Monday, May 29, 2017

Temporary Dog

I have had a dog since the 8th of this month, but now her mother is coming home and will want her back. Her name is Smokey and she is a mixed cattle dog of 14 years. Getting kind of old for a dog, but she sleeps a lot.

We have been practicing our naps together with me on the sofa and her on the floor next to me. We are often joined by several cats who are usually on the sofa, but sometimes on the floor with her.

She goes to work with me as that is what she does with her owner who has been on vacation in Ireland and Scotland for the past weeks. She is the only one excited about going to work on a Monday morning (or Tuesday this week) because she gets to see all her friends. There are our regular customers as well as the delivery guys who often bring her treats. She has been sleeping under my desk mostly, but we go out for a nice walk at lunch time and any other time she tells me she needs to go out.

Most of the cats are indifferent to her, but some like her and a couple don't want anything to do with her. She doesn't care much one way or the other as long as they stay out of her food while she is eating. One of the cats shoved her face in the dog dish when Smokey was eating and that is the only time I heard her growl.

The highlight of our daily routine is going for our after work walk which we only missed once due to really cold rainy weather. We took that walk early today since it is a holiday here in the States, Memorial Day. Here are some pics of our daily walk.

 Marsh marigolds by the creek
A service berry bush in bloom.
Overlooking one of the ponds
Wild strawberries blooming
A stand of young Aspen trees
An old snag
 Tiny puffballs
Lupines way before the flowers come out
 Bent and broken Birch
A fungus among us
Smokey on the road again.

I have been dogless for about a year and am trying to slowly reduce the number of animals in this zoo, but I am still a softie. It is a difficult task. I get to see Smokey at work unless her owner, Judi, takes a day off, but I was honored to take care of her these past few weeks. I expect she will go right back to her old routines, but maybe she'll come and lay under my desk once in a while for old time's sake.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Norwegian language camp

I had so much fun last year that I had to go back and see if it was really as good as I remember.
It was.

I arrived at camp after they had received about 3 or 4 inches of fresh snow. Here in Minnesota we call that Spring. It started to melt the next day and by Saturday it looked like this when I walked to the main hall (Gimli) from my cabin (Bodø).
For breakfast we had koldtbord which looks like this.
We started out each day raising the Norwegian flag and singing the national anthem.

We had a morning class and afternoon class of about two hours each. This year my teacher was Arna who lived in Norway for fifteen years and is quite a good singer and artist. Here she is (foreground) singing with Kari, the program director, and Christine, who is also a wonderful teacher and singer.
We had evening programs that were either presentations about places, or poets, or family stories, and other themes of Norwegian culture. For the Saturday night banquet we had a wonderful meal of torsk (cod), potatoes, vegetables, breads, and dessert  which included some delicious homemade krumkake brought in by Ole just for the occasion.

Here are Sven and Ole (or Craig and George) with Ole standing on the fireplace hearth in order to be at the same height.
Here they are dancing with Lisa and Becky.
Dinner was delicious. My Carlsberg is the green beer bottle in the front of the picture.
songs and readings were given after dinner.

Our group of 10 sang a silly song in the Trondelag dialect. The first three verses are known, but we decided to make up a fourth verse which contained a bit of adult content. People were just about falling out of their chairs with laughter. When we finished and the audience recovered Kari went back to the front with an appalled look that she was able to hold onto for at least a minute. I hope someone recorded it as I would like to see how we did appear.

We had a few breaks and I would either take a nap or go for a walk. The walks were nice as it was delightful to hear the loons calling and feel the warmth of the spring sun. Ian, our token Floridian, found a patch of snow and threw more snowballs than I did all winter. I'm sure he needed a story to tell when he got home. Here is Ian on the right with the Paul Bunyan beard and hat.
Here are some photos from my walk.

It was a sad thing to have to leave on Sunday and I plan on going back again next year. Listening to the language, the stories, and hearing the laughter does wonders for the human soul. I feel so fortunate to be able to take a few days and go do this immersion that I understand why some of my fellow campers have been coming for more than twenty years. It is wonderful to see old friends and make new ones.