Today

I’m going to get a massage…. or going to a whore house. I’m not quite sure which. What am I to think about a place where they speak Norwegian very poorly and are open to 10pm?

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Amming og likestilling

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xmangel/. License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Hva har amming med likestilling å gjøre? Det er spørsmålet jeg stiller meg når jeg følger med på ammedebatten Lysbakken startet. Det virker som at den gjengse oppfatning av likestilling er å få kvinner fortest tilbake i jobb, hvor amming dermed stopper kvinnen i å løpe tilbake til jobb. Med andre ord, etter at kvinnen har gått gravid i ni måneder  med halsbrann, kvalme, utslitthet, vondt for å gå, ryggplager (som igjen gir lite/dårlig søvn) etc., så gjør kvinnen den hælvetes smertefulle jobben å føde barnet. Deretter følges det seks uker, også kalt barselstiden hvor kroppen og hormonene går vill for å starte ammingen og kroppen omstiller seg etter å ha gått gravid. Og midt oppi dette så har kvinnen et barn som krever mat svært ofte, mye gråt, lite søvn etc. Rent fysisk går kvinner igjennom så mye når det gjelder å bære frem et barn at mannfolkene burde tilbe grunnen kvinnen går på.

Men i den moderne tiden vi lever i, så er ikke det godt nok. De fysiske strabasene vi kvinner går igjennom er ikke et sidenotat engang, for her skal kjønnene likestilles så mye at det gjelder å få kvinnen tilbake til jobb fortest mulig. Det er jo likestilling, må de vite.

Vet du hva som er likestilling for meg?

Muligheten for at familien selv kan velge hvordan de ønsker å tilrettelegge tiden etter fødsel, amming eller ei.
At ikke kun menn ansatt i det offentlige får to ukers fødselspermisjon. Kvinnen trenger virkelig all hjelp hun kan få i denne tiden, men det er kanskje ikke noe man likestilles?
At fars rett til foreldrepenger ikke er avhengig av at mor er i arbeid.

Likestilling for meg er retten til å velge slik det passer meg  og min familie uten at staten legger føringer slik de mener vi burde velge.

Amming som tema har punkter som trenger å revurderes. Å fullamme til barnet er seks måneder har ikke hold i Norge/vestlige land, forskning viser at det ikke er flere helsemessige fordeler ved fullamming etter fire måneder . Det er ikke noe informasjon som gis om alternativer til amming som morsmelkerstatning (MME), fullpumping etc. fra sykehuset selv om man ikke får til ammingen. Min erfaring med sykehuset er at jordmødrene er for travle og har for mange personer til en gang ha et fokus på forskjellige amme-strategier å prøve ut når ammingen ikke fungerer. Men at de kun har fokus på amming og at det er et ammepress – ingen tvil.

Amming har ingenting med likestilling å gjøre. Det burde ikke være ønskelig å gjøre kjønnene mest mulig like, og amming er en av de fysiske forskjellene mellom kvinner og menn. Uansett hvor mye likestilling som eksisterer så visker det ikke ut fysiske forskjeller. Barn har behov for brystmelk/MME, og i de tilfeller hvor det ikke går så burde det være opp til familien å bestemme hvordan å håndtere dette, jobb eller ikke.

Tvert imot viser statistikk at seks av ti kvinner foretrekker å være hjemme med barna. Og siden 70-tallet når kvinnene for alvor kom inn i arbeidsmarkedet, så har kvinners lykke bare gått nedover. At kvinner er nå en naturlig del av arbeidsmarkedet er positivt, men karriere/jobb blir nå brukt som en slegge i likestillingens navn hvor kvinner skal i jobb og det er uglesett å ha andre ønsker enn å jobbe. At kvinner vil la seg forsørge av en mann blir ansett for å være et nederlag og et slag mot likestillingen. Eller som det i denne fine artikkelen synser om: Å bli forsørget gjør oss til kjedelige samtalepartnere og leder til skilsmisse. Man trenger ikke mye sunn fornuft for å skjønne at det argumentet faller sammen på egen hånd. Kvinner har aldri jobbet så mye eller vært mer mindre lykkelig. Men vi er i det minste skikkelig likestilt, må de vite!

Når skal vi innse at det er forskjell mellom kjønnene og i vår natur/ønsker. Likestilling = like rettigheter. Likestilling er ikke ensbetydende med karriere for mor.  Likestilling for meg er også at vi vedkjenner oss forskjellene mellom kjønnene. Det er flott at kvinner kan jobbe, men det betyr ikke at kvinner ønsker å prioritere jobb fremfor familie eller amming for den saks skyld. Kanskje vi burde ta over oss at kvinner var lykkeligere når de var hjemmeværende? Det betyr ikke at vi skal gå tilbake til slik det var, men at det er et varsko om å ikke dra likestillingen for langt.

Og apropos likestilling: Hvorfor skal det koste kvinner tre ganger mer å sterilisere seg?

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Amming, nok et propaganda tema

Aftenposten har en artikkel idag om at Lysbakken har gått ut og sagt at amming kan tilpasses familiesituasjonen og kommer med alternative forslag til fullamming frem til babyen er seks måneder.

Det er så ufattelig mye propaganda knyttet til det å få barn og bli mor/far, at dette er bare nok et tema som er så gjennomsyret av følelser. Beste sitat fra artikkelen:

Alle de som har nyfødte barn vet hvor mye følelser det ligger i ammesituasjonen.

Som nybakt mor med en unge som er fem uker, la meg komme med en kommentar:

Nei, det trenger ikke å være noe som helst følelser knyttet til ammesituasjonen utover frustrasjon, smerte, fortvilelse (fordi det ikke funker) og et ønske om at ungen skal ha mat og en sunn vektøkning. Det som ligger implisitt i sitatet ovenfor er at amming skal være en positiv opplevelse som gir nærhet, men alt man trenger å gjøre er å ta et enkelt google søk på brystspreng, for lite brystmelk, såre nippler, sugeteknikk, morsmelkerstatning etc. så ser man at amming faktisk ikke trenger å være en positiv opplevelse. Det beste argumentet for amming er at barnet mottar de samme antistoffene mot sykdom som moren har med brystmelk. Utover det så kan amming kan være en utelukkende negativ opplevelse, og innspillet fra Lysbakken er et sunt og nødvendig innspill. Tvert imot tror jeg svært mange kvinner (99%) opplever problemer knyttet til amming på et eller annet tidspunkt.

Nå blir hele saken koblet opp mot likestilling, et tema jeg ikke vil gå inn på her men som jeg har mange meninger om. Men det som provoserer meg mest er all propagandaen som blir spydd ut om hvor fantastisk det skal være å bli forelder og ikke minst hvor bra amming skal være. Værstingene på propagandaen er kvinner og mødrene selv, og jeg blir glad de få gangene jeg faktisk kommer over materiell som fokuserer mest på kunnskap og ikke rundt situasjonen man er i (og rosemaler det).

Hvordan du ammer ditt barn” utgitt av Helsedirektoratet er et bra hefte man kan laste ned om amming som fokuserer på kunnskap, men man trenger ikke å lete lenge for å finne rosemalingen  rundt det å bli foreldre og situasjonen der og. Det er informasjon i dette heftet som Lysbakken snakker om.

Takk Lysebakken for at du tar opp et tema som trenger revurdering. Du kommer til å møte motstand.

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Kolikk

Jeg leser alt jeg kommer over om kolikk, og jeg blir bare mer og mer provosert. Veldig mange råd er knyttet til å etterlikne hvordan barnet hadde det i magen, samt sette på repetetiv “støy” som støvsuger etc.

Et veldig godt eksempel på disse elendige rådene: Ny teknikk mot kolikk

Ungen har det vondt i magen, og rådene som gis er å pakke ungen inn og lage suselyder??? Om en voksen har sterke magesmerter hver dag i tre måneder, så gir man ikke den voksne anbefalingen å høre på favorittmusikken sin hver dag i tre måneder og bruke en varmeflaske.

Og ikke nok med det, kolikk kommer når ungen er mellom 2 – 4 uker gammel. Måten å diagnosere dette er følgende:

Periodevis skriking hos et spedbarn (under 3 måneder gammel) mer enn 3 timer per dag, oftere enn tre dager per uke i mer enn tre uker
Kilde: http://www.helsedoktoren.no/pc-240-39-Kolikk.aspx

Ungen er allerede nesten en måned når man blir mer og mer sikker, men neida. Dette skal pågå i mer enn tre uker før man er sikker på at ungen har kolikk. Ungen er allerede da 2 måneder gammel før diagnosen er klar, og kolikk skal gå over når ungen er 3 måneder.

For noe fullstendig bullshit! Ungen er praktisk talt ferdig med kolikk perioden når man har fått diagnosen.

Hvorfor ikke innrømme det åpenbare? Legestanden er fullstendig uvitende når det gjelder kolikk, og problemer med spedbarn er for uinteressant til at de ønsker å finne en løsning på det. Neida, la ungene bare ha smerter i tre måneder, det er løsningen til legestanden.

Idioti !

…. og i mellomtiden gråter foreldrene nesten like mye som ungen… Og moren avstår fra alt mulig av matvarer i håp om at det hjelper. Så nå avstår jeg fra brus, kaffe, svart te, sjokolade også skal jeg begynne å holde meg unna alt av melkeprodukter.

Posted in Health, Norsk | 1 Comment

In Waiting

If your soul wants to dance, staying in bed is stressfull, and dancing is restful.

It’s only 8 days until my due date and I’m in waiting. I was in bad shape for a while and was unable to do much, but now I’m in good shape again and can function almost normally (I’m so happy that my boyfriend cooks me dinner and sometimes breakfast). I’m no longer counting the days by monday, tuesday etc. Instead it’s 10, 9, 8 days until my due date. The days are starting to move slower, I’m more bored and don’t know what to make the days go by. It’s boring!

I have looked for TV series, but there doesn’t seem to be many of them that interest me. I just finished reviewing Dark Angel for the n’th time which is a very good series. I have seen Supernatural for the third time, I’m not motivated to view Angel. Buffy, Firefly, Tru Calling, Dollhouse again. You have probably caught the drift on what kind of TV series I like by now. And those are the good series, there are loads of crappy ones.

And then there’s books and I have already mentioned that I’m not very motivated there either.

I have one project I would like to do – create a multiple purse holder, but I’m not so much of an arts & crafts gal or I would have been all over this by now.

I could start looking more seriously for tv series and books to read, I could cook food and keep in the freezer since I will need it when the baby is out.

The problem is that I’m bored of my own company. Being with myself every day gets pretty demotivational. Staying at home makes me mental, so I go out every day now to be less mental. I want to go to the cinema, but the films I want to see only goes in the evening. It was easier when I lived in oslo, the films was always available in the daytime and a lot cheaper. When I wasn’t working, I took a walk in the morning, went to the cinema and cafe in the afternoon, met friends, exercised and somehow the days flew by and I was happy.

Awaiting a baby elephant kind of stops me from moving around as much. I can’t wait until I can piss straight again and get rid of the back pains. And drink black tea again (black tea gives awful heartburns).

Things are in order now, all the baby things etc. are there. There’s nothing more I need to get done.

I’m so uninspired. Now, where’s the chocolate?

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Piracy – when there is no other option

I purchase ebooks because they are easily available and easy to get rid of the DRM. When it comes to movies and TV series, things isn’t that easily available. On the Norwegian iTunes store there is no films or TV series that can be purchased. There is no access to Hulu or Netflix (unless one fake it until one makes it).

So what is the easiest, available option – piracy, of course! It’s not legal and I prefer to pay for whatever content I use. The reason I want to pay for it is easy: If I throw money at the things I like, it means that more content of what I like will be made available to me. Another reason is that I like to do things legally as well, but who cares about that desire except me?

So when I read a statement by Jon Favreau about original films weren’t made anymore because the limits upon earnings had become very strict, I couldn’t help but think:

Please Hollywood! Make it easy for me to purchase your films and TV Series (and without DRM), and you will get money from me.

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Uplifting, joyous books

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtsofan/ License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I read a lot when I was young, biographies, fiction, you name it. I even read “Lord of the Rings” two or three times. I have tried to read the books several times again, but now I’m unable to read the first 50 pages without loosing interest. I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along I got hooked into fantasy books, and I stayed there. When I was 30 I was going through a rough patch and then I got hooked into personal growth books which helped me tremendously to improve my mental well-being.

Now I’m 33, going on 34, and I am stuck on fantasy, science fiction and personal growth books. I used to enjoy reading Wilbur Smith and the Courtney books when I was a teenager, so last week I decided to give it another try. See if it would rekindle the flame. I managed to read 20 pages during a week. That’s bad, that isn’t rekindling anything. The setting is in Africa where the boy “Sean” lives on his family farm. It starts off with a hunting episode, and already there the book lost me. Books with hunting in them when I’m a vegetarian, let’s just say it’s not my area of interest.

Before going on this failed quest, I read all the seven books in the Harry Potter series. I used to love those books, I was enthralled into another world and when I stopped reading them I woke up to the real and more boring world where magic didn’t exist. Now I got the feeling that the books really were written for teenagers/children, and I was annoyed multiple times by the bad characters in the books. The Dursley’s which are mean and narrow, the always slick and unsympathetic Snape, the brat Draco and his thugs. I don’t like characters that are so easily labeled, that have no sympathetic character traits that I like. I like people that may be evil, but still have some human features that makes me recognize them as being human and possibly likable to a small degree. At least give me one bad person with a good sense of humor. Or a bad person who can be a bit fickle, and sometimes show mercy at unpredictable times.

No, life and people instead are in many regards portrayed as either good or evil, black and white, Jedi or Sith. And the interesting thing is, evil always seems to have stronger powers than goodness, but since goodness persists it wins. I’m getting tired of this and since this is mostly the themes of fantasy books as well, only with magic into the mix, I’ve lost interest in reading.

I want to read uplifting, joyous books. There may be some bad circumstances, but they are not to be dwelled upon and are more of a side note in the story. I don’t need a lot of misery to get to a happy ending that are only in the 30 last pages of the book. I loved Eat Pray Love because it started off with a divorce, but it was only a side note in the book. The reason why I still read personal growth books is because of their interesting stories of clients that have overcome obstacles and how they did it, and there are some good advice there as well usually. I keep track of Oprah because I find uplifting things there.

I want to stop reading news because it only focus on the bad things, and I don’t need that disturbance in my life. I only want stories and people that adds something to my life.

So I’m out of ideas on what to read. There are only so much personal growth books can give me, and I’ve lost interest. Do you have any suggestions?

Posted in EBooks, English, Inspiration & reviews | 1 Comment

Upgrade

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/people/strawbleu/ License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I’d love to make over….

my time in the kitchen. I love eating good and healthy, but I don’t have the time, surplus and may be motivation(?!.) to create good food. Eating good food makes me feel good, healthy and create the surplus I want. I just don’t get to that place. It’s a bad circle I don’t seem to come out of.

I’d never change….

the moment that inspired this blog post. I was sitting outside in the sun with a cold coca cola, reading O Magazine, and I found these two questions that made me think what my answers were.That moment of inspiration is what makes me feel alive and gives sparks of joy.Furthermore, that’s when I found out I can sit outside in the blazing sun with my Macbook Air and I see the screen perfectly.

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The aftermath of the oslo terrorism

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cicilie/. License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

On 22nd July Oslo was hit by terrorism, first a bomb went of in the government quarter and then the massacre at Utøya. 77 people was killed and during the last week there have been funerals all over Norway. During the first week Norwegians were glued to the newspapers and TV, soaking up every detail of the incident. Trying to make sense of it, trying to understand what we couldn’t imagine anybody doing.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard of 7/11-2001, and the same is true of 22/07-2011. I will not forget those moments.When the Norwegians first heard of the terror attack the initial response was to gather information, figure out what was happening. In the back of everybody’s minds were the thought that we had been hit by Muslim fundamentalists, but both people, the government and the media were expecting more information before drawing any conclusions. The media was more concerned with gathering information of what was happening. Of course there were some reports of Norwegians chasing Muslims down the streets, but an overwhelming degree of people didn’t. There will always be somebody who behaves badly towards innocent people after such incidences, but it doesn’t represent the general public and we shouldn’t treat such incidences as if they do represent the majority of people. The next day we were told it was a Norwegian who was behind the terror.

The police, hospitals, health staff, fire brigade etc. responded quickly and dealt with the situation effectively and professionally.

Our response was to maintain our society, and not rush into more security, more surveillance, passing laws that restrict the general public etc. A commission has been formed to get an overview of Anders Behring Breivik (ABB) activities the last ten years, and come up with recommendations.

There has been debate on what degree we should allow extremist opinions in the public debates and especially on the internet, and it has been a good debate. We are also seeing the beginning of a “new” discussion – immigration and attitudes towards Muslims. Some believes that the response would have been different if the perpetrators had been Muslims and there is  truth to that statement and that we only can “afford” a response of openness and love because the offender was Norwegian. I think Norwegians would still behave in the same way, but there would be a lot more outbursts of hate etc. towards Muslims. Here’s the thing: It’s possible to do two things at once: React with love and hate/fear at the same time. One reaction doesn’t reflect badly upon the other.

Let me come with an example. I’m a vegetarian which means I hear a lot of comments from meat lovers. Many years ago I was at a funeral, and afterwards I attended the memorial service afterwards. They only served sandwiches with meat, so I declined. The sister of the deceased heard me decline the sandwich, and started yelling at me very loudly for being disrespectful.  I don’t agree with her reaction, but I don’t let that incident color my view of other people or the society as a whole. Her or the many other bad reactions I have received doesn’t reflect on those who meet me with an open mind and acceptance. Most people accept my decision, they have just made a different decision from mine.

Norway responded perfectly to this tragedy, and I couldn’t be more proud of what it means to be Norwegian. The very best qualities of the “Norwegian personality” really shined through. I love Norway and the people here, it’s such a beautiful nation.

And we need to have a debate on immigration and attitudes towards Muslims and their impact on Norway, hopefully using valid references, numbers and statistics. We can have it both ways and they don’t reflect badly upon each other no matter how hard the words will be.

 

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Waiting for christmas

I’ve developed a new habit when I get to work. Within 30 minutes of my arrival at work, I check komplett.no to see if there has been any change in the release date of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Then I google for news about the tablet to see if there is some new information out there. I wrote a mail to the nordic division of Samsung, and it seems like a 32Gb version of the tablet will not be available, but a 64Gb version will be released during autumn. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a release date for it.

I’m so looking forward to this tablet, and waiting for the 64Gb version seems unending. It’s annoying, especially since I want to have it before the birth, but that doesn’t seem likely right now. There are other tablets out there with support for extra card readers, usb etc. but the cost of this is heavier and thicker tablets. I want a tablet that take little space in my bag and isn’t heavy, so I still end up with Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. There are many rumors about a kindle tablet, so if Samsung is too late, then may be a kindle tablet  is the way to go instead.

And while I’m waiting for the Tab, I’m also waiting for Kindle DX 4. During summer time, reading books outside on e-ink is a joy and therefore I have to have a kindle as well. But I don’t want to purchase a kindle before the new edition arrives. There are rumors that it might contain colors which I would love to see in an e-ink gadget. A new release of Kindle DX should be in about a year.

Why do I have to be such a gadget geek that I *have* to wait for the new, shiniest toy. Second best just isn’t good enough.

And while we are on the subject,I need to purchase a new digital camera and so far the recommendation has been Canon PowerShot SX 230 HS and Canon PowerShot S95. Anybody else have thoughts on this? I may be a gadget geek, but photo geek I’m not.

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The perfect breakfast

During my vacation I noticed how important a good breakfast was for me. It wasn’t about eating the healthiest, energy-correct, let’s count the calories perfect. It was a breakfast I was looking forward to, that made me happy while eating it and I was looking forward too. I utterly enjoyed the breakfast, taking time eating it and just smiling. That is the perfect breakfast! A breakfast that made me feel everything was alright with me and the world.

So when I got home I decided to keep up that tradition, especially during weekends. So, this is how my perfect breakfast looks like:

Earl Grey tea
Orange juice
2 buns with smoked cheese and peach jam
Watermelon
A small chocolate croissant (a little treat at the end)

Having this for breakfast is heaven.

 

 

 

In Meny and Helgø you can get croissant dough from Sara Lee that you can roll out. I’m unable to bake croissant like they are supposed to, so they look a little like bread sticks – not croissants. I have no idea how people manage to get them nice looking. I have tried milk chocolate and kinder eg chocolate inside, but my favorite is plain baking dark chocolate.

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Veien til jobbmarkedet

Photo by Shawn McClung (http://www.flickr.com/people/slightlynorth/) License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Norge har noen flotte velferdsordninger som gjør at 99% av befolkningen har tak over hodet og mat på bordet. Om man jobber og blir sykmeldt, så slipper man inntektstap. Er man så uheldig at man går arbeidsledig, så mottar man fortsatt (redusert) lønn. Vi er heldige som har så mange arbeidsføre mennesker som drar lasset slik at de som ikke er istand til å jobbe har et sikkerhetsnett.

Av den grunn elsker jeg artikler som viser frem tiltak hvor tidligere arbeidsuføre mennesker som kommer seg inn i jobbmarkedet og gjør en flott jobb.

Jeg ser også positivt på at uføre får flere incentiver til å jobbe. Mange uføre idag er ikke i stand til å jobbe, men jeg tror også at mange er istand til å jobbe noe. Uføre velger ikke hvilke dager de er friske, og hvilke de er dårlige. Jobber hvor de kan fungere på tilkalling, som krever tilrettelegging vil fungere for de det gjelder. Jeg kjenner en ufør som jobber opp til frigrensen som lastebilsjåfør hvert år, og den jobben hjelper veldig på en allerede presset økonomi. Han kan velge når han jobber – han er på tilkalling, men han opplever nok press fra jobben på å jobbe (og slik er nå engang livet – ikke perfekt). Han hadde kanskje vært istand til å jobbe mer hadde det ikke vært for frigrensen. Det gjenstår å se om det nye regelverket vil fungere som ønsket.

Å være ufør er ikke likestilt med å være ressurssvak. Jeg heier derfor frem alle bedrifter og (fornuftige) tiltak som gjør det enklere for folk å komme i jobb.

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Tinie Tempah

Whenever I hear “Miami 2 Ibiza” I feel like I’m a frisky 18 year old again. I wish I was 18 year old with the hubris (and body) at the time, and could make a pass on Tinie Tempah. Just because I like his music.

So my disappointment was big when I found out that he played at Hove Festivalen yesterday. I wish I was there. Ah well, I purchased Disc-overy yesterday so I will enjoy that for a while.

 

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Chocolate fondue

I just came home (okey, for about a week ago anyway) from eight days of vacation in Gdansk/Sopot. Sopot is The seaside resort in Poland and apparently the most expensive place in Poland as well. In Norway that translates to restaurants/cafe prices is cut in half, beer is even cheaper. Surprisingly, clothes etc wasn’t that much cheaper than in Norway.

The days were spent walking, eating and drinking. Preferrably, walking from one cafe/restaurant to another. I wish I had taken a picture of every meal we ate, it would have been funny to have a complete record of all the meals we had. We had rented an apartment in Sopot, and in the town there was a chocolate cafe I fell in love with. They had chocolate fondue, something I ordered many days while there. The boy in the picture below is not for sale, btw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s when I found out that I like liquid chocolate better than the hard kind. I got to try different fruits with chocolate fondue (more than what’s in the picture), but I found that I like bananas best. Strawberries works with chocolate as well, but I still prefer to eat strawberries for itself. Bananas and chocolate on the other hand works perfectly together.

When I got home from vacation, the first thing I did was walking around Stavanger looking for the perfect fondue set. I went to many stores and were about to give up. Either the fondue set was too small or too big (and none of them were good-looking) until I finally found the perfect set!

So this evening Espen made chocolate fondue for us with strawberries and bananas in the new set I had bought. It was perfect. Norwegian strawberries and Freia Melkesjokolade.We quickly found out that the milk chocolate needs to be diluted with cream before putting it into the fondue. The candle under the fondue heated up the chocolate too much so instead of becoming more fluid, it became lumpy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any suggestions for other fruits to use with chocolate fondue – let me know. I’m up for trying.

And doesn’t the fondue set look just perfect? I love the design. It was purchased at Traktøren.

Posted in Miscellaneous, English | 5 Comments

A bad night

Shit happens, and then you deal with it.
Helene Klungvik

I never wanted kids. I’m 33 years old, and not once during those years have I felt the clock ticking, felt a biological need to reproduce. I don’t even care if my genes lives forward, I don’t think my genes are worth keeping. I would have been perfectly happy with a childless life.

Now I’m seven months pregnant, and it has been an emotional journey. Yesterday it really hit home worse than I have experienced before – birth anxiety. It comes when I’m going to bed, supposedly to sleep. That’s the time of the day when everything goes quiet – except my mind. I was supposed to go to bed, but instead I ended up crying hard for 30 minutes before my boyfriend dragged me to bed and managed to calm me down a little bit. I want to stop eating in hopes that the size of the kid will be less. I don’t want to go through birth.

I’m not so sure I slept anything, but at 2am I woke up with a gallstone attack. I took the regular painkillers that are slow in the working, and around 5am the pain subsided. That’s when I started crying for another 30 minutes, terrified of giving birth. In the end I was so exhausted from the ordeal that I managed to go to bed to sleep.

I have since stayed in bed. I don’t want to leave, I’m not dealing with this. There’s nothing natural about being pregnant. As a former coworker of mine stated: Taking a piss and walking is normal, you do that every day. Pregnancy (and birth) is not natural, it’s a burden on the body. Before the hospitals and the medicinal knowledge today, how many women died in childbirth? I actually checked to see if there was any death related to child birth today, but I didn’t find any. I guess it’s so rare that there isn’t even statistics on it. Which isn’t necessarily good, because if I die then may be I don’t have to give birth. Or – I could die and then they can just take the baby out of the body. Who cares what happens to the body after death. It wouldn’t matter then.

I’m terrified.

Update: I did find some numbers here in norway. 7 of 100 000 women die.

 

Posted in Miscellaneous, English | 2 Comments

The cure for gallstones

My worst enemy – scratch that, all people that dislikes me for one reason or another should be very happy because I have gallstones which is incredibly painful. If I have an enemy, this is what I would like happen to that person. The agony that lasts up to six hours, all the nights with no sleep, the constant worry if I am too full, can I eat this, stay away from certain food because they can start a gallstone attach, all the times I have been worried because I have eaten something that could give me a gallstone attack – and then it happens.

I have no idea how many times I have had a gallstone attack and googled “cure for gallstones”, a gazillion times. I have tried so many things to keep the gallstones under control, and I have found out how I can avoid having attacks. I’m just not able to follow all the rules:

  • Never become too full
  • No caffeine (coke, coffee)
  • No eggs
  • (Keep fat and sugar under control – wasn’t really my problem)

I’m pregnant and have gallstones which is even worse. I have received strong painkillers from my doctor, opiods which is a drug/narcotics. During my vacation when I eat less healthy, I had so many gallstone attacks and took so many pain killers that I wouldn’t be surprised if my baby is born with withdrawal symptoms. And I don’t even care, because I will do anything to stop the pain. If I take too many pain killers and died, I wouldn’t mind – at least I wouldn’t be in pain anymore. I’m even drugged when writing this, so at one point it will get more difficult to keep track of the text on this page since things get a bit blurry after a while.

So the title of this posting is misleading – but it does make for a good headline. The thing is, it took me a long time to link gallstones to eating eggs. It also took me a long time to understand how much caffeine matters in reducing gallstone attacks. If one avoids caffeine and eggs, one goes a long way in keeping the attacks under control. I found little information on the web about how effective these two things are, but I did find ridiculous articles about drinking glasses of oils and salt etc. I haven’t tried it, and when having gallstones, it does seem like a risky adventure.

But for me this hasn’t been easy, so in the end I have given up. I will get an operation to remove the gallbladder. I can be stubborn and hard-headed, and I have certainly been both when it domes to dealing with my gallstones. I thought that if I just was able to change my diet, then the attacks would stop. I reached some success as well, but unfortunately I’m too fond of cola and during vacation everything goes to hell.

Oh – things just got very blurry.. and hard to focus. I have to get back to solitaire now – the cards are at least big enough for me so that I can keep playing for a little while more.

Btw – I can really recommend playing solitaire during a gallstone attack.

Posted in English, Health | 5 Comments

How to manage emails

Most people have an email problem, even if they don’t realize it. If your inbox is cluttered up with too many emails, you have problems locating mail, then you have an email problem. This is how my email box on my work mail, private email and second domain looks like:

I also have a gmail account used for store information etc. It looks like this:

Empty! As in nothing to deal with, nothing to clutter up my mind, and easy to manage. Mail takes up very little of my time and energy. So how to go from email hell to email heaven?

Create an Archive folder

Create an archive folder on your email account as you can see in the image on the left. Move all the mail in your inbox to the archive folder. All of it, even the mail you have received today and you have to deal with them. And we will deal with them in just a moment.

The purpose of emptying the inbox, and keeping it empty is for making it easy to deal with incoming mail, and it will also make it easier to focus on what is coming and keep on top of things.

Create an Action folder

Just do it.

Dealing with incoming mail efficiently

Now that we have the two most important folders in place, it’s time to think about how to deal with email. The rules are as follows:

Scan the emails

There are different types of emails. Some are short, some are agonizingly long. I remember one project manager who was so cluttered up with mail, that if he received mails that were long he wanted the important stuff he needed to take note off to be in bold letters. Just so he could easily scan what he needed to know, and move on which is one way of take note of things.

Instead one can categorize emails in the following manner:

  • Read the email.
  • If it’s something you have to take action on, write it down on a post-it note and place it in the archive folder.
  • If it’s something you can’t take action upon now or put on a post-it note, place it in the action folder.
  • If it’s a long email you don’t have the time/energy to deal with immediately, put it in the action folder.
  • If it’s a mail that is of no value to you, use the delete button or put it in the archive folder.

The action folder is to be revised at least once a day or it can easily be the folder that clutters up the system. The mail in the action folder has to be put into the archive (or sub-) folders when an activity has been dealt with.

Subfolders

Don’t be afraid to use the delete button or archive emails. I used to create within the archive folder sub folders with the label “2010”, “2009” etc. Completely useless because one can easily order the emails by date anyway, so I stopped doing it. As you can see I have sub folders within the Archive folder. It can be sub folders related to projects, system messages etc. but as a general rule I try to have as little sub folders as possible.

Create rules

I receive automatic mail like system messages, newsletters etc. which is something I have to deal with whenever I have the time. They aren’t critical and I have to just look at them for two seconds to make sure everything is good. Those emails I have created rules for. The email client can take a look at incoming messages and if they match the rule I have made the email is automatically moved to the subfolders I have created. The rule can be that all emails coming from a sender or contains a specific subject is moved to a specified folder.

Go through the archive folder

In the first step we put all the emails in the archive folder, just so we easily could get away emails and focus on what’s coming in – and to create a peaceful mind and world peace.

Now it’s time to go through those emails and follow the steps above. You don’t have to go through all the mails in the archive folder, you probably know when you have dealt with the necessary emails.

It doesn’t take a long time to do these steps and get control of your emails. I don’t know about you, but when I did this I felt relieved afterwards. Whenever I see that my inbox get a bit cluttered up because I haven’t followed the steps, I know I’m falling behind. Having control of my emails are one less thing to deal with. One less thing that clutters up my brain.

Even such a small thing as this gives me so much satisfaction every day. Just the knowledge that I’m in control of my email (which means what is happening around me) gives me so so much satisfaction. I love it.

 

 

Posted in Technology | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Crisis of faith

“I’m not so sure I believe in God anymore”, my friend Merete confided to me when I visited her this Easter.
“hmm” was my first response, quickly followed by “Why?”. We have known each other for about 20 years and I knew her when she didn’t believe in God, but was searching for spiritual meaning. After some years, she managed to go from an atheist into believing in God, found Catholicism, and had been a devoted catholic since. So what had changed?

Photo by: David Gallagher. License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“There is no proof that God exist.” We talked about this issue on and off during the days to come, since its such an interesting subject.
Later Merete’s husband complemented the discussion by saying “There is no proof that God exists, but it’s impossible to prove that he doesn’t exist either”.

I wasn’t surprised by this answer, and it’s a well known issue for anybody who start’s asking themselves the existential questions “What is my purpose on this earth?” Both Merete and her husband are interested in science and academia, so it was no wonder this issue would arise. In hindsight it would have been more surprising if this question hadn’t surfaced at one point.

A belief in God is connected to faith, and faith in itself is subjective. Just read the second description of faith from dictionary.com:

Faith [feyth] –noun

  1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
  2. Belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
  3. Belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

I have a christian upbringing that I remember little of, and Christianity never attracted me. I have been within the Krishna conscious movement since I was 17 and that’s  what my foundation is based upon. One of the things I have understood is: Never discuss the existence of God with an atheist. There is no where such a discussion  can go. There is nothing one can say or do that will change the position of either person. I have no idea what it takes to make a person believe in God, except God himself.

Merete can hardly be called an atheist, and it’s an issue I think many religious people experience at one point in their life. I would believe the different religions would have lots of information about faith, but I haven’t heard much about faith as a subject except in my own beliefs. But it’s not only about faith, it’s also about evidence and I will discuss this in regards to my own belief, though I will try to look on how it applies to all religions.

In Vaisnava siddhanta-mala it’s stated that there are three types of evidence (pramana):

  1. Direct perception (pratyaksa)
  2. Logical inference (anumana)
  3. Statements of the vedic scriptures (sabda)

1. Let’s say that God materialized in front of our eyes, would we be able to recognize him as God, or even acknowledge him as God? If he walked down the street some meters away from us, would we be able to see him as God? I don’t think so. Let’s say he strolled up to us and mightily stated: “I am God”, what would your reaction be? “Prove it”!
And then we started flying like superman, saw the world, and he showed us his magnificence one way or the other. Most likely we would become very scared, submissive. But that’s not the kind of relation God wants from us. He wants our love, and his opulence can be in the way for that.

Direct perception can be of two kinds, external which I just wrote about, and internal. My experience is that faith is internal perception which is better explained here.

2. Logical inference is the method by which knowledge is derived from another knowledge. It is an indirect, mediate knowledge. I look at this big world with billions of people. I look up at the universe where I as a person barely registers in this vastness, trying to imagine it’s grandness. How can I look at this world and the universe  without believing in God? It’s obvious for me that God exists when thinking about the universe, but this evidence only applies to me. Again, so much better explained here.

3. At some point one have to accept an authority. It might be the bible, Vedic scriptures, Koran or a person (guru). Such a knowledge needs no verification, unless of course there is doubt about its reliability. Or like Merete stated “If there is a God, I have no doubts that Catholicism is the correct philosophy”.

In my beliefs there is much information about faith (sraddha). Faith is the beginning of spiritual life, and in krishna consciousness it’s the first step in a process of eight steps leading to pure love of God and creating a relation to Him. So how do we develop faith according to krishna consciousness?

According to Confidential Secrets of Bhajana faith comes from past impressions, which are the result of coming in touch with people, places and things which have a direct relationship with the Lord. Past impressions may have come from hearing about His name, His form, His qualities and His pastimes.

So if one has another faith, then it seems like if one wants to develop one’s faith one has to go to church, synagogue, mosque etc. and read it’s scriptures. Faith is dynamic, a relationship one has to continually work on and keep vibrant. It requires to put in the work.

Now, this is a rather universal conclusion. My religion has tons more information on this subject, but that requires more studying on my part and most likely will apply only to my faith.

So how does faith apply to me?
I’m a disciple to a Guru who lived his life as an embodiment of the things he preached about, the vedic scriptures. There was no difference between what he said and how he lived. I don’t live and practice my belief as I should, so I’m not qualified to be his disciple. Yet, he accepted me. When he accepted me there was only one promise I could give and keep: That I would never leave him no matter what happens. I have never questioned my decision or faith, and somehow that promise have been enough.

 

Posted in Religion | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Optimize exim performance

I experienced that exim was slow in sending outgoing mail, it was spending a lot of time in the queue, resulting in customer complains. So I started to google what could be done to increase performance in exim. I didn’t have much knowledge about exim, and I needed a quick fix to get the mail queue going. I googled, and even though there was a myriad of information about exim configuration options which were poorly explained, I didn’t find the golden answer I needed.

So I spent a week researching, reading and at some point I got it.

There are many ways to increase performance depending upon the servers need. I had a server and its sole purpose was to receive and send thousands of mails (news letters) during a short time period. I wanted as little mail to be stuck in the mail queue as possible.

Whenever I mention values on options, you have to choose the one that best suits your server. To figure this out, the best option is to make configuration changes, and monitor the performance impact it has on your server. How you can do that is written in the bottom of this article.

One of the performance options is related to how the mail is built up. Does the mail only have one recipient or multiple recipients?

Setting number of mail queue processes

By default exim spawned off one mail queue process (runner) every hour which was way to little. I needed multiple runners to receive and send the mail immediately without delay. This option is particularly useful when mails only have one recipient, but every exim server should configure this option anyway.

  1. Change how many queue runners that are spawned off. In /etc/init.d/exim I changed this option: QUEUE=5m. This ensured that a new queue runner was created every 5 minutes. How often a new queue runner needs to be configured on a server depends on its load.
  2. Change max number of queue runners that can exist simultaneously in /etc/exim.conf: queue_run_max = 50
  3. Since we made changes in /etc/init.d/exim, we need to restart the server to make the effects off number of queue runners: /etc/init.d/exim restart

Multiple recipients
If a message shall be delivered to multiple remote hosts (multiple recipients), exim can be configured to run several smtp deliveries simultaneously by setting the configuration option “remote_max_parallel” to a value greater than one. Otherwise a delivery is sent serially. Max number of simultaneous delivery processes is then “queue_run_max  * remote_max_parallel”.

In /etc/exim.conf change/add following: remote_max_parallel = 50

Whenever making a change to exim.conf, run the following command to ensure that exim reads the configuration changes and puts them in effect:
kill -HUP `cat /var/spool/exim/exim-daemon.pid`

Message management

There are multiple configuration options in how exim shall deal with the connections/mails itself, and these are the options I have played with.

#Simultaneous number of incoming connections to accept.
smtp_accept_max = 500

The server I was configuring had trusted servers that connected to exim and pushed thousands of mails per connection. So this option is a nice one:
#How many messages to accept per connection
smtp_accept_queue_per_connection = 2000

There is a point where the load gets so high that the server is unable to deal with what is coming. What that limit is depends on the hardware, software running on it, you name it. So the limit is different for every server. When the limit is reached, that’s when the server stops responding. You can set exim to have no queue deliveries if load is high in /etc/exim.conf: deliver_queue_load_max = 10

How to monitor the server during high load

  1. The top command can be used to view the current load on the server. In the picture you can see the load average in the top right corner (1, 5 and 15 minute average). I experienced that during high load, the server had an load average up to 30, but it barely registered in the cpu. That told me that I could safely configure the server to many more queue runners etc. because it was able to handle the load. I will not even try to enter the science of load average which I have yet to understand. That’s candy for another time.
  2. The sar command can be used to view historical load on the server by day, hour, minutes: /var/log/sa. Check the date on the files. sar04 is the 4th of the month in question. Command:
    sar -f sa09 | less

 

 

Posted in English, Linux | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Criticizing employers and businesses online

The internet gives us another arena where we can divulge information about our lives, opinions on different subjects and day to day lives. We can also experience that friends, boyfriends, ex-something, family etc. does it for us, that they share information and pictures of us that we rather wish they didn’t.

We are just beginning to see some of the conflicts that arises between being an employee, having a private life and publicize opinions outside work, about work, friends and play. We spend eight hours every day at work and it’s a big part of our life, so there is no wonder that employees need to write about the workplace and experiences there. Except… very few people does this.

Photo from State Library and Archives of Florida: http://www.flickr.com/photos/floridamemory/

Ole Irgens worked as an information manager in the largest Norwegian Bank, DNB Nor. He ended up leaving even though he has stated that it was voluntarily. We need people in steady jobs voicing opinions, even if they get heat for it. We have to be able to separate between work persona and private persona, online and in the flesh.

But, where is that line between work and private persona, anyway? People usually responds to work emails and calls in their spare/free time,  or work at home in the evening. The lines between job and home is blurring. If it show’s anything, it must be that we humans are multidimensional.

We can be an employee and a private person at the same time. Who would have thought?

A very good example of how the borders between work and private life blurs shows up on Facebook. If an employee calls in a sick day because he had a hangover and posted it on Facebook, can the employer fire him for it? Or what about when an Volvo employee was fired because he had a wall message “Out of this madhouse” on Facebook when he left work (which is funny, not incriminating). Or – what about when a person is badmouthing it’s company at a party? On Facebook I state what my work title is and where I work, but is any posting there representative of the company if I post about it there? I would say no, I represent myself.

 

If I say something about my company online,
I’m not a representative of the company because I work there,
but it lends my opinions weight.


Jill Walker Rettberg is an associate professor at the University of Bergen and has stated that the new rules of social conduct online limits the individuals freedom of speech. We have come to the place where a private person represent the company 24 hours a day. Is that okey?

I used to have the opinion that you don’t criticize your workplace online, not on facebook, not on blogs or any other media except through whatever channels you have at work. I’ve changed my mind. I would love it if people freely wrote things that were a disadvantage to their employee. Just as much as I would love it even more to hear about the great workplaces, events, the great bosses, happy customers etc.

When going into an interview, you don’t really know much about the workplace itself. There may be some questions that gives an indication, but a company will try to show itself from its best side, just like any other applicant. A company can call  up references on an applicant, but how many times have an applicant phoned up different employees in a company to find out what it’s like to work there? I certainly haven’t, and my (unstatistical) experience is that most workplaces is at best average in employee satisfaction. When an employee has been hired, they are considered property, a done deal. Customers on the other hand is very important, and few managers seem to understand that creating happy employees generates happy customers and more income.

Criticism is a double edged sword, there is constructive criticism and there’s taking things to a personal level. Never criticize a person with full name without letting the person approve of it beforehand (and have a chance to come with his/hers point of view). If some criticism is personal but not named,  let the person still have a say. It’s no fun to read about yourself. Don’t use name calling. But even if somebody goes to these lengths, does it really matter? I would say no, because whenever I read something like that, I can easily see what level that person is at and make my own judgement which usually is that it’s just one prism of truth and not the whole truth. I believe most people (but not all) are able to differentiate like that. The few people who don’t, shouldn’t set the bar on what to do and not.

Constructive criticism can be good source of information for a workplace to figure out it’s weaknesses that managers may not see, understand, know or even want to deal with. In one of the commercials for Undercover Boss in Norway, a manager states “finally somebody will tell me the truth”. It’s sad when a company and manager has to go undercover to get that information. It says more about the (lack of) information flow in that business, which he/she as a manager should put in place. Or may be something of the tone in the company if people don’t dare say what they really think.

Putting some criticism online will make sure that a company will have to deal with it. That’s a good thing. Manager’s should be evaluated by their subordinates. It takes a special kind of employee to tell his boss during a appraisal interview what his areas of improvements are, or even if he is fit for the job. Most likely the appraisal interview will only be put in a drawer (like all companies I have worked for), and just generate bad feelings between you and the boss.

Furthermore, it’s interesting information for potential employees, customers, you name it. But the thing is, if you can criticize it’s also important to write about the good stuff, what you like. And remember the golden rule: Don’t criticize unless you are able to receive criticism gracefully in return.

I would love to criticize my employers through the years, but I’m not so sure I would dare to do it. Having an opinion, is not the same as being able to follow through. In this I’m not so sure that being a forerunner is a good thing, there certainly enough episodes out there that entails caution. Especially since most businesses doesn’t have much of an understanding of social media, and what understanding will they then have for online criticism?

Take Octavia Nasr, a CNN Senior Editor of Mideast affairs, who was fired by CNN because she voiced a private opinion that wasn’t in line with the company’s on a subject she should be well knowledgeable about. It shouldn’t be like that. It’s perfectly okey for a company to say that they don’t support the view an employee has, but still keep the person employed. A journalist should be allowed to have opinions on a subject, just like ordinary people.

And ordinary people should be allowed to voice opinions of their workplace online.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Business, English | Tagged , , | Leave a comment