Understanding Understand

Did you know that “mistakable” is the English word that includes the entire history of the English language? Neither did I. I was listening to “Språkteigen”, a Norwegian radio program on language and Norwegian dialects, and the organizers of a “word exhibit” were interviewed. The exhibit consisted of a single word from each language on […]



“Dugnad”. Google translate says it means voluntary work. I live in the land of “dugnad”. It is actually unpaid work, usually for a common cause. (And pronounced sort of like “doog-nahd”.) Dugnad is not always pleasant or even voluntary. Certainly jokes abound about creative efforts to get out of doing dugnad, born out of how […]

No empty shelves here

Will you look at that? I can’t remember when last my refrigerator was this full! It’s all planned, too. I mean, I have meal plans. The authorities and grocery stores in Norway implore us all not to hoard; there are still regular deliveries. Hence I plan my meals and buy only what I actually need […]


The internet, as usual, is full of advice to those who have to stay home these days, quarantined or just social distancing or because school/work is closed. One suggestion is to pretend you have an invisible coworker and everything annoying is due to that coworker. Dirty dishes left out? It’s the invisible coworker’s fault. Somebody […]

Gently paranoid

It takes a Chinese virus to get me to write again, apparently. So, basically, my attempts to wean myself off bad habits and onto good ones have failed. I’m trying again. That was the update. The current event is the coronavirus. Late February the thought occured to me that this is our time’s Black Death—and […]