April is for taxes

Nothing is certain but death and taxes. And swear words. Back when I still lived in the US, my mother and I got window seats at Philippe's in downtown Los Angeles on the evening of April 15th, to watch people slowly driving by to toss their returns into huge hoppers on Alameda, which was one-way that night. I've also kept a Norwegian friend company on her walk to the tax return receptacle at 11 PM  on April 30. We noted as we turned to walk home that we weren't the last.

You may have seen there how I slipped Norway's deadline in. So I have been swearing in English at my Norwegian forms this morning because I own pretend money that the government wants to know about.

Yeah, I'm late. For some darn reason I've been putting this off this year. I've been putting everything off. Even breakfast. I'm doing taxes on coffee alone.

Every year I tell myself I need to learn more about the stock my employer gives me every spring for being a good little worker bee, because I'm running out of cuss words every April.

This year I kept getting hung up on the word "realisert". Same term in English: Realized gains. I knew I'd gotten another handful of stocks last spring but did not know how many or the emission date or the value (why do I not write these things down when they happen??? It happened again this year, and I wrote nothing down!) but I gained something, right?

Many of my cuss words were spent on looking for information I finally realized (HAH!) I didn't need.

Because I didn't sell any of my pretend money to get real money last year. I just got more pretend money.

So now the Certain Thing is signed, sealed and delivered, all electronically, and the little receipt thingy is sitting in my electronic inbox.

Now that that's over I can blog. And make breakfast.

And leave this post here so that maybe I'll remember during the rest of this year to pay attention so I'm not so lost next year.

Also: Led Zeppelin is awesome music to do death and taxes and other stuff to.

17th of May breakfast

The great national holiday in Norway, on May 17th, is a far more involved and formal event than the equivalent celebration in the US, on July 4th. There are also a lot of traditions and traditional food associated with the day. This year, I'm going to partake in a 17th of May breakfast in town.

In some ways, Constitution Day in Norway, is not exactly a Sunday or religious holiday. It's a day off but buses run on Saturday schedules and restaurants are open.

A bunch of us got Norwegian citizenship during 2017 and have decided to go All Norwegian the only way foreigners can. So we've decided to have the 17th of May breakfast buffet, which is a tradition. It includes rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge) and that's all I need to know (although cured meats and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs are also traditional fare).

Constitutional Day ribbons

Constitutional Day ribbons

I've booked a table that should also offer a fantastic view of the parade(s). There are three but we'll miss the early one that starts at 7 am. We'll catch the main one that leaves from Bryggen, and then we'll see the Children's parade that goes in the opposite direction and ends at Bryggen. Maybe we'll also catch the rowing race in the bay, too, before breakfast is over.

What a lot of Norwegians do is show up in their bunad (national costume) and line the streets for the parades. They may stay for a bit after the parades, but then they go home. A meal, maybe just chilling a bit, and then it's back out if you have kids. Schools have their own 17th of May activities that usually start around 3 pm. Parents march in the local parade with their kids. Afterwards, it's games and hot dogs and ice cream at the school. I remember that part from my own childhood here.

I never spent 17th of May in town as a child. We had our local school parade and school activities so no need (or opportunity) to go to town. I therefore didn't realize the day ends with fireworks until I was invited to watch one year. I am looking forward to seeing the fireworks again!

Hipp hipp hurra!

The Daily Prompt: Partake

Water and bones

As healthy and as long-lived as Norwegians are, they are plagued by one baffling disease: Osteoporosis. As a woman who has lived here for part of her childhood and all of her adulthood, this is something to be concerned about. Is it genetic? Is it dietary? We may have the answer, finally. Good dietary habits when I was a child in Norway included a tablespoon of cod liver oil. As a child, I actually liked the stuff. Didn't like fish, but I didn't mind that spoonful of omega 3's and vitamin D, intended to compensate for the lack of sunshine. (The rule is to take cod liver oil or "tran" in all months with an R in it. There is also the rule not to fish in months without an R in it, so those two rules dovetail nicely.) As an adult I can't stand straight "tran" any more and get my fish oil in capsule form.

In the years since, Norwegian researchers trying to understand the national epidemic of broken hips have proposed many theories: Sedentary lifestyle, not enough milk or calcium in the diet, not enough fish in the diet, not enough sunshine. However, in comparison to countries with a similar population or lifestyle, none of those theories held water.

Water itself may be the reason.

Most fresh water comes from underground, moving in aquifers that give off minerals to the water. All over the world, humans dig wells to get to this water source. But in Norway, our main source of drinking water is surface water. We get it from lakes and reservoirs replenished by rainfall. And that water has hardly any minerals in it since it doesn't pass through rock.

85 % of Norway's drinking water comes from surface water. And the current best theory about why our rate of osteoporosis is so high is the lack of mineral content in our water, especially the lack of magnesium.

It is the one thing that makes sense to me. I have already discovered that magnesium helps my digestion and bowel motility. Now I'm going to double my intake in hopes of compensating for decades of drinking fresh, clear and cold water straight from my tap.

 

(Re current best theory: PDF article in Norwegian with introductory paragraph in English.)