Thursday, June 30, 2005

Tokyo Street Style

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was my teacher of French in the Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð in the years 1967-1970. She was, needless to say, an excellent teacher, taking great care to educate her students not only in the French language but also about France as a country, French culture and French ways of living and thinking. Along with her teaching she also worked as a tourist guide in the summers.

In 1972 she moved on to become the director of The Reykjavík City Theatre. In 1980 she was elected the fourth president of The Republic of Iceland, thus becoming the first woman in the world to become a head of state in free, democratic elections. She proceeded to be our president for the next 16 years. After deciding to step out of office in 1996, she has devoted herself to work in a number of national as well as international humanitarian and cultural projects.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Of Naming Conventions of Iceland and My Ancestral Roots

As you may have noticed in the post below, we have a naming system in Iceland that is different from the traditional use of a family name.

I will try to explain our system, which stems from the old Nordic, by giving examples from my own family:

My name is Greta Björg Úlfsdóttir
My fathers name is Úlfur Ragnarsson
His father, my grandfather, was Ragnar Ásgeirsson
His father was Ásgeir Eyþórsson
His father was Eyþór Felixsson
and so on...

My fathers mother was a Dane, originally by the name of Olga Margrethe Harne Nielsen, hailing from Århus in Jutland.
Upon marrying my Icelandic grandfather she followed the European custom (taking the opportity of shortening her name at the same time) and became Grethe Ásgeirsson.
I guess that at that time there had not yet been made the strict (and stupid) laws regarding the names of people gaining citzenship; by them she might have had to change her name to "Margrét Óladóttir" or maybe "Gréta Óladóttir", as she was the daughter of the late pub owner Ole Harne Nielsen and his wife Margrethe. (In fact for years "the system" tried to name her "Ásgeirsdóttir") As it is today people adhere to these rules by getting an official name, but most, except Asians with "strange" names that Icelanders can´t pronounce anyway, just keep on using their original name privately. Pretty stupid!

But, "like we say in Iceland: On with the butter ;)" :

My grandfathers mother was Jensína Björg Matthíasdóttir

Her mother was Sólveig Pálsdóttir. This woman was the first Icelandic woman to finish a formal education for becoming a midwife. She got a scholarship from the Danish state (we were at that time still a Danish colony) to obtain this education. This was badly needed in her hometown in Vestman Islands, where babies were dying in numbers from a disease called Foot and Mouth Disease, stemming from animals. As it is she had to have an exception from the rules for admittance, as by them women had to be mothers themselves to be eligible for the school. After completing her education she was a midwife to the islands for 20 years, 1847-1867.

One of my great-great-grandmothers medical appliances
now on view in the Westman Islands Museum

Her father was Páll Jónsson, widely known by the nickname "Páll skáldi" (Paul the skald). He was orginally a priest or a minister, but had to give that up as a result of a combination of his liking for the strong drop and a lack of respect and humilty towards authority. He then became one of Iceland´s last real vagabonds or tramps.

So you see, my great-great-great-grandfather was a Supertramp! I´m immensely proud of him, as I can see by what still exist of his poems and rhymeries today that he was also a man who had a burning longing for justice for the common people, a man who stood by his convictions and didn´t let them be trodden on by any costs.

Ásgeir Ásgeirsson

And I think he will have laughed in Heaven when a century or so later his great-grandson Ásgeir Ásgeirsson became the second president of
The Republic of Iceland!

...but as Óskar just now rightly pointed out to me: I have my mother´s ancestral side too; just like my mother sometimes pointed this out to my father about his father having had a father as well as his grandmother´s line of ancestry leading to Páll skáldi. So maybe I´ll sometime later do a post on my other lines of ancestry...

Maybe I´ll make a whole new page for myself and those interested in some history:
Delving into the ancestral roots...hmmm... ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Family of Artists

I just put a link in my sidebar to a great Icelandic photographer, Nökkvi Elíasson. He comes from a family of artist:

The father Elías B. Halldórsson is a very talented painter
and a great teller of stories.
I have myself listened to him tell a story, it was quite an experience!
All his three sons are artists:

His first son Sigurlaugur Elísson is a painter and a poet.
His son Rökkvi is with him on the photo.

The second son is writer and poet Gyrðir Elíasson.

The third and youngest son is Nökkvi Elíasson, who took the photos in this post.
You can view more of his photographic skills by clicking on this: link.

Quote taken from AmbivaBlog


The one thing I know for sure, other than that God holds us all in the palm of His hand, is how to talk to a cow.

- Karen Bathalon, dairy farmer, and frequent commenter here"

I have a day off today, as you can see! ;)

Born today


"Women! They get too excited and they don't like comic books!"

My Guest Map

Where are you from?

Free Guestmap from

The map is filling up slowly. Thanks to everyone who has already left their mark! I love seeing where everyone is from! You can place a marker on the city where you are now - or where you were born.

Monday, June 27, 2005

This is one of my favourite Ladies...

"The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next."

This is my sister Lillý. It´s her birthday today too. She was born in 1947. She has from the age of 12 suffered from severe epilepsy. Even so she is married and has one daughter (who this spring earned her doctorate in psychology from Sorbonne University, Paris), two sons, a son-inlaw, a daughter-in law and one grandson. Here she is at her work in a dressmaking workshop, a sheltered workplace run by The Organization of Disabled in Iceland. She works there part time, from 8-12 a.m. In my eyes she is a real everday-hero.

The Federation runs sheltered employment units at Hátún 10. These are aimed at providing handicapped people with suitable paid employment and also giving them training and assistance for work on the general labour market. There are four units, employing an average of 35-40 disabled people, most of whom work part time.

Dressmaking Workshop
The Organization´s dressmaking workshop was opened in 1981. It produces and sells confirmation and choir surplices, uniforms and working clothes for nurses, dentists and workers in the health services, and hospital clothing for the State Hospitals.


The Ikea-job-interview went well (hmmm...sounds familiar, but this one REALLY did!). The staff manager seemed in fact almost eager to have me work there, as he explained to me that he likes to have "young mature ladies like you, who are at their best age" working for them. He understands that they are usually good and conscientious workers, punctual and precise and never having problems with either hectic social life or babies and family-stuff.

The work there is going to fit in well with my hoteljob, as Ikea has a policy of being very flexible with regard to working hours for it´s staff, and the pay is very reasonable.

I was not asked to assemble a chair, like in the picture...although I could easily have done it ;)
.. but it was quite funny that the staff manager had a bigger version of the same picture hanging in a frame on the wall! prevent any misunderstanding: I´m talking about the picture in a previous post on the subject...not the picture of a human table below.

Boys: The girl and her attire is not sold in our shops,
you´d have to fix that yourselves

- All the rest you´ll get at IKEA!

Spas Muss Sein

But...úpps...just had a call from the work-agency about the optical-shop job; turns out that the manager there is just taking too long time to make a decision, he has not done so yet she told me, saying that it will just be his loss if he misses this opportunity of a very good worker -

So now maybe I´m confused - but I think I´m going to turn down the Opticaljob should he offer it to me - unless he offers me a very good salary!

So I guess I was right after all in assuming that I had done well at that interview - seems I´m not so dumb at all.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

It´s a beautiful day, my back aches and my feet are sore!to

Gosh! Were we busy this morning in the breakfast room at Hótel Frón, Óskar and I...

The lobby at Hótel Frón - not Óskar sitting at he desk, though.
No photo available as yet of the hotel´s newly refurbished and extended breakfastroom.

When I arrived on the job at 6.30 a.m. Óskar had started preparing, laying tables and making coffee, and soon I got busy too putting everything on the table, cereals, milk, orange juice, bread ( white, brown and rye), butter, ham, cheese, smoked and sliced sauceage, sliced-up cucumber and tomatoes from Icelandic greenhouses, yoghurt (Spanish, in fact!), apples (whole), marmelade and jam. Freshly brewed coffee and hot water for tea from teabags. Jug with cold water from the tap, just some icecubes added; this is quite safe as we really have high quality water in Reykjavík.

This is what our continental breakfast consists of. There is self-service, except for that the tables have been layed to some extent. This is generally known as "hlaðborð" in Icelandic terms, direct translation of which is "a loaded table" (I don´t know what you would call it in English, maybe somebody can inform me! Maybe a buffet?)

Breakfast starts at 7.00 a.m. At first it was all quiet on this Sunday morning. At 8.00 heaps and heaps of people poured into room like an invasion from March, like Óskar put it. We have some big groups staying with us, all getting up early to go on sight-seeing and coming for breakfast first, all at the same time of course this morning, wanting to have something to eat NOW, before they went off on their tours.

So there I was, running about lika a speedboat (Óskar´s description again!), filling up the table with everything, everything disappearing a minute after I put it out, it seemed to me. Óskar in the kitchen making coffee, filling plates with ham, cheese and saugage and cutting up the vegs. Both trying to clear some tables and lay them again at the same time and Óskar even managed to wash some cups and plates and cutlery along with doing all the rest.

By 9.00 a.m. it was suddenly all quiet again! Just a few guest coming in, some of whom had patiently waited until the rush was over, sitting there relaxing in cosy conversation until closing hour at 10.00.

After closing Óskar went home, having been awake since 24.00 midnight. I went on to finish washing up, filling up, laying some of the tables, washing the floor, making a list for the lady who owns the place of things we have or are about to run out of and generally getting everything ready for tomorrow, when we are very likely getting the same rush again. Then again we might not, you can never know beforehand how the morning will turn out.

Finished at 14.00 p.m. and took the bus home. Óskar and I make shifts on using the car, he took the bus to work last night so I could use the car in the early morning. Then he took the car for going home after work.

It´s in many ways very practical to work together in the same place and usually it´s a lot of fun too. I was a little sorry though this morning that at one point I snapped at my best friend when I felt he was not being quick enough to serve and put out some things lacking. I could see it hurt him, but he just gave me a smile and a hug when I apologized afterwards and told him how sorry I was about my reaction. I´m not going to let it happen again. It does not pay to get all worked up and hissing and acting like a general even if you are very busy. Like it says in the Mary Poppins song from the film: "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down". That´s something Óskar is very good at but I sometimes have to be reminded about.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Born today:


"There are mighty few people who think what they think they think."
...I wonder what waiter rant would say to that, in the light of his last post and the heap of comments he has had on it (130 last time I looked) ?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ten Reasons

...for my blog having the LOOK it does:

I love bright colours
I love kids
I think life is unfair to big parts of humanity
I´m an amateur blogger, learning by mimicking things I see in other peoples blogs
I love surfing the web with Google and putting my findings in my blog
I´m not smart
My eyesight is not so good, I can´t manage to read very long posts with small letters without getting very tired, so that´s why I try to keep mine short (and that´s ONE of the reasons I love waiter rant: His blog uses BIG- font letters)
I´m interested in lots and lots of things and try to put them all at once here on my pages!
I´m a cutiepie with a soft and cold nose
(Óskar dared me to say that last bit!)


Ikea Job Interview - I would do very well at this kind of interview, as I have assembled many an Ikea-chair in my day! ;)

Well, seems I was a bit too sure about the optical-shop-job I talked about in some earlier posts. They have not contacted me yet after the interview, so I guess that job was not mine after all! Not that I mind a lot, pondering a bit about it makes me realize that very likely I would have been bored to bits there!

Just had a call this morning from the personel manager at IKEA, where I had placed an application too. It seems they have some part-time vacancies there, I´m going to see him Monday. I feel quite good about that, because I like the IKEA shop a lot and go there often in my spare time just to have a look, as it is also quite close to my home. I admire the ingenuity with which they put their simple, yet sturdy furniture together and also their ideas for utilizing to the best the space you have within your home. So maybe this will be just a job for me!

Old Ladies

...some of my favourite people are old ladies...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


...maybe I should start practising?
Guess I could be feeling better today...

K A R I B U !

(Located in angel above weatherpixie!)

I ransack this website on and over again, dreaming of adventures past and furure!
Viewing this photo my heart goes all soft...

I would not mind staying in these places!

Bahari Beach Hotel

Bahari Beach

This is the hotel I stayed in on first arriving in Tanzania in 1983 and often after that. It´s a beautiful hotel, where you stay in little "huts", facing down to the white beach of the Indian Ocean...

We also stayed quite often at "The Kilimanjaro Hotel" or "The Kili", as we called it, when in Dar es Salaam. I read on the web that it is now being renovated. Back in the eighties it was already getting run-down, but it was easy to imagine it´s past glory!

...but I think it´s never going to get warm in Iceland this summer...only 11°C today...brrr...!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

From "Bilbo´s World":

"The skald! The skald! A saga!"

"Come and visit me. You shall not go away empty-handed. Men say that the sweetest songs are in Iceland. I wish to hear them."

(Located in second heart from angel at bottom of blog!)

Monday, June 20, 2005

My job interview...

...went very well. Didn´t juggle, though; it´s not in bookkeeping!
Now I´ll just have to wait and see...

* B J Ö R K *

Homage to Björk
by Johnny Newt

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Pictures and links

Now every single picture in my sidebar contains a link!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Iceland National Independence Day

Crowds flock onto the streets throughout Iceland on 17 June every year to commemorate the birth of Jón Sigurðsson, the 19th-century leader of Iceland's peaceful movement which ultimately brought independence from Denmark. This is the closest thing in the country to a carnival and is celebrated with parades, speeches, sport competitions, lots of outdoor entertainment and plenty of dancing.

The day tends to start off on a solemn and patriotic note, but by the afternoon the mood changes and the fun breaks out. Everyone takes the day off to be entertained by street performances, theatre, fire-eaters and to enjoy the real festival atmosphere.

Each town and village celebrates in their own way so it is advisable to check locally for details. This is such a popular date that it has been chosen for most major events of historical importance, the greatest being the establishment of the independent republic in 1944.

Have a look at this too, if you´d like to view some marvellous photos of today´s festivities:

Thursday, June 16, 2005

My Job Interview scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m., and I have a very nice feeling that this job is going to be mine...
Antique Spectacles

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


I´m going for an interview, probably tomorrow, for a second job...I´m exited...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Blogging in Paris...

...Simply had to move this beautiful poem on:

D r e a m s

a poem by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Michael Jackson free

Michael Jackson, three times acquitted of child abuse,
"I look into the face of children and see God"


... somehow I´ve always felt they are related...

"Character: Eager to please, naive, innocent, gullible...

Although Pinocchio promises the Blue Fairy he'll be good, temptation can be a powerful force for any boy -- even one made of wood. Curious and naive, Geppetto's "little woodenhead" has got a solid thirst for adventure but a shaky sense of what's right and wrong, despite the persistent advice of his "official" conscience, Jiminy Cricket. An easy mark for the practiced con-men of the world at large, Pinocchio must beat temptation and learn to become brave, truthful, and, most of all, unselfish. Only when he proves himself deserving of the Blue Fairy's trust, and his father's love, will he become a real boy."

P.S. And didn´t Pinocchio even have a nose-job too?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hótel Frón

Now the touristseason has come into full bloom!

I´m helping out with the breakfast at Hótel Frón almost every morning these days, starting at 6-6.30 in the morning and finishing about 11.00. The last two mornings we have catered for about 70 people, most of them being in two large groups coming in at the same time early, and this morning an addition of passengers arriving with the very early flight coming in from the USA. It´s going to continue like this for some weeks now at least. The last couple of mornings I was assisting the woman working opposite to Óskar on the nightshift, tonight is the first of his 5 shifts in a row, from 24.00 to 11.00-12.00 - 12 hour shifts, long working hours.

The manager has said I can have all the work I like, I only have to tell them when I want time off!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

"Lär Dig livets svåra gåta: Älska, glömma och förlåta"

(Learn to solve lifes difficult riddle: To Love, Forget and Forgive)

Will they ever?

Friday, June 10, 2005

What is love?

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hans Christian Andersen

Born April 2nd, 1805 - Died August 4th, 1875.

200 years anniversary 2005

Danish author of the most wonderful fairytales, suited for grown-ups and kids alike.

Ole Close-Your-Eyes

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The french seem to like this song a lot...

Que Sera Sera
Qu'Est-Ce Que Ce Sera, Sera ?

When I was just a little girl
Quand j'étais à peine une petite fille

I asked my mother
J'ai demandé à ma mère

What will I be ?
Qu'est-ce que je vais être ?

Will I be pretty ?
Serai-je belle ?

Will I be rich ?
Serai-je riche ?

Here's what she said to me
Voilà ce qu'elle m'a dit


Que sera sera
Qu'est-ce que ce sera, sera

What ever will be, will be
Quel qu'il soit, quel qu'il soit

The future's not ours to see
Ce n'est pas nous qui voyons le futur

Que sera sera
Qu'est-ce que ce sera, sera

What will be, will be
Qu'est-ce que ce sera, sera

When I grew up and fell in love
Quand j'ai grandi et que je suis tombée amoureuse

I asked my sweetheart, what lies ahead
J'ai demandé à mon bien-aimé, quel sera le futur

Will we have rainbows
Aurons-nous des nuages

Day after day ?
Jour après jour ?

Guess what my sweetheart said
Devine ce que mon bien-aimé a dit


Now I have children of my own
Maintenant j'ai des enfants

They ask their mother what will I be ?
Ils demandent à leur mère ce qu'ils seront

Will I be handsome ?
Serai-je beau ?

Will i be rich ?
Serai-je riche ?

I tell them tenderly
Je leur dis tendrement


Monday, June 06, 2005

The Why´s, What´s and How´s...

Why am I here?
Why is there so much Misery in the World?
What is the Purpose of Life?
What is Love?
What is Happiness?
How do I become rich?
How do I become succsessful?
How do I find Happiness?
Etc. etc. .....

"The trouble with life isn't that there is no answer, it's that there are so many answers."

"Ce sera, sera"?

Here you´ll find all the answers ;) :

Sort life out !