Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
One of our favorite excursions while in Copenhagen was the The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. I have just uploaded the pictures to Flickr.

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Glypto-, from the Greek root glyphein, to carve and theke, a storing-place) is an art museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. The collection is built around the personal collection of the son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries, Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914). The museum collections include classical Egyptian, Roman and Greek antiquities, Romanticist sculptures, and paintings, as well as Golden Age Danish art. The Etruscan collection is one of the most extensive outside Italy.
From Wikipedia

I need to start processing all the holiday pictures today. This week will be a time for reflection on 2008 and of planning for 2009. Right now I need to rest up from all the late nights and social events. It has been a marathon and it isn’t over yet.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Christmas Newsletter



There is a holiday tradition in the USA of the Christmas Newsletter. I used to think it was quite cheesy, but over time I have found myself enjoying the ones we receive so much that I have reconsidered the form. Here is my take on it. Perhaps this will become an annual thing even after we return... I can’t commit. Again, please forgive the typos - I crank these things out in less than a day.

Special Holiday Edition of PB’s Newsy News (360kb pdf)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Notes from a very busy December

Copenhagen, December 2008

The past three weeks have sped by in a blur. The speed effect has to do with the amount of travel, obligations and deadlines that packed my schedule. It all started with midterm grant report deadlines on December 1 and then meetings, presentations and seminars at UiO and AHO on the 3rd and 4th. A restful Friday, then a Juleverksted* (Christmas workshop) with friends on Saturday and off to Volda to meet with Torill on Sunday. After two days of a seminar in Volda, I flew back and the next day attended the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. In between all these events, I received notice that a journal article I had written was being emailed for revisions and I had just over a week to turn it around. December 11th involved laundry, packing, gift wrapping and package mailing (to Virginia) before we left to take the Ship to Copenhagen. While in Copenhagen I got news that a conference proposal that I had submitted in late November had been accepted. We returned from Copenhagen Sunday, December 14th and I hit the ground running on article writing and final Christmas preparations. Done and Done. Phew! School is out and we are all three officially on holiday. The only thing left to do is the grocery shopping for the Christmas celebrations.

In the background of all this, B’s mom has been very ill and my mom has just had her 4th surgery on her hip. It’s going to be a strange holiday this year and we are planning as many social engagements as possible to keep from getting homesick and fretting too much.

*Juleverksted: any combination of making cookies, cards, presents, wrapping, or festive foods, etc.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas in Copenhagen

Copenhagen, December 2008

Last weekend we took the boat (DFDS) to Copenhagen. Tivoli was dressed in a brightly lit Christmas market and the entire city was even more charming than in the summer. One of my favorite excursions was the Glypotek - I’ll try to post the Glypotek pictures tomorrow. I finally bought another cable for my camera so that I could download pictures so I have a bit of a backlog...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Peace Prize Ceremony

The 2008 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Nobel Peace Prize Celebrations

I have uploaded my few decent shots to Flickr from the ceremony yesterday, but I don’t have time to describe the event right now. We’re off to København (Copenhagen) this afternoon and I have presents to wrap & ship to Virginia and packing... I will have much to tell when we return Sunday - it has been a very busy and productive time lately.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pilgrim at Bottle Creek





















We ran a couple of errands yesterday and went by the library to check out some movies for the weekend. There is a free bookshelf outside the main entrance to the library and we always scan the shelves before we leave. Bjørn spotted an old treasure, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It seemed serendipitous to me, so I took it.

I don’t often re-read books, so revisiting Tinker Creek has been a delightful reawakening of thoughts and senses long left to atrophy. My 47 year-old artist self is reconnecting with my 22 year-old artist self. A difference of 25 years. A quarter of a century. This was one of those books that you were expected to read as an artist of that period and most definitely required if you were an art student.

I have only gotten as far as the first couple of chapters and already my sense of sight is renewed. I see everything differently – finer grained, more in focus, macro and micro. My perspective is once again altered. Everything seems more precious and fragile and fleeting than even a day ago. How amazing that a few pages of text can do that to me. The language is rich with complexity and imagery. It is no wonder that it won a Pulitzer.

The content of the book seems so much more urgent and important as we witness scientific discussions about climate change and attempt to do our own small part to help. It also seems prescient when so many of us have given over our lives to devices and hardly take time to gaze beyond the screen. The Tinker Creek kind of detailed concentration and focus of observation is impossible when the cell phone is ringing. Perhaps it is even impossible simply with the device in your pocket – a sliver of consciousness and concentration always diverted.

To be continued…

Annie Dillard (official site)

Tinker Creek images on Google

PB’s Bottle Creek

Monday, November 17, 2008

All the news that’s fit to PDF



PB’s Newsy News (300kb pdf)

I’ve been a bit delinquent on the words about life in Norway to go along with the pictures of life in Norway, so I cranked out this newsletter for friends and family today and sent it off by email, so please be forgiving of typos and bad grammar.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Data forensics [in the landscape]
























For the next three days I will be here:

Data forensics [in the landscape]

A practical workshop with Martin Howse and Julian Oliver.

With an emphasis on the active construction of hardware and software apparatus, the Data forensics workshop will apply practical tools, techniques and theory to analyse [un]intentional data emissions within the city of Oslo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Qba


Qba, originally uploaded by Jon Olav.

Chatting with Andrew, Synne and Jon Olav after a day of working at AHO.

Earlier this week...

First Snow Oct. 29, 2008

I posted pictures of the first snow on Flickr. What a surprise to wake up to... It’s gone now, but is was fun for a day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Commute



Ferry time in Oslo is like train time in New England. Time to have a bite, get a little work or reading done, and time to prepare for a day in the city.

I am doing better. I had a good cry and moved on. As if life wasn’t complicated and expensive enough, a tree fell in our New Haven yard and damaged our neighbor’s property. We are trying to deal with that from afar. B may have to fly back this week to help take care of it... No one was hurt - that’s the important thing.

My work is coming along nicely. I have various project, conference and exhibition proposals due this week. I’m excited by the prospects of these new projects and I will be more descriptive when details are a bit firmer.

Yesterday I mailed 1 small package and 7 letters. The total postage came to 240kr - that’s $35 in today’s exchange rate. The postage amounted to much more than the actual value of the contents. Ah, well, back to work.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Worry Knot























I think I’m finally putting my finger on it. I have been experiencing an on again off again anxiety since our trip to Italy. I have been dismissing it as basic displacement, but I think it is more complicated than that. In that time, I have been glued to the US newspapers and news sites, reading every item on the collapse of the economy and the 2008 election. The Fulbright organizations are thorough and clear, in their forms and orientation materials, about the ups and downs that scholars go through in their moves to other countries. They are also specific on the process and methods of extracting scholars from countries that enter into civil war or a similar crisis. There wasn’t anything in the documents about crisis in your own country, or state, or neighborhood. We simply look on from afar.

The news for New Haven is bleak. As our current Mayor said, when the state of Connecticut gets a cold, New Haven gets pneumonia. Right now it looks like Connecticut has a cold that is becoming a sinus infection. My friends and family are OK. No one is losing their house or job, yet (that I know of…) But their businesses are affected and I worry. Our bank and mortgage company have changed hands and I worry. We are 10 days away from the most important election in decades and I worry. Transition to another country is difficult for all members of my family and I worry. Just taking a family of three to the movies here is about $100 and I worry.

I also think about Dad. We are approaching the one year anniversary of his death and it occupies my mind. I’m glad that I will be far away at Thanksgiving. I need the distance and solitude to process this grief.

So here’s my strategy: A total news fast. I don’t know if it will help or work, but it will free up a goodly chunk of time that I can use for something else (yoga, meditation, art, cleaning…) I also plan to have a really good cry. Maybe now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Hair Cut



There is a part of downtown Oslo called Grönland that consists of mostly Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern shops and businesses. We had other errands in that part of town one day when I saw some barbershops advertising women’s cuts for 150 kroner (about $25). I’ve been dreading getting my hair cut here. The typical salon price for a cut (no color, etc.) is about 600 kroner (almost $100). I thought I might have to go for a year or so without getting a cut, but then I thought I’d give one of these shops a try. I picked one at random (eek) and went in. He knew no English, so we used a little hand gesturing and Norwegian and managed to get what I needed across.





















I went into the Indian sweet shop next door to get a samosa and a homemade kulfi popsicle to eat while I waited my turn. I was clearly the most exotic thing to ever come into the shop for a cut, but after a while the men just went about their business chatting in hindi or urdu or something. He was like Edward Scissorhands - compulsively snipping with the scissors, even when there was no hair involved. There was no styling, lotions, mousses, or shampooing and when I left, my hair was not looking it best. I knew I had to give a condition and a wash to find out the true results. You be the judge.



Haircut and dinner - total cost = 185 kroner ($30) - that is a real deal in Oslo! Actually, that would be a pretty good deal in New Haven.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Room with a View

Full Moon over Oslo Fjord

No matter how difficult things seem at times, the location of our sanctuary bathes us in peace and tranquility. You can breathe it in and the quietude flows through your veins. I felt a stream of calm rise over me as I walked home from the bus last night and I gazed out over the water. Every time I look out a window of this house, I smile and take a deep breath. When I woke at seven this morning, it was still dark and the full moon was hanging over the far shore of the fjord. Bright yellow. Just floating there. I thought, “Should I wake everyone to see this?” No. I kept it to myself. I let them sleep.

Bottle Creek Sunsets

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Nobel Peace Prize...

The Fulbright Norway office gets 5 or so tickets to the Peace Prize Ceremony every year and they have a lottery among all the grantees. I GOT ONE!!! So, I will be attending this years' ceremony! The winner(s) will be announced on October 10th.

The Nobel Peace Prize – The award ceremony

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in a solemn ceremony in the Oslo City Hall on December 10. Seated on the podium are the Laureate, the Nobel Committee and its permanent secretary. Maintaining a tradition that goes back to 1905, the ceremony is attended by members of the Royal Family. The rows of seats behind the Royal Family are occupied by representatives of the Government, the Storting, the Corps Diplomatique and other specially invited guests.

Firenze

Firenze, Italia (Florence, Italy)

I have uploaded the pictures from the trip to Florence and it already seems a distant dream. We visited the Uffizi, the Duomo, Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens, Pisa, Fiesole, and much more. There are no pictures allowed in the Ufizzi and the exterior corridor was under construction, so I did not take pictures there except for one sign.

I will get around to adding descriptions to the photos - eventually. The problem with taking so many photos is that you really have to stay on top of editing and uploading or you quickly get behind. I have also uploaded pictures from our visit to the Folk Museum in Oslo a couple of weeks ago - when Nick was here. And I have more to edit and upload - Sunday walks, more commute, Intermedia, etc.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We are back and...




thoroughly exhausted from walking and looking at art, design, architecture, archeology, and antiques for 5-10 hrs per day. We filled our eyes with the Renaissance - Botticelli, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, etc. A. kept up with us the whole time as we dragged her on buses, trains, taxis, etc. We had a very good time, but it seems weird to be coming back to Norway instead of New Haven. There’s actually a New York Times article today about our street in New Haven. There are lots of pictures and descriptions of all lovely neighbors and I even get a brief mention in one of the paragraphs. Reading it makes me homesick and a bit lonely...

While we were in Florence would do the sites by day and after August fell alseep about 9 or so, we would turn on BBC World News and watch the US unravel. In the past week or so our mortgage company (Washington Mutual) has gone under and now our bank (Wachovia) is either being taken over by Citigroup or Wells Fargo. Being this far away is a bit scary and impotent - what can we do? what do we need to do? what happens if...?

Today, I’m restoring order in the house for back to school and back to work week. I’ll do a blog post on Italy with pictures in the next couple of days and another on Italians and their cell phones on the Mobile Misuse Blog - what a trip...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Writing does not come easily to me…


Concepts, pictures, visuals, narratives and ideas flow through my mind at a pretty consistent pace, but transferring that flow into a river of sentences, paragraphs and pages is a struggle. Yet, I keep trying.

I have sent off a draft of an article that I have been working on. I feel a bit of relief, a bit of weight lifted off my shoulders and now I can turn my attention back to “all things mobile.”

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary celebration of InterMedia at the University of Oslo, which included a series of lectures, a poster session and a reception with speeches. It was a good introduction to the history and politics of the organization. It was a very long day and I met so many people – I hope I remember some of the names. I also got to spend some time with Rolf Steier, the other Fulbrighter studying mobile devices. It was very good to compare notes and share common and uncommon experiences.

After I pick up A from school today, we will take the ferry to Oslo to play with some other Fulbright kids. She’s been having a bit too much of the new girl experience – not getting picked as a partner for sports and games, being left out at recess, and everyone else already has plans after school. The teacher even intervened yesterday – I guess he saw A sitting on her rock at recess a few too many times. He spoke to the class in general terms about being the new person and what that might feel like… not mentioning names directly, but there is only one new kid in the class. She is actually handling it quite well.

We are off to Florence, Italy next week for the autumn school holiday. A and I have never been to Italy and we are thrilled. It will be nice to get away for a little bit and reflect on the reflection. Of course I’ll be observing Italian mobile usage while we’re there… in between the art, pasta, gelato and art. Oh, I already said “art,” didn’t I. ;)

Art, art, art, art, art...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bizzee



Watch out! There’s a documentary filmmaker in the house... Nick (aka Captain Planet) is here to visit for a few days and he seems to think that this is some disturbing reality television show...

This is going to be short because I have an article due by the end of next week, company (yay!), the usual complexities of life in another country & my work/research... More on all of that later - after the article is finished.

I have been posting more pictures to Flickr:

The Fulbright Rooftop Potluck

More pics of life at AHO
And the Changing of the Guard

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunday Hikes

Sunday Hike – To Går Farm

The weather is cool and the Birch tree leaves are just beginning to turn yellow. Research, writing, designing, school, and soccer are the skeleton on which we build the flesh of our life. We have started a new family tradition of hiking on Sundays. This past Sunday we went on a hike that lead to an old farm owned and run by the community. It has trails, pastures, sheep, and horses. The buildings have been renovated and are used for school trips and events. A’s class had hiked there a couple of weeks ago.

Inside the farmhouse they were selling Norwegian style pancakes that are served with jam and coffee or juice. Outside the farmhouse they two had crafts for kids/grown ups. Kids could makes their own jump ropes by twisting colorful fabrics together. A. made one and then we both made felted wool hearts with colorful loose wools - I have to remember this felting technique for the Westville ArtWalk - it would be perfect.

I’ve posted pictures. My camera batteries died during jump rope making, so I didn’t get pictures of the lovely felted hearts and the people carrying baskets of edible wild mushrooms they had found in the forest.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Technical Difficulties...

When I canceled the AT&T/Yahoo DSL at the New Haven house for the year, I didn’t realize that there would be online account repercussions that would come back to haunt me. I have been slowly moving everything over to my Gmail account for a few years now, but left out 2 very important address changes - my Amazon account and my Yahoo login. When my old email address disappeared from existence about 24 hours ago, Amazon simply required a completely new account - no options. Now I am Tabula Rasa to Amazon - no book recommendations, no account history, no wish list. The bigger problem is my Yahoo ID. I hadn’t really put it together in my head that this was attached to my Flickr account. When I went to upload new pictures yesterday I was locked out. I was sent over and over to the Yahoo login page. I have sent a request to Flickr customer support, but it is unclear how long it may take to resolve this... So it may be a while before I can show you some new pictures from our expat life... bummer. I just hope there isn’t anything else I have forgotten with that address... hhmmmm...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Genius Loci*

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)

Yesterday I met with Andrew and other interesting scholars/professors at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). The building evokes creative experimentation, reuse, recycling, growth... The spaces inside feel and smell and look like an architecture & design school - reminds me very much of the art schools I have attended and taught at - makes me feel at home. This place has lots of interesting minds to bounce ideas off of, collaborate with and get to know.

*Genius Loci

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Fubright Begins

2008 Norway Fulbright Orientation at the Nobel Institute, Oslo

This past Monday and Tuesday I attended orientation for the Norway Fulbright grantees. There are 28 of us - 14 scholars and 14 graduate students - the largest group of Norwegian Fulbrights to date. It was a chance to get to meet each other and the staff of the Norway Fulbright office in addition to learning loads of information about our host country.

As it turns out, at least two of my Fulbright colleagues are blogging the experience:

Lauren has an excellent summary of the entire orientation on her blog:

...when Norwegians lose some of their shy tendencies to make new friends (not in class, at work, or on the t-bane), what I can do to beat the winter blues without eating all the Freia chocolate products (which I already love!)...

And Kathee touches on the formal reception that was given in our honor:

...After the reception, Anne Kjelling, the Head Librarian of the Nobel Institute, gave us a tour of the building. She focused on the room where the Nobel committee deliberates and explained the process to us...

It was quite inspiring and humbling to be in the atmosphere of the Nobel Institute for two days. The whole range of emotions flowed through the days from elation and excitement to fear and inadequacy. I mentioned these feelings of inadequacy to one of the Norwegians that I met at the reception. He had been a Fulbright scholar in the US decades ago. I was anticipating having to go to the podium in front of the entire audience and announce myself. When I expressed my disbelief that I was worthy of this honor, he looked at me with a big smile and said “You sound just like a Norwegian.”

I have uploaded a few pictures of the Nobel Institute.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Pictures Posted





















I have uploaded many new pictures to Flickr:

Flaskebekk Sommerfest 2008

Life in Bottle Creek (new ones added to this set)

The Commute
(new ones added to this set)

The picture above is a dessert plate that “A” made for us on our anniversary.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Life at Bottle Creek

Life at Bottle Creek

We are squeezing out every last bit of Summer... and here are the pictures to prove it. What a magical place and a magical year*...

*That doesn’t mean that uprooting your family and relocating to another country has been easy, there are difficult moments - fortunately, we don't all have them at the same time (yet.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

15 Years


Fifteen years since we married and fifteen years since my first trip to Norway. Two complex, creative types, joined in legal matrimony, recognized by most governments. I don’t think anyone thought we would make it this long (including us at times), but somehow we have made this relationship work. It has grown into a very fine and creative partnership. I adore this man. I won’t go into the whole mushy list of his fine points. I’ll just say that I am a very lucky (and grateful) woman. The side benefit, of course, has been all these visits to Norway. I lost count of them years ago... Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yearbook

I couldn’t help myself, everybody else is doing it...





I don’t know who this is but she looks very smart and wise beyond her years.










































These two are definitely my sisters Harriett Ann and Billie Jo.

Monday, August 18, 2008

First day of school...























Yes, that is a big happy grin on that sweet face running toward me. We could not have hoped for a better first day. “A” was very nervous yesterday and especially this morning and as usual, expressed it in her own articulate way. She said that she was both excited and scared, happy and worried. But her father and I were far more anxious than she was, though we could not let on. I burst into tears when we left her at the school.

Her teacher speaks Ny Norsk, which is a dialect from the west coast and she didn't seem to have any problem with it. But then again, why would she when she understands Swedish & Danish? She spoke Norwegian to her classmates and her teacher today - that was the thing she was most nervous about - and she met lots of girls in the class that she likes. We are so proud of her and thrilled that she has done so well with all of this change, transition and dislocation for the year. This afternoon she said that she couldn't wait to go to school tomorrow... she has never, ever, said that, ever... Fingers are crossed that school continues to go well...

Ahhhhhhh, weight lifted, now I can really get back to work...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August Here... and There

Grocery shopping in Sweden

Tomorrow will mark two weeks in the Bottle Creek House. It seems as if we have lived here for years. The plums are ripening on the tree and are some of the sweetest most delicious I have tasted. The trick is to get to them before the birds do (they got most of the cherries.) B. thinks that the pears are going to be very good, but they have another month or more on the tree before they are ripe. The apples are coming in but they are not the best in flavor or texture.

This is the time of year that we are flying back and settling into New Haven life – seems very odd not to be leaving. Our arrival back on West Rock Avenue usually signals to our neighbors the coming end of summer and a communal melancholy sets in… how will they know now? ;)

Structure is slowly coming back into our lives. Next week A. starts school and I start regularly commuting into Oslo for my project. Last Friday I made my first “test commute” to meet with Andrew and Synne, my colleagues from UiO and AHO. I stopped by the craft store on Karl Johan’s Gate to pick up a few items I needed to complete some button necklaces. We had our preliminary meeting in a Mexican restaurant in Grünerløkka.

We also did something very Norwegian this week – we drove to Sweden to stock up on groceries. By our calculations we saved several hundred dollars (even factoring in gas and tolls.) The weather has been gray, cool, and rainy for the past eleven days or so. This afternoon turned warm and sunny so I am taking advantage of some of our outdoor spaces by writing this post on the front porch overlooking the fjord.

Pictures posted:
Newly made button necklaces
My Commute (the beginning of an ongoing series)
Odds & Ends

Things I miss:
The Sunday Farmer’s Market in Westville
Sushi (my homemade & restaurant)
Target
Talking to my friends & family (all the time... anytime...)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Being a Tourist

IMG_7452

The temperatures have dropped back down to 20˚c (68˚ F) from 30˚c (86˚ F). We have enjoyed a number of tourist/cultural experiences over the past couple of weeks:

Oscarsborg Festning where the Norwegian Army tried to defend Oslo from the Nazi invasion. (Pictures Here)

The Botanical Gardens (Pictures Here)

The Zoological Museum (Pictures Here)

Beaching with friends on islands in the Oslo fjord

A few of the things I am beginning to miss:
Coffee to Go (just too damn expensive here...)
Meeting my girlfriends for coffee at Deja Bru or Lena's
Silk Soy Creamer
Take out food (again, just too expensive...)
Trader Joe’s
Food Labeling (I should write a whole post about this...)

Even with the incredible circumstances we have found ourselves in, at times I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed by the undertaking. I try to keep this in mind with A & B, as well, and I am trying to be extra kind and understanding.

Monday, July 14, 2008

NYFA

Sunday 6.13.08: We are finally settling into a rhythm here. On most days I work on my projects in the morning and then head to the beach in the afternoon to take A swimming. I read, think and do yoga while she swims and plays with her friends. Today it has been gray and sprinkling, so instead I have been working on website, resume and project proposal updates.

Much of what I have been changing was suggested to me in a private consultation in early June with one of the staff members of NYFA, Christa Blatchford. NYFA Live offers a few slots every month for these artist consultations and I had been longing to participate for some time. I booked this June time slot back in January or February. By the time my appointment had arrived, I had applied for four different grants related to the Mobile Misuse project and I had heard positively from Fulbright and had been listed as an alternate for the American-Scandinavian Foundation (I have since received funding from them for this project.) The consultation was very helpful and worth every penny of the $45. I highly recommend taking advantage of this service.

While I conduct a very similar service for my students in the Senior Portfolio class, I find it extremely difficult to look at my own “packaging” from the inside. So, during this hour-long consultation, you get to pick the brains of a staff member (often also an artist) of one of the main arts granting organizations in the US. I had prepared and printed previous grant proposals, my CV, artist’s statements, and my website. I was given concrete, specific suggestions and advice from the actual writing of proposals and statements to the organization of my website. Fortunately, I recorded this rich session on my iPod and have been listening to it in order to catch the details that I had forgotten. I have finally had the time to make the changes suggested to the website, but revising the resume and Mobile Misuse statement will take a bit longer. I have, however, made quite a bit of progress on both of those items, as well.

København 08























I have posted pictures of the annual “vacation from our vacation”.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Settling In..












It’s time to add some words in addition to the pictures I have posted. The first week was spent taking care of many errands and loose ends, although we have managed to fit in a fair amount of socializing. Day 2, with jet lag and all, we visited the two candidates for A’s school & picked one. I think it will be a very good year for her and the school has a teacher that is solely devoted to the students with Norwegian as a second language. Everyone was so friendly and inviting, especially one of the headmasters, Jostein. One of the parents even approached us as we headed to the car to speak with us and welcome us – very Edgewood.

This week has been “the beach vacation” – with days of excellent weather strung together. The water in the fjord is still quite cold, but every hot, sunny day warms it up a bit. Here are some beach pictures.

Price Report

There is the inevitable sticker shock on entry into Norway. Most prices for food, clothing, objects, technology, etc. are two to three time what we are used to paying in the US. For instance a small latte at the Kaffe Kroken in Vinterbro Mall is $5.25. A 6” Subway sandwich at the same mall is $8-12.00 (B reports that the Subway has already gone out of business.) The Burger King at the same mall sells a chicken baguette sandwich for $15.00. The Norwegian food shops are priced similarly. Yes, we mostly eat at home.
American/English magazines (where you can find them) cost the same as a standard hardcover book in the US ($25.) Gas is averaging 13.5 Kroner per liter – about $10 per gallon. Fortunately, the house we have rented allows me to commute to the Universities by ferry and tram. A & B never have to leave the neighborhood if they wish. The school is within walking distance, as well as shops, a post office and the ferry terminal. More on the new neighborhood once we move in. Posts will become more regular when we move into the rental house – we’ll have broadband. ☺

Berry Report

Not a good year for the berries. It seems that there was quite a drought here this spring and the berries have paid the price. The wild strawberries are tiny, unripe and far fewer than usual, but they are starting to revive a bit and are very tasty. Many of the blueberry bushes are brown and dry. The ones that aren’t burned to a crisp have no berries on them at all. B says that there are some down the hill – I’m not sure how they were spared. The raspberries are in the worst shape. They appear to be nowhere near ripening and many have dried hard and brown on the bush. There will be a few here and there, but not the big bowls of raspberries that we are used to. The red and black currents have also been affected, but they are starting to ripen and we grab handfulls to munch on our way back from the beach.

We are all settling in nicely and making lots of new friends. My head is having a hard time getting around the idea that we don’t have to go back to the US in August. Strange and exciting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our Norwegian Summers



I thought I’d post a link to the photo galleries from previous summers. We have found a great house for the academic year & I will post photos of that when we move in mid-August. Until then, we will be at the hytte. I can’t wait...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Train Travel



I spent the weekend in a haunted house. Well, not so much “spooky haunted” as “sentimental haunted.” A. and I took the train down to Virginia last weekend. We stayed in the room that was my father’s – the room that he spent much of the last two years of his life in and the room in which he died. All the pictures in the house look different to me now. When I look at pictures of my father as a child or a young man, I have a completely different view of them. Gazing upon these images brings feelings to the surface ranging from sadness to fear – sadness that he is no longer here and fear that is brought on by the recognition of my own mortality.

I am shifted into an alternate existence when I visit the place I was raised – like a planet in retrograde moving backwards through space and time, reflecting, reminiscing, and losing myself completely in memory. We got back on Monday. It was a long train journey with delays from Virginia to Connecticut. It has taken me two days to readjust – two days to move back to the point I was located before I left. I am here...

Just three and a half weeks until A. and I leave for Norway and there are 1 million tasks undone.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Kabaret





A post from the fjord 5 years ago: Reke Kabaret

Vital Records

Passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, forms, paperwork, everything notarized in duplicate or triplicate...

If you are planning to live in another country for a period over three consecutive months, then you must go through the immigration department of that country. So, as in the case of my upcoming year in Norway, I am going through the process of filling in forms and proving that I will not become a burden on the Norwegian government. This means collecting documentation of my current employment, the Fulbright grant offer, that I have a place to live, and that the university (UiO) truly wants me there (among other things). It is quite time-consuming, but I am sure it will be worth it. And, unlike when we went through this with my husband’s immigration to the US, there are no questions on the Norwegian forms asking if I have ever been a member of the Communist party or if I have ever attempted to overthrow a government. (I don’t know if the forms still ask those questions...)

At the same time that I’m completing all of this paperwork, I’m finishing out the school year (this is finals week), collecting books, materials, software, and equipment to help me with my art and research while I’m in Oslo. We are packing our winter clothing for next year, arranging for our mail to be collected and sent to Norway, as we watch the airline ticket prices climb higher every day. We can’t really purchase our airline tickets until we know that the paperwork for the residency visa will arrive in a timely manner.

I am going to keep a journal of the whole Oslo/Norway/Fulbright experience on this blog so that my family and friends can follow along during our stay. I have done this before during our summer visits on my previous blog and uploaded a lot of image galleries before Flickr became so popular. I’ll probably use Flickr and YouTube for pictures and videos this year.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

End of the Semester


Next week is the last week of classes and then Finals week. Light at the end of the tunnel. Then, then, then... a full year of research and art making. The thought just makes me smile. No course preps, no advising, no student meetings – not that I don’t enjoy my teaching – I’m just not sure what it will be like – NOT multitasking and squeezing the thought and art in between the multitude of tasks. I’ve started reading anthropology and mobile books to ease into the work to come, but I am really looking forward to large chunks of uninterrupted time to focus on this line of research and making.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Celebration!

Circus @ Roger’s Barn

Another grant proposal finished and submitted. Yay. A few days early. :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Finished?




















I have finally “finished” my portfolio website - meaning that there is content in every section, there are no “under construction” signs, and there is no “greeking” where there should be readable text. The last section - interactive - was the hardest to get my head around and in the end I settled for cranking out something far less thorough than I had planned. There are still many details to attend to and there are sections that already need updating, but it feels like a maintenance job, now - tweaking, fine tuning, adding here and taking away there. Manageable - not overwhelming, exhausting, etc.

I have a couple more grant deadlines coming up and I really needed to have completion on this. In between teaching, site building, and parenting, I have also been dealing with those never ending logistics of living in another country for a year. I'll write about all that one day...

I see that I had set a deadline of April 11 for having the Interactive section completed - four days early, imagine that?! OK. I cut some corners, but it’s “done.”

Monday, March 31, 2008

Website Update



















I just finished another page in my website. I have given myself the deadline of April 11 to have the interactive section of the site completed. I have a grant due on April 13th and that section of the site really needs to be finished.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Incrementalism

Grünerløkka Projector Play

Packing my time with things I can do in 15 minute chunks...

I have set up the preliminary site for my Mobile Misuse research. Trying to find a place to rent in Oslo (most expensive city in the world...) Trying to rent our house out. A’s school play is this week. I'm teaching & grading & advising students for Fall and Summer registration. Tomorrow is Frieday.

See also: Incrementalism.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gearing Up


















Well, now that the Fulbright is a reality, I have a million and one things to organize in order to make it happen. Moving house, arranging for a school for A, getting my research organized, etc. I am working on my research bibliography, preparing to order books and deciding how I will document the research. The subject is the creative use of mobile devices and it could easily fit into this blog space, but I'm thinking of setting up a separate site for it. That way this one can remain my personal diary and the other site can be exclusively devoted to the mobile research and making. (The picture is from two weeks ago - a walk I took with a friend around the lake near Kolbotn which is just south of Oslo.)