Thursday, January 28

Molja Ålesund

Molja lighthouse is a 150 year-old lighthouse at the entrance to the harbour and Brosundet (the narrow stretch of water forming the inlet connecting the two wider areas of water north and south of Ålesund). Today the lighthouse also is part of Hotel Breisundet, and is known as Rom #47.
The interior of the lighthouse is completely round, only 3 meters in diameter, but through effective use of the available spaces, Molja now boasts a bedroom upstairs and a bathroom downstairs.
The interior design was carried out by Snøhetta, Norway's most well known architects (designers of Oslo Opera House and Ground Zero museum in New York City among many other landmark projects.) They have carefully achieved a wonderfully distinctive blend of modern facilities with historic and rustic interior.
The buildings of wood close to and behind the lighthouse was built before the city-fire in 1904. I have tried to make two expressions of this area through these paintings.

Monday, January 25

Naftadjupet Ålesund

I start my presentation of Ålesund-paintings by presenting "Naftadjupet" from 2002.

Naftadjupet or the Naphtha-depth is a part of Brosundet where some of my friends meet every Wednesday for chatting and coffee.

The history behind the Naftadjupet name is: When the whole city burned down in 1904, the local dispensing chemist was very agitated because he had to get rid of his naphtha supply due to the fire hazard it presented. And so he did, in a shower of sparks from the fire around him, he emptied it all into the water. His pharmacy was nonetheless destroyed by the fire.

Saturday, January 23

Ålesund Fire

The Ålesund Fire happened in the Norwegian city Ålesund on 23 January 1904.The photo shows Ålesund in 1900 before the fire. The view is from the east looking west as seen from the city mountain Aksla.

The fire started a quarter past 2 AM at Aspøya, in the Aalesund Preserving Co.’s factory, which was located where Lower Strand Street 39 (Nedre Strandgate 39) is located today. It is actually stated that the fire started because a cow kicked a torch.
In spite of valiant efforts at suppression, the hard wind driven fire destroyed much of the town. In total, the fire destroyed nearly 850 houses, leaving approximately 230 houses remaining within the town borders.
Only one person was known to die. That was an old lady who went back into her house to get her purse.
Huge support and aid was provided to Ålesund both from within Norway and from abroad. The German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II had been a frequent visitor to the area and expressed a personal concern for the plight of the population. As a result, much of the international help was given from Germany, sent in Kaiser Wilhelm’s name. His first telegram was received while the fire was still being extinguished. He dispatched four ships loaded with personnel, food, medicine, materials for shelters and equipment.
The town was rebuilt in (at that time) contemporary Jugendstil (Art Nouveau). Modern historians have concluded that the fire was actually positive in terms of city development.

I have as many other "artists" born in the city of Ålesund, made some works expressing the spectacular motives to be found here and from the surrounding mountains and fjords. In the weeks to come I will give you some examples of these paintings.

Tuesday, January 19

Ready for the Piste Noire 20 years ago

20 years ago the family wanted to extend our nordic skiing experience with a Alpine skiing week in Bad Hofgastein, Austria.
Bad Hofgastein is an exclusive ski and wellness resort in the district of St. Johann im Pongau in the state of Salzburg in Austria. It is part of the "Gasteiner Tal" valley, near the village of Bad Gastein.
Bad Hofgastein is also part of Ski Amade, a network of 28 ski areas and towns that combined, make up the largest ski area in Europe (860 km of downhill slopes / 278 modern ski lifts). In addition to the 250 km of pistes (reaching as high as 2700m in the area of Sportgastein) Bad Hofgastein also offers one of Europe's most exclusive and extensive thermal spas, the Alpentherme.

Rikke was only 9 years old when she faced her first Piste Noire and called us child assaulters before she throw herself over edge of the steep mountain side. She still loves to be in the hills although she now mostly uses her Telemark equipment.
Sondre Nordheim was the first to develop this the type of skiing originating in the county of Telemark, Norway. The first Telemark turn was witnessed in public in 1868 during a competition in which Sondre Nordheim was taking part. Incidentally, he is also credited with being the first to introduce a sidecut to make his skis turn more easily. Telemark skis are mounted with bindings that only connect the boots at the toe, allowing the skier to walk uphill with skis on (as in touring), ski with telemark technique, or ski parallel. Two years after the first photo was taken of our family with Alpine gear on a flat floor, we visited with friends Verbier, Switzerland. Here we reached the peak Mont Fort with the fantastic glacier slopes under the peak (altitude 3330m).

We are not going to Austria or Switserland in this year winter holiday, nor in the future. But if you like to experience something spectacular and love downhill skiing, both these resorts can be highly recommended. As far as I have heard they have only developed positively during the last 20 years.
Klick on the "Verbier" link above and see the "4 Vallées" skiing area.

Sunday, January 17

How is it possible. Reorganization or Bureaucracy building?

NRK.NO presented earlier this week the administrative process towards getting accept as disability pensioner in the Norwegian Welfare (NAV System), and get money to pay your bills if you not are able to continue as an employee.

1. First you have to be classified as disable to continue working by your private doctor, and stay on sick leave for 12 months. During that period or after, rehabilitation in cooperation with your employer, may be tried. Then it is up to you to deliver to your local NAV office your claim for disability pension by filling in the correct forms as soon as possible together with your doctor and your employer. (Do not wait to contact NAV until the 12 (+12) months have gone). Make copy of your forms and make your own notes with dates and activities. Do not trust NAV to take care of your data and forms. Do not expect anybody to know you and your case. The IT-system rules.

2. NAV-Local office (first line) collects the necessary documentation (medical statements, etc.) and makes a preliminary assessment of the formal requirements. NAV-Local may send you to another doctor for a second opinion that will overrule your own doctors evaluation. NAV-Local makes a "Conditional Assessment 1" which concludes that you do not have the residual capacity for work. Considered this term, you may be proposed for an ordinary disability pension. The case is then sent to the "NAV-Forvaltning" office (second line) in own county.

3. NAV-Forvaltning makes a "Condition Assessment 2". This means that they are considering NAV-Local´s assessment and if everything is according to rules and regulations, makes the final decision. Your case is then transferred to the NAV-Pension Unit that can be in a county completely different to where you live. (Your local NAV-office may be in Bergen, but your case can be managed by units in Ålesund, Porsgrunn, Oslo or Steinkjær)

4 NAV-Pension (professional actuarial unit) makes pension calculation. (how much you are entitled to be paid) and sends your case further to NAV-Harstad (pay-roll unit).

5. NAV-Harstad performs the monthly payment (if you are lucky)

I cannot be more happy when thinking back to the time when I became disabled.
ONE PERSON at my local office took care of me - talked to me in person -, made the assessments and decided that my condition with severe heart and kidney failure (waiting and hoping for transplantation) was enough to grant me the economical foundation to live on. He did not give me and my family additional problems and uncertainty regarding payment of bills.
Thanks Bertil S, sorry you left NAV.

Thursday, January 14

Indispensable Gadgets or State-of-the-Art Necessities

I am of course a 24/7 user of Apple - Iphone 3G S, the best ever all-round smartphone available. I call it my brain prosthesis.

I have more than 3100 selected Iphotos, my total iTunes music library, Address list, E-Mail boxes, about 100 Aps including TomTom GPS, Radio and news online, Calendar with activity control, Conversation messages text and photos, Camera / Video recorder and Telephone lists synchronized with my MacBook Pro. Everything needed for action or being available if necessary.

Yesterday I received a new gadget. An Ipod Shuffle (Stainless-steel 4G special edition).
Winning 3rd price at a Music Choice competition (in reality Tullen was the winner), makes our exercising with music even more easy. With the valuable music box capable for 1000 songs, Voice over and specifications like 45.2 mm high, 17.5 mm wide and only 7.8 mm deep and 17.2 grams weight, I don´t think we need the iPhone on the treadmill or in the walks in nature. The difference in dimension can be seen on the photo.

Apple and Mac are the answers to our future.

Transplantations in Norway 2009

The following information has been copied / translated from the News presented by Rikshospitalet, Norway. (Source: TX-Cordinator Per Arne Bakkan at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet.)
2009 was another record year for kidney and liver transplants in Norway. For the first time ever Norway realized 100 donations through a year.

- Also in 2009, the transplant community at Oslo, Rikshospitalet University Hospital and our partners at the country's 28 donor hospitals made a significant effort in relation to Organ donation and transplantation,

- An Organ donation and subsequent transplant is always the emergency intervention and requires great ability and willingness regarding planning and organizing so that the elective activity will not be harmed. Extra challenging has it been when we've had several donors at the same time.

It has never been performed more kidney and liver transplants than in 2009. The number of heart transplants and lung transplants is somewhat lower. This is partly due to medical reasons related to the donors, and partly because it has not been appropriate recipients on waiting lists.

- We enter 2010 with hopes that the positive trend we have seen in recent years in relation to Organ donation and transplantation continues, "said Bakkan.
When starting 2010 268 person are waiting for a suitable organ. That is an increase of 11% from one year ago. The never ending story continues and there is only one decision to make:
Say YES to organ donation.

Tuesday, January 12

Who`s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

One of the Blogs I follow every day are ArtsBeat.

In this week’s Critics’ Picks Video, A. O. Scott looks at the 1966 Mike Nichols film “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” adapted from Edward Albee’s play. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, a real-life married couple at the time, acting out their domestic drama on the screen as the characters George and Martha.

When preparing for next weekend and wonder if you want to invite some friends over for a drink, playing cards or whatsoever, follow A.O.Scott´s advise: Try something more spectacular, or are you afraid of Virginia Woolf? Klick on the ArtsBeat link and have a nice party.

Monday, January 11

I am not ......

I am not the owner of this SUV. I am not reporting from southern Spain or any other costal areas. I am not trying to overcome RuneE in his presentation of Benches
or his Weekend reflections.

I am only giving you all and mostly the photo-bloggers an opportunity to visit some spectacular websites, and join me in the hope for speedy returning of warmth and Springtime.
See you soon for an outdoor beer Anton, and thanks for tipping me off these photos. I will not complain more about my local winter after your PowerPoint serie.

Sunday, January 10

Sickness absence

The leave of absence granted because of illness, has been a public discussion in Norway during the last months, and will continue during 2010. Maybe also the many other European countries the debate is running.The international development from 1990 till today are shown in the figure above, and the figures from Norway (red curve) are the highest the last three years (during the Red/Green Government). Maybe the strong link between the Labor Party and the Union has something to do with that development.

Differences in sickness absence between men and women for major occupational groups in the 2 quarter of 2009, shows that women's absence is 48% higher than men's. The gap is somewhat larger in leading professions, academic and college occupations. For example, had women in academic professions a sickness absence of 5.3% against 2.4% among men.

I will not elaborate in this post about the background, too good welfare systems, people´s moral and other populistic argument that are focused upon between the different media and politicians, but if you want to learn more about this important issue, you will find an interesting report from a governmental working group here, Background IA avtale (in Norwegian).

Have an interesting Sunday indoor due to continuous heavy cold outside.

Friday, January 8

Babysitting Maja over night

Tonight Maja will stay over with her grandma and grandpa when both mom and dad are away working. A challenge, but with previous experience (we have been baby sitting earlier for the children from Wales) everything will work out fine.The afternoon was nice and she played with her toys and smiled to the photographer.
Although NRKSuper has stopped sending "Drømmehagen" (In the night Garden) we can still find the TV-programs on net. Maja loves to watch the program so we made a normal end of the playing day. Then it is food, bath, saying goodnight to every room and sleeping. Sweet dreams.

Thursday, January 7


Just been watching the movie Impromptu at "TV2 Filmkanalen" about the novelist George Sand and the composer Frédéric Chopin. Painted (above) by their friend Eugene Delacroix

This movie brought memories back to our stay in Mallorca late April last year, including the visit to Valldemossa where Chopin and Sand and her two children spend the winter of 1838/39. It is cold in Mallorca too these days (about +5 to +10 C) but our experiences from Spain gives hope for the time to come.Here you see me resting in Chopin´s chair in his bedroom, and
here is Tullen in George Sand´s balcony-garden with the spectacular view over the valley.The fresh air was exactly what Sand wanted for Chopin´s bad health, but they ended up calling the winter turbulent and miserable. (Almost like January 2010 in Norway)

Blue Moon

Still substantial gap between being outside and inside. The half moon on the southwestern sky has already caught the sunbeams but their strength have no chance to increase the temperature. Another cold day is ahead.

Wednesday, January 6

Eat Less - Move More

It´s New Year and "everybody" are talking about loosing weight. If you open a magazine or listen to TV you must be lucky if not come in contact with anyone touching the challenge. Today I am also blogging about weight control.
I am proud myself being able to reduce my blood sugar and keep my weight through the "eating season" we just have been taken part of. Christmas is absolutely the period of too much intake of .............. everything.

The last weight control information I got from CNN Video but for the first time the message was clear:
It does not matter what you eat, reducing calorie intake and exercising more, is the only way to lasting success.
Take your time and listen to Melissa Long and Elizabeth Cohen talking about the latest study and showing how simple or difficult it may be:
Eat Less - Move More

Tuesday, January 5

Harry Hole, Hong Kong and "Armor Heart"

Two women are found murdered in Oslo, both have drowned in their own blood. The mystery is that the serious injuries on the faces of the dead have been inflicted from the inside of the mouth.
The police woman Kaja Solness from Oslo Violence-section is sent to Hong Kong to find the man who is their only hope, a specialist on serial murders: Harry Hole. He is hiding somewhere in the city of seven million, on the run from the demons from his last murder case: The Snowman.The writer Jon Nesbø has kept me busy the first days of this year due to my Christmas gift: his eighth novel featuring Harry Hole,"Panserhjerte" (Armour Heart).Although parts of the novel take place in the areas around Ustaoset and the mountain range Hallingskarvet with late Arne Næss´ cottage "Tverrgastein" on top of the hill, we also share his present at Victoria Peak in Hong Kong.This photo is from January 1996 so much are different, but the view from Mount Austin or The Peak and Hong Kong Island towards Kowloon and the Mainland is still magnificent.

See you in Shanghai, Harry.

Monday, January 4

From Dubai and Oman to Bermuda

From the exotic areas in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, going west and arriving Bermuda. My 153rd visiting flag, and the first new this year came from these islands situated around 1,770 kilometres (1,100 mi) northeast of Miami, Florida, and 1,350 kilometres (840 mi) south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about 1,030 kilometres (640 mi) west-northwest.

Drawing the lines from Oslo to Muscat, west to Hamilton and back to Oslo, resulted into a triangle on my world map, and thus recalled memories of the Devil´s Triangle.
The first documentation that anything was amiss in the area came from Christopher Columbus, who reported compass malfunctions and a bolt of fire that fell into the sea. He also reported of a light on the horizon.

I believe you have heard of The Bermuda Triangle. If not click on the links above and get updated. Hopefully the new visitor did not disappear in the triangle and will return to my sites another time.

Sunday, January 3

Burj Dubai Inauguration

Tomorrow, Monday Jan 4th 2010 at 5:00 pm, Inauguration of the world´s tallest building, Burj Dubai, will take place.
At over 800 metres (828m/2716,5ft) and more than 160 stories, Burj Dubai holds the following records:
• Tallest building in the world
• Tallest free-standing structure in the world
• Highest number of stories in the world
• Highest occupied floor in the world
• Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
• Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
• Tallest service elevator in the world

Not only is Burj Dubai the world’s tallest building, it has also broken two other impressive records: tallest structure, previously held by the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, and tallest free-standing structure, previously held by Toronto’s CN Tower.
We have previously visited Jin Mao Tower 420,5 m in Shanghai and Petronas Towers 452 m in Kuala Lumpur, and if we return to Dubai, we know where to go.15 years ago when visiting Dubai on the way to Al Bustan Palace Muscat, Oman, I took these photos. The above is from the beach in front of the new skyline photo with none of the new buildings showing towards the sky. I hope however that the lunch at the Hilton Beach Club still can be recommended.
Paal, Olga, Maianna, Gunilla, Marian, Tullen and myself enjoyed the warm day at the club, and I send all my best NEWyear greetings to friends working in Bur Juman Office Building.For more Dubai Skyscrapers go to the diagram site

Saturday, January 2

Winter in Wales

New Year Greetings from Wales where the snow gives Henrik and Helene a taste of Norwegian winter. The temperature is around zero while we here in Oslo are heading for minus 15 - 20 in the days to come. Enough clothing is the way to survive if you have to go out.

Friday, January 1


All the best wishes for the NEW YEAR. Welcome to 2010.