Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain… (#Perfect)

For several weeks (that feels like years) it has depressingly snowed and snowed and snowed and the damn shuffle has now become an integrated attachment to my sensible (now blistering) office-hands both before and after my actual day job. With streets so full of snow that cannot be removed by plow trucks due to idiot car owners not able to read signs telling them there is a temporary parking prohibition in the city center, it is quite the adrenaline kick to try to move around.. Outside my own house, I now have to shuffle away additionally 5 meters of snow due to the missing access for the plow truck. And even then, people have been parking their cars at the plowing edge, making the street so small that now the plow truck cannot drive there at all and I have to wiggle around to even be able to get my car into my yard. Those cars (or more specific, their owners) have now become my personal hate objects (even though I know that if I had been in their shoes (or car) I might have done the same if I was desperate enough for a parking space…)

Just when there was actually not any room for any more snow and I was about to give up on the whole winter, the weather forecast suddenly promised rain! But, given that they also forecasted -7 degrees Celsius, it of course ended up in snow/ice (what the H*)# were they thinking???), I must admit that meteorologists in general and Yr weather forecast in particular also ended up for my seasonal hate list. Yesterday, however, we suddenly migrated to degrees on the good side of 0 and in the afternoon it finally started to rain. Of course, rain on lots and lots of snow, gives ice and slushy conditions, so today the streets are a mess and I fully intend to stay as much indoors as possible. But, on the good side, I was able to see with my own, blue eyes, how the snow had retreated to the point where I can actually start to see the floor of my terrace! It would of course be better if we had even higher degrees and lets say… sun, but at this point I am settling for ANYTHING that can make the snow go away.

Unfortunately there will be a few days with slushy streets, and with the stupid parked cars not going anywhere, I am not that optimistic about anyone coming to remove the ice/slush. So maybe I will just sit this one out and take the bus for the next few days. Anyways, I hope this is the last we will see of winter this year (or at least until I leave for Dubai and Tokyo in a week). I choose for now to be a slight optimist but with the option of blowing up if more white goo finds its way here…

Have I mentioned how much I really hate snow?

Tokyo Marathon – Less than 1 month to go (#SoNotReady)

Sometimes life throw you a curve ball that takes you totally by surprise and forces you to re-evaluate all plans…. 1 week ago, with only 1 month to go before Tokyo Marathon, my biggest concern was whether I will be able to complete at all and get my big, fat six-star-finisher medal. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and suddenly Tokyo seemed inconsequential. After 10 days back and forth to the hospital for MRI, CT, colonoscopy and you name it, we finally got the good news yesterday that the tumor seems operable and that the cancer seems not to have spread to any other organs. Safe to say we cried of relief of that message.

So, given the good news, my trip to Tokyo is back on. But, of course, having used all my energy on worrying, my immune system was quite beat, so no I am out cold with fever, sore throat and an aching body… In other words, I think it will take a few more days before I am wearing my jogging shoes again.

Even being quite unprepared (but then again, what else is new?), I am starting to look forward to my trip to Tokyo. My knowledge of the city is quite below par, and what springs first to mind is sumo wrestling, sake, supporters who actually pick up their own litter after world cup football games (even when loosing big), and of course the a bit too close proximity to a sometimes trigger-happy Kim Jong Un. After reading “The Runner Handbook” that arrived last week, I must also found some of the warnings to be quite interesting and new: First was a list of what was prohibited to bring to the starting area. I mean bottles and cans, unless for commercial unopened container for less than 500ml are prohibited. A bit strange, but OK. Then to the a bit more bizarre: it is not allowed to bring advertising, boom boxes, animals (!) and plants…. But, what really got me freaked was the necessity of actually having to specify the prohibition of bringing pepper spray, knives, poison, fire works and explosives!

A couple of other warnings in the handbook are also new to me in marathon settings.

» If the Japanese Government’s nationwide warning system J-Alert sends an alarm related to ballistic missile launches, follow the instructions.»

and

»If an upper 5 or greater earthquake strikes Tokyo, the race will be discontinued immediately»

Not very comforting, I must admit, but hopefully it will be OK. At least I feel my lack of preparation is not my biggest concern at the moment…

From Manual Labour to Cat Café (#ChangesInTheWorkPlace)

100 years ago times were good for unskilled workers and one could any time drop out of school and get a fair paid job on a boat or in construction and from there work one’s way up. Today, along with technology being an integrated part of our working life, it is not that simple. More and more of so-called “manual jobs” are now obsolete and have been replaced by automation and this lead to many workers not able to get a job.

But, new times also brings new opportunities. There are some innovative souls out there who are capable of seeing possibilities where others only sees obstacles and this has resulted in a range of totally new jobs who non-existent just a few years ago. Here are some examples:

Dog Hotel

Dog hotels have been around for some years, but the range of their offering keeps on expanding. It is not just a place to look after your dog, but can also include extra service as forest walks, dog park, spa, pedicure for dogs etc. I think it is safe to say that “Fido” will be in the best of hands if you are out travelling or just need a sitter for a day.

Personal Trainer (PT)

Personal trainers are now not only limited to actors and rich people. Also us more of the regular sort, have discovered the benefits of having a personal trainer putting together a realistic training plan and making sure we are as efficient as possible and are able to reach our goals.

Cat-café

Then, a new type of work of the more stranger sort, namely the increasing number of cat cafés. The concept is, as far as I understand, to 1. enter, 2. Buy coffee, 3. Look at cats playing, 4. Pet the cats. Such cafés can now be found all over the world. However not yet present in Norway, they are in quite abundance in Japan.

Swamp and Mosquito Museum

Usually I am more than average interested in museums, but even though we have both a mosquito and a swamp museum right here in Norway, I have never made my way there of some mysterious reason. Of course, there might be a level of entertainment in this concept that is completely lost on me (it is not like I have done a lot of research on the topic…), but I feel that they are playing a bit fast and loose with the word “attraction” when they in fact try to pass this on as an attraction.

Sourdough Hotel

OK, when I first read about this, I thought it was a joke. But, evidently, there is a hotel for sourdough in Oslo (Oslo Surdeigshotell). Here you can leave your sourdough for cultivation and care. But, by all means… Kudos to the owners for actually pulling this off as a business idea.

So, what I guess I am saying is that there is always hope. Where one window closes, another window (or at least a cat door) opens, so here it is all about “going with the flow” for the ability to change will definitely be a success criteria in the workplace of the future.

10 Things I learned from watching TV

Being a product of the first real TV-generation in Norway, which means growing up with at least a couple of alternatives to the national channel, I have found that there is much wisdom to be acquired from watching TV and here follows some of my learnings….

10. Size doesn’t matter

Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones must be the all time prime example of “You don’t always have to look tall to stand tall”. Go Tyrion… and yes, I am so longing for the final season..

9. Cultivation of wisdom

Star Trek – The Next Generation from the late 80’s actually taught me as late as last week something really obvious and yet something upon we often don’t reflect.

“The beginning of wisdom is: I do not know.” Data

8. Remember to be selfish (at least sometimes)

Maybe not something to linger for, but sometimes it is important to look after oneself. Not as often as George Constanza from Seinfelt of course, but still.. 

7.  Pursuit of happiness

The 70s show taught me that it is important to be surrounded by people who makes you happy. “Life is too short to spend it with people who annoy you” Red Forman.

6. Unconditional Love

Movies like Brigdet Jones og series like How I met your mother have taught me that you shouldn’t settle for less than a life partner that actually appreciate you for who you are (bingedrink of Pepsi Max, crow-like singing voice, flounder-like running style and all…).

“Shouldn’t we hold out for the person who doesn’t just tolerate our little quirks, but actually kinda like them?” Ted Mosby.

5. Cliffhanger in the last episode of the final season sucks! 

Not the only series that has taught me this, but Scorpion taught me that TV companies don’t give a shit about their viewers and have no scruples in killing off a series with a cliffhanger ending (#UpYours).

4. Families come in all forms and shapes

Series like Modern family has taught me that the modern core family is no longer a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, but comes in all shapes and forms and that the most important thing is to be a part of a family that will always have your back.

3.  The nuances of life

Well, back to Game of Thrones… This series (among others) has taught me that the world contains nuances and should be viewed through a black/white lens. It has shown me that even the worst of villains has a soft spot, making it hard to truly hate them. But, no rules without exceptions, and a big exceptions here is of course King Joffrey, who deserved everything he got and whom I really, truly, deeply hated (so much in fact that I applauded and shouted “In your face” when he met his demise”, also when I re-watched the episode some months later…).

2. Women are allowed to fart

It is a well known fact (or so I thought) that women don’t fart (or flatulate). We try to hold it in and clenches for our bare lives throughout the day. But, at some time it has to come out and our sore spot is of course at night when we are finally relaxed, which can result in a slow stinker or a fart of the more loud kind.

In 1998 I was blissfully ignorant of involuntary flatulating (lucky me, I guess..) until I watched “The Drought” episode of Sex and the City, when Carrie finally feels comfortable sleeping in Mr Big’s apartment, but then manage to let go of a loud fart in her sleep. Believe it or not, but that episode actually helped soften the blow when the same thing happened to me 17 years later when spending the night at my boyfriend’s house. So, instead of digging a whole in the garden and through myself in of bare shame, I claimed the right to disavow all actions performed in a sleeping state.

1. Shrinkage

“It shrinks?” Elaine Benes-

In 1994 I was 20 years and once again blissfully ignorant, and this time of the phenomenon of shrinkage (meaning the effect cold has on a man’s private parts) before watching “The Hamptons” episode of Seinfelt and I must admit I had about the same reaction as Elaine.

So, to sum up, much is to be learned by watching TV, so feel free to binge away… 🙂

Life with a big brother – A constant fight and a friend for life

Just to clarify, I love my brother. Even though we are quite different in personality and manner, I could not ask for a better brother (or for a better uncle for my son, for that matter), and I know that he would do anything for me (as I would for him).

When that being said… It was not always so easy growing up with a big brother and sometime during our childhood it was a matter of survival (metaphorically speaking, of course…).

The Monopoly Challenge

I have, to put it mildly, an overdeveloped competitive instinct and all games growing up were a fight for life and death (at least it felt that way). I especially have a tense relationship with Monopoly due games with my brother in early childhood. He would hide away money, pretend he was loosing and hence lulling me into believing i was winning, before he would go for the kill and ask me if I needed to borrow some money… I clicked of course, and more often than not, our game ended in a fight (I did have some anger issues back then..).

The Skiing Challenge

We used to do a lot of cross-country skiing back then and every ski trip was of course a competition. My sore spot was that I could throw a tantrum and my brother’s strategy was of course to get me pissed, something he often achieved. If I was in the lead, he used to walk on top of my skis (very annoying) and use his ski pole to make snow fall off the tree branches over my head and onto me and my neck. The goal was of course to make me click so that I would stop and attack him (something I often did) and then push me to the side and retake the lead (he is after all a couple of years older than me and was quite capable of doing that). This strategy of his worked more often than I would like to admit, since I at the time had no sense of strategic thinking or the ability to learn from my mistakes.

The Joke Challenge

We grew up in a house without modern utilities like dishwasher, microwave oven or even a functional kitchen. We were, however, early adopters of our own video camera, since our father was quite the film buff. One afternoon he asked my brother and me + a friend of mine to tell jokes to the camera. My brother then asked me which joke I was to tell, something I didn’t want to relieve. He kept on pestering me, however, until I caved and told him. When we started with the jokes, he was the first joker out and he….told MY joke!! Guess what happened.. Or, you actually don’t have to guess since it’s all on tape (link). I promise, it is well worth a look.

Then fast forward to my first day at high-school. New, big school and the feeling of beeing very small. Already before the first class, some older students I had never seen in my life (including some very fine masculin specimen) came over and asked if I was the sister of my brother. When I confirmed, they told me they had watched videos of me and my brother for an entire vorspiel the weekend before, so lucky me… Not exactly the start I was hoping for at high school, since I was not exactly an attention seeker at that time (that came way later…)

The Air Challenge

Already at a young age I was very into books and could spend hours and hours reading. My brother was not much of a reader and when he was bored, he would go out of his way to disturb me from reading. He would then place his hands between me and my book while chanting “the air is for everyone..” over and over again. Did I mentioned I had anger issues back then?

The End-Of-The-Table Challenge

OK, when you read this paragraph you will think this is a story from the previous century, but the fact is that we use to have a grandmother with some old-fashion way of thinking. We grew up in a home with more or less gender equality and with no gender bias. Grandmother, however, was another story and my brother knew how to use this to his advantage. For instance, if I had taken the place at the end of the table for breakfast, he would order me away from it. When I (of course) told him to sod off, he would tell our grandmother who in turn will ask me to move, since “in our family, the end of the table is reserved for the man of the house”. Not exactly a message that was well received by me, especially not with my brother grinning in the background.

The Protector

Up until this point I have only told you about the competitive relationship between my brother and me. I will emphasize, however, that most of my childhood memories are of a warm and good nature. For instance, he often took the blame after a fight, no matter who started it. One time, when he had locked me out and I, in a furious rage, threw my fist through the glass of the door, breaking it and making blood gush all over the place, he instantly called my mother and started the conversation to claim responsibility for the incident. He as also worked as my protector throughout my whole childhood, scaring away anyone wanting to harm me. The protector behavior lasted also through my high-school years, all though not quite as much appreciated at that time since he had a few good looking friends he threatened to beat up if they tried to make a move on me.

Happy New Year

A new year has come to an end, with trips to Gran Canary, Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai, Chicago and Barcelona as travel highlights and definetely the marathon medal in Chicago as a running highlight.

Wish you all a happy new year and let us hope 2019 will bring even more travel and running histories to remember. ❤️🍾

Amsterdam Marathon 2011 – Cheese, sausages and a toilet in the middle of the room

The Amsterdam Marathon was the first marathon with my then pretty new boyfriend of 3-4 months. To put it like this, we were still in the starting phase of a relationship where you would like to present yourself in the best light possible. My best light is definitely not being on the toilet, so I did not exactly cheer with excitement when we walked into our tiny room at CitizenM Hotel in Amsterdam and noticed that the toilet (and the shower) were placed in the middle of the room with only transparent glass walls. To be honest, we did not feel we knew each other well enough to use the toilet in front of each other (for that matter, we still don’t 8 years later…). We made it work, though… My boyfriend took one for the team and used the toilet down in the reception area and when he went there, I used the one in the room in private. I must admit that even when being alone in the room I felt like a dufus.

Not much privacy in this room

Then to the marathon… Amsterdam Marathon has a flat course with start and finish at the same place (Olympic Stadum). Parts of the course followed the olympic route along the river Amstel and along the course we passed both fashionable villas and wind mills. We also ran through Amsterdam city center, passed by the Rijksmuseum and crossed the Vondelpark. Along the course the spectators were amazing and a lot of them brought us treats like small cheese and sausage bites, chocolate and candy along the way. To put it like this, you are not exactly picky about what you grab of eatable items after 30 km.

This was my third marathon and still the one where I did my personal best (which is so slow it is not worth mentioning..)