Thursday, June 18, 2009

School visit, maracas, and Greek dinner.

Today I had planned to visit my daughter's school. I had emailed with two of her teachers, and my plan was to drop by in the end of her International Arts class, and follow her to the Language Arts and Social Studies class. I thought I should be able to be there by 9AM. Well, late last night, I learned that I had to be there an hour earlier, if I wanted to catch the Arts class...
So, leaving my almost 10-year-old alone with a spare key to lock up before he left for school, I took my toddler and my 5-year-old and managed to be at Hamilton Middle school by 8AM. It was fun being part of the class, and J enjoyed himself, walking around and smiling to lots of big kids.
The halls were crazy, bustling with students running in both directions, to get to their class on time. I wore the baby on my back, so he sat up there, like a little king, while we rushed after P down the hall, up the huge staircase, along another hallway, until we reached the next classroom. Here we were treated to doughnuts and cookies, because it was Publishing Party for the book the class has been writing. They have each written a story, and the teacher is putting it all together.

After a couple of hours, we said goodbye to P, and headed out into Wallingford. The local playground was a must, of course, but when J started to eat sand again, I decided it was time to go. We strolled along residential streets, then 45th, until we reached John's Music, a place I've wanted to see for a while, to buy children's maracas. We got six, all different colors, and Alma bought herself wrist bells for her ponies.

It was time for lunch, so we went to the car. Back home, Alma and Jonatan got leftover Pasta Alfredo and apple sauce, and I, when Jonatan was asleep and Alma quietly playing in her room, had sushi while reading on my bed.

After the big kids came home, we had popsicles (yes, the house gets very hot!), picked up around the house, and before bedtime we all went to Vios for dinner. (The Greek restaurant at Third Place Books. ) Wonderful, Greek food, not expensive, and very kid-friendly. Play-area, toys and books you can bring to the table, and really good pita bread...

And, we found a book that wanted to come home with us: A used copy of "Oh say can you say"




Good night.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

City, Art and Mexican beer.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband, my youngest son and spent the morning downtown.  
We went to The Legacy Ltd  in First Avenue to look for a  print from the Northwest Coast Indian art tradition.  It was such a wonderful experience.  Our baby napped in the stroller, we had just had a latte at a nearby coffee shop, while waiting for the art gallery to open, and we were met by the most wonderful people!  And, even with my horrible decision phobia, I was able to narrow down what I actually was looking for.  The gallery people explained so well the different styles, the different symbols and made the whole visit so much more than just buying a print.

We chose a Raven image by D. Boxley.  I don't have a picture of it yet, but you can see this, - another Raven, made by J. Hudson, in the same tradition: 

This Raven picture, by the way, can be seen on the wall of Seattle's "Grace Hospital" in the TV series Grey's Anatomy.  
I've always noticed the different native american prints that can be viewed on that show, but I had no idea we had chosen the gallery where they were all bought!

My Raven picture is in Norway, it went in one of my husband's suitcases last Wednesday, and hopefully it has been taken out of the cardboard tube by now. I'll have it matted and framed when we all are back in Norway, and it will be one of the main keepsakes to remind us of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.  

After saying goodbye to the gallery people, we strolled up First Avenue, and ended up at a mexican restaurant, where we had a early lunch, sitting outside, with the view of downtown Seattle and Elliot Bay with its boats and ferries.



Seattle Art Museum in the background, 
with the famous Hammering Man.



Piece of art ouside one of Seattle's highrise buildings.


I can't remember the name of the building,
but I think it is the most beautiful of Seattle's highrises




Sunday, June 14, 2009

Angel

This is one of my favorite songs, because of the lyrics.  It is soothing, like a real hug or perfect words from somebody who have the power to make a difference in how I feel.




Angel 
Sarah McLachlan

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance 
For the break that will make it OK 
There's always some reason to feel not good enough 
And it's hard at the end of the day 
I need some distraction or a beautiful release 
Memories seep from my veins 
Let me be empty and weightless and maybe 
I'll find some peace tonight 

In the arms of the Angel far away from here 
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear 
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the Angel; may you find some comfort here 

So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn 
There's vultures and thieves at your back 
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies 
That you make up for all that you lack 
It don't make no difference, escaping one last time 
It's easier to believe 
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness 
That brings me to my knees 

In the arms of the Angel far away from here 
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear 
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie 
In the arms of the Angel; may you find some comfort here 
You're in the arms of the Angel; may you find some comfort here

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Contact trouble

Living in the US, we are used to lots of things being much easier than in Norway.  Medications, for example.  In Norway, you can hardly buy anything else than Tylenol over the counter, and even then you can only buy a box of 10 at a time...  Doctor's appointment for everything, and they are reluctant to prescribe mostly all of it. 
So, when I realized I was almost out of (disposable) contact lenses, I figured I would just go ahead and pick up a box at the drugstore this weekend.  In Norway you need an optician's prescription, but if you are travelling, you can always just tell them what kind you need, and you'll be able to buy a few.
I don't usually wear my contacts all the time, but my glasses broke (they can still be used, but are really incomfortable, because one of the nose thingies are missing, and I want to buy new ones at home, because of warranty and such), and with using contacts every day, I suddenly realized,  "oops, only a couple of days left ".  
Well, I didn't stress, just looked up an optical place in Wallingford, planned to go there after walking around Green Lake with Jonatan.  
Luckily I called first, because not only did they NOT sell contacts there, but they also told me I wouldn't be able to buy ANY lenses without an eye doctor's prescription.  But, since this was kind of an emergency, I could try and call some of the larger optical clinics in town.  
So I did, but they said exactly the same everywhere I called,  and they all also said it would take 7-10 business days to GET the contacts once the prescription was made. At last I found a place in University Street where they would accept a fax from my optical center in Norway instead of an eye doctor here, and they had only a two day wait after that.  Great!  I asked them kindly if they could just go ahead and order the contacts, and then, on Monday, I could have the fax sent over.  It is Friday, after all, and with the time difference, it is already weekend in Norway...  
Absolutely not.  First they see the fax, then they order the contacts.  
But, I have only two days left, and with them not getting the fax before Monday, I will be a half-blind mole with glasses that need to be held in place for, let's see, at least three days!

While these phone calls were taking place, Jontan emptied a box of Corn Flakes all over the living room floor, and walked happily around in it, making small crushing sounds all over.

Suddenly I remembered something.  There is a branch of my optical center that is located at my home town mall, and they close at 8pm.  It was five minutes to eleven, SEA time, so I threw myself on the computer, searching for their number.  And, yes, of course they would fax over my prescription.

Two minutes later I call the University Street clinic back, and they have the fax and everybody is happy.  Somebody named Michael will call me in a few minutes.  
Well, Michael didn't call until I was in the parking garage at Trader Joe's, and I couldn't hear  a thing.  "Excuse me a minute!" I shreeked, while snatching Jonatan from his car seat, running like crazy out of the garage until I could hear the tiny voice in the cell phone.  It turned out Michael didn't know my particular brand of contacts, and even if I told him that any brand would do, since it was only for a few weeks, he insisted I came in for a fitting.  Would next week suit you?  
AAAARGH!  

They miraculously fit me in at 4:15 pm, so loaded with sweaty kids I arrived at the center, talked to Michael, and walked out with three pairs of trial contacts while waiting for the real ones arriving on Tuesday.

Mac'n cheese for dinner.  Kids happy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Whining

No, I'm not talking about kids, but me.
Two days, and I'm already very tired.  Yes, I know, there are lots of single moms out there, and others who cope for months alone.  I don't really have much to whine about.  
Well, maybe it's harder when you're used to being two, and maybe it's harder when the kids are so spread out in age?  
If they were all small, I guess they would all be in bed early, and I'd have time to think, and if they were all big, they would all be in school part of the time.  
As it is, the youngest is with me 24 hours a day, needing constant looking after, milk, play, diaper changes, hugs and closeness,  the five-year-old need unlimited  answers and reassurance, stories, ideas, (and much of what goes for the 18-month-old) the almost ten-year-old need action, exercise and space to do his things, (plus much of the same that goes for the five-year-old), and the twelve-year old need to talk, need me to be available for her, (plus much of what goes for the others)  
When we're two parents, it's actually possible to juggle all these different needs and still have some time to rewind.  Well, with only one, that is close to impossible.   Add to this the grocery shopping,  cooking, cleaning, laundry...

I'm whining now, I know that, and I'm embarrassed.  Wasn't going to post this, but then again, it makes me feel good to get it out there.  

The house is quiet, and I might have enough energy to read a bit before I go to sleep.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer in Seattle

Yes.  It's here now.  Warm days, sunscreen, popsicles for dessert.  There is so much greenery out there that I can hardly see Green Lake from my place at the computer.  Leaves of different sizes, and of all shades of green.  Flowers, warm earth and sand, lots of sand.  On the little beach by the lake, of course, and on the playground, in the sand toys and  in our shoes, in everybody's hair, and in Jonatan's diapers...
"Our" ducks have all had their little ones by now.  Some are still infant ducklings, others are starting to be more like teenagers.  It's so much fun watching those proud moms swimming around, head lifted high, while 2-9 small feather balls follow on a straight line.  The dads feel left out, I guess.  No one is oohing and aahing over them, where they sit, all grouped together on the shore, sulking, not knowing what do to anymore.  

I started out this day by taking my husband to the airport, and after the goodbyes, facing two consecutive weeks of single motherhood.  What makes it harder here than where we live in Norway, is that I just can't send out the kids by themselves.  Makes a huge difference.
After getting lost twice on the freeways around the airport (yes, I guess I was preoccupied), I finally made it back home.  Wrapped up Jonatan on my back, and got out the scooter for Alma.  First destination: Library.  Then, a few hours by the Greenlake playground, picnic lunch in the shadow of a tree, and when I could tell Jonatan needed a nap, we went back to the house.   
While J napped on the main deck and Alma wrote a book about ponies, I stole a few moments on the roof deck with my book and a cold drink.
A quick trip to Target after Pauline came home, or quick is maybe not the correct word.  The freeway was packed.  
Dinner - bath/showers - storytelling - milk - reassurance -  some more milk - laundry - and finally, a glass of wine in an acceptably clean house.  
Good night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver BC.  
An oasis of beautiful architecture, plants and water.  
Circular and square shapes alternate throughout the garden, which is a replica of a chinese scribe's private garden in the 15th century.  
You step out from the busy city life and into something completely different.  
We visited the garden in the beginning of May.  With the cool temperature and a few raindrops hanging over our heads, there were hardly anybody there but us, and the visit was a special experience of beauty and peace.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Kinesiske Hage i Vancouver, Canada.
En oase av vakker arkitektur, planter og vann.
Runde og firkantede former alternerer gjennom hele hagen, som er en kopi av en kinesisk skriftlærds private hage fra 1400-tallet.
Du går ut av det travle bylivet og inn i noe fullstendig annerledes.
Vi besøkte hagen i begynnelsen av mai.  Med kjølig temperatur og noen få regndråper hengende over hodene våre, var det nesten ikke andre enn oss der, og besøket i hagen var en særegen opplevelse av skjønnhet og fred.
























































































Saturday, June 6, 2009

We have a toddler!

Jonatan walks!  
Here you can see our toddler, enjoying the beach ( in Edmonds ) for the first time!

Jonatan kan gå!
Her kan dere se han boltre seg på stranda ( i Edmonds ) for første gang!



I love sand!

















Let's see, should I go for a run?...





Here we go!