This was the art in the lobby of the office. Where I would have worked had I stayed in Norway. I repeat: this is in an office lobby. Holy shit balls.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
I'm in Oslo. Got here late last night. Second hotel room better than first. First one was a garret on the top floor, under the roof, absolutely roasting facing east. If the windows were open I was cooked like an ant under a magnifying glass. Closed, I suffocated. It was 90f in there overnight. And it was charming, but made for a hobbit as I kept hitting my head on the roof beams. I called uncle and changed and they loved me to this. Ah, air conditioning!
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Sunday, July 06, 2014
Saturday, July 05, 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Sunday, April 06, 2014
As mentioned in my previous, more countryfied post, I've been traveling again.
Originally I was supposed to go to London on the 19th for a few days "me time" before a raft of meetings for work the 24-28th. But then Mom called, Dad had a set back, so I changed my ticket for London and went to Missouri to be with her for a few days. Dad's ok, but not really making the progress we would wish. I won't go into that, though. Anyhow, I got back from Missouri Saturday and flew to London the next day, to arrive Monday just in time for the meetings to start.
The meetings were long, and very busy, but interesting. They ended Friday afternoon, and i hared off to Winchester to spend time with my cousin, Eddie, and we did the usual shopping, bar hopping and so on, including spending time with his lovely group of friends. Winchester is a great town, I could live there.
Then back to London, for three days, for the 'me time" I had originally planned for. I splurged and booked myself into the Dukes Hotel, they had a pay 2 get 3 nights special.
I should mention, it seems a pattern with me, that i book into hotels that are known for having good bars. The Zetter has an extraordinary bar, and the Dukes is world renowned for its martinis. Ian Fleming used to drink there and they say that the martinis James Bond drinks are inspired by those at Dukes.
Don't believe me? Go here for a start.
So, last Tuesday (April 1, which suits this story), after a long and successful day of shopping in London, I toddled down to the bar at the Dukes and ordered my martini. (I had been to this bar before with my friend Karen who lived in London at the time, and she and i had a great time there.) I can't drink gin, so ordered a vodka martini, and the bartender, Alessandro, rolls his cart to your table and mixes the martini right there, with a sense of pomp and circumstance. I was surrounded by posh Englishmen with fruity accents, and American financiers who kept talking stocks and margins and venture capitalism. Basically, I was the 99% infiltrating the 1%.
All was going well, the martini was excellent (and VERY STRONG), I had my mini iPad and a newspaper and little snacky things for my entertainment, which mostly kept me looking busy enough that the lofty denizens of the bar didn't really notice me listening to them and wondering at their...confidence? Arrogance? I don't know, it was pretty dang enlightening, what they talked about.
All was going well....until I reached for an olive. The little bowl of olives came with little olive swords, you're meant, of course, to stab the olive and eat it off the stick. I spied an olive. Picked up my sword. I aimed. I stabbed. The olive flinched, jumped, and hopped out of the bowl, onto the table and made a run for freedom onto the floor rolling allllllll the way across the bar to land at Sir Poshiford of Poshchester's handmade leather shoes clad feet. As it rolled, all eyes followed it...it was a traffic stopping olive. The bar got silent.
I sat, empty sword in hand, feeling like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when the escargot got away and she exclaimed "Slippery little suckers". Being me, of course, I said "Bollocks! It escaped!" and chased after it. I'm sure posh English people just wait for the help to pick up their renegade cocktail snacks, but here in 'Murca, we hunt and kill our own. So I grabbed the olive from Sir P's feet and placed it in the little white 'dead olive' plate, and it can be seen in the picture above.
I'm kind of glad I'm at an age now where embarrassment doesn't affect me that much. As it was in this case, I just giggled and texted a few freinds about it, hahahah the olive escaped, omfg, I'm such a dork, That kind of thing. Then i ordered another martini.
I was a third of the way through the second martini when I realised....I was drunk. And I hadn't eaten. Those martinis are STRONG and I am a lightweight and there was NO WAY I was going to make it through that second martini without some serious tipsiness happening.
As a happy drunk, this made me giggle, so there I was in the corner of the bar, giggling and texting and honestly really quite happy with things. I realized I would have to carefully plan my exit from the bar, as I didn't want to seem as drunk as I was, so I owlishly scouted the route, pre-thought out standing, walking and exactly how many steps it was to get out of there. I really had to think it through. After the Great Olive Roll I didn't want to reveal myself as part of the 99% any more than I had to.
So, after a somewhat giggly self count to three, I grandly stood from the chair, picked up my ipad, told the bartender my room number for the bill, measuredly strolled form the bar, and (once safely out of anyone's view) careened from side to side on the stairs up to my room, where I passed out face first on the bed, at 830, drunk as a lord from 2 martinis a la 007. Hats off to James Bond. A man who can hold his liquor.
(The next night, btw, I went out with my cousin and his friend Streaky, where more martinis were consumed and I slighty redeemed myself by getting back to the hotel at a more appropriate midnight, sans staggering.)
I did manage to get some time off, and this picture is from Winchester, where i went for a very nice walk through the Water Meadows to St Cross, an ancient almshouse/priory, still used as such to this day. This is the back side of the church there, and there were cows. Definition of bucolic, no?
I also spent a few days in London outside the work meetings, and stayed at Dukes Hotel, and had one of their world famous martinis. (ok, TWO of their world famous martinis.) That story and photo come next.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
An entire blog (abandoned ages ago), dedicated to my big ass head in front of small (by comparison) landmarks, most all photos taken as selfies, before the dang term "selfie" ever existed. I was ahead of my time.
You are welcome world.
Royalties to be sent c/o The Texpatriate.
- Gary Numan's latest Album, "Splinter". Kicking my ass with the gothy synthy dancey goodness. I almost can't listen to it in the car. It makes me drive too fast.
- NIN's latest, "Hesitation Marks". See above.
- This blog. She's a friend of mine, ok, well, my friend Anne's older sister, who was always WAY too cool for me when I was in high school, I mean, she was a cheerleader and drove a Porsche, but holy crap this is the funniest blog and man can she write. Last few times I've seen her, I was all like, "Dude, I'm older now, and I'm cool like you, too, and you're dang funny and STILL gorgeous". I almost still feel shy around her. I guess we always remain teenagers to some degree. Anyhow, she had me lol'ing with some of her observations.
- My friend Anne, she's so kick ass, and has been a lifesaver for me on my return to Texas. I'm taking her to see Gary Numan tonight.
- I should repeat, I AM SEEING GARY NUMAN TONIGHT. I have wanted to see him live for YEARS, and all that time in Norway I never managed to make it to London for one of his gigs, and then, bang, here he is in Houston, in conjunction with SXSW. Yeah, I'm psyched.
- (Girl Moment) WHAT WILL I WEAR????
- My car. I still love my car. I am going to do some racing soon, at Texas World Speedway. Well, first some classes, THEN some racing. Best if you stay away from College Station in April.
- I'm going to London next week. Yippee! Booked myself into a posh hotel (they had a pay 2 nights get 3 deal) and then a week of work meetings and then a weekend with my favorite youngest cousin (as opposed to my favorite older cousins) Vard in Winchester.
- Strange to say, going back to Europe/UK feels as if I am getting an escape card back to civilization. Texas has been a bit hard on me lately, what with the ridiculous political ads on TV and the never ending far right rhetoric. I need a break.
- I'm working out again, doing the weights, it's been hard getting back into it, but I have put on a few of the many pounds I lost and I'll be damned if I am going to buy MORE new clothes for yet another change in ass size, so nipping that in the bud (butt) and getting back on the weights.
- That being said, ouch. I worked hard on shoulders and legs yesterday.
- I got my hairs did. Cut off, to the shoulder, and blonded. I rather love it, though it is a big change, though as I work with mostly men, NO ONE has said anything. Hmph. Men.
- Rich is back in the US, back in Texas. Already has a job, a car and of course, the house and me. Living with someone again after 14 months of being alone is a bit strange, and we are having to adjust, but well, we neither of us are perfect (though at least I don't snore like a warthog)(love you dear) so we will figure it out.
- And repeat of above: WHAT WILL I WEAR TONIGHT????!!!!
Monday, January 20, 2014
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Sunday, January 05, 2014
I love the full circle aspect of that. One year ago I left my beautiful apartment in Oslo (I am lucky in the housing I have had in my life) with no idea of what the future would hold except that I had a job. It felt like I was launching myself out of a plane with a parachute but no idea where I'd land. It's been one hell of a year. A year that deserves, at the very least, a bullet post. Hence, here is my year, chronologically, by bullet. (Only some exact dates, if dates aren't mentioned it's still in chronological order.)
- January 4th, left my husband and everything I owned in Oslo, flying with two huge suitcases and my computer. Took a night in London because I wanted a night there and also, dang, did I really want to go to Houston? I think I was trying to delay it. I wanted one more night in London.
- January 5th, arrived in Houston. Checked into temporary corporate apartment.
- First time I have ever lived alone, I realized.
- January 7, started my new job.
- January 15th. Bought my 2013 Subaru WRX. Best thing I have ever bought.
- Late February, flew back to Oslo to close out the apartment. That was so much more painful than I expected, not only because I really loved that apartment and the life I had there but also because....
- on March 1 while I was closing up the apartment my cousin Hannah (wife of my dear cousin Edward) died in a horrible, stupid, senseless accident.
- I flew back to Houston, sad, heartbroken, all my possessions in a container that would cross the Atlantic and my cousin (who is like a second brother to me) facing his life in tatters.
- That was a very low point.
- Mid March I flew back to the UK from Houston to attend Hannah's funeral and be there with my family and my cousin Edward. I'm so glad I went, I was the only family member from the German side of the family to attend.
- In April flew back to London again for a work sales meeting. Got to see Rich for a couple days in London.
- In April I also moved into a lovely house I rented from my sister in law's brother.
- In April Rich joined me in the US for our nephew's wedding in Ft Worth. First road trip in the new car.
- In May I went to Alaska for work.
- I also went to Trinidad.
- I should mention, the whole time, work was really stressful as I was learning a new job in a new area and I was (and am) still finding it surprisingly difficult.
- Also, the whole "expat moving home" thing is WAY harder than I expected. I still don't really understand the States anymore, and I am really annoyed at some of the policies here. There is no work/life balance and no job security. It adds so much needless stress.
- In June Edward came to spend a week with me. That was fun, we did a small Texas roadtrip and he got up to many hijinks in his quest to begin the healing after Hannah's death.
- In July I went to Missouri to see my parents, where I am truly grateful I got some quality time with my dad.
- I got two speeding tickets on one day on the way there, the cops were ruthless and out for cash. I was going less than 60 miles an hour both times.
- In August I went to Trinidad for work.
- In July and August I started house hunting as the Houston market is really hot and interest rates were going up.
- I had no idea when Rich would join me and would only have the rent house until January, so I just decided to buy something and he would have to live with it. Buying a house, solo, but with a spouse out of the country, is not fun. You second guess yourself CONSTANTLY.
- In early August I bought the house, which it being a new house came with stipulation that I put a LOT of money down that was nonrefundable in any event (like, even if something went wrong with financing). That was really stressful but I had to proceed like everything would be fine, because I just knew it was the right house at the right time.
- In September work went nuts and I was busier than a one armed paperhanger in a windstorm.
- I went to Paris for work, and managed to fit in a trip to London, where I saw Rich for a very nice weekend.
- I was due to close on the house on September 28th.
- On September 26th Rich flew in from Norway to be there for the closing and to help with the move, which was planned for the 1st of October. I got news I had to attend a work meeting on the first, so moved the move to the 3rd. I was stressed.
- On the 26th, while I was at the airport waiting to pick up Rich, I got a call from my mom that my dad had a massive stroke.
- We closed on the house on the 28th.
- My brother called that morning to say the stroke was worse than thought initially.
- I flew to Missouri on the 2nd.
- Dad's stroke was life changing, he lost all movement on his left side, with all its attendant problems.
- I was there for 10 days. Work just had to wait.
- Rich took care of the move. I felt guilty for having bought the house. If I hadn't bought it, I could have used the cash for the down payment to help my mom pay the bills and could have quit my ever more intensive job to help her with Dad's care.
- Mom pointed out that I needed somewhere to live, so don't worry about buying the house. "You need to live your life".
- I came back, Rich had handled the basic move, but I had a house full of boxes and shit to organize. We have a lot of stuff. It was very tiring.
- October and November were very busy with work and getting the house in shape.
- I also had to close out the rent house and get it cleaned up.
- I have moved 4 times in 2013. (Oslo, temp apartment, temp house, and new house.)
- I had shelves built in on either side of the fireplace and on the landing between the bedrooms.
- I went to Missouri for Thanksgiving. Dad was moved from the hospital to a therapeutic nursing home. He still was on a feeding tube, still frozen on his left, still with catheter. Not good.
- But there were signs of improvement.
- I am worried about how mom will pay the bills and I can't stop thinking that if we were in Norway this would not be a problem. Yes, I am a fan of socialized medicine. Dad's care will render Mom destitute...and we can't see a way out.
- I will likely have to help my parents financially for the foreseeable future.
- In November my cousin started his new job working in the Alps as a tourist advisor for a ski facility, a way for him to rethink his life, get some joy, and decide what he wants to do in future. I am so proud of him and his strength.
- Just before Thanksgiving I had a check up from the doctor and they found a lump in my breast and I had the worst 36 hours of my life waiting for the results of the sonogram they performed in addition to the mammogram.
- Everything was fine. I just have "dense breasts" and what the doctor thought was the lump was nothing.
- I learned the value of xanax those days..
- December was crazy with work.
- Rich came to Houston and we went to Missouri for a short Christmas visit with Mom and Dad.
- Rich also built me IKEA shelves for the top floor room which will eventually be the 'family room'.
- It looks awesome.
- Got news that Rich will be moving from Norway to Houston in February.
- It looks like he will be in good shape when he gets here, it was an amicable separation with his company.
- We bought him a car, a Subaru Forester, and it is a sweet ride, even if it is not as exciting as my WRX. But I like being a two Subie family.
- I had almost two weeks off at Christmas/New Years, (some work but mostly they left me alone) much needed, and I have got so much done on the house and feel like it is now my home.
- (Some stuff happened also in 2013 that I won't put down here.)
- And then yesterday, as I unpacked the last box of the shipment, I realized, holy shit it's been exactly a year since I got to Houston.
- 2014 is looking much more promising than 2013.
- 2013 was a bitch of a year, and that is no lie.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
I am trying to hold it together but it's kind of hard right now.
I have moved into the house, and it is beautiful, absolutely stunning.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
I am just so FUCKING busy.
And when I get really busy, the last thing I want to do is think about what I did all day, I just want to get past it, move on and get on with the next bit of whatever i have to take care of.
The new job is absolutely overwhelming. I can't really say that I like the American way of working, everyone is so in fear of losing their jobs, there is no real creativity of work or the ability to have any real input into anything, just buckle down and do it so you keep your job. I didn't realize how fearful the American worker is, if you find injustice in something, you can't speak up. What the hell? Our new office is also very stratified, which I don't like, there's even a meeting room for executives only, the rest of us plebes aren't allowed to go in without an executive to hold our hand. I call bullshit. That is SUCH crap, I can't even begin to express my disdain for it. After all those years in the relatively equal and team oriented Norway, this kind of thing is very hard to take. Norway changed me more than I know, I guess, I see the whole American corporate world through very socialistic eyes, and I don't know that I will ever really be comfortable in it. I think people should be respected for who they are, not how much they make.
I do find the work interesting, though, and I am learning an awful lot. It's a bit like boot camp, and I am very stressed out, but I do find the small achievements rewarding. In the past 4 months I've been to Alaska, Trinidad twice, Paris and England, so I guess travel is part of the gig. I think I will eventually be pretty good at the job, though there is a huge learning curve, and I am being expected to work at a level like people who have been doing this for 20 years, but I am holding my own as well as I can and that is the best I can do right now. I really have to find a way to handle the stress, though.
Oh, and I bought a house, I close in just over a week, Rich is flying in to the closing, and, um, will see it for the first time. Yeah, he hasn't seen the house yet, because he is not living in Houston yet. Seems better financially, this late in the year, for him to work out the year in Norway. It kind of sucks, because I have been SO stressed out at work PLUS buying a house and doing all that shit solo, but the house is amazing and I can't wait to get into it and I think he will really like it. I will post a picture of it, with the proviso that it looks much bigger from the outside than it really is, it looks almost castle-like. It's four stories, a townhouse kind of thing, so it looks MASSIVE from the outside. But the 4th floor terrace has views all the way to downtown Houston and it is light and bright and so full of windows. It was the first house I saw, and I looked at about 20 more, but I always came back to this one, so in the end I just said, yep, this is it. So, here's some pics of the new house. The mortgage on this place will be less than half the rent we paid in Oslo!
I can't wait to watch a storm roll in from my lofty 4th floor perch.....
God knows when I will post again, and I am sorry about that. but I guess maybe you can see why I haven't been posting much....things have been just insane.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Sunday, June 30, 2013
She hired it for her son's 9th birthday party. They had like, a million kids there on Friday, they stayed (the kids) until almost 11 at night. Anne slept late the next day, then she invited HER friends over for night 2 of the water slide extravaganza. And, lucky me, I am her friend! (One of her oldest, I've known her since we were 11.)
So over I came, armed with bikini and Daisy Dukes. Of course, it being Anne's house there was no lack of booze and tequila and generous helpings of food (they're Greek, they feed people, rather like we Krauts do.) We noshed and guzzled and giggled. And tried to stay cool....
Because...did I mention it reached 105F in Houston yesterday? It did. It so totally did. It was so hot I literally could not move. I tried to go shopping and gave up, it was too hot to walk through the air. I did not have the energy to make air move so that i could get through it.
It was HOT. When it's that hot, getting drunk and sliding screaming down a water slide at midnight with a bunch of other drunk 40-somethings seems a really sensible idea. And as you get drunker, adding soap to the water on the slide makes A LOT of sense, because it makes the ride slipperier and faster. It also makes your eyes go bright red and your hair look like it belongs to a hedgehog being pulled backwards through a log as it dries, but hey, the soap did add viscosity to our sliding efforts. Though next time, if that much lubing of a 2 story water slide is needed, I might suggest this instead.
Things I learned last night:
- Don't go down backwards on your stomach if you have lower back problems. That last little dip and upthrust as you launch into the water hurts.
- Be careful of your wobbly ankles (I twisted one, though not badly.)
- If you are heavier or lighter, you will slide much faster. If you are in the middle (like me) you just sort of land on your ass somewhere in the middle. Anne's husband, Nick, man, he was FLYING off that slide, a couple times he overshot the pool and landed in the grass (which was hilariously funny as drunk him was trying to figure out what the hell happened.)
- I know we are a totally different generation from our parents, now, I mean, can you imagine your parents, at the age you are now, sliding down a water slide after a night of drinking tequila? The mere idea gives me fits of giggles, thinking of my parents doing that. (My dad might've but not my mom, it would get her hair wet, and that is verboten.)
- What was cool was that Anne's teenage son and daughter joined in with us at one point. I would've NEVER deigned to join my parents doing something like that. (I mean, all those OLD people acting so WIERD.) Teenage me was an asshole. Anne's kids are cool.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Sunday, June 16, 2013
So here's a picture from yesterday, I met a friend at the West Alabama Icehouse. It was a bit of a dive bar weekend, 3 icehouses, taco truck tacos, un-airconditioned and sweaty. Really pretty awesome, all told. I do like a good dive bar.
I just haven't felt like talking about it all. Sorry.
Since Alaska, I also went to Trinidad for work, which was exciting and also very stressful. And my cousin Edward came to visit last week and we did a Tour de Tejas, well, a little one, taking in Austin, the Hill Country, San Antonio, and Houston. It was his first ever visit to the US, and I think he enjoyed it. I gave him the full Texas treatment, including this:
I know I keep saying I'll be better, and I am saying it again....I'll be better about posting. One problem I have been having is that for some reason Flickr isn't connecting with my blog anymore and I can't get pictures posted from my phone, like I used to. That is pissing me off. And making me post less regularly because I can't just shoot them over from my phone....
Monday, April 29, 2013
Monday, April 01, 2013
Camel Riders (from 2007, I just came across it).
Original caption as follows:
What I was thinking while taking this picture, "Ow my ass. Ow my ass. Ow my ass. Wow this is cool. Ow. "
Why is the guy to the right eating his shirt?