tilly_stratford: (Fred and Cyd: Don't mind you watching)
So busy, in fact, that I've already been staying in Eastern Norway for a week, at my mum's, and haven't had the chance to mention it here yet. I've been so busy, I'm behind on both Game of Thrones and Lupin III (and that's saying something)!

In summary:
- Traveled from Bergen (where all my stuff remains decidedly not packed).
- Spent hours cuddling with Linni who's been staying here this last month (doing well, although it's getting time for some claw-cutting again. Already dreading it).
- Went to a job interview which I think went pretty well (fingers crossed).
- Helped my sister and mum prepare cake and decorations for my niece's Confimation.
- Went to my niece's Confimation (the first Christian one I've attended - in Norway we've also got humanist/atheist Confimations as an alternative rite of passage).

And next week it's time for my sister Tiny's wedding (I'm the maid of honour), as well as her daughter's navnefest (literally "name party" - it's the humanist/atheist alternative to a baptism). Oh, and I'm hoping I might have found a place to live before I head back to Bergen where I can continue begin to pack, seeing as I definitely need to move out in June.

I've had time to keep an eye on Eurovision Song Contest though. Usually I don't care one jot about ESC - I haven't watched any of it for at least five years (the only way I found out Norway won that one time was because there were people outside my window drunkenly singing the song at four o'clock in the morning), but the moment I catch a second of it I'm always hooked. The grating melodies, the way too big stages, the odd costumes! I am very pleased that my favourite entry won, I don't think that has ever happened before. But I still think Moldova's cute, eccentric performance should have been in the top ten. (This is where we quietly ignore Norway placing last and how we've actually hold the record for the most ESC flops.)
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
So I've gathered my things, put some podcasts on the mp3 player, charged the phone and the DS (I'm on the final case of the first Ace Attorney game, maybe this is the day), emptied the dishwasher, cuddled A LOT with Linni, pretty much packed all my things, and there are still a couple of hours left before I need to start making myself a mastodontic meal (because I deal with lengthy train journeys the way bears deal with winter; I stuff myself with food, and then attempt to sleep through the ordeal) and now I might just have enough time to breeze through the latest Lupin episode (I'm toying with the idea of watching it on the train, but I doubt my rackety old computer's battery can last an entire hour) before I'm on my way.

Incidentally, this popped up on Tumblr last week and it's been a secret source of joy for me: It's Kiyoshi Kobayashi (Jigen's voice actor) rocking out on a ukulele with a Duke Ellington tune.

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I realize this might be amazing only to me, mostly because I vaguely remember discussing with someone years ago how "there are certain instruments that only fit certain genres. Like the ukulele, you can't rock out on a ukulele."

Grumpy gus

Apr. 9th, 2012 08:18 pm
tilly_stratford: (Darkwing: not convinced)
As if I'm not emotionally vulnerable enough these days (SUCH a crybucket), I've developed not only one, but two cold sores on my upper lip. A personal record. And in spite of what the ads tell you, those clear cold sore plasters, while pretty effective, don't stay on when you eat or drink. Which means I'm trying out this new style of drinking which doesn't involve the upper lip at all. Still haven't quite perfected it.

Another problem with cold sores are that they generally can't be confused with a bruised lip from fighting. So I can't make up any badass stories when people point to my mouth and make sympathetic noises.

Another grievance: Nordic TCM's current programming just won't do. See, my mum's got TCM (or the Cartoon Network/TCM hybrid channel) and also DVR, and I always get a lot of mileage out of both when I'm visiting. There's usually at least one movie per night to peak my interest, but looking at the listings now... Some C-list Westerns, and late eighties comedies (when did that become TCM material?), it's hugely disappointing.

TCM's Norwegian website is also a complete joke. It was last updated in October and there are broken links and typos everywhere. A far cry from the main TCM site, which I actually use as a handy resource.

On the upside, there is lots of candy and cats here to bury my woes in.

Escape

Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:15 pm
tilly_stratford: (Cello in the rain)
Looks like I'm making a very unplanned trip to Eastern Norway and my family this week. I know it's not been long since I spent an overlong holiday there but I need to do something to get out of this rut I'm in. Also it'll be great eating something besides chicken-flavoured noodles (boy did the novelty of that wear out fast).

I didn't even realize how low I've been these last few weeks. That desaturated, aimless numbness that makes it hard to even get out of bed during the day, or making the effort to keep things tidy around me (except for Linni's sake). Things I know I usually love (spring, old musicals, Terence Hill's legs) giving me no enjoyment, and then clinging onto increasingly narrow, specific things (Dick Powell, rollerdisco music) that gives me even the tiniest trace of entertainment.

Anyway, heading homewards (I realize it's confusing how I keep calling two different places "home", I think the rule of thumb is that "home" is the place I'm not at) tomorrow on an early train, Linni in tow as usual. Now all I've got to do is figure out what kind of music to bring along (besides Dick Powell and rollerdisco music obviously).

Final day

Mar. 5th, 2012 02:03 pm
tilly_stratford: (Default)
I'm heading back to Bergen today, after nearly a month of my usual Grand Tour of Mooching. I didn't plan to stay so long on this side of the mountains, but a combination of new-baby rush and a curious lack of available train tickets for people traveling with animals, I just sort of... stayed a while. But I'll be home again by midnight.

So yeah, new baby, the one my sister Tiny made - I've been living with them a while, getting to know the new family addition. Her name is Hanne (/'hʌne/), she sleeps a lot. The last couple of weeks have been a learning experience for the both of us - she's learning that whole "living in a non-fluid environment, eating with the mouth" business, I've learned that I am in fact able to pick up, carry and interact with a newborn child without killing it. Change nappies, even (Did you know they come with velcro fasteners now? IT BLEW MY MIND).

Tiny posted some pictures of her on her blog, here's the entry run though Google Translate ("I rinse the breast-fog" indeed).

Welp, I need to finish packing. And catch Linni at some point. I've still got a long scar from the last time I had to get her into her carrier. Hopefully it'll go down a little smoother today.

Off again

Feb. 6th, 2012 01:49 pm
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
In three hours' time I'll be on the Bergen-Oslo train once again, Linni in tow. The little person in my sister Tiny's tummy's due to make her grand appearance any day now, so that's the occasion we're all looking forward to.

The idea of traveling with Linni becomes less daunting for each trip. She's got a lot of experience in that department. In fact she's traveled more than 870 miles with me by now, and that number'll be even higher by tonight. Of course I have a perpetual fear of her getting out of her carrier somehow and running off at some mountain hamlet somewhere on the way, forcing me to abandon all my things and go trudging after her in some snow storm, but that's me and my illogical anxieties.

I'm bringing some chicken pasta salad (we'll probably share some of it on the way), and I've got my book and DS packed. Here's hoping for yet another perfectly pleasant trip over the mountains.

Return'd

Jan. 6th, 2012 02:14 pm
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
Back in Bergen again - where I discovered a commode in the shower and the wires and bits of the water heater coiled up on the the bathroom floor. Not entirely certain what's going on there.

Now that I'm back to my regular life - and computer - again I feel like there've been so many things I've neglected to write about this December. Just look at all the things I've done:

- Finished all of The Wire, which I feel I should have written A WHOLE LOT about, because it is probably the best TV series I've ever watched. Top quality. It's this damn-nigh perfect entity - which is why I've never been able to write much about it, because I can't pick it apart and latch onto specific things to fangirl about, like I do with my other shows. All the characters are complex and flawed, ALL of them do both wonderful deeds and despicable ones, the stories are spellbinding but never gimmicky. The Wire is just... amazing television.

- Listened to Tiny's upcoming baby's heartbeat. Well it - she - is already a baby but she haven't made her world debut yet, you see. I accompanied Tiny to her check-up, and the doctor listened with one of those doppler things and I... spontaneously started crying. I mean - I know my sister's eight months pregnant and I've felt the baby kick and hiccup and everything, and I'm not a very sentimental person, but hearing those heartbeats I got shockingly emotional all of a sudden.

- Celebrated the most ethical and environmnentally friendly Christmas yet, by replacing the usual "I don't know what to give you so here's some silly knick-knack I found in a store two days ago that we both know you'll never use" with Fair Trade digestibles. Well Tiny did, and I latched on. Didn't recieve any complaints, and that vanilla fudge was excellent.

- Cut Linni's back claws all by myself. Linni, who'll lash out the moment anybody tries to hold her or otherwise contain her. Linni, who's perpetually nervous about anybody touching her paws. And yet I managed to do it all in one evening while we we're both lounging on mum's sofa, and she never hissed or bolted. So now Linni can walk on hardwood floors without that click-click-click noise.

In fact when we moved Linni to mum's place I was worried that facing mum's two resident cats would make Linni withdraw and hide like she did at the shelter, but once again my cat showed off how adaptable she really is. She respected Missi, the elderly no-nonsense cat, and vigorously played with Luna, the young off-the-wall mischevious one. Here's a photo Luna and Linni at a rare quiet moment:


Good holiday overall!

Cat travel

Dec. 17th, 2011 03:29 pm
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Seven hour train ride over the mountains, me and Linni literally surrounded by eight dogs in our part of the cart... And everything went fine. Smoothest journey yet. None of the dogs ever seemed to catch whiff of the cat in carrier, and I'm starting to think Linni haven't the slightest idea what dogs are. Not even when one of them started barking did she turn her head to see what the fuss was about.

Linni was as usual furious about getting stuffed in the carrier, but once we'd settled in our seat she seemed quite content if a little tense. I discovered it hadn't been a fluke last time we traveled together; She really does calm down when I'm petting her inside the carrier. She spent several hours of the journey sleeping with her head resting in my hand, aww.

Right now she's trying to acclimatize to mum's house. Stairs is a new concept. Sharing a home with other cats isn't, but obviously it's different from the shelter. Today is the first time I've let her out of my room and into the rest of the house, and right now I'm sitting on the floor observing her staring competitions with the resident cats. A little hissing, a little growling, but no violence or major posturing. We'll see how this turns out.

Surprise!

Nov. 2nd, 2011 10:30 pm
tilly_stratford: (Kaizer: Humping Terje)
I'm spending a week in Eastern Norway!

I came here for my sister Tiny's birthday last Saturday - it was very tricky keeping it a secret from her, as she's probably the one person who knows me best and thus the one person who's most able to tell whether I'm lying, but I made some vague comments about mailing her a present, I dropped some hints that I had plans for celebrating a Bergen Halloween, and then I got on the train and spent the entire Friday traveling over the mountains.

Then on her birthday my mum said she's hidden a present in my sister's toolshed and there I was. I've neglected to mention to you that Tiny's currently six months pregnant, with her first - I thought it was bad form to startle a pregnant woman too much, so I whined my softest "Hi!" and hugged her. Against all odds she hadn't suspected a thing, it was awesome!

And gosh, her belly has grown since I last saw her! It's so odd to think there's a little girl gestating in there.

But anyway, this is me taking a break from worrying about unemployment and lack of money for a week. I've finally found the peace of mind to just sit down and read some good fiction - I think maybe I'll finally get to finish Mists of Avalon.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
We made it across the mountains in one piece. I am beyond exhausted. When I saw what state my neighbour had left our shared bathroom in I felt like crying, but I've made my peace with the fact that I'll just have to scrub it down at some point. (Not today.)

Linni, once again proving that she has far less trouble adapting to stressful situations than I give her credit for, handled the trip beautifully. For once she seemed to calm down when I petted her (I was honestly amazed she let me touch her at all, she usually claws my arms off when it's road trip time), and we actually had the carrier open for the majority of the trip (with the appropriate precautions in mind, of course) and not a single thing went wrong.

She seems quite content to be back in our old rooms as well - she just spent an hour rubbing against her favourite blanket and me while purring loudly.

Me, I'm starting to feel a little more like myself now that I've read a couple of newspapers and listened to some music. Tonight I'm definitely going to fall right back into my old habits; some buttered toast, a cup of tea, another episode of Lupin III (now how far along was I? Oh yes, I've only got two episodes left of Red Jacket. Aaa.)

And tomorrow I've got an entire day with Tiny and Morten. Hoping for some sunny weather.
tilly_stratford: (Default)
When will I learn. When it's time to head over the mountains again I can never get any sleep. Tomorrow's the day; Only this time I'll make my second ever Oslo-Bergen trip by car, not train. Tiny and Morten have graciously offered to act as chauffeurs. Hopefully it'll be a little easier on Linni too.

So anyway, random insomnia thoughts: 'Imagine' by John Lennon.

Has there ever been a cover artist who've realized what it says? )

I'm really sleepy and I'm fairly certain I come across as a really obnoxious besserwisser about this, I'm sorry. Let me just state for the record that misinterpreted songs is one of my biggest pet peeves (like people who think Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' is a patriotic cheer, or that The Police's 'Every Breath You Take' is super romantic and not some kind of stalker anthem). Sure, pop songs are pop songs, but when it comes to 'Imagine' I see a trend where people cover it to give the impression of being very socially conscious and radical when everything else about them shows they are anything but.

[And I didn't mean to let any of this reflect badly on my Norwegian/Music/Religion teacher, because she was awesome.]
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
Aaand back living at my sister's, squeeing about The Wire (Omar and Brother Mouzone teaming up? AAAAAH ♥) and going for strolls in the searing (for Norway) sun.

Let's take a look at my prophecies from the previous entry then:

- I did not get a sunburn at all, in spite of sitting for hours in the sun in an dinghy, dressed in a tank top. My skin is as porcelain white as ever (my skin has only three states of being: Wintery blueish/translucent, ridiculously pale, and sunburn red), thanks to copious amounts of SPF 30 sunscreen.

- I did catch a fish! My first fish in a decade or so, and my first ever saltwater fish! It was a small haddock, which I lovingly gutted, cooked and served to Linni - who thought it was the scariest thing she'd ever seen. I put some cat food in the plate with it to indicate that it was meant for consumption, but she only gingerly used her paw to pull the bits of cat food away and ate them at a safe distance from the fish. It dawned on me that Linni had never seen fish that didn't come out a tin.

- Still adore Sir Thomas More. So much that I intend the next book I read to be his Utopia (it's going to be weird reading a book written by an actual saint though). I think I'll head into Oslo sometime this week and look for it, I'm fairly certain they ought to have it at one of the bigger book shops.

Generally I'd love to read more actual Medieval literature. Not books about the Middle Ages - I've got four or so shelves of Medieval history full and fit to burst back in Bergen - but from that time. Now that I've finished my degree in Medieval History I can finally sit down and read all the books I've seen referenced or quoted or mentioned in my history books. In these three years of studying, the only actual primary sources I've read are the Royal Frankish Annals, Arthaśāstra, the dirty parts of The Canterbury Tales (don't ask, you'd know if you had friends like mine), and a number of Norse legends, Christian apocrypha and chivalric romance in Norse.

Once I've read Utopia I think it'd be fun to counter it with Machiavelli's The Prince. I remember also wanting to read Rustichello da Pisa's Il Milione (a.k.a. The travels of Marco Polo) - which might be a good break away from the politics. Aw, it's so nice to be free to read whatever I want again!
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
I'm now at my dad's in Eidsvoll, where the moose (meese?) are thick on the ground (saw a mother with its calf yesterday), British drama's on the telly and I've had a stroke of genius concerning my forgotten eye mask (solution: Wide, soft hairband!).

Visited the vet today - not with Linni as you'd think, but with an adolescent black half-Persian called Iben H. (it's sort of a pun on the Norwegian word for "ebony" you see) who's suffering terribly from a urinary tract infection. Iben belongs to dad and Kari, so while dad was at work I acted as chauffeur. He - Iben, not dad - got more antibiotics so hopefully things are going to get sorted out promptly.

Tomorrow we head for the family cabin for the weekend. Two days without a proper toilet is usually weighed up for with a beautiful view of the river and lovely barbecuing. Catch you on the flipside.
tilly_stratford: (Cello in the rain)
One of the nice things about having impulsive, easygoing friends like Rune is that you might suddenly find yourself at a music festival you never knew existed, in a tiny Norwegian port town you'd only heard about in passing.

In short: On Thursday Rune messaged me asking if I wanted to come with him to the Stavern Festival, on Friday we drove for hours and spent a day attending concerts in lovely green surroundings in a bay. I haven't attended a lot of music festivals and this was by far the smallest I'd attended - only two stages, but lots of good artists.

We had an absolutely lovely time, only marred by the fact that it poured the entire day and there was no shelter or place to sit. We didn't mind too much the first couple of hours but there is a special kind of misery that comes from spending five or so hours completely soaked to the skin.

But we still hanged in there to catch every concert that day, and the artists were: )

But all in all, had a lovely time. Rune and I agreed that apart from the weather it had been a perfect day.
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
I have successfully set up base at my sister's. Much eating of cheese doodles and watching of the second season of The Wire has been done (Omaaaaar! ♥). Though true to form I can never manage to sleep the first couple of nights when I leave Bergen (but it's okay, I've been reorganizing my image folders again at night. Okay, so mostly creating subfolders titled "HAHA WHAT" in the various fanart folders).

Linni is once again proving to be so much quicker to adapt than I give her credit for. She was just about paralyzed with fear for the duration of the trip (not even the impetuous fly that landed on her nose could make her move, and she loves to chase flies). I worried that the trip might have been a very traumatic experience, so when we got to Tiny's I shut her in my bedroom and assumed she'd be sitting under the bed for a couple of days, but later that night she wanted to explore the rest of the apartment. The second day, yesterday, she would finally let me pet her again, and both Tiny and Morten (Tiny's fiancée) managed to pet her a little bit before she ran. I was very pleased when she came to me last night and wanted to snuggle up to me in bed, like she usually does.

All in all, Linni's still wary and easily frightened (she spends large parts of the day sleeping in my bedroom), but considering I thought it would take at least a week before she wanted to have anything to do with me again, we're really making a lot of progress.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
I travel over the mountains again tomorrow - the usual seven or eight hours by train from one side of the country (Bergen, my home) to the other (the Oslo area, my family). I must have made that trip a dozen times by now, but this is going to be the first time I do it with a stressed-out cat among my luggage. Since Linni's not aware of the impending ordeal I'm fretting for the both of us. I'll be armed with soft towels and Feliway spray and salmon treats. At least I learned from our recent trip to the vet that she's quick to settle in the carrier, she doesn't wail or try to break out, but it's not going to be an easy time for her.

But that's something to worry about tomorrow morning. First I need to clean this place (well I don't need to but it makes the return a little bit more pleasant) and pack my things.

And before that I'm going to have pizza and watch History of the World Part 1.
tilly_stratford: (Kaizer: Humping Terje)
Got a few minutes to spare as I'm sitting alone in my mum's house until Tiny comes and drives me to Oslo where I take the train back to Bergen. Of course it all feels slightly ridiculous seeing as I'm planning to return for Easter, but this is after all the penultimate week of English lectures and I got a feeling I should attend them.

But gosh, lots of things this last week: On Thursday, after showing Tiny and her Man the sights in Bergen, I spent seven - count them, seven - hours backcombing and twist'n'ripping Tiny's hair to get the dreading process going. I'm glad we decided to put in some solid prep work first - rubberbanding her hair into fifty-two neat little sections (in contrast, I've got thirty-five dreadlocks) - because from there on it was pretty pleasant work, though my thumbs felt like they were going to fall off once we passed the midnight mark. I'm well pleased with my first foray into making dreads rather than wearing them. My babies. I'm going to watch them grow and develop from here.

On Friday we went to Oslo by train (with plenty of stops as there was both storms in the mountain range and signaling problems on the track), and on Saturday we went shopping before the Kaizers Orchestra concert in Oslo Spektrum.

Bullet points because, well, Kaizers Orchestra )

Welp, that was as disjointed and out of order as my Kaizer reaction posts always are. Good to be back in the game.

And now, a long boring journey back to Bergen (I'm totally going to pop into the comic book shop at the station. I'm thinking Dark Avengers. I'm still waiting for Gargan to eat somebody's brain.)
tilly_stratford: (Kaizer: Humping Terje)
Time to get ready - Tiny and her man arrives in Bergen tomorrow! They'll stay for a couple of days (during which I've promised I'm going to help her start her off on her very own dread journey!) before all three of us travel to Oslo on Friday, in time for the Kaizers Orchestra concert on Saturday!

Meanwhile my first archeology paper (on Scandinavian finds from the Merovingian period) is due Friday. I've already finished it and sent it in today, and as a reward I've, um, bought stuff. Some things I'd promised myself I could buy when I finished the assignment and some things I sort of... hadn't. eBay is a very dangerous place to roam, especially when you've got a budding action figure collection. Well, at least it's something I wanted for years and it didn't set me too far back. I'm sure I'll write more about these wonderful things when they arrive in the mail (hopefully) at the end of the month.

Aw man, my place isn't presentable at all and here I am blogging about it. Right, dinner first (sausages, mashed potatoes and baked beans, yum!) and then I gotta tidy and clean like I've never tidied and cleaned before.

Cooee

Jan. 12th, 2011 12:08 am
tilly_stratford: (Constantine: Sly smoke)
Silly me, almost forgetting that it's against the rules to get a full night's sleep the night before the class briefing at the university. Good thing I've got my cough to keep me awake. End sarcasm.

I already suspect this entry is going to make me sound way more negative than I actually am, because really, I do love being back in this city again and returning to all my odd little routines and just comfortably slipping into this me mold that I've spent two and half years lovingly constructing... It's just that I haven't had the best start at it this time around.

Firstly, I think the trip back to Bergen might have aggravated my, well I wouldn't call it my illness, let's call it my "health issues" (like the aforementioned cough, and I would really like to regain the hearing in my right ear one of these days if it's not asking too much pretty please), and my back's out of it again. Also, it seems I left my rooms in slightly worse conditions than I remembered, and I'd really loved to tidy everything up but my back's clearly nixing that. I'd call my select family members for sympathy but my phone's out of juice and I forgot the charger at my mum's.

Also when I first walked in, the biggest spider I've ever seen on my side of a terrarium was chillin' over my bed.

So yes, sulk sulk sulk. Meanwhile I'm actually not freaking out about school (heads up, this might be the last instance this semester) and I've got my volume 2 of Dark Avengers to read. Here's hoping Gargan eats somebody's head, that would cheer my up even more.
tilly_stratford: (DW: Jamie/Doctor - true wuv)
So the train ticket has been ordered and confirmed, I'm shipping out tomorrow. I'm surprised by how I'm actually looking forward to it.

Not that I'm sick of my friends and family (because really, I still feel kinda wistful for all the people I didn't get the time to see, or didn't spend enough time with) but suddenly the realization dawned on me that "home" to me means that little loft room in Bergen. That's where my bed is. That's where, at the end of the day, I can go and relax and devote all my time to being me.

Yeah and I may want to get back to my X-Box X-Baaawx. I've been salivating over Fable III since I unpacked it on Christmas Eve.

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