31 December 2010


I can't quite believe it, but 2011 is just a couple of hours away, and I've just got used to 2010....
How can one summarize this year that soon will just be a distant memory? What has left unforgettable memories in my soul, what has made me cry and smile, who has inspired me and helped me up from the gutter over and over again?

I will try to paint a picture of 2010, and with this I want to wish you all a very happy new year. May it be a good and inspirational new year.

Here we go:

*Last winter: let's be honest: last winter was too long, too much snow and too bad air (especially in Bergen) 86 cm of snow on our lawn was just a little bit too much. Don't mistake what I'm saying: I like snow, and last winter was most of the time like a Christmas-card compared to the previous winters in my life (used to rain, or sleet)

*Writing of my bachelorthesis: this was my chance to show I could write a neutral, academic paper. I had 6000 words, deadline in May and lots of leprechauns dancing around in my head. The simple reason for this was my subject: Irish immigrants in Boston and New York between 1850 and 1916. You may also have noticed my love for Ireland during several posts dealing with rebels, whiskey and historic events from the green isle in the West.
Anyway, this thesis never turned out to become neither neutral or academic. I felt like I wrote this with my own blood, and more than once could my friends find me cursing over some historic fact that presented the Irish in a rather bad light...
But I surprised everybody the day I had my oral exam, by talking my grade up. The most surprised person must have been one of the bartenders in the nearby Irish pub where I had actually wrote most of my thesis. He couldn't believe that I could concentrate in such an environment as a busy pub, but I proved him wrong.

*My uncle died in March, and this left a big hole in the family. He had always been a pillar, and such a funny guy. He got diagnosed with stomach-cancer in January (my grandfather died from that condition too before I was born), but it turned out that it had spread. When someone dies so suddenly, you go into a state of shock. One wants to believe that they will keep on living, one looks for them, feel their presence for a long time. I will always miss him.

*Letter-writing: This year has also been that year when I took up letterwriting on a more serious basis, and I'm so thankful for the friends I have made throughout the years. There's nothing like opening the mailbox and see a handwritten letter just for you. I'd like to give a big thank you-hug to all my penpals and especially Steven McLaughlin, Daniel Mounter, Eugene Gorelikov, Stu Montana, Siân Millward, Sébastien Lioux and Martin Barth. Your wonderful ideas and advices have been an amazing support in the dark days this year, and I cannot thank you enough for being there for me and inspire me. I truly appreciate everything about our correspondence, whether it has been at the mercy of a rather unstable postal service or over the Internet.
Thank you

*Ireland: 2010 was the year I made a dream come true. My friends and family was so tired of hearing my constant talking about going to Ireland, that they gave me tickets as a birthday-present. I was overjoyed, was this actually happening? I will not repeat the whole story, as you can read it here on my blog, but this trip will stay in my memory until the day I die, and I really hope, no I know, I will return one day. A big thanks to Steven and his family for letting me staying with them, and for accompanying me to Dublin. Siân; a BIG hug to you too :D

*Rammstein: what to say? Rammstein in Bergen was unbelievable. The waiting and the freezing was totally forgot the moment they stepped on the stage at Koengen. I had no voice the next day, and my whole body ached...but it was so worth it ^^
*Police: the past year has also been quite heavy a couple of days, but with the help from my dear friends and penpals I can stand tall today. The police wanted me for questioning because things came to the surface that was so nervewrecking and disturbing (sorry, can't go into detail). I have fought off a couple of demons this year, and my hope for next year is that I will be able to put these bad experiences behind me and look forward and see the opportunities that comes with it.

*Music: I haven't sung so much this year, since I had a 6 months leave from Bergen Philharmonic Choir while writing my thesis. But this last semester have indeed been amazing, ending with a most extraordinary concert, conducted by Andrew Litton. Brahms "Liebeslieder waltzer" was a challenge for the choir, since we normally don't sing stuff like that and in a church. But it was a good experience for us. The extraordinary concert I keep referring to was our Christmas-concert; "Dona Nobis Pacem" by Vaughan Williams. This piece was one of the most addictive pieces I've ever sung, it was tough, inspirational and totally amazing. And when Litton supposedly said that this was the BEST choirconcert he had EVER conducted afterwards, I couldn't stop smiling.

*University: Just one small thing to say on this subject: YES! I've proven to the world that I could do it. I now possess a bachelor-degree in history, after passing my last exams with flying colors.

So as you see, 2010 haven't been a total waist, but I still hope that 2011 can be even better.
I will indeed try to get my poems published, sing even more and keep my head up high.
So here I raise a glass to all my friends, both home and abroad, and say: "Thank you for a wonderful year, and may 2011 be even more magical and inspirational for you all!
Happy New Year! 

29 December 2010

My Christmas in pictures

I have always been told that a pictures says more than a thousand words, and during Christmas I have really understood the meaning of that expression. We've had the most amazing weather this Christmas; snow, freezing cold and sunshine, which has only added to the growing Christmas-spirit.
So here you are; my Christmas through pictures

Our dinnertable, ready for Christmas

My nephews waiting for the dinner to start

Look, a shovel!

Morning, Christmas Day

Mums amazing sweet malt loaf with raisins and candied lemon peel

The only thing on the breakfast-table Christmas Day that are looking at you
 My family always have an ENORMOUS breakfast on Christmas Day that can last for up to 6 hours

For the tea-addicts

The Head-less angel; no Christmas without it

Our Christmas Tree

Perfect Christmas gift from my brother and his girlfriend :D

Christmas also means feeding the birds, and spying on them.
 The smallest birds ( like the Blue Tit above) are eating like maniacs all the day through, because when it gets dark they don't dare to do it.

Postcard-winter, don't you agree?

Icicles are indeed a masterpiece from Mother Nature's side

Walking in a winter wonderland

Turkey time!
 On Boxing Day we have turkey for dinner together with an amazing stuffing, brussel sprouts, potatoes, Waldorf Salad and gravy. This years turkey was 7,1 kg and came from Hardanger...

Waldorf Salad

     * 3 pcs apple
     * 3 stalks celery (celery)
     * 1 can of canned pineapple chunks, small box
     * 50 g walnut kernels
     * 1 cup mayonnaise
     * 1 ½ cups whipped cream
     * x ½ lemon
     * 200 g of blue grapes

Here's how:
1. Cut the apples, celery and pineapple chunks.

2. Mix together mayonnaise and whipped cream.

3. Apples, celery, pineapple and walnuts mixed with mayonnaise and cream. Season with lemon and pineapple juice. Garnish with walnuts and blue grapes.


My big sister by the piano

The Cookie-moose

Brussel sprouts with bacon, yummy

A little kitchen-advertisement :p


Mums brilliant almond sticks ^^


23 December 2010

Last words

Yes, I know I said I wouldn't write anything more before the Christmas holiday kicked in, but here I am (sorry guys, cannot stay away).
The preparations are going smoothly, which means something must be wrong...normally everyone is running around stressed out by the fact that we are late AGAIN, but today nothing like that has happened...yet. 
So there is only one thing left to say:

Merry Christmas to you all

22 December 2010

21., 22., 23. 24. December - Greetings

I'm sorry that this is so late/early (call it what you will). But I'm leaving home tomorrow, to go to Osterøy where me and my family will celebrate christmas this year. I hope you have enjoyed my little calendar, and that you have a most wonderful Christmas.
Here is me; singing my favourite Christmas-song: "In the bleak midwinter"

Merry Christmas to you all, and I hope you will have a most wonderful time wherever you are :)

21 December 2010

20. december - what makes christmas?

This can seem somewhat hasty, and I have my reasons for it: plenty to do
But as I've so often recently have pointed out: Christmas must be the time of year with most traditions and intriguing ways of performing them. Everything has its tradition, from what to eat, where to be and to what to watch and listen to.
So what makes Christmas to me? I've already pointed out a couple of things in my previous posts, but it will be somewhat difficult to present the idea of Christmas in my head, since it is mostly connected to sounds and smells. Please bear over with me...
*The smell of Pinnekjøtt (the traditional christmas-dish in my part of the country; dried and salted lambs rib, boiled for no less than 6 hours, served with potatoes, mashed swedes, brussel sprouts and gravy)
*The sound of Jussi Björling singing "O helga Natt" (O holy night). This swedish tenor (may he rest in peace) was one of the most amazing singers the world have ever seen (or heard). He was so professional in everything he did, and who can ever forget his version of the Pearlfisher's duet together with Robert Merrill. I've already posted "O helga natt" here, so I'll let you enjoy the duet instead:


Christmas gives me a chance to be quite childish, which means Disney plays an important role. And there's one short film I really love, and here you got it

One last thing that is really needed for the sake of the christmasspirit is one christmas-decoration: the headless angel...this is an angel in golden paper, with a polystyrene-head. Well, it doesn't have it's head anymore, because when my brother was just a toddler, he bit it off (!)
But we use it every Christmas anyway, and it has for the last couple of years had its own place on the mantelpiece together with a similar angel (which still have its head...)

There are probably hundreds of traditions I've forgotten to mention, but I hope this little description has given you as a reader a little idea of what makes Christmas in my head

19. december - Christmasmovies

Good evening everybody. In these times we almost desperately look for the true christmasspirit, and it kinda feels like it was easier to achieve when we were younger, when we didn't had to worry so much.
There are many things that can provide some grains of christmas-spirit, and here we are talking about traditions again. Things one do, songs we sing and in this post: movies we watch.
Do YOU have any special movies you just MUST see around Christmas to get into the "mood"?
These ones are obligatory for me:
*Home Alone - even when you know what is going to happen, you get surprised and laugh until you cannot breath properly
*Three nuts for Cindarella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) - this one is the one to start Christmas Eve with here in Norway. All the family gather in front of the television to watch it, and mimic the man dubbing the whole thing (he makes ALL the voices ^^ )

*Reisen til Julestjernen (The Travel to the Christmasstar) - This is actually a play that has been played in theatres across the country since 1924. It deals with a king and queen that looses their daughter who wants to find the Christmasstar. The queen also disappears as the king curses the star. The Count is a greedy and evil man, who ends up with ruling the kingdom. But one day a circus-company arrives in the kingdom, and one girl there, Sonja, promise the king that she will find the Christmasstar so the princess and the queen can return back home. The count is terrified by this, so he tries to silence her. This movie has it all; funny and memorable characters, beautiful music, snow, magic and christmasspirit in tons


Last but not least we have a little "movie"-tradition the day before Christmas Eve. There is an old sketch that has been shown this day for many year, and I reckon that also you who doesn't come from Norway and read this, recognise it....
No Christmas without it :)

18 December 2010

18. December - a wish

Just 6 days left, and what am I doing? I'm writing down the christmaswishes for the children in a big book with red ink. This may seem strange, but it has started to become a tradition for me, and my father has done this for 16 years now :) I get a chance to get really close to the children, to hear their dreams and above wishes.
And believe me; there are never a too weird wish. Horses, books, peace on earth, snow, swords and world dominion: we have it all.
But if you asked me what my ONE wish would be, I would probably have problem answering you. I have no problems with lists, but narrowing it all down to ONE is a hard task. It reminded me when a friend asked me here the other day this question:

If you could choose ONE thing to do before you die, what would it be?

My mind were certainly running through all my dreams and possible scenarios, and guess what I answered?
I hope, almost against hope, and wish against wish that I one day will be able to write a book about Irish emigrants/history for Norwegian children. Is that too much to dream about?
As a small piece of inspiration, I have of course added "When you wish upon a star"

Dare to dream

17 December 2010

17. December - Bouncing

Weird subject for a day like this, isn't it? I don't think so for one simple reason: I'm going home for Christmas today. This means packing, which means running around like a headless chicken while doing one million things at the same time. So I thought it would be apropriate to listen to a bouncing-master...*drums*....TIGGER
Listen carefully:

So keep bouncing people ^^

16. December - Lists

In our daily lives we make order out of chaos by setting things and events into a system, this makes it manageable and even controllable.
In this world of such things that makes us stay in control, we have lists. It can be a list over things that we shouldn't (and of course) mustn't forget. but of course a list can contain other things than "remember to pick up the kids in the kindergarden" or "don't forget your dental-appointment". it can contain happy little things, things that makes you smile and which makes the world a little bit of a better place to stay in.
A list like this is "favourite-lists". your favourite movies, songs, poems, places and so on. So today's little list should be one of the smiling ones: my favourite Disney songs.
Here we go:
*When you wish upon a star - Pinocchio
- because I like to dream myself
*Cruella deVil - 101 Dalmatians
- she's scary as hell, and the whole sound of the movie is just so sly and laidback
*Feed the birds - Mary Poppins
- amazing words and vocal
*The silly song - Snow White
- first Disney-film I ever saw, and wonderful in both Norwegian and english
*Bells of Notre Dame - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
 - Clopin must be one of the coolest characters in this film, don't you think?
*Everybody wants to be a cat - Aristocats
 - just cool laidbackness
*Part of your world - The Little Mermaid
 - grew up with this in Norwegian, dubbed by two persons from my town: Sissel Kyrkjebø and Helge Jordal
*Colors of the wind - Pocahontas
- very inspirational song
*Be prepared - Lion King
- no one can sing this like Jeremy Irons
*When she loved me - Toy Story 2
- I recognize myself in her story

16 December 2010

15. December - Take it easy

I'm known as a rather hectic person from time to time, almost floating...not buzzing through life. But sometimes I need to stop and think, and relax. It can be really hard sometimes, to just put everything away and just get in touch with yourself. This may sound a little airy and weird, and you might think that I'm not very normal. But who is? What is normality? I will take that discussion in my post tomorrow, but let's focus on today's topic: RELAX
So let's learn something from Baloo ;)


I can finally start breathing again, for one simple reason: the examresults have come. From you have the exam until the results come, your mind is making up every possible scenario and outcome. You're floating around in a state of not knowing...but as I said: I know now! The relief is indescribable :)
I can lower my shoulders, and sing along...*dubidu dubidu*

15 December 2010

14. December - the power of noise

After my exams I've had the pleasure of re-discovering my love for Disney-songs. Many of them can provide some comfort when the world seems to be all dark and gloomy. And the older the better.
I don't know what you mean about Disney at all, but I feel that they have given up their integrity a long time ago. We don't live in a time when they took their time in making a good film, when they poured their heart and soul into it. It's a shame because today's kids could certainly need some proper Disney-magic.
Anyway, music was such an important part of the older Disney-movies. Who can forget "I wanna be like you" from "The Junglebook", "When you wish upon a star" from "Pinocchio" and "The Silly song" from "Snow White and the seven dwarfs"?
The reason for the noisy title is simple: there was a sequence from Snow White with a most amazing song that never made it into the film. And believe me: it's noisy! They must have had so much fun recording it ^^
Here it is; "The Music in your Soup"


And from today I will put one Disney-song into my blogposts all the way up to Christmas Eve :p

13. december - a voice

In these dark and dreary days, music becomes more important than ever. We're in the carol-season alright! But I will not post a traditional carol today, or even make a big point out of the fact that I'm don't...but what you are about to hear will hopefully bring some tears in your eyes, so just close them and dream.
It doesn't contain any words, and the voice is by the wonderful Norwegian soprano; Sissel Kyrkjebø from Bergen.

12 December 2010

12. december - Halfway there

 Advent is about counting down and looking forward to Christmas. since it is the 12. today, I thought about the idea of halfway there and how we see positively or negatively on something.
Like you can say it is half-empty if you're in a negative mood or half-full if you're positive. But in today's case we can be nothing but positive since tomorrow we will be closer to Christmas than to the 1. December.
So in the name of all those who are waiting for something; "Waiting" by John Burroughs

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

11. december - What to do now?

It's pretty weird that I'm finished with Vaughan Williams for this time, because it has found its place in my heart and the words "Beat! Beat! Drums!" will resound in my head for a long time still.

But a little thought of the approaching holiday has slided itself into my head now, and since I'm buzzing around (still) and soon I have to get started on the Christmas carols...On Christmas eve my family always goes to church, sit on the first bench and lead (willing or unwilling) the congregation through the different songs and hymns.
But here's just a little something for the day:


“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”


Something to think about...

11 December 2010

10. december - exhaustion

Not much to say except that I want to sleep. It has been so much lately that I haven't had time to think about relaxing. But when everything is over, I tend to sit back with a little empty hole inside that take some time to fill.
But I'm allowed to be a little bit exhausted now, make myself a big cup of tea, and just enjoy my freedom.
So maybe I can pick up the pen, and write some Christmas poems soon.
Today's little video is ofcourse a Christmassong that is very close to my heart: "Mary did you know"

9. december - Magic in the air

I'm already behind on this, and I hope you can forgive me. So writing this 2 days too late, but please pretend :p
the theme is magic, and the magic that we experience in the world around us everyday. The reason why I chose this theme for the 9. is simple: The concert with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Choir, Alan Opie and Sarah Tynan + Andrew Litton became an unforgettable, amazing thing to behold. It was one thing to stand in the choir and feel the music pulsate through every one standing around you, and giving all you got in every note, no matter if it was a high A, or a soft deep G.
Just singing it gave me an indescribably feeling, I felt high ^^ So this was indeed a little piece of magic in my life. The national radio recorded it, so I'm so looking forward to hear it! And afterward Litton said that "this was the best choirexperience he had EVER had"
Something to bring up again when the dark thoughts are threatening once more :)

Word over all, beautiful as the sky,
beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage
must in time be utterly lost.
That the hands of the sisters 
Death and Night, incessantly, softly,
washing again and ever again
this soil'd world

10 December 2010

8. december: Cursing vs swearing

Of course am I too late, but please forgive me: is rather busy with concerts and rehearsals.
So this post's theme is the difference between cursing and swearing. The inspiration for this came after reading "Happy Monkey's" post on the number 7 (read), which partly deals with magic ideas.
It may seem weird that I'm writing about cursing and swearing in my Christmas-calendar, but I have my reasons :p
So what is the difference? A curse is connected to a some sort of magic belief, that you may wish someone harm and they will receive it in tenfold. Some curses are indeed funny and fascinating, while others can make you look more than once over your shoulder.
Here are some fascinating examples:

*May you swallow a fishbone whilst 
eating sushi!
*May you try your luck at rollerskating,
while descending the stairs!
*May the desert winds blow a 
pissed off scorpion up your undershorts.
*May the lamb of God stir 
his hoof through the roof 
of heaven and kick you in 
the arse to hell.

May you be afflicted with the itch
and have no nails to scratch with!
Swearing on the other hand is not necessarily connected to religious belief, 
 and can often take the form of just rude words.
While a curse can be a fascinating use of words,
 is swearing almost always very filthy,
 obscene and using a totally other set of words than a curse would have.

8 December 2010

7. december - just listen

This week is rather packed with stuff to do and places to be, so this time I will make it simple for you all: just listen to this extraordinary voice singing my all-time favourite christmassong :)


I bet many of you know this in English (O holy night), but there is something special about this version, and Christmas cannot come before this has managed to get stuck inside my head ^^

7 December 2010

6. december - exam

There are different types of exams. You can get an oral, a written, home-exam, 3 hours, 4 hours or 6 hours. I have this semester had only the second type, but I'm happy with it. Some people says it is not fair to have a 6 hour-written exam, since I doesn't do the student justice for all he/she has read throughout the semester.
But we get tested through life, also outside the university. We meet a challenge, and since we're individuals we deal with them in different fashions. Some attack it so fiercely that one might think they are waging war on it, while others contemplate and try to find the best solution.

I tend to go totally mental during a normal exam, and the last two have been just like that. Draw all my energy from my body and soul while writing, and then collapsing afterwards. It may not be a good solution, but it's the one that works for me.

Today's quote have maybe nothing to do with exams in particular, but I think it is so good that i would like to share it with you anyways:

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
Albert Schweitzer

5 December 2010

5. December - the perfect Irish coffee

It has been a long day of singing and listening to different advice concerning exams and upcoming concerts. So what would be more appropriate for an evening like this than an Irish Coffee.
Since I like to see what I'm doing when I'm making it, I chose a beer-glass 0,33 l for this little miracle.
Whipped some cream (I'm really lousy at it...but this time it worked out perfectly), found my precious "Bushmills Black", brown sugar and made some really strong coffee (this was supposed to cheer me up too...long story).
And guess what?? It turned out looking like a pint of Guinness, and it taste heavenly :)

Perfect, isn't it?
And someone has probably said something wise about it...let me see...yup:

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups:  alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.  ~Alex Levine


4. December - weird wisdom

Due to the fact that I've been both busy and sick today, today's little treat will be small indeed.
Some movies have quotes that are logical and sometimes important, but today's is both illogical AND important. One can find many treasures in the language, if one dare to look a little bit closer.
The quote of today is from "Boondock Saint" which isn't exactly known for the grand philosophy or the most beautiful language. But beneath its rugged exterior one can find one pearl after an other.
My chosen quote is this:

Don't cross the road if you can't get out of the kitchen

Doesn't seem like much wisdom there, does it? But there are; I can vouch for it.
I had an interesting meeting with a kitchenfloor here the other day, and at that moment I wouldn't been able to cross the road no matter how hard I'd try...if you know what I mean.
So what it's actually saying is: don't try to do too much, it will only end in disaster...
See, there was the wisdom

4 December 2010

3. December - Tea

Tea is indeed a wonderful thing. A cup of tea sometimes makes the world more agreeable, and as an amateur singer I know the power of a big cup of gingertea with some lemon and honey in it. December is definitely a month for us tea-drinkers, with its cold, gusty wind whistling around the corner of the houses, the early darkness and the occasional snow. It warms up both mind and body, and as they say: Many a good discussion is to be found in a cup of tea.
It's like the warm liquid loosen the tongue, and make anything a subject of discussion. It makes life bearable. 
So here's today's proverb:

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.  ~Bernard-Paul Heroux
So please take a cup with a friend you haven't talked to for some while, and feel the effect

2 December 2010

2. December - Fever

Well hello again! Today I've chosen to speak a little bit about fever.
Fever is the body's responce when it is being attacked by something nasty from the inside. You feel like you gonna boil over, but at the same time you freezes...
But you don't have to be sick to be feverish. If you read the previous post you might understand what I'm saying here...
So here it is; today's song:


So watch your temperature folks!

1 December 2010

My Christmascalendar - 1. December

So are we here again; December, Advent, 24 days away from Christmas (25 in some cases) and just a month away from a new start. I doubt any of my current readers followed my Christmas-calendar last year, but I like to keep traditions alive, so hereby I declare my Christmas-calendar 2010 for open!

But what to write about? My schedule is pretty packed for the coming days, so I will make it simple. Every day will get either a song, a poem or a quote that is close to my heart. Everything will be carefully chosen, and I hope you will like my little effort. I highly doubt it will be very Christmas-y, but I think this is the time for reflection no matter what your religious affiliation is.

So today's topic will be:

The reason for this is a short, but very strong sentence that have managed to stick in my mind, and become a sort of mantra: 
The greatest thing you will ever learn
is just to love and be loved in return.

Love is seldom fair and painless, but we can't turn our back on it anyway. We depend on it! What would the world be without it? Without love, we would destroy each other, become savage beasts once more. In a world like ours, love is even more important than ever, it gives us reason to face another day, depressing or not. Love provides us with the tool to drag our friends up from the gutter and show them that life is worth living...just a simple thing as LOVE