“…leaving on a jet plane…”

I’m taking a blogging break for about a month — for a good reason! Tomorrow I fly to the middle of the U.S. to spend time with my Dad in Ottumwa, Iowa. My brothers and their families will be around, and both my daughters are able to visit too, traveling from Maryland and Colorado for some of the time I’m going to be there. I haven’t seen the two of them at the same time in four years, and it will be so wonderful for all of us to spend time with my Dad.

I thought it would be appropriate to say goodbye with a photo I took out our plane window as Jan and I began our journey to Spain in August. There’s not much sunshine in the Bergen area lately to cast a “plane shadow” as I depart tomorrow, but the happiness and excitement radiating from me as I begin my journey to see my U.S. family will more than make up for it!

jet plane shadow, taking off from Bergen

All my bags are packed
I’m ready to go …
I’m leaving on a jet plane!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Jen’s Photo Challenge this week is Minimalist.

“Minimalist photography is characterized by a large portion of negative space, a fairly monochromatic color palette … and an interesting subject that is able to stand on its own to capture the interest of the viewer … A minimalist photo can also effectively tell a story, in spite of its relative simplicity, and it is anything but ‘plain’.”

I had fun looking through photos to find a few that fit this challenge, and decided to take the definition of “minimalist” apart and find images that fit specific qualities better, but still have the overall minimalist look. Does this one fit the description of “a large portion of negative space”?

January 14, 2014 -- 7:52 pm

Lysekloster moon on January 14, 2014 at 7:52 pm


I found two that I think are a good representation of “a fairly monochromatic color palette,” one with warm tones and the other with cool. Which do you prefer?

May 24, 2014 - Lysekloster pine tree growth

May 24, 2014 – warm sunshine through a Lysekloster pine tree’s new growth

January 16, 2010 - below freezing ice crystals on a Langeskogen walk

January 16, 2010 – ice crystals on a below freezing Langeskogen walk


And then for the last one, “an interesting subject that is able to stand on its own to capture the interest of the viewer” … if you hadn’t already joined me vicariously on the journey, would this photo capture your curiosity as to what we were going to see?

August 20, 2014 - a peek towards the journey

August 20, 2014 – a peek towards the journey


Which photo is your favorite? And, if you’d like, share why it is!

From my Archives: perspective

(I’ve lived in this amazing country for almost eight years. Buried in my blog’s Archives are many emotions and experiences from my first years as an expatriate. I’d like to let them see the light again! So, on occasional Fridays, I’ll share my favorites in a “Flashback Friday” type of reblog format.)

In April 2007, a couple months after moving to Norway, MacKenzie and I were out on our usual path. The surrounding mountain silhouettes had become familiar to me, and in looking at those mountains I usually found myself in “deep thought” introspective moments while my dog happily sniffed the new smells. This particular walk was no exception, and I came home and wrote a few thoughts about it.

I still wrestle with the deep thoughts (don’t we all??), but at least I have the answer to the question I ask in my original post: what’s the “path of white”? I don’t have a photo of it from that moment, but here it is after the snow disappeared:

May 31, 2009 - archive perspectives of Ulriken

It was from the old cable cars, and the trees that had been chopped for it. And since that day in 2007, it’s been rebuilt and is running again:

June 4, 2009 - archive perspectives of Ulriken


April 8, 2007

This afternoon I strolled along the walkway around the lake at the bottom of the gravel path outside of my apartment. It was peaceful in today’s Easter Sunday rain, with the ducks enjoying the puddles on the path. Of course they scurried away when they saw a dog coming their way. The seagulls seemed to be having a convention out in the middle of the water, squawking and splashing as they jockeyed for position in a semi-circle.

I looked up to the clouds- and fog- shrouded mountains that surround Bergen, noticing the bits of snow left on those mountains. It seemed to add a depth to their early spring grayness. Then I noticed a band of white cascading down, and thought it was a huge waterfall emerging and tumbling along the steep slope from the snow in the mountains and rain in the city that had occurred the last few days.

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rocks, boulders, and avalanches

As a follow-up to yesterday‘s post, I thought I’d share another descent that is common in Norway: the descent of rocks and boulders … sometimes one at a time, other times whole mountain sides.

Rocks and boulders tumbling down a mountain are a very real danger here. When we lived in a more remote area with its intimacy with the mountain sides, I was always a little nervous when driving. We never encountered “Mother Norway” throwing her boulders at us then or now, but this happened to one of the members of the Americans in Bergen Facebook group last week.

Yikes. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Yesterday, about 100 yards from where my husband’s family lives on Osterøy (where my recent Wordless Wednesday photo was taken), a farmer was working in his barn and heard a rumble and a bang … and walking out, found a two-ton boulder that had just come crashing down and was now resting next to his house.

Yikes again. And thankfully again, no one was hurt.

We’ve had a lot of rain for weeks. The rivers have swollen and taken houses and roads with them, as well as creating dangerous mud- and rock- slide conditions throughout the country. The worst of the anticipated avalanches, though, is on Mannen, a mountain north of here. Geologists have been monitoring a huge area for about four years as it has been slowly breaking away. A couple weeks ago the movement increased; a major avalanche is anticipated very soon, and the residents of the homes beneath it have been evacuated. Info from the BBC gives an overview in English, and a web cam has been set up to monitor it. The live video (titled “NRK: Direkte fra fjellet Mannen”) is at the bottom of this web page. (One observation: this is further north, and the days are short. If you get a black screen, don’t be surprised! But the daylight views show the recent rocks slides and avalanches as the mountain rock gives in to gravity, and the photos in the article show the size of boulders that have fallen before, and maybe — if it’s daylight and you’re looking at it at the right moment — you’ll see the anticipated avalanche itself.)

Rock slides and avalanches occur all the time; often they don’t even make the national news. My husband has found this one from October 17, 2007. It might not have made the news, but it was intense and real!

That’s a fast and frightening descent, isn’t it?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

Descent. Living in a mountaineous area, many images I’ve shared have shown aspects of this week’s photo challenge.

Norway is huge, and there are thousands — millions? — of steep descents to be found. But as I was out for a walk today, I came to the “old road” and realized that it captures the essence of descent for my tiny part of this big country.

The old road has three sharp twists and turns. It’s no longer in use as a road since the mountain was dynamited and the main road was put in (which is still not wide enough for two cars in some places), but it’s used as a wide walking path, and my husband remembers riding on a bus on this twisting old road when he was a teenager in the late 1960’s … sitting in the back, “hanging” off the edge of the road.

November 3, 2014 - Weekly Photo Challenge Descent


We’ve had a lot of rain, and the run off from the roads, rocks, and mountain of this area created a musical accompaniment as it meandered next to and under the old road, and descended down towards the fjord.

November 3, 2014 - Weekly Photo Challenge Descent


You know the worse thing about descent? The ascent that comes after it to get home.

November 3, 2014 - Weekly Photo Challenge Descent

Obviously, my camera was out often, much to my labrador’s frustration. She wasn’t happy having to stop and wait for me every time I saw a new angle to capture through the lens!

Norwegian commercials: TV3 Norway

(Commercials on TV can be considered a necessary evil. So many are annoying, but every now and then one comes along that is the perfect combination of product, marketing, humor, and local culture. In my seven years here in Norway there have been several that have captured my attention. I thought it would be fun to occasionally share some of my favorites.)

Last time was a loudly confident goat.

This week is a quietly confident cow. The fourteen second branding spot for TV3 Norway makes me laugh every time.

TV3: Lett å like

TV3: Easy to like

A cow with a flower-and-fruit hat? Modestly self-assured, with a little personality thrown in. Good branding for a TV station!