Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer 2015

I've been bad at updating this, but with a new puppy, work and training for my second marathon I have not had so much time with the computer. 

In mid-July Marius and I brought home Pancho and we drove over to Bergen with him. A week and a half later, Mom and Dad flew to Bergen and we all drove up to Gjelvågan to the Engebrethsen's summer cabin in the north. We used 16 hours the first day in the car and 3 the next day so that we could make it up in time to go to Marius' cousin's wedding. We had a great, relaxing time up north with both sets of parents, Katrine, and other family visits. We're already excited for next summer!

Here are just a few pictures from Marius' nice camera.

We drove through Jotenheim National Park to get the most scenic quick route north to the summer house. Here it was in the low 40s and windy. We even saw people skiing!!! On the way back south we drove through snow was July 31st.

Exploring snow for the first time when we
drove through Jotenheimen National Park

Playing while we wait for the ferry.
When we drove north to the cabin we had one ferry connection. There weren't many people on the ferry so we were allowed to bring Pancho inside and play cards. Not the same story on the way back south. Then we had to stand outside in the wind and rain. It wasn't so bad, but we did look pretty miserable.

Campfire on an island
Tron and Rigmor took us to a nearby island where we grilled hotdogs and hung out. We were a limited on time by the approaching storm. 

Easy to fall asleep on the boat
We planned a couple of nice "toppturer" (summit trips) with Mom and Dad. The first one was called Storgjedden, and the second was Teppfjellet.

Adding our names to the trail register.
On the way up to Teppfjellet - beautiful views!
Kayaking with Mom
Beautiful last night at Gjelvågan with this sunset at midnight
I love it up here. See you next year, Gjelvågan!
Gorgeous Jotenheim National Park
When we got back to Bergen, we took Mom and Dad on a couple of hikes. For his birthday, we chose a hike that included bunkers from WWII. Many of them were full of berry patches, so we had to stop and pick plenty of berries to put on ice cream. It was a really pleasant way to spend Dad's birthday.

The only cannon still present in Bergen. Built in 1914.

The result of our berry harvest - fresh wild strawberries and blueberries

Monday, July 27, 2015

Introducing Pancho the Spanish Waterdog

On Friday July 17th, Marius and I picked up our little waterdog. He wasn't quite 8 weeks old, but already so good at sleeping through the night. We love him! He has very few accidents in the house and is already used to driving in the car. I have already trained him to sit and fetch. Today he is 9 weeks old!

We are up in Nordland (north of the Arctic circle) with Mom, Dad, Tron and Rigmor. Pancho is learning how to be a waterdog, but the water is a bit cold up here. He'll get used to it soon. We just got back from an easy hike, which really wore him out. Hopefully I have some more patience to sit and write a bit more about the trip. I never got around to Madrid, sorry about that!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Puppy love


We have been getting frequent updates on our puppy from the breeder. She says she has fallen in love with him and hopes to take him to dog shows when he is old enough. He's now 5 weeks old, and this weekend Marius and I took care of him and Sookie (his mom)! The breeder said that this is usually never done, but since he was a litter of one he needs lots of stimulation, and she thought it would be a nice way for us to meet him; and she was also able to sneak away for the weekend.

2 weeks old and his first adventure in the grass - not usually done so young,
but since he doesn't have siblings he needs lots of stimulation.
3 weeks old and getting his first taste of solid food
4 weeks old and on the move!
5 weeks old - very brave and so fun to play with!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Puppy update

On Saturday, May 23rd, a single Spanish waterdog puppy was born. He was described to us as a black, stub-tailed male (en sorte, stumpehalet hanne --- sounds cuter in Norwegian). We finally got a picture of him and an additional description, as told by the breeder:  this boy will make his mark someday; strong and compact.

The breeder told us that she chooses older males because they show good genes for a long, happy life. Thus, as a result, the litter is usually small.

We are allowed to visit him for the first time after June 19th, and can take him home mid July. Names have been brainstormed, but we'll see his personality before we decide.

Just a little black slug for now

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

News this spring

I realize I never got around to posting about Madrid. I wanted to upload pictures from Marius' camera, but that has been hard to remember the few times I go to Oslo. So I promise to post something with the pictures I took with my phone.

So news since Easter...

April 30th I logged over 1000 kilometers of running so far this year. I saw at the end of March that I could get myself to do it, and I did! It was a great night in Bergen for making that goal as well. June 1st I'll start my training cycle for the Oslo Marathon. My second attempt, so I'm aiming for anything better than 4:09:00 - my finishing time last year.

My shoes that carried helped me run past my 1000th km this year also surpassed their 1000th km of their lifetime

My favorite running spot lately is Fjellveien - a road which runs along the rim of the valley just above the city-
Great views of downtown, fresh air, gravel pathway.

Experimenting with some new ways to fuel - quinoa berry bowl
1 c. cooked quinoa, 1 banana, 1/2 c berries, walnuts, coconut milk

Marius and I have been hunting around for the right dog for us. He has a dog allergy, so we did lots of research. We have settled on Spanish water dogs. We took care of two for a breeder at the beginning of the month and they were the best. Very well-behaved and friendly dogs! Their names were Sookie and Lukas. Sookie is Lukas' mom and she is pregnant (due this week). I told the breeder that I want one of these puppies since the temperament seems to be good in this line. Looking forward to updates on their arrival this week!

Mom likes to keep her son on a tight leash

On May 6th, Marius and I celebrated 6 years together...but in separate cities. Wild to think it has been that long. Time flies! 

I'm still living at the house downtown, but in a month I will be moving back up to the apartment that Marius and I first lived in together. It will be a great homecoming. Marius hopes to be finished with the apartment in Oslo by the end of June. Fingers crossed he can keep up his hard work. This past weekend we assembled some drawers for the new kitchen. 

Looking forward to updating about our expected new addition and my marathon training.

17th of May is Norway's Independence Day - Here is Katrine (2nd from right) walking in Auckland!
Marius and I have our own tradition of rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge - best with sugar,
cinnamon and raisins) with spekemat (dried ham) and flat bread.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Research Technician

I have moved around the Sars Centre (for Marine Molecular Biology) a bit now since beginning here with a 50% position last November. Now I am moving my way up the ladder. Last week I began full-time as a research technician for the cnidaria facility (sea anemones).

My main responsibility is keeping the animals alive by regulating the tank system, feeding and washing the animals. I have become quite technical with the new position.

So in the morning when I come in, I prepare the food (artemia sea monkeys) to feed the Nematostella (anemones). And then prepare the batch of artemia due for feeding the day after next. Then I give them some time to eat. In the meantime, the resesarchers put boxes of animals in the incubators to stimulate reproduction. I pull out packages of eggs and fertilize them.

Cultivating brine shrimp/sea monkeys/artemia

The boxes get washed on a schedule - each one is done once a month. And that takes up most of my day. However, next week I will learn how to identify transgenic animals. So once the animals I fertilized go back up to the lab, the eggs begin to develop and a florescent dye is injected into the embryos. This dye tracks how the nervous system develops. Nematostella is a common species to do these tests on because they are so simple.

There are twice as many boxes as this that get taken care of in our facility. Two new research groups will start in the fall and also use the animals.  

Hydra are also taken care of in the facility. They are relatively labor intensive for such tiny critters.
So that is a look into my day, as of now. It's quite a tiring and active job, but I'm enjoying being employed full time. Also, still need to get those pictures from Marius to post about our Madrid trip last month.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Medio Maraton de Madrid - Race report

March 29th was the half-marathon in Madrid that I got from Marius for Christmas. It was my fourth half-marathon and I trained a solid 15 weeks to earn a new personal record. Prior to this race, my personal record was 1:47, set in Lisbon in March 2013...I was around 30 seconds shy last year when I ran in Bergen coming in at 1:48 - I forgot the exact seconds.

We had a few days in Madrid before the race, but I will write about those later when I can get the pictures from Marius' camera. The course looped the northern part of the city and finished in a very nice park. There were nearly 17,000 runners, and I definitely blended in with the crowd. Marius was much easier to spot with his blond hair. Even though I wore my American flag shorts, there were so many people that it would have been difficult for Marius to spot me through the crowd. So I encouraged him to do his workout and keep an eye out for me at 10:45am. 

The course was not flat, like I had thought it would be. Rather, it rolled up and down through the city. I had my Garmin clocking my time and I managed to maintain a steady pace that was significantly faster than the pace I ran in Lisbon, Portugal in 2013. The Madrid half was probably the first half marathon where I was actually bored during the run. There was no street-side entertainment like at the other races and fans only lined the remaining three kilometers.

Map and splits 1-13 (note it is minutes per km)

Splits for km 10-21.1

When I saw Marius at the 19th km marker I was worn out. It was the steepest incline of the race and I was really losing my speed having maintained such a good pace for most of the race. He said I still looked happy, but it's easy to see in the pictures from the 20th km that I was really worn out! My Garmin GPS watch beeped at 21.1 km and I stopped it to mark exactly the distance of a half-marathon. The Garmin website acknowledged it and gave me a new personal best of 1:41:48! However, that was not the same as the course. So I tried to maintain a good speed to cross the finish in record time. 

Official time 1:46, chip time 1:42....any of those numbers is a personal best. I am one very happy runner!!

Act for Arctic