Calm and Idyllic

30 Apr 2014 – Before the Storm and the Snakes…

Sun: family was at church and decided to clear the girls’ room.¬†They will now be #1-6 so that I am addressing the correct grandchild. Their names get me calling most of the names before the correct one… ūüôā

Mon: Linn got rear-ended at the pre-school car line and thank goodness no injuries to anybody. What a start to this week!


Tue: took¬†2 days to clear, washed and put away everything on the floor in the girls’ room. The question is how long can it stay this way?? Did not take a before pix to spare them but there¬†was NO¬†space to place a foot on anywhere without stepping on some clothes or things!¬†Have threatened #1¬†&¬†2¬†that US$1 will be fined if any of their clothes or things are on the floor and for #4 that it will be given away…


The boys’ room is usually cleaned and organised. #3 is amazing and has been awarded¬†his requested¬†prize/Ogre.¬†Only¬†because of the age of #5, a¬†little help is necessary…


Not just a good runner and a straight A student, just look at¬†this impressive Rubber Band Rainbow Loom bracelet made by¬†#2 for me.¬†More or¬†less¬†up-to-date with the grandchildren’s latest gadgets and toys… ūüôā ūüôā



Enjoying the morning on this humid garbage-day before the predicted rains hit. Seems like the neighbour’s cat know¬†how to avoid the new toy ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā While loading these pix, can sooo¬†relate and understand #6 saying ‘I want to be at tante Linn’s’¬†during the road trip!!

Only in the US that I know of about mail getting delivered and also picking up of stamped-mail from the home mail-box. Like the idea of saving a trip to the post office or mail box.


Thoughts and prayers for those who are affected by these severe storms.

snake2904eWhat is this about snakes? The SNAKE year is over!! About 2+ weeks ago there was a snake in L&J’s garage that freaked me out. Leonard posted a pix of another snake in his path followed by Francisco, Michelle and a friend of Dee within the past couple of weeks. Are these snakes¬†trying to tell us about¬†more climate changes? Camping and hiking are not in the 2014 schedule…

25505923_BG1Edited 14 May: this one will certainly give me a heart attack. My reaction, close the door and then all the other doors as I run out of the house.


Edited 15 May 2014: three¬†more sightings,¬†two in SC, USA.¬†The Copperhead with out a head is¬†a poisonous one. It bit the family’s dog and thank goodness the dog is OK after a night at the emergency vet. One from Denise, Brisbane, Australia that got into her place. Tkx for the share, Linn,¬†Joyce and Denise.

The wind is scary – during a tornado or in life in general, never know when a gust is going to come in your direction and change everything ‚Äē David Walsh

Back to Routines

27 Apr 2014 – After One+ Crazy Week


Wed: kids back to school after missing 2days¬†and catch up time is no fun! Just as well they are such smart kids! Was in a daze all day and fell asleep before 20hrs¬†without changing to PJ¬†or brushing teeth. Got up the next morning after 10hrs of sleep to realize that the lights were still on – must have been really exhausted. Happy to see the Sunrise Cactus’s blooms welcoming us back.


Thu: had to get some works done on the blood and this LabCorp¬†in Irmo must be the most efficient lab. Was lucky enough to be in and out within 10mins. If you have to go to any Post Office here, this branch on¬† St Andrew’s Road by the Little Caesar’s Pizza is the post office to be. No lines and the best service with a smile ūüôā


Fri: got out of the way for the cleaning helper and had breakfast in town. Millwood Coffee Co*** An omelette there is large enough to keep you stuffed for a whole day if you do not doggy-bag! Interesting place with art displays. Good recommendations, Linn and nice to have some quiet time with my first-born. 


Lovely afternoon down by the lake with James enjoying the attention while his older siblings are at school. Just relaxing in such peaceful surroundings.


Sat: on the road bright and early for Linn & Ellie’s road race in town. An absolutely beautiful day¬†and a record crowd for the 13th annual Providence Heart & Sole Women‚Äôs Five Miler!¬† More than 2,300 females from SC and neighbouring states registered for this event that raises awareness about heart disease in women.¬†Starting and finishing by Finlay Park


Ellie¬†was running non-competitive 3mi¬†with her school, Irmo Elementary¬†and she was the 1st in for her school at under 32mins. Linn¬†got 2nd prize¬†in her age group for the 5mi at 33:58 her¬†PR. Way to¬†go mother and daughter. Not easy trying to cheer and get pix of them finishing so close in times. Well-deserved red roses and chocolate covered strawberries at the end of the race… ūüôā ūüôā


Thank you Shannon&Mark for the hospitality in their idyllic home with beers from here, there and everywhere. Not a beer drinker but tried a sip of them all and the Belgium Saison Dupont is good for more than a sip! Congratulations to Shannon who placed 1st for her age group. Appreciations to all who were there to support this race.


Above 3 pix credit to Linn: 1.Boston Marathon/MA 2.Strictly Running Ladies Team ‘Heart & Sole 5-miler’ at Finlay Park, CAE/SC 3.Date night at Motor Supply, CAE/SC

Sat date night for L&J while the flock is at my mercy… ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā

A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure – Czech Proverb

Road Trip/3

24 Apr 2014 – Boston Marathon

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Sun: Happy Easter! After a good night sleep and breakfast with May & family and Rich at Whole Food, it was nice to see Olai enjoying the playgrounds on this beautiful spring day. The rest of the group was at church.



While the rest of the group went sight-seeing , I accompanied Linn to pick up her race package at the Convention Center where it was efficiently managed in spite of the crowds. Many streets around the finishing line was closed and it was nice to walk in the area with a lovely blue sky.



A dinner to remember for James & Olai’s¬†first encounter with Teppanyaki at Bisuteki/Cambridge***Also my only chance to get a family pix. Brought back memories of Hanne’s (L&M’s¬†Norwegian cousin) ¬†Bday when she joined us for Linn&Jeff’s¬†wedding. It was her first Teppanyaki meal too but then she was a teenager then and the meal had made an impression on her.



Mon: the hotel shuttle got us to the Marriot¬†nearer town and still had to walk to the meeting places¬†to as close as we are allowed near the finish line. Not an easy task¬†to have 6 kids+4adults making sure we do not get separated in such crowds, but it was all worth the while to see the 2 youngest ones on Family Quack…

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Congratulations to Linn for qualifying in this prestigious marathon, for running¬†and completing it in 3:42:04.¬†Appreciations to Cindy and Rich for taking the time to be with us. My hat off to Jeff, May&Bj√łrn for keeping their flock together and in line ūüôā



The drive was a pleasant one with lovely Red Bud blooms, first time seeing them and they have become my favourite at present! Safe and sound back in CAE/SC after 15+hrs drive thru’ MA-NY-CT-NJ-PA-WV-VA-NC-SC – one overnight stop in PA with 5 grandchildren and 1 son-in-law. Amazing father and kids. Good memories of the AT thru’ hike¬†on this drive…


Anyone who really enjoys driving road trips like these with 6 children and then drag them to a crowd of¬†1mil+ must be totally¬†insane! Amazing what we do for our loved ones!! Took me 29days to hike thru’ VA on the AT/550mi/885km in 2005 and yesterday we drove thru’ it in a few hours. If there is a sane person, I can totally cure her/him ūüôā ūüôā


Above pix from DC, Philadelphia/PA and Boston/MA. To rest and¬†to gain back some¬†sanity for a few days before having to think about flying off to SIN ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā


Such a precious pix (credits to May) of the youngest and the eldest on this most unforgettable road trip! Experiences like these make¬†a memorable¬†life’s journey…

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you – Jung

Road Trip/2

20 Apr 2014 – DC-MD-DE-PA-NJ-NY-CT-MA


Fri: 3hrs drive from DC to PHL/PN.¬†Late start to arrive¬†around 1500hrs to shop at Target. Linn&Jeff¬†& family/5kids¬†is caught¬†up¬†with¬†Gabe&Jen & family/6kids. Good to see Gabe again and the last time we crossed paths must have been in Linn&Jeff’s wedding.


May,¬†Bj√łrn, Olai¬†and I spent the night at Hilton. Thank you to the Bouches¬†for offering us a place to stay in their lovely house, but we thought that they have enough¬†on their hands with 11kids. Food at the Hilton was good and there was smoked salmon for the breakfast buffet.


Sat: Linn & family at Independence Hall and Liberty Bell with long lines, according to Jeff! May did some shopping at Saks (across the road from Hilton) when it opened at 10.000hrs and we continued our drive by 1030hrs without sight-seeing in PHL/PN. Would take app 5+rs drive from PHL/PN to BOS/MA



We drove on by-passing NYC /NY and BDL/CT, stopping by Cabela’s¬†(outfitter’ Store) to do some shopping. Olai enjoyed climbing on the tractors. That smile is worth all the driving and stopping ūüôā


Arriving into BOS/MA before this lovely sunset. Linn¬†& family did not get in until after dark pass 2000hrs. They had experienced heavy traffic thru’ NY. Cindy arrived by air after 2100hrs.

It is rather strange to drive thru’ many of these states that the AT Thru’ hike crossed. App 16hrs drive,¬†3 overnight stays, we drove thru’ SC-NC-VA-DC-MD-DE-PA-NY-NJ-CT-MA.¬†Minus SC and DC but including TN took me app 80days to hike those states on the AT.

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And then he gives me a smile that just seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me ‚Äē Suzanne Collins

Road Trip

18 Apr 2014 – SC-NC-VA

Tue: Dee&Terry headed on I-95¬†back to FL bright and early.¬† Wet windy last day at Edisto¬†with 2,000pieces of jigsaw! Seeming Inga (May’s¬†room-mate from UF) is a big fan of jigsaw. Good to catch up with Inga who flew from TN to spend a few days with May. The last time we crossed paths was when May¬†was in UF/FL. Now she¬†lives with her mom in TN.

The 24hrs stomach-flu was on-going and poor Olai, the youngest one got it followed by the others. Just¬†no fun and wish it was me instead of the little ones. Linn¬†& family was¬†hit by this a week ago. Seems like Inga, the Jensens and I were spared, so far…


Wed: packed up to vacate the house by 1000hrs. Said our goodbyes to the Jensens¬†and to Inga. Headed back to CAE to clean up and packed for the road trip to Boston. The flowers have bloomed beautifully in our absence. Olai was just happy to not be in his car-seat¬†enjoying the new John Deer jeep where he could just step on the pedal and he is on his way…


Packed and ready to hit the roads in 2 cars again by 1500hrs. Was driving together with May & family and Olai kept saying, ‘I want to go to tante Linn’s house’. A short dinner break at Hardees¬†somewhere in NC, arriving in Washington DC/Days Inn¬†by midnight. The kids are amazing, 8+hrs drive with only a short break.



Thu: first time in the US capital¬†on this absolutely beautiful day. For the¬†6 grandchildren, it is their first¬†time on the US metro. Smithsonian was far too crowded…



Fell going to the rest room at Aria Pizzeri. Good pizza but wished that they would not send customers to the downstairs’ restroom if they were not going to turn the lights up. Thank goodness not a serious fall and still in one piece. Decided to return to the hotel to take a bubble-bath and relax.

Described Washington as a community of Southern efficiency and Northern charm – John F Kennedy

Top of Carolina

15 Apr 2014 – Linn’s Belated 40th Birthday Celebrations


Fri: May & family arrived on this beautiful spring day and this is what I have been looking forward to for a long time, to have my whole family together. First time for me and this is what makes my journeys worth the while.



Sat: Linn decided to do her Easter Egg hunt today as we will be on the road heading towards the Boston Marathon on Easter weekend.



As the only rotating restaurant in SC,  the view that Top of Carolina/18th floor has to offer is delightful. The retro designed and marble floor fittings as you step out of the elevator bringing back some memory from 5 Temengong Rd/SIN. Was trying to capture the sunset with the flag on the CAE State House but the angles are just not with me this round!



The food was OK here.¬†Publix’s chocolate birthday cake was specially ordered by Linn.¬†What was more important is to have family & friends together…


Appreciations to Lock&May/Canada, Dika/Chicago,  AT hikers John/Charleston and Glenda & Franklin/NC for taking time to celebrate with us. Safe journeys to them.


Sun: thank you to Ingrid&HansK for the ‘kransekake’¬†hand-carried by May from Norway. Brunch catered by ‘Lizard’s Thicket’¬†before heading to Edisto¬†Beach, app 3hrs¬†drive to a beach front house to relax for a few days.


Mon: Botany Bay Plantation, 4,687acres. The eroding beach accessible only by foot offers 2miles of undeveloped shoreline between Seabrook Island and Edisto Beach.


Lunch at Whaley’s*** one of the best crab cakes tasted here.

If life really begins on your 40th birthday, it’s because that’s when women finally get it‚Ķ the guts to take back their lives – Laura Randolph

Wine Design

10 Apr 2014 – Get Your Art Buzz On

Tue: not easy to drive by the site of the burnt-down house, now completely demolished. The swing is still standing there at the far end of the yard near where Gator was buried. She was the family’s pet dog for 12+yrs. Relieved and happy to see the new house and that the family thrives and are well-settled in this new neighbourhood. Shrimp salad lunch specially for Sophie while the 3 older kids are in school.


The Wisteria blooms are amazing and also the other spring blooms.


With the ‘Strictly Running’ Ladies group where one could bring their own wines and food to a painting class. Did not take part in the painting but watched and had a bite and a glass with them. What an interesting art class at ‘Wine Design’. These ‘Strictly Running’ ladies have proved that they are more than just strictly¬†runners! Here enjoying their wine and snacks while painting ūüôā


Wed: good to catch up with Amy and Rachel. The last time I met up with the Jensens was 2yrs ago Aug 2012 in Brussels/Belgium. They have just relocated back to the USA. Katy and Rachel are friends from when they were 3 & 1 (2004 pix credit to AmyJ) and now 14 & 12 (2014). Rachel has grown into a fine pretty young lady, tall and looks much like her father Mike.

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen – Leonardo da Vinci


9 Apr 2014 РAfter 20hrs in the Air


SIN-NRT: SIN airport has been again rated #1 in the world. Here in T1



6hrs¬†in the air, 3+hrs¬†lay over at NRT. Good flight with an aisle seat, 2 empty seats beside and ahead of schedule. NRT, an airport with the cherry-blossoms in the¬†far background. If time permits, ¬†could never resist buying the cookies, candies etc¬†. The presentations and packaging are just beautiful. Imagine if I ever visit Japan, would have so ship a lot of boxes, so far have only been passing thru’ in the airport.



NRT-ATL: 12+hrs¬†in the air and spent most of¬†time napping and watching movies. Don’t even ask what movies! Got¬†trapped in a window seat, not by choice¬†and it¬†was a¬†full flight. Flew over areas where snow is still on the ground. Arriving into a wet ATL¬†with another 3+hrs¬†layover. A glass of wine with a salad at a piano bar hit the spot, Gate E¬†since they did not have any¬†available slots¬†at the SPA for a massage, Gate A & C.

ATL-CAE 1hr in an aisle seat and an empty seat beside, slept all the way. Always nice to get to a smaller and quieter airport where people have time to be courteous. Great to have all these Delta flights running on schedule even thought I feel like a zombie.


CAE, an airport with the familiar white rocking chairs and the welcome sign which have been welcoming me over the past 10yrs! Grateful to arrive in one piece no matter how tired. Every trip, no matter how many hours, airports, security check-points, etc are new experiences to be made the best of.

Appreciations to Linn for being at the airport and was greeted by Jeff and James who was the only child awake upon arriving to their new house. Have been looking so much forward to this trip. Life is good.

Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone? ‚Äē Erma Bombeck

A Green Visitor

7 Apr 2014 – No, Not an Alien


Fri:¬†heart and blood¬†tests healthy and cleared to fly.¬†Shopping for¬†some goodies to pack. SIN hand-made rock candies from Sticky are good gifts and they taste quite good. In addition they have a pack called ‘I ‚ô• Singapore’ which are perfect gifts. The irony is that they are not the least bit sticky, unless in your mouth!


Individual packed BBQ pork jerky, also excellent gift too. A Sweet and Savoury Taste from SIN ūüôā What I dislike doing, shopping packing and flying – but like and looking forward to the flip side, ie arriving after 25++hrs in 4 airports and in the air!

IMG_2041IMG_2042Sat: hello! look who was waiting to greet me on the 7th floor as I stepped out of the elevator Рpoor little fellow would have been crushed if I did not look before I step!

Picked it up with the newspapers and left it on the ledge. Hopefully it will be safer there and it has wings to take off from the 7th floor…



Sun: appreciations to Albert&May and Kiera for a scrumptious lunch at Chui Huay Teochew Cuisine****the suckling piglet, one of the best tasted and the fish was excellent both in taste and presentation. Oyster omelette was OK. Thanks Lee&Adeline and Sun-Sun for the drive back, a short nap after such a lunch before completing with the packing and to the airport.


Someone please beam me to SC/USA so that I can get there in 5mins! SIN-NRT-ALT-CAE, 25++hrs with two changes of airports and planes.¬†Safe journeys to me and¬†thank you to all for crossing this inter-section of life journey’s path. Blessed and have so far have been living¬†as best and as I know how and will continue doing¬†so. Looking forward to being with the children and grandchildren.

Going to hospital is rather like going to an alien planet – Quentin Blake

Norwegain Royal Tea

4 Apr 2014 – For Good Irish Company

Tue: good of Leo & Justin to drop by helping to finish the food before travelling. Looking forward to seeing their project started and have already challenged Leo that I will be visiting in Dec when things are up and running.

IMG_2023IMG_2024Wed:¬†appreciations for¬†delightful Irish company of Carmel and her mom. Cold chicken salad, scorns¬†and Norwegian Royal Tea,¬†thanks to May. King Harald V¬†and Queen Sonia¬†have been used but ¬†there is still Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess M√§rtha Louise and her husband Ari Behn…

Part of the sales proceeds go to charity, must say it is rather good sport of the Norwegian Royal Family !


The Lunch Box***Ila seeks her husband’s¬†love and hopes to cook her way thru’ his heart. Through a rare mix-up of the famous ‘dabbawalas’ of Mumbai, the lunchbox with the delicious food Ila had prepared for her husband instead gets delivered to Saajan, a widower. Realizing the mistake of the delivery, she writes Saajan a note thus¬†unfolding an episode in their life in a series of compelling and sincere notes they exchange through the lunchbox.

7grandbudda367fa00_190x272_3bb44f1e55Thu: The Grand Budapest Hotel****adventures of Gustave, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

A story about the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune Рall against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.


Thank you KimBeng&Mindy for Japanese dinner at Wahiro***Pleasant stroll on East Coast Road with many new eateries popping up.


10168386_10151930927115378_833219966_nIce cream dessert at Marble slab in I12 and here I am (pix credits to KimBeng)  pigging on my favourite flavours, dark chocolate and coffee! The beautiful blooms on the sidewalks are from this tree, Lagerstroemia, most probably L. speciosa, the Rose of India Рmany thanks to Brian for his knowledgeable info of our local flora & fauna.

Sometimes the wrong train will get you to the right station – from The Lunch Box