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Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Adventureland for spirit development

Here’s a scenario to ponder …

Say you’re hanging around your garden when suddenly a group of youths enter uninvited and begin acting like they own the place and you’re the intruder. What do you do?

Let’s make it clearer …

Your garden is in a remote area that requires a great deal of effort to reach, therefore visitors are very rare. Not only is this where you hang, it also provides all your food and shelter and needs constant vigilance as life is very difficult, resources spare, and defending what you have is the only chance of survival for you and your family. Historically, trespassers create havoc, steal what little food can be found and leave a mess.

So … do you welcome this surprise visit? Do you greet the interlopers with open arms and a comfy cushion, then go hide in your room so as not to annoy them with your presence?

If you happen to be a polar bear whose garden is the frozen north of Norway, you might not.

As today’s news shows, hospitality may be lacking, and the cost of a less-than-warm welcome is high.

Four victims of an Arctic polar bear attack that left a 17-year-old British boy dead are recovering, according to the UK’s ambassador to Norway.

Jane Owen, who visited the survivors in hospital, said they were talking and responding well to treatment.

Horatio Chapple, 17, from Wiltshire, was killed during a British Schools Exploring Society trip near a glacier on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen.

The four who were hurt – two severely – included two leaders of the trip.

While some of the uninvited are recovering, the bear, of course, is dead.

Yes, I feel sorry for the dead kid, for his family, for those wounded, and find the whole situation tragic, but I’m also sorry for the bear, for its family, and can’t help but be more than a bit pissed off about the idea that an experience for humans too often comes as the cost of life for the creatures who inhabit the small spaces left available.

Contrary to popular thought, the world is not Disneyland and not everything on the planet needs to include people, even when they can afford the E Ticket.

Lars Erik Alfheim, vice-governor of Svalbard, said polar bears were common in the area, adding that they are “extremely dangerous” and can “attack without any notice”.

Mr Alfheim said there was no policy to ban travelling to the islands, but he added it was a wild environment and there were “a number of precautions that one needs to take when travelling here”.

And some of those “precautions” just might include being ready to kiss your ass goodbye if the locals take issue with your presence. Seems appropriate prep for a group who, ” … organises scientific expeditions to remote areas to develop teamwork and a spirit of adventure.”

Where humans and polar bears cross, bears lose, and lose big time:

Between 1980 and 1985 in Alaska, there was only one recorded injury caused by a polar bear, and no deaths

Over a 15-year period in Svalbard, Norway, other researchers documented polar bears killing one person and injuring three others. At least 46 polar bears were killed by people in the same time frame

In a 20-year period in Canada, six human deaths and 14 injuries were attributed to polar bears. During the same period, 251 bears were killed by people “in defence of life and property”

The spirit of a bear dead in the cause of a “spirit of adventure” makes no sense to me, and I can’t help but think teamwork could have been just as easily developed through a scavenger hunt on the Jungle Cruise. After all, it is in Adventureland.

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Having mentioned in a recent post that I have friends in Norway so therefore could personalize the horror there should the news of mass murder not ring familiar enough, it’s fitting I follow thoughts prompted by one of those friends as my mind wanders plains dotted with roving herds of psychonutjobs.

It was a line in Bobby’s answer to my question, “How’s Norway?” that sent me in the direction today’s blog should take:

I am happy for the way Norway pulled together and is moving on, as Obama put it that Norway has shown the true way to overcome terror by uniting and not hating, though I contemplate on the fact if we would have the same peace, unity and love had the bomber been anything BUT white….

Hm.

Bobby is Norwegian, but not white. Born In Norway to parents of Indian and Pakistani origins, he has spent his life in a perfect environment in which to develop a perspective that takes in the wider picture.

I am ok, too, less surprised then many others or to be honest not surprised at all at the event. this is and has been a peaceful country for many many years but I have never been under the false pretense that we are “always safe in Norway” …

No illusions of guaranteed safety may sound merely sensible to many living in the world today, but it is understandable that many Norwegians could have been lulled into buying those. For long a racially homogeneous society of well-educated, industrious folks tempered by cold rather than heat with a small population (4.9 million, the second least populated country in Europe) and Christian since shortly before the year 1000, the country is known for keeping its head down having declared itself neutral in both world wars and opting out of the EU.

(And, yes, I do know about the Sami people, the occupation of Norway and the Free Norwegian Force, but don’t feel an entire history lesson appropriate right now.)

As the Wiki indicates, Norway is a very white place, and we’re not talking snow, although there is a lot of that, as Magnar has mentioned. There are immigrants, of course, but of the 12.2% of incoming residents less than half (5.8%) come from places where people tend to brown eyes over blue, dark hair over blond and complexions more colorful than alabaster, and one might assume that those folks have been paying attention to any Nazi-like grumbling.

While 4,081,698 Norwegians self-identify as some flavor of Christian, 98,953 say Islam is their persuasion of preference, a ratio some find intolerable in the usual intolerant ways.

Given the numbers, it would seem odd that hot on the heels of the bombing and massacre an easy assumption implied a Muslim have been on the business end of the weapons.

When the attack began last Friday afternoon with a huge car-bomb detonated outside the main government buildings, Norway’s Muslim community braced itself for the worst, assuming that what had happened was the work of Islamist militants.

It was an assumption made by many around the world.

There’s a knee jerk for you, and one obviously not just a white response. (And that is not an “off the hook” for Fox, by the way.) It’s no wonder Muslims react with dread and non-Muslims jump from headline to jihad … just one reason those who aspire to journalism (or pretend to) should keep their fucking mouths shut until there is is actually something to talk about.

Mehtab Afsar, secretary-general of the Islamic Council of Norway, was leading a delegation abroad when he started receiving phone calls from Oslo from frightened members of the Muslim community.

“We heard some Muslims had already been beaten up in Oslo,” he said, “and women who were scared phoned me asking for help.”

“I was just hoping it was not true.”

Egomaniacal ass hats do come in all colors, shapes and sizes (although the overwhelming majority dangle dicks), a lesson that should have been learned sixteen years ago in Oklahoma City.

Don’t know about you, but it’s very hard for me to imagine a non-blond, ethnic-looking dude strolling into a camp on a Nordic island and getting everyone to gather round, cop uniform or not. The fact that the fuck wad was the picture of Hitler’s dream boy made it easier in a world where the darker the worser.

But, to Bobby’s thought provoking comment …

Norway’s got the warm fuzzies going now, all solidarity and support, with the mayor of Oslo telling CNN when relating the eventual fate of the mass murderer: “We’re going to punish him with democracy and love.”

My not-so-white friend wondering over how this would be playing out had the monster not looked so much like everyone else, practiced a different religion and been an immigrant instead of a “thoroughbred Norwegian” deserves more than a little thought.

Would the following still be the prime minister’s claim?

Norway’s prime minister pledged that his country would remain “an open society” in the wake of Friday’s massacre in Oslo and a nearby youth camp but said the bloodshed has changed the nation.

Does the fact that the monster grew from within, not without, make it easier to close ranks and pull together? Is it harder to point fingers when no matter how many do it comes back inside the circle?

For that matter, does a relatively conservative Christian country have any impetus to crack down on conservative Christians? Is the world ready to deal with the reality of Christian terrorists?

Many Christians cringe when Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Breivik is described as a “Christian terrorist.” But that is what he is.

Breivik, in his manifesto, writes of al Qaeda with admiration, as if he would love to create a Christian version of their religious cadre. Though he only occasionally quotes scripture, and admires the church in Norway largely as a cultural center for Christendom, he is captivated by Christian history. Breivik is fascinated with the Crusades and imagines himself to be a member of the Knights Templar, the crusader army of a thousand years ago. He would like to have a Christian army comparable to al Qaeda’s Muslim militia.

So if bin Laden was a Muslim terrorist, Breivik is a Christian terrorist.

And if Anders had been an Abdullah … even an acting-alone-singular-insane-egomaniacal-fanatic … would Norway look like it does today?

In addition to reading Bobby here, you can check out his blog where he talks about his varied interests … body building, fashion guru-ness and other interests, which occasionally include arguing with me. His last post addresses the issues we’re talking about here … )

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demon (ˈdēmən)
noun

1) an evil spirit or devil, a cruel, evil, or destructive person or thing

2) (in ancient Greek belief) a divinity or supernatural being of a nature between gods and humans.

ORIGIN Middle English : from medieval Latin, from Latin daemon, from Greek daimōn ‘deity, genius’ ; in sense 1 also from Latin daemonic ‘lesser or evil spirit,’ from Greek daemonic, diminutive of daimōn.

It’s been a weekend of the demonic in far too many senses of the word — diabolical, hellish, infernal — from the foulest fiends to pesky poltergeists, from public exhibitions of evil to lost battles with the personal genius loci. Death, destruction and crying over spillage are just some of the immediate results as ripples rise and begin to move beyond the scope of a Sunday in July.

I can personalize the situation in Norway by connecting with my friends there, but it’s more the familiarity with mass murders that hits upside the head like a sack full of shell casings.

Yes, another fucking armed-to-the-teeth whack job goes out of his way to make a point and a whole bunch of people are dead in dramatic fashion, the world is stunned as a poster boy for Nazis-R-Us chalks up views of his rants on YouTube and spews an oxymoron. (Conservative martyrs?)

Coming out of nowhere it may seem, but this fuckwad didn’t just materialize like a Pop-Tart … he’s been warming up a long time to pull off this obscenity and I’m guessing he has been surrounded by the like-minded. After all, gangs of folks who hate everyone are not uncommon, even in Scandinavia.

Though members of the Norwegian far-right movement have carried out attacks in the past, it has historically been a small community, according to neo-Nazi watchers.

The late Stieg Larsson, the Swedish crime writer famous for his Millennium trilogy, was one such expert.

In the mid-1990s, he founded the anti-racist, anti-extremist publication Expo following a sharp rise in violence carried out by neo-Nazis.

In an interview in connection with a documentary I was making at the time, he told me that Sweden was the world’s largest producer of so-called White Power Music and other racist propaganda, with an active, fast-growing and violent neo-Nazi movement.

Of course, it doesn’t take a movement to create mayhem. It can be just one guy with an ego attached to his weaponry, as proven by the poster boy for evil nutjobs:

“From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment.”
~ Charles Manson

It’s all so common now that another messy wipeout will hardly be noticed:

At least five people have been killed and three injured in a shooting at a roller-skating rink birthday party in Texas, police say.

As a small favor to the rest of us, at least that guy offed himself in the process therefore doing away with at least one demon.

Although it’s certainly not pretty and can be agonizing, ending the reign of an internal Lucifer in a way that doesn’t reduce the surrounding population by more than one may seem an appropriate, if not creative, coping style.

The one … or dozens … that apparently inhabited Amy Winehouse must not have responded to anything less than exorcism by booze and drugs, a process that so often includes killing the host.

Ringside seats to a brawl between demons for possession of a trophy may convey the right to encourage (one side or the other, depending) and chart a score based on effective tags, but no one can judge the pain and call the fight but the contender.

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”
~ Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

And there’s an example of why Buddhism is not a cakewalk … a thousand battles fought and won may never be enough for victory over oneself.

Some malicious mischief on the part of some abstemious Mephistophelian type determined to separate those of us fond of the grape pulled … or pushed … off a cruel coup in Australia that rounds out the diabolical for the weekend, and hopefully puts paid to the shit that’s flowed like a global infestation of Vibrio cholera:

More than A$1m ($1.07m; £664,000) of wine has been destroyed in a forklift accident in Australia.

The 2010 Mollydooker Velvet Glove shiraz sells for A$185 a bottle ($199; £122), the AFP news agency said.

Winemaker Sparky Marquis told reporters he was “gut-wrenched” that 462 cases of wine had been smashed while being loaded for export to the United States.

“When they opened up the container they said it was like a murder scene,” he said. “But it smelled phenomenal.”

Fucking demons!

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Kim (South Africa), Sam (Cambodia/Seychelles/UK), Calina (France) ... all together on my couch.

Kim (South Africa), Sam (Cambodia/Seychelles/UK), Calina (France) ... all together on my couch.

As seen in yesterday’s post, we celebrated Sam’s 6th birthday with a party on my veranda. I’m prompted by the event to wax on about life in the greater world … the world that includes other countries, cultures and concepts.

Not only did we have people from Seychelles, Cambodia, the US, the UK, Norway and Australia here, Sam also received birthday greetings … via Skype, facebook and emails from a whole bunch of folks in America, Sis … New Zealand-born, now living near Portland, OR … Sas and Miss B … born in India … in Luxembourg, Liv-Synnove in Norway, Calum in Kenya, Nadiera in Sri Lanka, Mervyn in China, Clint in Lebanon, Oscar in Finland, and friends living here from France, South Africa, and so on.

The fact that the world is small should be an easy one for all to take onboard, but one that appears to elude far too many on this tiny, interconnected planet. Our differences pale in comparison to our similarities, yet seem to get most of the focus outside social networks like facebook and myspace, and blogs, where people tend to go to look for like-minded folks to share with.

We’re a simple species, apparently, and although we can conceive the most amazing ideas and birth creatures that bring us together in ways unimaginable just a few years ago, we tend to lose the plot more than we follow.

I can only hope that the closeness that happens when people from so many different places and backgrounds communicate … I’m not talking about the pinheaded fools who try to turn chat to porn every chance they get — boring, stupid gits, they are — but those who build bridges and lifelong friendships with people they never would have had a chance to know before the world shrunk … will eventually make a huge difference for the positive and lead us away from our base nature and move us into a new realm where we are happier to share hugs than lob grenades.

And send birthday wishes to a little boy in Seychelles.

Cool.

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I write often about my friends … they are, after all, a huge part of my life, and island life in general for most expats … and lately Magnar has been showing up a lot in this blog because he’s huge in my life.

He is adorable, so of course I do adore him, and he takes very good care of me. Sometimes that means showing up at my house with some huge piece of construction equipment and a guy with a jackhammer. Other times he’s teaching the kids to ride horses or not to forget their manners.

Over the past months, there were times when I simply could not face my empty bed and he graciously provided his warm body as cuddly company, allowing me to actually sleep through nights without waking every few minutes in total panic and abject loneliness. (He, too, had been unceremoniously dumped by his spouse at almost the same time Mark left me, so I like to think that I helped him, as well, and being a man who needs to be needed, my neediness was actually a bonus.)

He allows me to dote on him and never complains when the meal I put in front of him once more consists of beans on toast. He fixes what’s broken … including to a great extent my heart … and prevents meltdowns when my computer dies.

He has also been my muse.

I hadn’t written a word in months … a condition that concerned him rightly and revealed the depths of my despair … so he took to prodding — not gentle at all, but more like the sort used on cattle when needing encouragement to advance willingly toward imminent death. He’d feed me a line, then demand that I crank out a story for him based upon that and only that.

Here’s a result:

The Rise of The Broken Man (This is the line he gave me.)

The statue of Magnar the Mild had been erected to guard the small alcove dedicated to a minor deity, a Horse Goddess, who was worshipped only occasionally by a handful who found favor in infidelity and hoped her power would shield them from consequences arising from faithlessness and betrayal.

It was surprising, then, that the only work of art destroyed in the break-in … one that appeared to be conducted by professionals, but had so little point to it that authorities were stumped as to motive … was this particular marble representation of the human figure, lovely in its form and maleness, but created by mortals whose fame never followed, and imperfect — cracked in some places, chipped in others — and so lacking in offensiveness that the thought of taking the time to do such damage to such an undemanding piece of art would have been shocking, had any of the investigators been thinking further than the direct collection of evidence.

The crime, itself, had taken hours and made such a mess of the citadel that a week’s scrubbing was required before all the chips had been found and the dust removed from the many nooks, crannies, folds, and embellishments that made up the more elaborate monuments and effigies.

The image had been not only hammered, chiseled, decapitated and had his marble manhood chipped away, the perpetrators had then collected the pieces and dropped a 170 kilo weight from a great height, not an easy feat considering the lack of block and tackle, upon the pile of his rubble that reduced the entire mass to little more than widely scattered and unrecognizable fragments.

The inscription, “Magnar the Mild”, on the base, being cemented to the floor and therefore possibly not considered vital to the destruction or just too much bloody work, had been filed down to nothing and the only bits in reasonable tact were the feet attached to it he had been standing on for at least a thousand years.

Curators, at a loss as to what to do with the remnants once the investigation was complete … that took all of about an hour with the evidence so obvious … were reticent to simply chuck the dust and clumps in a bin. He was, after all, still and occasionally an admired ancient work even if now a pulverized ancient work, so they swept up what could be swept and gathered what could be gathered into a velvet sack and placed it, along with the nameless base on which the almost perfect feet remained, in a cedar-lined cupboard near the niche honoring the power of tears shed in love.

The years passed, the curators died, replaced regularly by new devotees, and the story of the irrational destruction of Magnar the Mild passed with them. The cupboard and contents went unexamined for decades.

************

Seeking solace and a hint of peace to assuage the pain of dying love far too slow in the healing, a sculptor of medium skill but great heart found both in the shallow recess the citadel had so long set aside for those in search of some source of strength in daily bouts of crying and other physical manifestations of deep pain. The space itself was comforting as a loving hug, and although sad compensation for the muscle, bone, blood and flesh that no longer reached for her, the laments she allowed herself to release in that tiny grotto replenished her stores and allowed her to make her way home day after day, and to face new ones as they came.

Setting aside an hour or so out of every twenty-four for a visit to the citadel and its welcoming nook for the tearful, it was weeks before she spent even a minute there clear-eyed. As time went on, however, those minutes increased and she took to examining more closely the minutia that made up this small corner of this huge building.

There were no gods nor goddesses provided, as it was clear that any force to be found there was to come from within, not without, and that dedications or supplications made to others had no chance to accomplish anything other than vague hopes of retribution or distractions from regrets. Regrets, however, as it was written in the single pew through someone’s efforts with a pen knife, had to be addressed to keep future regrets from being instigated through the following of old patterns. Floor-to-ceiling panels of warm, flesh-colored marble were adorned with images difficult to ascertain, but emitting a palpable benevolence that encouraged restorative energy to resound somewhere near the heart and spread, eventually to the point that small amounts of excess flowed from fingertips, toes and even the ends of her hair, all of which she hoped to trap and keep for use later.

It was in a search for an appropriate container for the magnificent light she was beginning to produce that she found the velvet sack containing the remnants of Magnar the Mild. The deepest, smoothest and most vibrant of blues, the ages had taken no toll on the fabric, and as it had seen neither sunlight nor moonlight in its ages of waiting, the pouch was as pristine as the day the curators had stored it away.

Days passed in admiration of the cloth before she thought to open the parcel, and then did so slowly, leading with the sense she trusted more than any at the time … her sense of smell. Pulling back one tiny section of a corner, she pressed her face against the opening and drew one heady breath after another. Stone and ancient and hard and male on one hand; damaged, ravaged, despairing on the other, the contents were evocative, and soon she found herself boldly working the opening larger and larger.

It was the feet she first laid eyes upon amongst the dust and debris of abused marble, and in the sight she knew the foundation upon which the ruins had once stood.

“This man must be raised,” she announced softly to the particles around her as she felt, for the first time in months, a motivation for movement beyond the tiny centimeters forward her bleeding heart had allowed until now.

A consultation with the citadel’s antiquarian eventually revealed the name and nature of the original form, and with a blessing of hope for renewal of “Magnar the Mild” resonating within, she was allowed to carry the velvet sack and its contents to the small studio in which she lived, ate and cried, and had once worked.

The state of her tools needed tending before she could even think of beginning the process she’d chosen to bring the man back to a solid form … marble being too much of his past, she had decided this version would be in bronze … and she used the time needed to arrange and rearrange the implements and materials she would need to allow an image to form. It grew as she slept, as well, and within a few weeks she knew him from toe to head.

The feet she cast exactly, as they were not only the only remaining true representation but also her first sense of the beauty and strength of the figure. From there, the rest of the form fashioned himself, her hands being no more than the implements needed to remake the man in wax. Into the hollow space she created where a heart would beat in a man of flesh, she placed the velvet sack, creating the only imperfection the final sculpture would exhibit … a slight bulge at the chest as though the god of Adam had refused the request for the rib needed for the Eve who would bring him to grief.

In wax, she studied him, making small adjustments, adding bits here, tapering others there, and indulging in one self-indulgence by building a bit more manhood than seemed in scale and making herself smile in the process.

“After all he’s been through, he deserves the extra to impress observers through the ages, and there’s no doubt it will make him an even more popular image for women to worship and through which to find consolation.”

She, herself, was so moved by the man who formed under her hands that it almost broke her heart to begin the necessary process of turning this beauty in wax into the shapeless clay pot he must become before emerging in tact in bronze.

Week after week, she coated him in liquid silicone sand, patiently waiting for each layer to dry, then applying the next until there was nothing left to admire but more than a six foot bulk of what for all intents and purposes looked like something you would stick a plant into. Nothing, that is, but the very top of the head left bare.

The fact that she could no longer see his face made it much easier for her to place him in the kiln and watch as he was consumed by fire hotter than melted glass. The burying of the figure in sand felt right at that point, as well, and as the workers she had hired to help with the heavy and dangerous process of casting lifted the crucible and began pouring the molten metal carefully into the hole left for the purpose in his head, she had almost forgotten the man inside the pot, so passed the cooling time in peace.

Much can go wrong in the process of working in bronze, so it was with no little trepidation that she grabbed a hammer and began smashing away at the ceramic casing that held what she hoped would be Magnar. Pieces flew in all directions, and she cared nothing for the mess that would result as she whacked away. Exhaustion took her by the arm and wrestled the tools of destruction of the carapace from her grip more than once, but so anxious was she to see the product of her work and his inspiration that she rested only occasionally, searching for signs of what lay below as she did.

Finally, the form began to present itself, although so coated in residue that he looked rough and dirty, covered in grit and the detritus of the remaking, nowhere smooth as the marble he had once been or inspiring any soft strokes.

Scraping followed, and the digging out of all that wasn’t meant to remain, with eyes and the male member taking the most time and attention. The chasing took more than a week, and she barely slept for that time, so anxious was she to free him from all fragments of his rising and see him stand tall and whole again.

Polishing was tedious, but rewarding, as he gleamed a bright yellow gold like an Egyptian God newly discovered after three thousand years in an airless tomb.

It took a full six months for his patina to bloom, and during that time she spent many hours in conversation with her still companion. Although seeming to some one-sided, his company was healing.

Soon after the final polishing, she presented him to the citadel where he stands today at the gate, a a challenge to those who doubt, a comfort to those who fear, a presence for those who suffer loss; not hers in any way, but simply himself in all his glory for the ages.

The base he stand on reads “Magnar the Magnificent”, and although the story of his rise from broken man to everlasting monument to hope is rarely told in its entirety, everyone who beholds him knows a touch of optimism in their hearts.

Sandra Hanks Benoiton
1 September 2008
Inspired by her muse

That was the first fiction I’d written in I don’t know how long, and it kick-started me in directions I’d not seen illuminated before. So much so, that the National Novel Writing Month challenge sounded like a bloody good idea … especially after my former editor and friend, Lisa, wrote me declaring I was the only other writer she knew that wasn’t too big a pussy to give it a shot.

So, now I’m writing a novel again, but with my life in such a state of business, catching up, kid raising, dog training … all between the brackets of two 2-hour drives M-F … I’ve not been cranking out what I should be.

Magnar has noticed … he doesn’t miss one single thing, EVER! … and has taken up the cattle prod again and is using it with relish and abandon.

I had 3 hours sleep last night, and shortly after I arrived home from my trek to town getting the kids to school this morning, I got this SMS from him:

no sleep until 2000 words, right?
no party until 2000 words, right?
No wine or fags until 2000 words, right? Nahhhh that wouldn’t work … but hammer them words!
Time is after 2000! (20:00) (That’s party time.)

My Norwegian nag! And sometimes even in Norwegian … which I completely ignore, so he tends to stick with harping on in English. (He also steals every cigarette and lighter he can lay his hands on, then laughs and does a victory dance. Very funny … ummmmmm.)

Friendship and love are wonderful, and even more so when they come cutting no slack … although don’t tell him I admitted that, please. The thought of him ramping up the carping is a wee bit scary. I might be forced to take on more challenges than I can stand.

Nahhhhhh. I can take it … from Magnar.

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Magnar and me

Magnar and me

This morning’s post is bound to ramble, as I’m foggier than San Francisco in a November due to a spontaneous Magnar-induced party that invaded my veranda at about 10 last night, then left him here … three sheets to the wind, maybe four … and wanting to show me photos of his dad’s sheep and read to me in Norwegian after the six people he brought along (Who were those guys?) moved on to their next venue.

I never complain about Magnar, and never will, as he kept me going through months of sheer torture and terror, and because there’s actually nothing to complain about … he is truly Mr. Wonderful in every way … plus I LOVE to hear the world news in his native language. (Stan fell asleep in a chair … but that was no problem. His snoring … he saws logs, while I simply purr when I sleep … was great background music.)

But … I was just getting ready to hit the sack, being well worn out from a full day in town, and all the happy dancing I did all day to the tune of President Elect Barak Obama, when he and a gaggle of Brits arrived equipped with wine and beers and great conversation. (One even bought a copy of my book, so it was an evening of fun AND profit.)

The kids were well asleep, and once they’re out, they’re out, so undisturbed by the hilarity created when perfect strangers meet and find they get on like a house afire.

One thing in the long list of things I love about island life is the tendency people develop here to not let personal connections pass without notice and appreciation for kindred souls casually encountered.

Mark has the kids this weekend, and now we have a party to attend tomorrow night … and that’s how the social calendar fills so very fast in such a small place.

On the election topic, my daughter, Jenn, forwarded an email this morning from one of her coworkers that offers a symmetry that deserves thought:

1. The modern conservative movement began with the crushing defeat of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential race. The modern conservative movement ends with the crushing defeat of Arizona Sen. John McCain — who took Goldwater’s Senate seat upon his retirement — in the 2008 presidential race.

2. Modern liberalism began its implosion with riots in Chicago’sGrant Park at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Tonight, modern liberalism is reborn at Chicago’s Grant Park, where a black Chicago Democrat will celebrate winning the presidency.

Got out of my morning drive today thanks to another great friend. Andy was flying to Praslin today … another island about 15 minutes away by flying soapbox … and the timing worked out that dropping the kids at school was a favor he could provide. Yipee.

I was up at 5, as usual, but had only to walk Sam and Cj up the hill to catch their lift with him; then was back in bed by 6:30 and caught another couple of hours. What a treat!

I’m loving life these days, and so happy to be. Turns out, I’m a lucky bunny after all. Wow.

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