. But as soon as the wind comes from the west, which it does mostly, it means above and rain. 

But, I haven't mentioned a single number yet! Well, after some serious digging, I found out that the average temperature in the north was about +2 degrees Celsius (35 F), the average where I live about 10 C (50F). Winters are -10C (14F) in the north, 2C (35F) where I live. Summers are 13C (55F) up north, 15C (59F) where I live. However, the temperatures are on the rise here in Norway as well. 

I hope this more or less answers your question?

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The old head

Could it be? 
Remember that little operation I had last year? The one where they removed a few of my insides? Well, ever since I have used the pill. The anti-conception pill to be clear. For medical reasons, because they removed most of the insides, but left one part. And that part could cause trouble in the future if I don't take the pill. I had noticed however that while I was on 'menopause' (during my sick leave) I did not have any headaches and as soon as I started taking the pill (almost at the same time as going back to work), they came back.

After nearly a year of taking the pill though, I needed a new prescription. And I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about my headaches as well. Yesterday was the day. A nice young female doctor (not my own, she has been on leave for ages now) finally got to see me after a long wait. I opened my mouth and 'ring ring' the telephone. A few minutes later I got another chance and 'ring ring' the telephone. Fortunately that was it with the ringing and I was able to tell her what I wanted to tell her. 

Could it be my job??
She pulled up the details of my operation and I found out it had been even harder then I always had thought. We then talked about how the pill might affect my head. And I realised that perhaps it didn't. Perhaps the problem lay in another area altogether. Because when she stood behind me and tried to 'massage' me, it really hurt. 

Which means: I continue with the pill I have been using and will be sent on to see a physiotherapist to help with the locked shoulders and neck. It will take a few weeks she said, but knowing how slow it can go... it might take a bit longer. But, on the plus side: something is being done!

Yippee!

Monday, 25 January 2016

...and that's the answer 3

Yamini had quite a mundane question for me: what's for dinner? Because she liked my stories about my stove and me. Well, I will need to tell you a little story first. 

When I lived in the Netherlands, my mother would call me sometime around November and asked me whether I felt like Snert that winterseason. Snert being a Dutch pea soup that will warm you and fill you. It is thick.  Very very thick. Spoon upright thick. Some years I would answer no, knowing I didn't feel like eating that particular dish during that winter. Other years I would say yes and a few days after the phone call I would usually come home to a note on the kitchen counter, saying there was snert in the freezer. 

Then I moved to a different country. And having my Mum come around with snert isn't that obvious. Which means I have to get it some other way if I feel like it. Fortunately there is google and there are plenty of snert recipes out there. Then I had to get the ingredients, which proved a bit harder. Yes, the potato and leek and carrot, the sausage, speck/bacon and meat is fine. But some of the other ingredients are a bit harder. In the end I went with what was there: parsnip and something else I already forgot the name of.

In the end however, I got all the ingredients and proceeded to make the soup (potatoes not shown in the photo). The end result? Well, like the first time I made it over here in Norway: not good! It smelled like snert, and it even tasted of snert. But the consistency was way too liquid (too much water perhaps?) and I had to use the blender to turn the peas into something resembling edible and even then it was like eating grit. I had one bowl and threw the rest of it out (I saved the meat though).

Yamini's question: what's for dinner? Ehm... pancakes!