Sunday, June 29, 2008

Nap duty

Julian is napping, so I am stuck on a sunny terrace. Everyone at this hotel has either young children or is retired. Of course Julian sets the agenda around here.

European vacation

We arrived at our hotel around midnight, which is way beyond Julian's bedtime. We settled in and Julian slept well. This morning we awoke to a beautiful cloudless day. At breakfast I realized there were only foreigners here. By lunch I realized half the people working here were Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish. I took Julian down to the kid pool. The view off in the distance was a bit disorienting. The scrubby hills or mountains looked like the view back home. Of course we don't have quite as many palm trees. In a way i feel like I am living a clichè. On the other hand, there is good reason clichès are what they are. This is a good life. Last comment: this is posted from my phone. True to my word, i did not bring my laptop.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Heading to Mallorca

We leave for Spain today. Somehow I envision that the hotel will be overrun by Norwegians and Swedes, since it is something of a cliche to vacation there. I will be without a laptop--- which is a bit scary, but I really need to unplug for the week. I have been working late with remote meetings almost all week. I deserve a break.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Classy bonfire

06232008129, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

There is all sorts of wet wood beneath the classy looking pallets. We were nearly smoked out of the park, until they dumped several liters of gasoline on the mess. Julian had a very fun time. Somehow, it managed not to rain. The sun even made an appearance.

Lucky kid

06232008128, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Lise purchased four lottery tickets from the Lion's Club and won two prizes. This is simply amazing luck. On May 17th I believe we had a hundred losing tickets. Julian picked out a European Championship "football" that was picked up in Austria last week. Lise grabbed a backpack.

Up at the farm

06232008126, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

We stopped up at the farm for the midsummer's night activities. "The farm" is a city-run park for kids featuring all sorts of animals, including this rather gaudy peacock.

Crushing mass of humanity

06192008124, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

A leftover London photo from my phone. There were people everywhere. The air was as polluted as it is in India.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gatwick Ordeal

OK, ordeal might be a bit strongly worded, but our return flight from London was delayed by more than two hours last night. As scheduled, we were to arrive back in Stavanger shortly before midnight. As it was, it was after 2am. With such a late arrival, there were no taxis, which resulted in a 40 minute wait. I made it home around 3am. There was a big hole in the clouds, showing a brightly lit sky. I did not sleep well, and what little sleep I managed was interrupted by the garbage truck. I ended up rolling into work around 11am. All in all, I have been lucky with my travels. Still, it is quite bothersome when a one and a half hour flight is delayed by two hours-- and at Gatwich, no less. There was so much construction noise that my ears are still ringing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

View from hotel

17062008119, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

BMW Police Car

17062008118, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

London Photos

06182008121, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In London

I am back in London for the week. I hate to admit it, but this is a pretty cool city. The hotel I am staying in is over-run by Norwegians and a bus load of Swedes. I found it odd that some of the same passengers (total strangers) on my flight from Stavanger ended up staying at the same hotel. Weird coincidence.

I am amazed at all the commuters on bikes--- and how crazy things are with all the buses and taxis. I will try to take a few photos, but with this work thing, who knows.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


12.06.2008, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

It was quite surreal watching Julian's grocery selection today. Random does not even begin to describe it. Grapes were OK--- he likes grapes. But four bags of mashed potatoes? A pre-mixed salad? Endless bags of peanuts? And worst of all, he kept pulling my beer out of his basket.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

They Start Young

Julian has to take a ball with him wherever he goes.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Back In Norway

I arrived home mid-day on Saturday--- just in time for our block party. We have very cool neighbors--- most of them, at least. The weather has been excellent; sunny and in the 80s. I am still quite jet-lagged. Traveling east, this means that I am up very late, and have grave difficulties waking at a normal time. I took the day off today and hung out with Julian most of the day. It is very clear that he understands what I say- even if it is in English. When I ask him to do something, he usually does it. We have been living life outdoors this summer. I love it.

Next week I work in London. I am not thrilled about that, but it could be worse. At least I am close to home. The first time I visited, I thought London was one of the coolest cities I have been to. After several trips, my attitude is "not again." I should have a good time, though. We will be with a Argentinian colleague. By default, English will be the primary language.

I have been biking daily, trying to get back in the swing of things. Yesterday I encountered an odd situation. I was biking along the E39 on the way to Figgjo. I believe it may be illegal to bike on the highway there, but I am not sure. I was on a multi-use path when I saw all sorts of mountain bikers. I then noticed they had race numbers on their jerseys. I thought they may have been carried over from the North Sea race which is around this time of the year. These bikers were riding like maniacs-- on a path shared with children, pedestrians, etc. I was caught up in a bunch of them, and as I had to slow due to heavy bike traffic, some bozo passes and almost takes me wheel out. I was a bit angry, so I passed the entire lot of them after we cleared an underpass. It was smooth sailing, biking alone. It wasn't until I hit Figgjo that I noticed it was the Jadarhusrittet. It must be a semi-serious race if it is that easy for me, a non-participant, to pass everyone in sight. I headed the opposite direction of the race course toward Klepp. Had I known there was a race, I would have chosen a different route. It is a wonder someone doesn't get seriously injured on an open course like this.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Please don't judge me as being sensational. I really couldn't make this stuff up if I tried, and I was on the phone with an old friend who overheard a portion of the following events. I was waiting at the gate of the Minneapolis airport when I heard a dog barking. I looked around, and noticed it was a man, reading a book, with his head down--- absorbed by the book--- barking. It was a highly realistic bark of a small to midsized dog. I was a bit taken aback. A young girl and her mother were seated directly opposite this character, observing him closely.

The barking occurred several times, although considerable time elapsed between episodes. When it occurred, there was no self-consciousness to it whatsoever. The man acted like it had not even happened.

So here is where the story gets truly bizarre: the man started barking. Immediately behind me, I hear more barking--- this time from a real dog in a carry-on doggy/kennel suitcase. The barking man looked around--- almost offended, as if someone were mocking him. Indeed, it was the real thing this time. Very strange.

In the midst of all of this, I was upgraded to first class. Free.