Smile much?


«Smile, it’s free therapy.»

  • Douglas Horton

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Every once in a while I start work at stupid o’clock, and have to get up at even stupider o’clock. Being a night owl, I will admit that talking to me in the morning can be risky business, at least before I reach the bottom of my second bucket of coffee and third cig. (If you have followed my blog, you know that I am an unhealed smoker, you can read about it hereherehere and here.)

Now, I did not bring you here to talk about healing, nor smoking, and not really about coffee either. However worth mentioning; my level of morning-grumpiness is diametrically opposite my intake of caffeine. (And no inhaling of smoke will also render me a grumpy buggar.)

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Say what? You thought I was a forever cheerful and chipper person? You are almost right, because I know how to turn my grumpiness around, and quite possibly your tired-ass, sour-puss frown as well, should we happen to cross paths. Even with very little effort as well!

Now, I won’t bore you with the physiological reactions that are sparked by engaging just a few muscles. There is such an explanation, and I am sure you can find it online if you are interested. There is also a psychological explanation, and this is what I will explain in layman’s terms.

First, let me unveil my big mood-altering weapon; it’s a SMILE!

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Not sure about the fingerguns, but he has a fantastic smile!

OK, imagine your average crappy morning; its pouring rain outside, coupled with strong winds. You turned your umbrella inside out 3 times just getting to the bus. You forgot your thermocup of coffee on the kitchen counter, and you are not even sure you turned off the coffee maker. Top it all off with the pain after you stubbed your toe on your way to the bathroom, and the fact that you are fresh out of cigarettes. You decided to get rid of the useless umbrella, your hair is wet, and the rain is making its way down the back of your neck, under your collar – and the bus is late! Dang Nabbitt!

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Most people would be quite grumpy under such circumstances as portrayed above. For me, it takes waaaaaay less, I’ll admit!

Now, upon entering the  bus (that finally arrived!), you are greeted by a great, big smile and a cheerful «Good morning» Most people will not snap at the bus driver with the great smile, most people will smile back. The mood-altering process has started. The way we are met, does something to us. If you are met with positivity, you will respond in alike manner. Once that first smile has taken place on your lips, the physiological and psychological reactions starts. (Your brain remembers your muscle-usage when you smile and has already linked it with positive associations, thus when you smile – you instantly feel better)

 And that is what I do, I smile. I smile at total strangers. I smile at grumpy old buggars, and I throw them a friendly and cheerful «Good morning». Try it, and see what happens! They smile back! You can see a physical change in their faces! And you know what, that makes me feel really good. By the end of the day I have gotten so many «return-smiles» that I feel like a million dollars!

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Have you ever read The Secret? This book talks about «Universal energy» and that you get back what you put out. When it comes to smiles and a positive greeting, you really do get back what you put out, in tenfold.  It’s not something magical as the book will have you believe, it does have well documented reasons, and it also has a ripple effect. The person you smiled to, and who smiled back at you, is now feeling a little better. He/she will now smile at the next person they meet (because they feel good) and that person will smile back, and then to the next person they meet. The ball is rolling. Ripple effect.

I don’t care if you have stumped your toe, am wet, have a bad hair day. Try a smile, and I guarantee you will feel a little better. Try to smile at another person, and you will feel even better.

Smile much? No? You should! It’s good for ya! (And absolutely free!)

To make sure you train your smile-muscles, I will leave you with the funniest skit ever, from whose line is it anyway, with Richard Simmons. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, then nothing ever will!

(All pictures and memes are all shamelessly stolen off various facebook walls.)

What I like about fall


I don’t know if I have told you, but I like autumn. In fact, it’s on my top four seasons!  Many people hate the fact that it gets darker and colder, but I really don’t mind it. Here is a list of what I like about fall (in no particular order):


Visiting cafés

I do enjoy this all year around, but there is something special about going into a warm cafe and unbuttoning your coat and taking your hat off. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there is something really satisfying about warming my shivering on both a hot beverage and the ambiance in the cafe. I enjoy this, both alone, with family and with friends.1-11252645_10153307277451622_7384999231602524849_n


Movie night

I enjoy a good movie all year around, but in spring and summer I’ll rather sit outside in my garden and enjoy the evening sun. When it gets darker and colder – what better then to sit down and watch a good movie with your loved ones? And even better – going to the cinema! (I’m thinking that the new Bond-movie will look really good at the big screen.

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Candles

Yes I can light a candle in summer. But I usually don’t. What is the point when the sun is up till 11 at night? Fall is candle-season. Light them up if you got ’em!

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Foliage

Decay can be so incredibly pretty.

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The crisp, cold, clean air

It just feels good!

As the air is see-through and thus very hard to photograph, I chose to forgo the illustrative photo on this point. You just have to imagine it.


Weather

The weather varies greatly, and unless it is really extreme, you can still enjoy it outdoors. There is something satisfactory about putting on rain clothes and boots and go for a walk.

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Books

In wintertime you do wintery things; skiing, tabagoning, shoveling snow.

In springtime you do gardeny things; plant, shovel, mow

In summer you do summery things: sunbathe, swim, play beach volley

In autumn you read.

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Food

In the fall you harvest and then you cook. You cook hardy, good foods. Absolutely love it! And you bake.

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Blankets

Oh snuggling up under the blanket, sipping to a cup of hot tea and reading your book while the autumn storm is having a field day outside your window.

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Wool socks

I hate cold feet. Love wool socks.

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Halloween

Over here most people find it to be too «American». I really enjoy seeing the little kids knocking on my door in their costumes, high on sugar and on the whole situation. And if I get to give them a good scare – that’s an added bonus.

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Thanksgiving

Another non-Norwegian thing I have adopted. I just do it as an excuse to cook turkey with all the wonderful trimmings and have people over.

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Head Lamp

This is self-explanatory, right?

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X-mas magazines

As an atheist, why would I even celebrate X-mas? Cuz’ I’m an enigma. (And this is a coming blogpost.) But I will declare loud and clear – I do love Christmas. Not for the birth of Christ, but as a family thing, the food, the decorations, the tradition. In the fall I will get every X-mas magazine there is, and I will enjoy them thoroughly.

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Duffel coat, boots, hat, scarf, gloves

What can I say? I do like to bundle up and be warm and cozy despite the cold weather. And it looks cool.

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PJ’s

No explanation necessary.

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Visiting Museums

A great in-door activity providing educational family fun is visiting Museums. We love it!

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Napping

Nothing like a lil’ snooze on the sofa, eh?

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Now, that was some of my favs about fall – What do you like about autumn?

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: «Happy Place.» and the Discover Challenge Here and Now1-12080012_10153489617041622_5774665769114451985_o (1)

My Happy Place is more of a creature than a place. Our family dog, Sir Hoof Hearted, is my Happy Place. It is just not possible to be mad or sad when this fella is around.

My Happy Place

Quote

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: «Trick or Treat.»

This spring, the Karate Kid and I sowed pumpkinseeds with great success. Oh my how big the plants got – I have written about it here. I also promised feedback, and this post is making good on that promise.

Today I harvested my jungle of a «pumpkin-patch». I was quite pleased to see that there were many pumpkins of different colors and shapes.

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A big plastic bag from the grocery store is half-full with pumpkins

I feel confident that The Karate Kid will try to carve some of these into fitting scary-faces before Halloween. If it fails, perhaps because they are too small, then Old Mamasan will (of course) buy him a couple bigger ones.

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I have experienced an American Halloween, and OMG I loved it! It was soooooo much fun! Back home in Norway it is not nearly as much fun. Many are totally against it – as it is not a Norwegian tradition. The nay-sayers do put a damper on the whole thing, much to my dismay. So. I have been trying to fight it by making Halloween special for my family.

We have made witches-hands, crazy monkey brains and goblin-eyes, served with troll-mucus. We have hosted parties and dressed up and carved pumpkins. We have tried our damndest to scare the shit out of the neighbor kids with decorations and howls and screams. But it’s still not as good as I remember it in Reno. 

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Last year in Spain, it was pretty good. I initiated a Halloween-Party at the Norwegian school, and helped arrange it. It was good fun! Adults and kids seemed to enjoy it, and OMG did we have cake! Pretty cakes, funny cakes, scary cakes. It was all good! We also raised a pretty penny to increase the budget for class-trips and excursions. I am also quite pleased with the invitation I made for the party.

This year, however, I am not sure what to do. All my Halloween-gear is all packed away, and I will be working on Halloween, but it is the day shift. Tivoli is open for Halloween and is all decorated, and seeing we do not have much of a contact-net here in Denmark, I think it will be the safest bet to visit Tivoli. Must remember to bring camera.

Until then, at least we have some pretty pumpkins to decorate the house with. I think they look really cool.

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Here is a siamese pumpkin. Way cool!

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There are so many that I basically stuck a bunch of them in a lantern…

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Also got my pre-Halloween scare – as the stems have pricks on them. Nasty little buggers.

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I hope The Karate Kid is not too cool to dress up this year

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I know Sir Nerdalot and Old Mamasan likes to dress up.

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The Karate Kid and Old Mamasan happy after yet another fun Halloween.

Homegrown Halloween-decorations

Oppskrift: Kashmir-kylling (Indisk curry)


Krydderne i denne oppskriften blir mest aromatiske om man tørrsteker dem først, fremfor å bruke ferdigmalt. Kan med fordel spices opp endel. Oppskriften er mild.

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4 kyllingfileeter i terninger

6 kardemommekapsler

1/2 ts korianderfrø

1/2 ts spisskummenfrø

2 cm kanelstang

8 pepperkorn

6 nellikspiker

100 g skoldede mandler

75 g pistasjenøtter uten skall

2 ss ghee eller olje

1 løk, finhakket

5 cm frisk ingefær, finhakket

1,3 dl hønsebuljong/kyllingkraft

2,5 dl tykk yoghurt naturell

1/2 ts safrantråder

Ta frøene ut av kardemommekapslene. Sett en liten tekepanne på lav varme og tørrstek korianderfrøene til de dufter godt. Ta dem ut og tørrstek korianderfrøene på samme måte, så tar du kanelstangen.

Knus kardemommefrøene, de ristede krydderne, pepperkornene og nellikene til et fint pulver i en morter.

Finhakk mandlene og pistasjenøttene. Varm opp oljen eller ghee i en tykkbunnet kjele på lav varme og stek løken til den er gylden. Tilsett ingefær, hvitløk og kyllingbiter og stek i ca  minutter. Ha i de knuste krydderne, kanelstangen og hønskebuljongen og la det småkoke under lokk i 30 min.

Bland safranen med1 ts varmt vann. Tilsett safran, yoghurt, pistasjenøtter og mandler i kjrlrn og la det koke opp. Sett ned varmen og la det småkoke uten lokk i 10 min. Smak til med salt og chilli.

Oppskrift: Ananas-chutney (Indisk)


(For the English recipe, follow the link: Pineapple Chutney)

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Ananas-chutney

2 små eller 1 stor ananas, litt grønn
1 ts salt
1 rødløk i tynne halvringer
4 røde chili, uten frø og finhakket
4 hvitløksfedd, finhakket
2 ts ingefærsaft
30 g melis, eller smak til om behøves
1,3 dl limesaft, eller til smak

Skrell ananasen og skjærfruktkjøttet i lengderetningen og kast den harde kjernen. Smør inn fruktkjøttet med saltet og la det ligge i et dørslag til avrenning. Skyll fruktbitene, skjær dem i små terninger og la dem renne av på husholdningspapir.

Bland alle ingrediensene i en bolle og tilsett tilstrekkelig melis, limesaft, pepper og salt til en balansert smak. Kjøl ned før servering.

Oppskrift: Molee (Indisk fiskecurry)


(kan med fordel krydres opp noe, oppskriften er veldig mild)

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1 stor løk i tynne skiver

3 hvitløksfedd knust
2 små grønne chilli finhakket
2 ts malt gurkemeie
1 ts malt koriander
1 ts malt spisskummen
4 nellikspiker
6 karriblader og litt ekstra til pynt
4 dl kokosmelk
1/2 ts salt
600 g hvit fisk uten skinn
1 ss hakket korianderblader

Varm oljen i en tykkbunnet stekepanne, og tilsett løk som stekes i 5 min.

Ha i hvitløk og chilli og stek videre i 5 min eller til løken er myk og gjennomsiktig.

Tilsett gurkemeie, koriander, spisskummen og nellikspiker og stek sammen med løken i 2 min.

Rør inn karribladene, kokosmelk og salt og la det koke såvidt opp. Sett ned varmen og la det småkoke i 20 min.

Skjær fisken i store stykker og legg dem i sausen. La det koke opp igjen og la det putre i 5 min, eller til fisken er ferdig.

Smak til med salt og rør inn korianderbladene.

Oppskrift: Gulrotsalat (Indisk)


Gulrotsalat er populært i hele India, og er lett å lage. Krydderne er her varmet i olje for å få fremheve smakene. Godt tilbehør til både fiske og kjøttretter.

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1/4 ts svarte sennepfrø

1/2 ts spisskummenfrø

en klype malt gurkemeie

1/4 ts salt

1/4 ts sukker

1 1/2 ts sitronsaft

500 g revne gulerøtter

korianderblader

Varm oljen i en liten kjele på middels varme. Tilsett senneps- og spisskummenfrø, sett på lokk og la frøene sprette.

Ha i gurkemeie, salt og sukker i kjelen, ta den så av varmen og la krydderne kjøle seg ned i 5 minutter.

Tilsett sitronsaft i krydderne og bland alt med gulerøttene. Dekk over og la stå i 30 minutter. Pynt med korianderblader før servering.

Oppskrift: Nan-brød (Indisk)


(For the English recipe, follow the link: Homemade Naan breads)

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500 g maida eller vanlig hvetemel
2,5 dl melk
2 ts tørrgjær eller 15 g fersk gjær
2 ts kalonji (svartkarve eller nigellafrø) (valgfritt)
1/2 ts bakepulver
1/2 ts salt
1 egg vispet
2 ss olje
2 dl tykk yoghurt naturell

Sikt melet sammen med tørrgjær, bakepulver og salt i en bolle og lag en grop i melet. Bland egg, olje og yoghurt og hell det i melet sammen med fingervarm melk. Bland til en myk deig. Legg deigen på bakebord med mel og kna i 5 min. Hev til dobbel størrelse.

Forvarm ovnen til 200 grader. Plasser en bolle med vann på nederste hylle.

Trykk deigen ned og kna den lett og del i 10 emner. Trykk emnene flate med fingrene og prøv å få nan-form på dem.

Legg brødene på en velsmurt plate. Stek på øverste hylle i 7 minutter, snu dem og stek i 7 min til.

Dave Allen on airplanes


Seriously, you can’t have a travel blog without talking about airplanes. As luck will have it, Dave Allen uttered some quite clever things about it back in 1993 (I think it was) – and working in the industry myself, I do realize that I say some weird stuff every day at work ;-p

 

Enjoy!

Oh must not forget; these days when it is possible to find quite affordable tickets, how fitting is not this lovely tune from Facinating Aida?

 

(make sure you see it all the way to the end ;-p)