Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Learning to Knit...

Ok so one of my Norway bucket list items was to learn how to knit.  Yes, the thing you only hear about grandmas doing.  Guess what I found a group of ladies who knit, can you imagine where…you guessed it Facebook.  Someone posted on the expat page that they wanted to purchase some Selbu socks.  Then someone replied to the post, I can teach you how.  Let’s just say that opened up a can of worms, the thread had 50+ comments.  The lady who said she could teach, Tracy, I had already met through Little Stars.  She also heads up a sewing group on facebook, she offered to start us slow with a hat, then socks and eventually selbu socks.  She offered to purchase everyone a “starter kit” who was planning to attend the meeting.
Original Selbu Norwegian Hand Knitted Men's Socks - Black & White
Its the design…not the type.
So we had our first meeting, there were about 15 people, give or take a few.  She had a couple other EXPERIENCED knitter join us so she wouldn’t be swamped with all of us newbies. 

I can sew, but knit it was going to be a struggle.  I could crochet a single “rope” when I was a child but nothing since, we are talking 30+ years ago.  Tracy included in our kit a 7mm & 8mm round knitting  needles, and 2 packs ( I still don’t know the proper name)wool.  I picked red…this hat was suppose to be for Jan. 

So I gave it whirl, and that’s about all I did.  I went home tried it some more.  Then my brilliant husband decides he will show me how to knit too.  Yes, he knows how to knit.  Everyone in Norway learns how to knit in grade school, it doesn’t mean they retain it but they learn.  So my hot shot husband ends up doing something with my wool and makes a huge knot!!  It takes me forever to get it out.  Then I continue trying to knit.  He looks at me and said…umm that’s not how the ladies on the ferry do it, you are making it look so difficult. 

I try again the next day and continue but it just looks like a mess.  Probably more like a rat’s nest than anything.  So I contact Tracy, she agrees to meet with me to help me out of my mess.  I told her I was fine starting over from scratch, she said oh no, we can salvage this.  I laughed…she tries…guess what??! Nope she can’t help it and suggests we start again.  I did the cast on and then I let her do the ribbed part, I wasn’t getting the purl stitch at all.  So I finally completed my hat.  Poor thing I don’t think it will ever be worn on any persons head.  It might be worn on a doll or stuffed animal but never in public.  It has holes throughout the hat, I just laugh everytime I see it.  But I think there is a learning curve, right???

I was good at the knitting part.  So I while I was out alone on Mommy time, I went into a yarn shop…I asked the lady if one of the sample hats was easy to knit…she said yes, its just a knit stitch.  So I bought some yarn…no I haven’t made this hat yet.  Then while Rebecca and I were exploring on or own I found a neighborhood yarn store.  She had told me she wanted me to knit her a hat so I let her pick out the colors.  Then another day exploring she picked out the two flowers that completed the hat.  I might have a fashionista on my hands ;-)  It turned out so pretty. 

The beginning of Rebecca's hat
The finished product 
yes, the photo is blurry
But in the meantime we started learning how knit socks.  Let me state, my purl stitch has improved dramatically.  I’m so excited.  But I’ve since given up on the sock for now, but I will come back to it later.  I want to get better at knitting first.  I have a ton of projects on my to do list, now.  I hope I can get to them. 

I have met quite a few friends through this knitting group.  We have gone a road trip to the yarn outlet about 30 minutes away.  Its a fun group of ladies.  I'm looking forward to learning new stitches and building friendships, there have been a lot of laughs so far...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Low Battery in car (sometime in January)

What a way to start a morning…  I go outside to turn on the "heater" on for the car before we drive Marcus to Barnehage.  You know these temperatures at 1C-3C are a bit cold for these Texans, but luckily my car has a diesel engine and has a programable warmer.  It will start warming the car without starting the engine…Oh how I love this feature.  But the night before I forgot to set the program, so I had to go outside to turn on the manual warmer.  This morning, the message board said…LOW BATTERY, what?!?!?!!  Marcus, Rebecca & I get dressed and I'm hoping the car will at least start when we leave to take Marcus to Barnehage.  Luckily it does, or I would have been knocking on neighbors doors.

After dropping Marcus at Barnehage, my little sidekick, Rebecca and I drive to the Volvo dealership.  We walk in, go the reception desk and I ask where I need to go for a low battery issue.  She pointed me out into the "shop" area.  So we walk outside, but there isn't a desk anywhere I can see.  So we walk towards the front of the building, nope.  Just two guys pulling into the garage/shop area, and nearly scaring me to death.  So we walk back inside the main building.  I look into an office and I asked the men where I need to go to have a battery checked out.  They pointed back out into the shop so we go back out in the shop, so we walk towards some offices.  And then we keep walking, looking for something that looks remotely like an information desk or someone signing people in for service on their cars.  Nope nothing, but finally a man starts speaking to us… I look at him and ask him if he speaks English, he nodes.  You look like you are lost, I'm thinking to myself… (Really what would give you that idea.  I'm walking with a 4yr girl in a "shop" area; cars being worked on and half of them are on lifts.)  I then told him I had a low battery light come on this morning.  He said, I will get someone to help you.  Finally, so we walked back to one of the offices we passed, he explains my problem to I'm guessing its a supervisor.  The supervisor asked where the car was I told him in the parking lot.  He says something to another guy and asks for my keys.   He asks me, do you need the battery to be charged or a new battery.  I looked at him and said I'm not sure, but I do know its under warranty.  He said we will take care of the car.

So Rebecca and I go back into the showroom.  They have a small Lego table for kids to play and I had my phone charged up.  My car salesperson recognizes me and asks if everything was ok…I said not really but they are working on it.  About 45minutes to an hour later, the guy who took my keys comes back looking for us… here are your keys you have a new battery.  I then ask where I pay, thinking there is some sort of fee even though it is under warranty.  Nope, nothing..just have a nice day.  Wait WHAT?!?!?  I have a new battery, it was a reasonable amount of time being I didn't have an appointment.  And we can have a warm car to get into in the mornings.  I love this feature, but I still miss my heated steering wheel in my old car.

Goodbye 2013 ~ Hello 2014

Wow, what a year 2013 was for our family.  For some reason odd numbered years are always big for our family…Jan & I met in 2001, moved into together in 2003, we were married in 2005, I finished my degree finally in 2007, Rebecca was born in 2009, Marcus in 2011, and now we moved to Norway in 2013.  Don't get me wrong, our even years aren't boring but there is something about the odd numbered years.

We had a quiet New Year's eve day.  I had a little time to myself, so I went into the city center and walked around.  I had asked the question to my Facebook expat group if anyone knew where I could get some black eyed peas.  For those of you, who aren't from the Southern United States, its a tradition to eat black eye peas, cabbage, and pork, I'm sure I am missing something.  I was told to try an Asian market in town, thanks to the trusty google maps for getting me to the street I needed to find.  Then when I walk into a store, I found cornmeal, I was one happy person.  I did find the black eyed peas as well, but I was super excited about the cornmeal.

I made it to a fireworks stand and picked up some sparklers for the kids to twirl around.  I would love to set off some of the big ones but Rebecca is sensitive to the loud noises the fireworks make.  So we have fun with the sparklers.

We had a quiet evening just the four of us at our new home.  As soon as the sun set, we started hearing fireworks around the neighborhood.  Then we went out about 8:30, typically the kids bedtime but tonight was special so we put on our warm clothes and headed out the door.  we walked up to a hill behind our neighborhood but we couldn't see very much.  Then lit our sparklers.  Rebecca was a little reserved but Marcus as soon as he knew what to do he wanted to twirl them around in big circles.  The three packs of sparklers were finished pretty quick but they had fun.  One safety note, the fireworks stand worker asked if I wanted any safety glasses I said sure, he asked how many children and adults.  I said two of each, yes they have child size safety glasses.  Do you really think anyone wore them?  Yes, our safety child, wore hers but no-one else did.  She kept them on until we asked her to take them off so we could take a family photo.  The best one was with her safety glasses on ;-)

sorry for the blur but it was raining. 
Jan showing Marcus how to do the sparker...

our safety girl…she loved wearing the safety glasses ;-)

We headed back towards the house but took a little detour.  Someone was lighting some fireworks, we stopped and waited then…they started shooting in the air. BANG BANG, not good, Rebecca didn't like it at all and was holding her little ears.  The kids were in the double BOB strollers so Jan took off running, he said if that box tips over this way we will be right in the blasting zone, not a good thing.  We get back home, Rebecca is determined to stay up later and later.  I think she was scared of all the fireworks going off.  Marcus finally passed out around 10pm and Rebecca was running from window to window looking at the fireworks.  Poor girl, she fell asleep about 15minutes before 2014 and missed the midnight fireworks.

About a few minutes before midnight, bang bang bang bang, the sky was lit up everywhere.  We are close to the top of a hill in the neighborhood so we could see all the way down to the fjord and the North Sea.  It was amazing, here in Norway private citizens can purchase and set off the type of fireworks typically only allowed by "professionals" in the USA… I stood up on a concrete wall on the patio and could see for miles, fireworks all over the area.  I went up to the balcony on the upper floor and it was absolutely amazing and beautiful.  This went on for about 20 minutes.  We were worried it would wake up the kids…but for some reason tonight they slept through all the fireworks.   I'm glad they didn't wake, maybe next year they can see the midnight fireworks.  Sorry none of the photos turned out to share…cloudy and raining don't mix well with cameras.

New Year's Day 2014.  We took the kids out for a short walk to the neighborhood playground to play for a while.   The playground looked like it was a base camp for fireworks…they were everywhere on the ground.   Later, we had our black eyed peas, cabbage, pork chops and cornbread for lunch.  Then we go over to Bestemor's house for a light dinner.  It was a great start to 2014.