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The Life Report

I love David Brooks. For those of you who don’t live in the US, David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times. (He’s apparently a big fan of Norway, judging by this piece.)

Before I get to why I love this guy, I’ll tell you what I don’t like about him.

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The Lion, the Fish, and Objective C

“What does that guy do?” I know many people on the island wonder about that. Norwegians tend not to be openly nosy. Only a few people directly asked me, and my first answer is, “I’m spending a lot of time with my children.” Well, an obvervant person would see that the children are in school, save for one daddy day — which is really one half-day — for each child. Read more

Scaling the Lion, Part 2

I confess. The last time I hiked up to Rødøyløva, the mountain peak on the island, I didn’t actually make it to the very, very top. I stopped about 30 feet from it. Why didn’t I do it, if I was so close? Because from where I stood, I saw that the very top is actually a protrusion of stone a few feet thick over 1,200 feet of air. Read more

Longing Home

Moving to Norway, first of all, was driven by the need for change. Winston and I were ready to change our routines and try something new for a while. But if I am totally honest with myself, it might also have been driven by a tiny bit of homesickness on my part. Read more

Our First Night Out

Last Saturday there was a country music concert at Klokkergarden, the only hotel on Rødøy. We got two of Kristin’s students to babysit for us and headed out for our first night out since we came here. We went to our neighbor’s house for a beer, and waited for the hotel shuttle. Read more

There Is No Bad Weather

“There is no bad weather, only bad clothing,” goes a popular Norwegian saying. The weather sure has been bad. It’s been 3 weeks since the autumn rain started, and it has rained every day. Today we had 40 mile-a-hour wind and hail. But we braved this weather like true Vikings. Read more

Reversal of Marital Roles

The biggest change since we came to the island was the reversal of roles between Kristin and I. It is bigger than the isolation, the climate, the scenery, the people. When we lived in Boston, I worked and Kristin for the most part took care of the children. Now, these roles, plus a few more, are flipped. Read more

Private Property: Please Trespass!

Shortly after we met 11 years ago, Kristin and I traveled through California. One sign, “Private Property — No Trespassing” shocked Kristin. These signs are everywhere in California, whether you’re in a dense residential area in San Francisco, or in the middle of the desert with no sign of humans in sight. Read more

Lichen is Beautiful

When a glacier retreats, a lot of new earth — mostly rocks — become exposed, starting up a process in which plant life moves in on true virgin land. But most plants don’t grow on rocks, so something has to “break down” the rocks to make them more hospitable. Leading the invasion of plant life is lichen.

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How to Salt and Dry Fish

When I go fishing, I rarely catch just the right amount of fish for one dinner. Sometimes I don’t catch anything, so I’d go to the general store in disgrace. Sometimes I catch so much that I feel guilty. When I do have a good day, I need to preserve the extra fish for later, less bountiful days. Surely, preserving food is one of the oldest problems facing humanity. Read more