Monthly Archives: May 2012

Lucky me!

I’ve been nominated for my third blog award in three weeks! (now I know how Meryl Streep must feel)

This time I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award and the nomination comes from the talented and interesting expatlogue. A wonderfully written blog by an accidental expat in Canada. Thank you Aisha!

Leibster is a German word meaning dearest, and the award is given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. The rules to this award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.

2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Copy and paste the award to your blog.

4. Hope that the people you send the award to forward it to their five favorites bloggers and keep it going.

Now for the blogs I nominate for this prestigious award:

1. Robin Coyle – If you’re interested in writing this is a blog for you!

2. Sassy Sass – A full time mom, a sweet little girl + recipes = great blog.

3. suehealy – A writer, tutor and journalist worth following.

4. Laura Stanfill – A coffee-drinking novelist, reader and knitter I like to follow.

5. beforeiforget – Another fine writer who wonderfully covers it all.



Thank you Family, Friends and Class of ’76



Who doesn’t remember Oprah’s famous statement, “Everyone has a story.”

It was about that time I discovered the world of scrapbooking and thought I could tell my story through pictures. I desperately cut and pasted album after album in hope of clarifying to future generations how we became a ‘modern family’. A family of wholes, halves and steps. A family with more than one country and a family they could be proud of.

A few years later I was lucky enough to attend a Write Your Life Stories workshop in the Hague. I never did and still don’t consider myself a writer, just a person with a story. I’m not quite sure what possessed me to do it (perhaps a midlife crises of sorts) but I soon found myself day after day, year after year, writing. Pouring my heart out, one chapter at a time.

Long story short, that endeavor became a real book. A book for both my family and the world, and I’m not sure which is scarier. Writing a memoir is tricky, because no two people remember events exactly alike. There is also the honesty issue, which can be quite hurtful to both yourself and those you hold near and dear. I live in a small town now and whenever I’m out roaming about I can’t help but wonder who’s looking at me, and if they know my secrets. Its almost as if I’m naked for anyone to look at.

For me the biggest surprise has been peoples reaction. People I thought were close, have been distant and people who were distant, have now become close.

My family has been very supportive, although not all of them have read the book (yet), including a few of my own children. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s hard. I was most on edge about my parents reaction and greatly relieved when they simply said, “That’s life”. I then began wonder how I would feel if my children were to critique my parenting, in a book! All I can say is bravo, Mom and Dad.

My closest friends, most of who appear in the book have also been encouraging and flew (along with my mother and sister) all the way to the Netherlands for my book launch. I have a great group of dear friends in both America and Norway.

I graduated from Brick Township High School in 1976. While most of my classmates were playing sports, joining clubs and going to parties, I gave all my free time to a boy. He turned out to be the wrong boy of course, and my high school years were waisted. I didn’t go to college either, instead I changed diapers and made bottles (all by choice). Twelve years after graduating high school, I took my children and moved to Norway. Besides a small circle of close friends in New Jersey, I’ve had no contact with any of my high school peers.

Marking the thirty-fifth anniversary of our graduation, a reunion was planned and a ‘Brick ‘76’ facebook page was started. I began checking in everyday to see what people were writing and what they were up to. Never truly feeling a part of this group, it took awhile before I got up the nerve to hit like or leave a comment here and there. I was unable to make it to America for the reunion, which I deeply regretted.

Some people disappeared again after the reunion, while others stayed behind and kept up on facebook. When news broke that my book was being published, I was surprised to find so many of my old classmates standing on the sidelines, cheering for me.

After thirty-five years I finally scored and the support of my classmates has been one of the best parts! Go Dragons!

Thanks everybody!


15 clues you’re in Norway

You know you’re in Norway When:

  • Summer comes and goes on the same day.
  • There is no such thing as bad weather, just not the right clothing.
  • Frozen (Grandiosa) Pizza is the National dish.
  • You only hear Swedish jokes at a party.
  • There is no alcohol sold or served on Election Day.
  • The most popular pastime is walking.
  • No one you meet smiles or says hello.
  • No two towns in the whole country talk with the same dialect.
  • The most popular cheese is brown.
  • Everyone has to pay for the National television station, whether you watch it or not.
  • mayonnaise is sold in a bag.
  • Things are only sold in small sizes.
  • Everything shuts down in July, because everyone’s on vacation.
  • You pay more for Norwegian oil here than anywhere else in the world.
  • People can (hopefully) take a joke.


The Giving Tree

A good friend of mine who was recently visiting told me this unbelievable story about her crazy neighbor. He slipped into her yard in the middle of the night, when no one was home and cut down a tree on her property. He had been complaining about the tree, saying the leaves blew over onto his property. Although this may be true, my friend loved her Norwegian Spruce and didn’t want to cut it down.

For some reason her story made me think of a favorite book I used to read to my children when they were little. I quickly began rummaging through old books until I found it…

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

Before I went to bed that night I decided to ‘pin’ The Giving Tree to my ‘I love a good story’ board on Pinterest. I love Pinterest, its like shopping without spending any money. If I had more time, I’d spend the whole day pinning beautiful and interesting pictures to my collection of boards. (FYI… there is a Pinterest button on my blog, right above my Versatile Blogger Award) I have nine boards and about 87 pins and a few of my pictures have been repined. Wait a minute, I’m getting off the subject here…

As I sat at my computer the following morning waiting for my tea to steep, I checked my e-mail and noticed my inbox was overflowing with notices from Pinterest. It seemed throughout the night seventy people had repined The Giving Tree from my board and ten people liked it! This had to be some kind of record?

Even if it wasn’t a record, it still shows that everyone likes this story and why not? Its a great story. When my children were small I loved reading them stories with a moral, that way we could discuss it afterwards and hopefully they’d learn something. But what is the moral to this story?

The story is about a boy and his relationship to a tree. The tree always provides the boy with the things he needs. Branches to swing on, shade in which to sit and apples to eat. As the boy grows, so do his needs and the tree continues to provide. Until one day when there is nothing left of the tree but a stump.

Many years later the boy returns an old man and the tree sadly says, “I’m sorry boy, but I have nothing left to give.”

The boy replies, “I am old and do not need much, just a quiet place to sit and rest.”

The tree invites the boy to sit on its stump, the boy obliges and the tree is very happy.

So what is the message in this story?

  • Its better to give than to receive?
  • As humans we take from nature until there is nothing left?
  • That childhood is a happy time compared to the sacrifices and responsibilities of adulthood?
  • Is the relationship between the tree and the boy similar to a relationship between a parent and child?

This book will definitely give both you and your children something to think about. (Pin it!)