Friday, October 30, 2015

Aggressive Neighboring Cats

Aggressive Neighboring Cats

Guest post by Laura M. Sands

He’s handsome and brave, fun to watch and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. As he strolls through the neighborhood while barely acknowledging your presence, you decide that you’ve just got to get close enough for a proper introduction. You make up your mind to just go for it as your cat silently approaches to join the fun. Before you can take another step, though, fur is quite literally flying and a friendship is ruined before it even begins.

So what just happened here? Well, while you were daydreaming about all of the fun you could have together, an aggressive neighboring cat decided that three's a crowd and that your cat is no longer allowed in his territory. The bigger problem here is that his territory is your yard, so how do you protect your outdoor cat from future harm?

How to Handle an Aggressive Neighboring Cat

Friday, October 16, 2015

Last day in Oslo: The National Gallery and the Contemporary Art Museum, a last peek at the Opera House, and then (sigh)... home.

Our short little trip to Oslo is coming to an end.  Our flight back leaves at 6:00 p.m.  Need to be at the airport at 4:00.  Gotta catch the train at 3:30.  This gives essentially half a day more of sightseeing before we say goodbye.  So, one more stroll up Karl Johans gate as we make our way to The National Gallery.

The National Gallery is Norways' largest and most prestigious art gallery.  It is housed in a  huge 19th-century building.  What it lacks in internationally famous painters (aside from Edvard Munch), it makes up in Norwegian art.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oslo: City Hall and the Opera House, The Edvard Munch Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and a final walk through Grunlerløkka.

Our next to last day in Oslo started with a trip to City Hall.  City Halls tend to be the dominant buildings in Scandinavian capitals, rather than churches.  Perhaps that's why Scandinavia always ranks so high on the list of countries with happy, satisfied people.  Here, people pay high taxes, have high expectations, and usually get what they expect: a government that cares about its citizens and spends their money wisely, i.e. free health care, free universities, and well paying jobs.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Arrival in Oslo: Walking tour of this beautiful city.

In my job, I have a fair amount of vacation time that must be used up before the end of the year.  It’s a use-it-or-lose-it policy.  Fortunately, the opportunity arose for a lil’ five day mini-vacation in the middle of August.  I wanted to go somewhere with a relatively short travel time, and I don’t know why, but Scandinavia beckoned.  Having been to Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, I was left with Norway and Iceland as two relatively nearby vacation spots.  I checked and saw that flights to Oslo, on Norwegian Air Shuttle, were super-affordable, so using my Barclay Card air miles, I snagged two round trip tickets. Time flies, as it tends to do, and before I knew it, we were in the Carmel car on the way to JFK.

Oslo, the smallest of the Scandinavian capitals, is a great city.  Clean, friendly, loads of museums, great restaurants, tons of outdoor space, a beautiful harbor... this is a city that really has its act together.

A word now about Norwegian Airlines.   Yes, the airfare was surprisingly affordable.  It almost made me wonder if there was some catch somewhere.   There is.  You pay for your ticket, and then practically everything else is a la carte.  After you purchase your ticket, you don’t get a seat assignment.  You get your seats when you check in at the airport, unless you want to select your seat ahead of time online.  The cost?  33 euros!  That adds about $40 per seat, or $80 onto the ticket price.  And that’s one way.  Add another $80 for the flight back, and now you’ve added $160 to the total cost of your ticket.  Checked baggage? It’ll cost you.  Unlike most airlines, your first checked bag is not free.  It’s 42 euro!  Food?  Forget it.  They don’t even give you water on the plane unless you’ve pre-paid online or you order while on the plane.  Meals cost a fortune.  The person sitting next to me ordered dinner.  It was a tiny little spoonful of rice, some chicken, and a few veggies.  Not worth it.  The air temperature in the cabin was very low.  They had the place chilled like a meat locker.  Fortunately, I brought a sweatshirt, because if you wanted a blanket, guess what?  Yep.  $5.   Every seat has a screen on the back, so you do have choices of movies and TV shows, but it’s a crappy selection.  No headphones?  That’ll be $3. So, if you don’t mind risking getting a mediocre seat (our seats were fine, it turned out), taking all carry-on luggage, and bringing your own food (which I did),  packing a  sweater (which I did), and having your own headphones (check) and your own favorite movies and shows loaded on your iPad/laptop/iPhone (check), the flight is a bargain.  The bottom line:  flying Norwegian Airlines?  Plan ahead!

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