Monday, June 28, 2010

The Office

This is a picture of my other office. The Sommerbutikken is just what it sounds like, a little store that is only open in the summer (when we get here in June, it’s only open on the weekends). It is the only shop for miles around. Fortunately they serve up some pretty robust wifi along with the fresh pastries and sundries. I used to borrow my neighbor’s wireless when I taught online classes while here, but he has moved away and we have had to find other means. We bought a Mobile Broadband USB device from Telenor, but the 500 mb a month plan I have only allows bare bones web access (meaning I only do email and some course work at the hytte on the broadband.) When I have to upload student critique movies (40-70 mb each) or talk to someone via Skype, I hike down to the Sommerbuttikken and set up office. This set up has been working so well, I have been having fantasies about becoming a “virtual professor.”

Last night was the neighborhood celebration of MidSummer. It was a low-key event with a grill out/picnic, games with prizes and then a big bonfire. There was a parent/child hula hoop contest and potato on a spoon races. All the kids won bags of candy. My favorite game was the stilt race. The kids each “won” a bottle of soda pop when they reached the finish. Then they had adult stilt races where the prizes were bottles of beer. Needless to say, most adults participated in that race.

I am dusting off my Norwegian and finding it mostly in tact after being on the shelf for 14 months. August is starting to help me with my grammar and word selection, a bit dismissive and fussy about it in an “I’m embarrassed by my immigrant mommy” way, but helpful none-the-less.

My summer work is progressing nicely, but has hit a few snags. My large format printer (Epson 2200) has bit the dust. Bummer, I had planned to print lots of iPod drawings and pictures while here. My smaller all-in-one HP is out of cartridges and they cost 240 kr each (about $40). I think I’ll wait until I return to the US to do my printing. Other creative projects will pick up steam after the online course finishes this week. So far, my department chair duties have been manageable by email from afar. There is nothing like getting away to gain perspective on things.

I am still in something of an existential quandary about my creative work and this time away at my art retreat allows time and space to think. It takes a couple of weeks just to gather the clarity to form consecutive, topic related thoughts. This is really the only time of year that I have for great chunks of thinking time, uninterrupted by phone calls, chores, events and all the daily demands of modern life. Recently, I took a couple of tests online for Focus and Multitasking. I had a perfect score on ability to focus, but I couldn’t even complete the multitasking test. I guess I need to “defrag” my brain every summer.

August and I have been making little terrariums for hostess gifts and they are coming out quite nicely. I have been taking pictures of them and will post some soon. My Father-in-Law sold me his Nikon Macro lens for a really good price, so I have started collecting macro shots of the fjord flora and fauna.