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Friday, April 23, 2010

Quail Cam!


The quail are getting huge! Soon we'll move them outside & get them used to scratching for food on the ground instead of getting it out of a tray. Then they may be ready to join the wild quail in our backyard.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just look at what I found behind my house! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

One of the dirt roads apparently has a name. who woulda thunk it. So there is a beautiful 20 mile loop that only has 3.5miles on pavement. Total elevation gain of about 2000' (according to MapMyRide). The question now is whether I can actually run 20miles these days. Better bring the drink belt.


I think these are amazing:

Bike to work pants.

If I do get a pair they would officially be the most expensive pair of pants I own. But still... so cool.

Because I don't have a picture to do 'em justice. Pants. but the liner is reflective so when you roll up your pantleg to ride your bike it reflects! And the picket liners are reflective so where your pockets gaps glows too. I love it!

Friday, April 16, 2010


I was on the only flight home from Europe yesterday... this was Frankfurt Int'l airport shortly after I left according to the
New York Times article.

We even had to turn back 2 hrs into the flight and divert back to frankfurt because our captain was sick, 2hrs on the ground and then off so an extra 6hrs in the plane, but it's better than living in FRA.

There's a huge ash cloud from Iceland closing down most of the air space over Europe. Sad for everyone stuck places.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dear driver, please be aware that the speed limit is no longer 60kph.

Also, please watch out for kangaroos.


Nesodden has kangaroos!!!


Nesodden has kangaroos???

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KK at the top of the hill waiting for the carnage below to clear out.

KK post downhill.

There were three other girls on the dogsledding expedition with us (okay, maybe "expedition" is stretching it a little) and they all fell off at least once. So I guess there is some agility involved in standing on a moving dogsled!

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Around Tromsø

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Tromsø (actually Tisnes) dogsledding

KK & I went dogsledding this morning. It was much fun, if I'd known it was so much fun I would have done it in Alaska. Silly me. First we got to meet the doggies. Actually, first we met the 4 puppies, but I was too busy playing with them to take any photos. They were the most adorable things (although I suppose I would say that about any other puppy I came across also).

Then we got to meet the sled dogs. They each had their own house in the kennel and loved to say hi & give hugs & kisses. So cute. I was covered in dog hair in 17 seconds. Luckily for my clothing we were wearing Arctic Adventure issued boots, snowsuits & gloves.

They had the the dogs we were taking outside already harnessed and waiting to be clipped in. As soon as we started moving around the sleds they all took up barking, "choose me! choose me!" We were instructed to stand on the brake while the handlers hooked up the dogs to the gurney lines.

Here's Kirsten with no dogs yet but already holding on for dear life.

Now she has dogs! Her sled is still staked to the ground.

Kirsten made a successful dog musher. The snow piled up some on her sled because it was so slushy that when you use the brake it would pile up and spill onto the sled. I enjoyed it immensely even if it was soft corn snow. I tried kicking too on some of the uphills but in the soft snow the dogs were way more effective than I was. (Plus, most of the time I had to use the brake, they didn't exactly need my help.)

My doggies did a good job!


Tromsø (actually Hella)


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tromsø (actually Svalberg)

They claim these rock carvings are about 4500 years old. The red paint is not quite that old. The red paint does make it easier to see the figures but I did actually run my fingers over the rock to make sure there actually were lines carved in it.

Kirsten claimed that she couldn't really read this sign because it was written in the local dialect. She still did a pretty good job of deciphering though.


Tromsø (actually Tisnes)


Tromsø Polar Museum

Hunting was the major commercial activity in Northern Norway & the Polar Museum started out with some very well done but rather sad (from our very sheltered and PETA-influenced point of view).

...an Arctic Fox couple, one of whom is about to be stoned to death and one of whom is about to be traumatized & bereaved for life

...a reindeer being slaughtered

...baby seals about to be bludgeoned to death

No one was trying to kill this seal at the moment, though I imagine they would shoot it with a rifle. I was trying to make kk look like she was kissing the seal, but she started laughing so it didn't really work out for us.

Tromsø has been the last jumping off point for many Arctic expeditions. Someone tried to fly a hot air balloon over the North Pole (he didn't make it).

A model of the Latham 47, the plane that Roald Amundsen disappeared in.

Then there was a polar bear skin on the floor. The amount of fur in this museum was staggering.

Kirsten was actually afraid in this photo because they had audio of a softly growling bear. I had to coax her into getting even this close to the bear. True story.

So I had known about Roald Amundsen & his expeditions to the North & South poles & how Norwegians were so proud of him. Who I didn't know about until today was Fridtjof Nansen maybe because his name is so much harder to pronounce. Nansen is my new hero. He attempted the North Pole in 1893... didn't make it BUT he had an amazing expedition. It was three years before they returned (that was part of the plan) and all the crew members survived & the boat "Fram" survived and was, in fact, used by Amundsen on his expedition to the South Pole. I really need to read his book, Farthest North. Here's an unofficial summary...

Nansen develops his polar drift theory, that a boat stuck in the drift ice will cross over the pole region (and when it gets close enough you dog sled/ski over to the pole). Outfitted an expedition. Developed a boat able to resist the crushing pressure of the sea ice. Once Fram (the boat) was stuck in the ice, they set up shop. The had a windmill to provide electricity for lighting & Nansen had all kinds of scientific devices to gather data (Nansen was a zoologist, Oceonographer & also kick started the fields of neurology & fluid dynamics). Nansen expected the journey to take three years, so he outfitted for five and also had workshops so his crew could work while stuck in the ice.

Someways into it he realized his theory was wrong and that the ship wasn't going to pass through to Alaska area. So Nansen asked Hjalmer Johansen to join him in SKIING to the north pole (with dog teams). They took 100days of rations & 30days worth for the dogs. At the 50th day in they turned back. Broke a watch. The dogs died off. Nansen fell through the ice. Johansen almost got eaten by a Polar bear. Nansen had to SWIM after their kayaks when they almost floated away. They built a stone hut to overwinter for NINE months. Stayed friends. Made their way all the way to Franz Josef Land and found an English research camp in the spring. Amazing. I'll stop babbling now!


Friday, April 09, 2010

More travel?

view from the ferry Nesoddtange->Oslo. This is a little island where people have summer homes.
My first flight with Norwegian Air.
I think the entire country of Norway is beautiful.

KK & I got to do the full travel menagerie again yesterday... bus/ferry/subway/train/plane/car. Maybe that's just how things go around here and I shouldn't be so impressed



I arrived in Oslo! And after a good wander around the city with Kirsten, we went back to where she is being an exchange student in Nesodden. Nesodden is absolutely charming. It's across the fjord from Oslo so you have to take a ferry (or a looong bus ride) to get there so it feels rural but Oslo is right there if you want to be in a big city.

I went for a run this morning to check out the area. As recommended I ran down past the church to the shore then I ran down the shoreline on the road... which was a one lane dirt road and turned out to really just be a series of very long driveways. I finally figured out that there was a little footpath along the shoreline and that if you followed the blue dots you didn't have to worry about the road (driveway) ending on you in front of someone's house.

It's such an adorable place, although it takes a little travel to get here... from my house on Wednesday I took a car, 3 planes, a train, a subway, a ferry boat, a bus, and some walking!

It's been fun to see my little sister again! It's been the longest I've ever not seen a sibling since she left for Norway. And she's all speaking Norwegian and being self sufficient! I'm so proud of her.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Japanese woman just told me that I eat my udon like a Japanese person. "your style is the same way we do it in japan!" she also told me that I used my chopsticks really well.

I don't know who was more pleased, her or me.

I am at SEA en route to OSL. Off to visit my little sister for a week!

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