Norway

July 22, 2011

Yesterday I had a little pop up on my phone, from my task list, telling me that I was due to update my blog (I think I’ve mentioned that I work with lists and lots of them). At that point I didn’t know what I was going to write about but since I heard the news today I just wanted to write a short note on the goings on.  Many of you know, and then again many of you don’t, but my mother is Norwegian.  My grandmother lives in Oslo as does an Aunt and numerous cousins.  A special thanks to my cousin Eli, who through Facebook has been keeping myself and other relatives in England updated.  To the best of my knowledge all my family and friends are OK in that they are not physically hurt.  I’m sure emotionally there is a lot going on.  What happened today was a senseless act of violence the type of which Norway has ever seen before.  My thoughts are with everyone over there.

In 1990 (I was 18), on finishing my A-Levels, I won a scholarship to attend Seljord Folkehogskole to study Music and, of course, do my best to learn Norwegian along the way.  (Here is a link that will give you a brief explanation on what a folkehogskole is.)  I made some wonderful friends, many of whom I have managed to stay in contact with and even managed to catch up with in the last 20 years!  The people of Norway are a wonderful and caring.  The country is beautiful, and, if you ever have the opportunity you must visit!  It really does look like you see in the pictures.


Haboob

July 8, 2011

For those of you who have emailed/tweeted me with regards to seeing the recent news we are fine.  Can you believe that in 6 weeks time we will have been here for 10 years and yet, in all that time, we have never been affected by a dust storm.  Yes, they happen at least once a year, but we are what is classed as north north scottsdale so right on the outer northern edges of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area.  I must have heard that there was going to be a dust storm, but didn’t pay any attention.  At 9pm on Tuesday night I was getting ready to head upstairs and thought I’d take a quick peek at Facebook.  A friend, who lives about 5 miles south, had just posted a picture showing outside their house.  She is also British, and her comment against her picture was something along the lines of that it looked like British Pea Soup fog but tasted like grit.  I thought I’d take a look outside our back door.  That was silly.  We had exactly the same weather!  Here is a time lapse video that I found of Tuesdays’s Haboob.  When I got up on Wednesday morning everywhere was just one shade of pale brown.  I spent the better part of 2.5 hours washing things down and the back yard is possibly about half clean.  We desperately need a good thunder storm, that lasts more than 10 minutes, to get everything cleaned down.  Thankfully although our pool had a lot of dust in it it was still running properly.  I put this down to the fact that having just had the pool remodelled we had brand new pumps, plus I had only done a backwash on Monday so the filter was working 100%.  Of course, I now need to back wash again.  I have just been out and bought new filters for the air conditioning system as that is going to be full of dust, and yet, I only replaced those 2 weeks ago.  The clean up begins…everywhere!

Kirsten isn’t happy either because she’s not been able to go out in the pool since Tuesday.  We are unable to spend considerable amounts of time outside as the air quality is so poor.  You can see the clouds of dust lingering in the air.  Then, we had the mini haboob in the house yesterday afternoon.  The Avon delivery had arrived and Kirsten had woken from a nap that I had forced on her.  I asked if she would take her new bubble bath up to her bathroom to help Mummy out, which she willingly did, but then didn’t return downstairs for about another 15 minutes.  I was thrilled as I thought she was finally playing with her toys in her bedroom.  When she came downstairs she told me she had put the white stuff on that made her smell nice.  I hadn’t got a clue what she was talking about and as she was at one end of the family room and I was the other I couldn’t see her properly or smell her either.  On getting closer I realised that she was covered in white talc.  In her bathroom she has a small travel size baby talc that I use very rarely.  She had obviously decided to put some on but was coated in it.  Everything she touched turned white so I had to get a duster out for everytime she moved along the sofa.  Thankfully that is leather.  I asked her if she had made a mess in her bathroom and her response was “no I cleaned it up with my hands but there is still a little in the cracks”.  I hadn’t got a clue what that meant either!!  I thought the best bet was go upstairs and take a look.  OMG a little.Kirsten's "just a little"  One half of the bathroom, all round the toilet was coated in talc.  Thankfully it was easy to clean up with the vacuum but she and I did have a discussion about what she should do next time she wants to “smell nice”.