According to Julie

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Hele familien er bloggere

Jeg kan nå si at hele familien min er bloggere – til tross for at ikke alle oppdaterer like ofte.  Jeg har nemlig oppdaget at lillesøster Helene også er en blogger!

Helene skriver bloggen HelseHippie, og det handler om ernæring, supermat, hverdagsglede, naturlig hudpleie og husmortips. Her har hun skrevet i et år, men det er først nå hun har lagt ut bilde av seg selv og så lagt ut en screenshot fra bloggen på Instagram.

Pappa blogger på norsk på Tversover og på engelsk på Applied Abstractions. Begge steder går det i teknologi, bøker, nerding og pappas nerdete hverdag. Litt som min blogg, men ikke helt.

Mamma blogget før på Lena’s Knits & Pieces, men for tiden er det like greit å gå til nettbutikken Bare må ha det.

Lillesøster Jenny Marie skrev bloggen Made For Fun da hun var i USA i ett skoleår. Nå bruker hun mest Instagram.

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Leipzig according to Julie

They say Leipzig is the new Berlin. It’s just over an hour from Berlin by (very efficient, comfortable) train and it does have many of the things I expected to find in Berlin: great, cheap apartments, a good mix of old and new architecture, beer, all-night semi-illegal parties and at least one probably legal party in a basement that was part artist’s studio and part mad scientist lab (there was a time machine and exercise equipment that played music). It also has a zoo with the world’s biggest monkey house and a coffee museum. So I loved it.

Leipzig looks like this:





I was there to visit my friend and former flatmate (from my London days) Estrid. Estrid is a neuroscientist, and also a great cook, a good friend and the reason I wrote this blog post about women in science. Here she is having brunch at Café Waldi:


And here is German brunch food:



We visited the Grassi museum and saw an exhibit on experimental shoe design. For example, shoes to use while vampire-slaying:


We were trapped in a tapas restaurant (not a bad place to be) by an out-of-nowhere monsoon-like rainstorm which kind of freaked me out.


(It was almost 36 degrees Celsius at the time, which definitely freaked me out.)

Leipzig has lots of good bars, like Puschkin:


And of course, the zoo:




But what about the monkeys? Sadly, I have no good photos of the monkeys. They will simply not convey how much fun, and how very weird, it is to watch monkeys in real life. They look and act so much like us, and I think they watch us and believe we are in a cage. So I will leave you with that, and a picture of a zebra:


Photo credits: all mine, except the ones of me, those are by Estrid Jakobsen


Invisible days

Sometimes I become invisible. I don’t know how it happens, I just lose the ability to be seen.

It’s not a very useful super power.

invisible daysBlending in. (I don’t know the source. It was posted on a humor page on Facebook.)

I first learned about this unfortunate accidental magic trick one day when I was standing alone at the bus stop and my bus drove right past me, even though I was waving my arm, and eventually kind of jumping up and down to get their attention. I ran after the bus, caught up with it at the next bus stop, and the driver still didn’t see me. I waited for the next bus,and in the meantime, someone else arrived. Out of all the available space at the bus stop, they chose to stand right next to me, giving me less than an inch of personal space, but they did not acknowledge that I was there. They did however, hail a bus, for which I was grateful. I got on without incident. At the next stop, two of my closest friends got on the bus, walked right past me (while I smiled and waved at them) and sat in the back of the bus.

I realized I must have become temporarily invisible.

This is not the only time a bus driver has ignored me. I fall into invisibility at random times:

I’m standing in a city square, a wide open space. The only thing in the square is me. And then someone else walks into this space and across the square, directly at me, choosing the only route that forces me to get out of their way. And once I do, they stop, taking my spot.

Or I’m standing in a shopping center, about a foot away from the wall, in an otherwise wide and empty walkway. Someone walks down this walkway, and instead of using the middle, they squeeze between me and the wall. They either saw me and just had to be close to be me, or – more likely – did not notice that I was there.

Or I’m sitting on a tram, and someone puts their bag in my lap, is if my seat were empty

Perhaps this is something left over from my childhood, when I would sneak over to the grown-up table at dinner parties and “be seen, but not heard.” Maybe I sometimes slipped into not being seen either, and the uncontrollable habit stuck.

Or maybe partner dancing, which requires a certain lack of personal boundaries, has left me with no personal space bubble, so that strangers feel it’s perfectly ok to lean against me on public transportation or stand on my feet in crowds.

It’s not always a bad thing. People will sit next to me in sofas and talk like I’m not there. I’ve learned a lot from this unintended eavesdropping. Or as Joan Didion once said:

“My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests.”

Have you ever felt invisible?

Related post: Why I’m a journalist

Book recommendations for invisible people: The Woman in the Wall and The Perks of Being a Wallflower


11 things I learned from my mom

















How to react to an invitation: You check if you can make it, then respond as soon as possible – and then you are committed to actually going.

How to get dressed: I can wear whatever I want, as long as I’m warm enough, and as long as my shoes are appropriate.

How to shop 1: It’s better to save your money and buy a few things you really, really want.

How to shop 2: Walk in to the store. Scan the whole room for what you want. If you don’t see it, leave and move on the next store. Be efficient.

How not to cry over spilled red wine: With the right cleaning products (Biotex in Norway) you can get rid of most stains, as long as you treat the stains as soon as possible.

How to make sauce: Years after teaching me, she now regularly asks me to be her “sauce consultant” before family dinners.

How to walk: Short girls can walk fast too. (Especially if they have tall boyfriends.)

How to make great food: It’s all about preparation.

How to keep your home tidy: Never walk from room to room empty-handed – there is probably something in Room A that needs to be in Room B, so take it with you. (Not that either one of us necessarily practices this rule at all times.)

How to stand out in the crowd: If you wear something home-made or customized, there is no way anyone else will be wearing the same outfit.

How to be a parent: Talk to your kids like they’re real people. Believe in your children. Even when they’re teenagers.

Thank you, Mom, for making me fantastic unique outfits like my bridesmaid dress and customized handbag. Thank you for customizing my dress when it turned out my friend had bought the exact same one to wear to a high school dance. Thank you for learning how to dance West Coast Swing with me (you said it was just to stalk my new boyfriend, but then you got addicted). Thanks for all the home-baked bread, hemmed jeans and hand-knit socks. Thanks for being my secretary before I learned to write. Thanks for listening. Thank you for all the time you’ve spent on making my life better.

Thank you Mom, and happy birthday!

danse med mamma og pappa

Photos: 1 and 2: My mom at her surprise birthday party a couple of years ago. My own photos. 3: Dancing West Coast Swing with my parents. Photo by Jean-Christophe Saville.

Related posts:

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What I learned at work this week: I might be a robot

If you spend an hour or so systematically googling things you have never shown any online interest in before, Google will make you prove you are not a robot. I learned that when I went through 50 or so blogs of the kind I rarely read myself, googling the same two phrases within each site – for like two hours. Suddenly I had to type in one of those prove-you-are-human codes because of my “unusual search patterns”.

I have mad google skills

Image source: someecards

Related post: Knitting sushi and googling


Så du tror du har senebetennelse?

“Pass deg så du ikke får senebetennelse…” har jeg fått høre mange ganger i løpet av de siste årene. Jo, takk, men hvordan? Jeg tar alle forholdsreglene: Mange små pauser, varierende sittestilling, bord og stol som kan heves og senkes, ergonomisk tastatur og mus, pulsvarmere og støttebandasjer om nødvendig. Men jobben min er å skrive. Jeg kan ikke møte opp på jobb hver dag, forvente full lønn og bare ikke jobbe.

“Jeg tror jeg har skrevet for mye; jeg tror jeg har jobbet for hardt; jeg har sikkert senebetennelse.” Jeg har hørt så veldig mange venner og bekjente klage over vondt i håndledd, skuldre og armer. Men alt for få av dem følger opp dette ved å gå til legen, og de som gjør det, får sannsynligvis høre “Du har nok jobbet for hardt og fått senebetennelse. Ta Voltaren.”

Senebetennelse er den fysiske versjonen av flink pike-syndromet:  Det er en merkelapp som settes på litt  for mye, og som stort sett sier “Du må gjøre mindre, all denne jobbingen er ikke bra for deg, og derfor er det din feil at du nå har vondt.” Diagnosen settes av venner og forbipasserende på de fleste tilfeller av “vondt i overkroppen hos mennesker som jobber med datamaskin”.

Da jeg tok gipsen av høyrearmen min for et par måneder siden, følte jeg meg presset til å begynne å jobbe fulltid igjen kort tid etter – ikke av arbeidsgiver, men av Legevakten. Jeg hadde jo tross alt bare brukket håndleddet, en bitteliten kroppsdel, og jeg hadde ikke vondt lenger. “De fleste går tilbake til full jobb med gipsen på” hadde en av legene på Legevakten sagt noen uker tidligere, så nå som jeg kunne se håndleddet mitt igjen, var det ikke aktuelt å være delvis sykemeldt i mer enn noen dager. Jeg fikk noen vage setninger om at det kunne være jeg merket at jeg ble litt sliten, men at jeg bare skulle “bruke armen som normalt.”

Jeg tror ikke legene tenkte over hva “normalt” er for en som jobber med tekst.

Fem uker i gips svekker styrken og bevegeligheten i håndleddet såpass at den må bygges opp igjen. Et forsøk på å bare bite tennene sammen og jobbe likevel førte til en måneds skrivepause.

Skrivepause på grunn av fysiske problemer har jeg vært gjennom før.  Når jeg vet hvordan det føles å ikke kunne bruke datamaskin, penn eller blyant i flere måneder i strekk, blir jeg frustrert over folk som bare finner seg i å ha vondt i hele overkroppen mens de fullfører masteroppgave eller jobber mot deadline. De trekker på de verkende skuldrene og sier at det er sånn det føles å “sitte for mye ved datamaskin”. Du trenger ikke akseptere at det er vondt å gjøre jobben din!

Huskeliste for skribenter (og andre som lever av å bruke hendene sine fort og nøyaktig)

1. Det er ikke meningen at du skal ha vondt i armene eller skuldrene når du kommer hjem fra jobb. Det er ikke ok å våkne om morgenen med vondt i håndledd. Hvis du synes det er vondt å skjære brød, pusse tenner eller legge ting i poser, er ikke det normalt. Du bør gjøre noe med det.

2. Finn ut hva som faktisk feiler deg. Du har ikke nødvendigvis senebetennelse bare fordi noen sier det. Senebetennelse er en av veldig mange ting som kan være galt med deg når det gjør vondt å skrive.

3. Ikke aksepter flink pike-stempelet. Kanskje du faktisk er overarbeidet, men det kan være mange andre grunner til at du har vondt. Ikke tenk at du må tåle smerte fordi du skriver “for mye”.

4. Du trenger hendene og armene dine. Kanskje jobben din er såpass stillesittende at du kan gjennomføre den med vondt i et kne eller en ankel. Men som skribent bruker du fingre, skuldre, håndledd og armer mer enn mange andre.

5. Vær sterk – og bli sterkere. Tren ryggen, skuldrene og armene. Rett deg opp og ha en god holdning. Klatring er visst veldig bra (jeg tør ikke belaste håndleddet så mye ennå, men jeg har lyst til å prøve). Dans er også bra for holdning. Men gjør også styrkeøvelser som trener skuldre, rygg og overarmer. Jeg bruker en pilatesstrikk og en “vekt” (en full halvlitersflaske med vann er 600 gram) og gjør øvelser fra fysioterapeuten min, og jeg merker at det hjelper.

6. Apropos fysioterapi: Pengene du bruker på å bli kvitt dette, er verdt det. Tenk hvor mye du vil tape i fremtiden på å ikke kunne skrive så fort og så mye som du vil.

7. Ta deg helt fri om nødvendig. Hvis “ta det med ro” betyr “sitte med hendene i fanget i  timevis og håpe smerten går over”, må du faktisk være sykemeldt. Fastlegen din kan masse, men du vet selv hva du gjør hver dag, og hvorvidt det gjør vondt. Kanskje du kunne ha jobbet som lege med den smerten du har, men ikke skribent.

Jeg passer på disse. Jeg trenger dem:


Foto 1: Jeg er modell med pulsvarmere laget av mamma. Kilde: Lena’s Knits and Pieces

Foto 2: Ukjent fotograf, fra en fest kort tid etter 17. mai 2011, og ja, det er hendene mine.

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Writing again – update on the wrist situation

Skade 01.02.2013_thumb[3]I disappeared from the internet, and all other forms of written communication for a few weeks, but now I’m back (hopefully for good). Here’s what happened:

I broke my wrist at the start of February (literally the first hour of February), giving my right wrist an extra bend (as you can see in the image). The doctors straightened that out (literally), and my arm was in a cast for five weeks. This was ok, with the upside being that the artwork friends and family members covered my lower right arm with, is about the closest my conservative, risk-averse skin will ever get to being tattooed. Downsides included being lopsided (heavier on  my right side, which made spins impossible), unusually tired (partially due to drugs) and greasy (washing my hair with my left hand was harder than I remembered.)

After working part-time most of the time my cast was on, I went back to work full-time less than a week after it came off. That turned out to be a mistake that resulted in pain and a full month of No Writing. Now I work three hours a day and do special exercises to strengthen my arm every day. And I can write again. In fact, I’m using blog posts and other non-work texts as physical exercise, in preparation for returning to work full-time.

This is the second time a wrist injury made me take an extended break from writing and the internet. I wrote a guest post on my friend Martine’s blog last time this happened: “Writing is an addiction I’m glad to have”