Thursday, June 30, 2005

self tagging

I'm not afraid to admit that I steal things from other people's blogs. Hey we all do it. So I saw this meme going around and as no one tagged me, dammit, I'm tagging myself. Yes, I admit it, I am a self tagger. So here goes:

List five things you enjoy, even when no one around you wants to go out and play. What lowers your stress/blood pressure/anxiety level? Make a list, post it to your journal, and then tag five friends and ask them to post it to theirs:


1)Reading a really good book.
2)Watching a dvd, especially favorites I've seen before and Buffy reruns (my favorite is season six, I really like it when Buffy and Spike get it on...hot!).
3)Wandering around a new town/place I've never been before and just soaking in the atmosphere.
4)A long walk on a beautiful day.
5)A nice bubbly bath with good smellies and the time to luxuriate.

Cooking a big meal is also very high on my list of things I enjoy....but I need people around to eat it all after I am done.

Instead of tagging someone, I'm just gonna say, "Here, steal it! Go ahead! Tag your own damn self!"

Just in case....

Well, this is a just in case, worst scenario kind of thing.

As you know we have had a helluva time getting things like cable, internet, etc., figured out for the new place. We have managed to transfer the dsl account to the new place, but it looks like there is at least a three week wait for that to happen. What I don't know is when they turn it off here, at our old place. Will they do it as of the first of July, (tomorrow, ACK!) and we will be in limbo, or will it still be running here and then three or so weeks from now they just switch it to the new place? (Which makes me wonder...why three freaking weeks???)

This is my lengthy way of saying, if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because we got switched off, ok? I'll just keep posting my usual goofiness until either we move (on the 6th and 7th), or it gets turned off. I'll try to find a place that has wireless connections, if we do get switched off prematurely. I think I can live without TV, but no internet? Hell no!

Scary how true this is.....

I found the link to this on Badger's site. She's right, it's dead accurate.

Your Leo Drinking Style

You love to drink and dance -- you're likely a fabulous dancer.
You're usually pretty a good drinker as well, losing your commanding dignity and turning kittenish.
Of course, you're quite aware you're darling -- Leos will be Leos, after all.
You generally know your limit, probably because you loathe losing self-control.

When you get over-refreshed, flirting will ensue -- and perhaps not with the person what brought you.
But you are not the type to break rules even when drunk, so others try to ignore your naughty behavior.
You'll just make up for it with a sheepish (and hung over) apology the next day.
Your Signature Cocktails
Leos like flashy drinks, be they complicated tropical concoctions festooned with umbrellas, like a Bahama mama or the more common strawberry daiquiri or mai tai. Indeed, you often have a taste for the fruity -- try a screwdriver, or add an extra cherry to the next Manhattan. Your sense of drama lends itself to a kir royale, of course.
Your Celebrity Drinking Buddies
Edward Norton, Bill Clinton, Madonna, Debra Messing, Martha Stewart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christian Slater, and Fred Durst.



Fred Durst? Ew. No fucking way.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Creative stuff



I used to be a fairly good decorative painter. I worked with some interior designers and did some large scale stenciling and painting projects for some high end houses in the Austin area. I enjoyed it, and luckily I don't have a fear of ladders, so working on those 10 foot ceilings held no angst for me. My favorite part was designing the stencils themselves, there was something almost mathematical about it, as it has to be quite precise and it's hard to make the edges match up in a pattern.

I decided to get my art on and do a little painting in the new joint. There are all these big white walls everywhere, I just want to paint one, is that so wrong?

I dug out a cool leaf stencil that I used on another project, and am going to do that on the dining area wall. It's just one wall that faces out onto the rest of the room. Similar to the picture, it will be a pearlescent, damask effect, so you really only notice it as light and shadow and a bit of gleam, no color or anything. It will just be random falling leaves and I will free hand some swooping branches and twigs to tie the leaves together.



It's been thrilling to get my old painting stuff out again. I didn't realize how much I missed it. I have done nothing in three or four years,and I'd forgotten how good it feels to have that brush in my hand again, and to smell the paint. The jewelry making has been a creative outlet, but I really like painting and stenciling, as well, as it's messier and a little more physical. I can jam, crank the music, dance, paint. I'm totally psyched about this. I finally get to stencil a wall in my own house, instead of it being in someone else's!

"This Is Your Brain On Blogs"







Fofusa over at Dark Grey Sheep decided to innaugurate her new web address with a 24 hour Blogathon. She lives in Sweden, and I now have photographic proof that living in a Scandinavian country makes you go a little apeshit. (Not that you didn't know that from pictures of me already!) I managed to capture some screenshots of Fo in her natural blogging habitat. I stole the pictures off her webcam by taking screen shots. (To be fair, this was her last hour of her 24 hour blogathon, so she can be rightly excused for being insane.....)


In order of photos we have:


Fo as a lopsided Princess Leia with a boy toy on her head. Madonna could learn a thing or two from this woman!



Fo with a bowl on her head. She says its "convenient for storage when you are finished with your breakfast cereal". (Works for haircuts, too, if you turn it over, but then you spill the milk). She also says she has a "flat head".



I am not sure how a stuffed hippo and an American flag came together and landed on her head, but, like I said, Sweden...crazy-making, 'nuff said?



An Evil Princess Leia with a Doily. Austin Powers will be on your doorstep soon, with his mutated sea bass, to take you out, you evil internet taker-overer, you!



And the last picture is FoFuSa, in her last few moments of her blogathon. Her zit cream was really working at this point.


I think she's on to something, though. This morning, she had my whole attention: I had her blog up, her chat room running AND her webcam going, plus I was taking screen shots and emailing them to her. I was busier than a cat trying to bury its poo on a marble floor. The way I see it, she will take over the internet by basically keeping us all so busy pandering to her bloggy whims, we will not be able to eat, drink coffee or otherwise live our lives, and bam! she wins! That is truly truly evil. I am still marginally evil-er, in that I recognized her foul deeds and exposed them for what they are, but still, she's one to watch!

Mr. Smelly Man

I went last night to see "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" at the theatre. I liked it, personally, especially as pound for pound you really get your money's worth of cushy lips and strong jaw lines.

My friend Jennifer accompanied me. As we got settled, we noticed a smell coming from near us. Since they assign the seating here, we could not move, but damn, somebody was smelling rank as hell. Jennifer sniffed the guy next to her, but could not tell if it was coming ffom him. But it was definitely stinky person smell, and it was in the theater. We just decidedto do our best to ignore it, and luckily the movie was entertaining enough to help us forget.

About half way through the movie, Jennifer went to the bathroom. As she came back, she was half laughing and half gagging and she told me that the smell was coming from a guy FIVE ROWS DOWN FROM US!

Five freaking rows down! That guy smelled so bad we were gagging five rows away! How on earth did his family and the folks around him handle it? Wouldn't one of them tell him to take a shower? He smelled up the whole theatre. What a pig.

Bleagh!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

AChoo...spleaacchk

I have hay fever or something and am sneezing like a..a...sneezy thing. I don't sneeze normal and cute, either. I make noises that usually sound like "AAcheee..bleacchk". Gurrk. Sniff.

I like to sneeze. It's fun.

That was not the point of this post, however.
My friend Buffie is leaving Norway, and I went to a lunch for her today. It was so nice, just a few friends, a nice (slightly strenuous) hike up a hill, then a wonderful meal whipped together by my friend Judy. I was a bit trepidatious of the walk, when Judy, leading us on the trail, pointed WAY THE HELL UP and said "That's where we're going". After bending my neck back as far as it would go, I finally saw the top of the hill of which she spoke, and thought "Oh. Shit."

But it wasn't actually all that bad. We chatted and hiked, and luckily we all seemed to be in the same shape, so there were a few pauses when chatting, breathing and hiking just would not mix, and the chatting, with us, always wins. And to chat one needs breath, so we stopped to catch it while talking.

After the walk, which once we got to the top afforded some GORGEOUS views of the fjord and Baerum, we headed back to Judy's and ate and ate and ate. It was so yummy. We somehow managed to keep it light and funny, though to be honest, in my head, I was all "Dude, I'm totally gonna miss Buffie".

So, Buffie, here's to you, and your new life in Nigeria. May you be internet scammer free, find me all sorts of cool beads and may you be safe and happy in your new African adventure.

We'll all miss you. But we'll see you soon, in the UK. Girl trip!

Frog OFF already!

Have you guys in the US heard of the crazy frog yet?

The crazy frog is a cartoon that goes along with an ad for a ring tone you can download on your phone. This friggin' frog has a tiny little penis and rides around on a pretend moped making really horridly annoying "ba ding ding ding" moped nosies. It's horrid, and ugly and one of those things that, unfortunately, gets stuck in your head until you want to put a gun to it and blow your brains out, just to Make. The. Noise. Stop.

It's also a smash hit. Apparently all the 13 year olds with cell phones and WAAY too much allowance money have usurped the world of good music and put this crap in the charts. The ring tone was made into a dance song and it was number one in the UK. The ad, when it plays there, has the tiny little penis blacked out with a black bar. We, in liberal enlightened Scandinavia, get to see the penis. Joy.

I want the frog to die. Die a lurid, bloody painful death in a violent moped accident. Or maybe, get stepped on, as apparently other people want as well. Please, please, KILL the FROG!

Update! Update! Froggy in BIG trouble in the UK! Teehee!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Words fail me.

I've always been a decent writer. I'm lazy, and I pretty much never rewrite, edit, or double check my writings, so what you see is what came right off the top of my head. So it has its limitations, mostly by me taking short cuts and just assuming you know what the hell I am talking about. I sometimes think, if I really disciplined myself, I could get pretty good and do something with it, this writing. But, like all the other stuff I am good at, I am good enough at it to get by without much more effort, and for now that is fine with me.

Then, something happens like a truly, incredibly gorgeous day like today. And I realize that I will never, ever have the chops to be able to describe the absolute serene beauty of it. The way the air smells, warm and yet crisp as it ruffles my hair, the color and texture of the light, the little lappings of the waves in the fjord, the rough rocks and the soft seaweed left on the shore. The way the blues and green and whites and roses just pop and the clarity of the air somehow makes far away things look closer, almost as though you can touch them. And I start to get frustrated at my ham fisted attempts to describe it. Like just now. Cliche cliche cliche. bah!



Then I realize that, really, I am just one lucky fucker if I am able to actually experience a day, a WHOLE DAY, that is so beautiful I can't describe it. It means it is one of those moments that I will just replay in the video of my brain, one of the "frozen moments" where I can retreat back to it and remember that time when it was so gorgeous I just lost my words.

So gorgeous I lost my words.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

12 years


I've been married 12 years, today.

I know, I KNOW, I don't look that old, and thank you for your kind observation... I also know I don't act it either. Sigh.
Well, Rich will have to pretend to be the adult. One of us should.
(That's us in Copenhagen, by the way.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Three Years

The last time I used the air conditioner in my car was June, 2002. Now that I think about it, that was almost exactly three years ago.

Then we sent the car over to Norway, and the heater became the important thing, the AC being a distantly remembered dream.

But yesterday...I needed the A/C! I used it for its intended purpose, which was to cool me off. Holy crapping crap, how wonderful that was to sit in the warm car and feel the cold air pouring out of the vents onto my sweaty face. Just like at home.

Except that "hot" here is 80 degrees and everyone is running around practically naked and sweltering. Admittedly, houses are not air conditioned, and it CAN get warm in an area where there is no breeze. I tried on some clothes at a shop in Oslo yesterday and thought I would DIE being trapped in that sweatly little closet sized room with no air and hot bodies everywhere. Peeewwwuuuu! Stinky people everywhere. No way to cool off. Except to get outside and into the breeze.

Summer is here! I can use my air conditioner! Well, a couple of times, at least!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Free and Clear

I tried calling the Norwegian tax folks, and after being hung up on twice and put on hold for 15 minutes, I decided it might be better to talk to someone in person. So I hightailed it over to the Likningskontor in Sandvika and joined the sweaty masses waiting to face the guillotine.

I sat around for about 30 minutes waiting to see someone (them having given me the ubiquitous Number, of which mine was 66. The Number is the only thing that will keep a Norwegian in line, so you find them everywhere, including the pharmacy, the Best Buy-type store, the bank, the wine store, etc. Without the Number, all Norwegian Society would come crashing down into chaos, as Norwegians do not understand how to queue, they just bunch up and push forward. As I have not learned the skill of bunching up and pushing, The Number is also the only thing that keeps me sane in a queueing situation.)

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Tax office. Well after waiting around a while my Number was called, and I trepidatiously entered a very bright and cheery office occupied by a cheery woman in jeans and a t-shirt. "Hmm, that's not scary at all", I thought. There were no bloody knives, no fingernails that had been ripped from some poor fucker's pinkies lying about, no blood spots, no corpses in the corner. Not even a badge of office or a plaque on the wall. The Inquisition was absent.

I handed her the form and said hi, that I was a confused American and had no idea what this was, as I had never done one before and anyhow, I had zero income, here it says on the form, ZERO, so why am I getting a nasty gram. All in one breathe, like that.

The lady sighed and handed me the form and said "Sign it please". Ok, that I can do. While signing, I muttered some stupid joke about firing squads and first born children, and she just looked at me like "Huh?". The Likningskontor might be nicer than the IRS, but the humor level is about the same. So basically, they called me in to tell me to sign the form that they know that I know they know that I make no money. My question is, if they know I make no money, why do they send me a form with ZERO on it and make me sign it and send it back? Why do they have to remind me of this fact? They've told me I make zero, I have no quibbles (well, except for the not making oney part) so let's not waste the paper on me, how's that?

So I still have my fingernails, no red hot ass pokers in sight, and I am a zero for another year.

After that, I popped by the Storsenter for a coffee, and some maintenance joker had come up with the brilliant idea of reversing the escalators. Think about your routines when you go to a mall, and how you base your route on the direction of the escalators and whether you are going up or down. So, when you walk to the down escalator, suddenly it's going up and your head just goes "Pfft". You don't get it for a moment. I saw some guy come off it from below, and I was all like "Why did that guy run up the down?" It took me another moment to realize they had switched directions on me.
I spent a hilarious half hour, after my own head squish, watching all the folks, like me, who didn't ever think about the escalators, just expected them to be as usual, walking up, stopping, staring, looking confused, and then going to the other side. Finally someone with a brain put up a big sign that said "CAUTION! UP!"

It didn't help. Norwegians not only don't wait in queues, they also don't read signs.

In other "free and clear" news, my friend Karla May had a huge experience yesterday, and I just want to send some major big huggies out to her and say "Thank all that is holy that you are ok".

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Uh oh.

I've done something to piss off the Norwegian tax authorities. I got a nasty gram from them in the mail today. It's all very official and scary.

Problem is, I have no idea what it is about or what I did. I make no money. So I don't file. That seems simple. My sole asset in Norway is my car, which we have always claimed in Rich's taxes. I'm thinking, since the car is in my name, they missed that we put it on Rich's taxes, and now they want to bring the hammer down on me. And yeah, like I am going to pay taxes on my car twice? I don't think so.

Of course, the letter is in Norwegian, and since reading tax stuff even in English is pretty difficult, I can honestly say my Norwegian sure as hell ain't up to the task either.

But I thought I saw the Norwegian words for "death by firing squad". I'm not totally sure. It also could have meant "red hot poker up the ass, you snivelling tax avoiding slime ball". So I am a little nervous.

I'll call tomorrow AM and play stupid. Which is not hard, since I am. In this case. Not even evil stupid, just stupid stupid.

6 of one, half a dozen of the other

You know, they don't use "dozens" here in Norway. Bugs the crap out of me. You can get 10 eggs, or 6, but not a dozen. Though I guess, if you buy 2 packs of six, that's a dozen. And my favorite bread, these yummy whole wheat soft bagel-y things, come in packs of three. That's really annoying, because you have to buy four packs to have a dozen. Why not four in a pack? And why do tortillas come in packs of 8? Hmm, I need to think about that. And hot dog buns come in packs of six, but you get 8 hot dogs in a pack? (Or is it the other way around?)

What the HELL was I going to write about, because that was SO not it....

Um.......hmm. I can't remember. Crapness.

It's a gorgeous day today. Yesterday was wierdly hazy and smelly. Yeah, smelly. I dunno why, maybe a fish factory exploded somewhere on the other side of the fjord and the smell wafted over, but it stank. I washed all the towels, thinking maybe they were overdue for a washing, but that was not it. Last night a wind and rain blowed all the smell away and so now it's clear and crisp and gorgeous..

OH! Now I know what I was going to say.

Since it is so gorgeous outside, I feel guilty about staying inside to do all the stuff I gotta do for the move. But if I go for a walk, I will feel guilty about skipping all the stuff I need to do inside.

What's a girl to do? 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Speaking of which, I bought half a dozen sets of curtains for the flat last night. Because, here's a reminder of what the living room looks like:




So yeah, I need alot of curtains. I bought just floaty white ones at IKEA yesterday. I love the idea of the curtains wafting in the breeze of our new place. I really hate curtains unless they are white, to be honest. I have a thing about light. If it is daylight, and natural light is available, I have every window open as wide as possible. No curtain can block any part of the window. I get angsty and claustrophobic if curtains are closed during the day. I HATE dark rooms. (I think in a previous life, I died in a dark, cold room. If one believes in such things, which I am not sure of.) But, I don't especially wanna show my ass to the world at night, so I get floaty white curtains to pull across the windows at night. That way, I can still wake up with the light, yet get some privacy.

Looking at that picture, I think I might need more curtains.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I'm Stressed.

I just can't seem to get organized for this move. Every time I think, "Boy I better get motivated and organize", I get sidetracked by something (like this blog, perhaps?) and don't do what I set out to do.

I bought shitloads of organizing stuff at Ikea. I thought I would work on our ever increasing photo collection and get them into the metal boxes I bought to store them in. (I may be one of the last remaining users of film. I firmly believe that 100 years from now , there will be a serious dearth of photographic history, since everyone just uses digital now, and alot will be lost. Consider me the keeper of history, a 21st century travelogue.)

AND I need to go through the desk, throw out stuff we don't need.
AND clean out kitchen cabinets.
AND set aside stuff that belongs to the landlord, so the movers don't pack it all up.
AND go through all the bathroom stuff and get that figured out.
AND still get this cable/internet thing figured out.
AND go through my art supplies, I think I have some seriously dried out paint in there.
AND sell the car.
AND get insurance for the move.
AND put the landlord's curtains back up...

And....And....And.

Xanax.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Don't take my "All Things Considered"

Well, it seems like it has finally happened. You know how every other year or so, rumors fly that the government is cutting funding for NPR and PBS? Well, getta loada this, it's true. This, straight from Moveon.org:

A House committee has voted to slash half of the federal funding for NPR and PBS, starting with "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow," and other commercial-free children's shows. If approved, this would be the most severe cut in the history of public broadcasting, threatening to pull the plug on Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch.

The cuts would eliminate more than $200 million for NPR, PBS and local stations immediately, with more cuts likely in the future. The loss could kill beloved children's shows like "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Arthur," and "Postcards from Buster." Rural stations and those serving low-income communities might not survive. Other stations would have to increase corporate sponsorships.

The House will vote on the cuts as soon as Tuesday. Can you help us reach 1 million signatures calling on Congress to save NPR and PBS?


I try to not put too much political stuff in my blog, (though I fail frequently) but if you knew how much I miss NPR everyday, you'd sign this, just so I don't come personally to your house and blast Fox News at full volume at you if you don't. (Even evil people like public radio.)

So please, go here and sign the petition. You'll be making me happy and giving me something to look forward to when I come home. Don't let the government cut funding so they can send your public radio and TV money to Iraq!

(If you aren't American, you are excused.)


Pink Whiteys

Saturday was Norway's first real day of summer. By that I mean, fully sunny, warmer than 70 degrees, can sit out side in a tank top and not need a sweater when the sun goes behind the clouds.

In other words, a perfect glorious day.

Of course, everyone went absolutely NUTS and was out in the sun all day. Me included. So imagine my glee and giggles when I went grocery shopping today and noticed that pretty much everyone was sporting a sunburn. It's a land of roasted white folks. (Though not as bad as this guy.) It's a Norwegian right of passage, that first summer sunburn. Happens every year. Not usually this late, however.
Some of us are crispier than others, and I also notice that no one is evenly red, it all sort of depends on what angle you were lounging in regards to the sun. One guy's elbows were red, another girl had one red breast, but the other was white (from what I could see, I mean, she had a shirt on, just I could see her cleavage and it was oddly Mondrian'-esque. And no I wasn't staring at her titties, so stop it right there.)

See this far north, the sun can be intense in summer, and it is also a pretty sharp angle. So my sunburn is (interestingly) on the insides of my legs, the outer portion of my left butt cheek, my left bicep and on the bit that was exposed between my belly button and my bikini bottom.

I'm like a badly grilled pig, crackly in bits and white and flabby in others. The backs of my legs are still glaring white. I have one tanned arm, one white arm. I am, well, crooked.

I was dumb enough to take a hot bath last night, and let me tell you, THAT HURT. Rich came running downstairs because I kept hollering. I finally propped my legs out of the tub, as they were the bits that hurt the most, and that seemed to work ok. Though that made it damn hard to get out of the tub again.

Anyhow, today is again kind of cloudy, but not cold, thank effing God, so hopefully we will get our 10 days of summer this year. Tomorrow is the longest day of the year, with sunrise at 3:30 am and sunset at 10:45 pm, though it never gets really dark, it's pretty twilighty all night.

I've been getting up early and staying up late. Lots of energy, too. Hopefully enough to kick cable company ass.

Details and more details

One thing Norwegian bureaucrats and "officials" LOVE is lots of paperwork. Since we are moving house, and also since we are resident aliens (though I've misplaced my ship, dammit) we get to do LOTS of paperwork in the nexxt month.

We have to: Change to the new address with the tax office, the post office, the immigrants' office and the health care system. We have to get our new work permit/resident stamps, as they are due in July. But we aren't sure about the new work permit stuff, as since our address will change, and the application is still under the old address, which do we do first, address or apply for new visa?

I have been wrestling with the cable company and so far, I have been able to cancel service at the old place (yet I still get to pay for service for another month and a half, isn't that nice? Yes, they turn off the cable July 1, but I get to pay over $100 bucks for service I won't GET through August 15. Cable companies suck WORLDWIDE.). I have not, however, been able to determine who offers service in the new place, how to get it to the flat, and then there is question if the building is even wired for it. As it is a brand new building, I would assume things like cable and internet are in the walls, there, somewhere, but all these Norwegians sure are playing dumb, or maybe it's "Shhhh, don't tell the Americans, let's fuck with them for a bit". And I have a feeling the new landlord is that absentee type who won't EVER contact us personally. I just get the feeling. So that's frustrating.

Then to get the DSL switched over, well, it would not seem to be too hard, except Nextgentel only seems to have ONE person answering their phones, and that guy was on break, because every time I call I am number 25 in line, and that does not change. I never move up in the line. However, it's VERY easy to get through to the sales office, but for transfers, moves, cancellations, etc, it's like you are in a black hole. Which explains WHY Nexgentel boasts it has so many customers...new ones can get in but the old ones CAN'T GET OUT.

We are also working on our US taxes. On of the shittiest, most absolutley idiotic things about being an American is that America is the ONLY country in the WORLD that requires its citizens, no matter where they live, to file for US taxes every year. Considering that we pay something like 51% taxes to Norway right now, I would like to see the US even try to take more money from us, but even so, doing the taxes themselves costs time money and not a little aggravation. So here's a big "fuck you" to George Bush, the IRS, whoever it was that decided that folks not making money in the US should still have to file, and, just because I can, I am pointing an extra finger at the cable and internet companies here in Norway for being so money-grabbing and not offering any customer assistance when you need it. Telenor, Canal Digital and Nextgentel? This means you.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

My powers are getting stronger.

So, I take total credit for this.

I mean, I did screw it up a little as;

a) I wasn't aiming at the puppy
b) I wasn't trying to add any extra legs
c) Malaysia? Man, WAY off the map.

But the double penises? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

Men, be afraid, be very afraid.....

(Puppies, you too. Sorry. I'm still learning.)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

IF you have testosterone you may not understand this post.

When is too many...too many?

Like, shoes for instance. What number is too many? I mean, we've all heard of Imelda Marcos, right? How many did she have?

So, I'm organizing and cleaning out stuff for our move, and having promised hubby-poo that I would clean out some shoes, I think I have gotten rid of about 12 pair. That's pretty good, all told. I still have LOTS left, however.

Out of curiosity, I decided to count how many pairs of black shoes I have left. (These are black shoes remaining after the 10 pairs I just got rid of.)

Is, um, 45 pairs of black shoes too much? (Down from 55?) This doesn't include the ones that are black and white, or black mixed with other colors. Or any other colors of shoes. Purely black. I figure that 12 pairs of shoes I'm getting rid of is right about 10% of my shoe total. That's good right? Getting rid of 10% of your stuff?

Or am I just a shoe-aholic?

Anyhow, there's 12 pairs of size 9 1/2's (size 41 for you Euro types, 7 for you Brits) up for grabs. Anyone? Anyone?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Holy Crap! I almost forgot my Blogiversary!

One year people!

ONE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!


June 17th, today, I have been a blogger for one year.

Holy Crap.

What a year it's been. Thank you all for sharing it with me! We'll see what happens in the next year. I know I have some wishes for it....what about you? What are your wishes for the coming year?

An example of bad.

An example of bad parking. This was in my friend Betsy's front yard.
This ties in well to the Friday Q and for blackbird's "Show and Tell--Bad" meme.

Friday Q: BAD

FQ TOPIC: Bad.

FQ1: Something you like to do or say that's considered to be bad.
Do? REALLY hot baths, so hot I almost pass out. My mom tells me those are really bad.
Say? Fuck. Shit. Damn. cocksuckermotherfuckertits. etc. Potty mouth, me.

FQ2: Something you like to watch or listen to that's considered to be bad.
Watch: OK, so I am totally addicted to Trya Bank's supermodel show. Whatever.
Listen to: My Goth, Industrial, Dance yadda yadda music. Right now it's a radio station on iTunes that's channeling some German Rammstein something or other directly into my cerebral cortex. LOUD. I am told it annoys. (But then hubby is lately into opera, tinkly chamber music and country western...so it's all relative, no?)

FQ3: Something you like to eat or drink that's considered to be bad.
Eat: Well, my comfort food is to fry up some Mary Kitchen Corned Beef Hash, and a can of corn, and mix it all up. Dump in bowl. Eat. It looks exactly like vomit. (When I was a kid, my brother and I saw the can labeled "Corned Beef Hash" and just assumed, young gourmets that we were, that it went with corn.) I also dip my fries in my Frosty.
Drink: I prefer milk with my popcorn.

FQ ASSOCIATION: Tell us something "bad" you associate with the following ten words: movie, song, television, place, book, taste, smell, sound, touch, and sight.

Wow, this is hard. Hmmm....

Movie: Excess Baggage or Eyes Wide Shut. Paragons of shit.
Song: There's this song by Mariah Carey, from early in her career, where she uses every octave and note ever made. It bugs me so bad, I want to scream. Why, WHY does she have to squeal and screech? Ok, ok you have a big range, do we have to hear it all at once?
TV: Documentaries on war. It seems some channels show nothing but. SICK of them.
Place: Doctor's offices and hospitals..
Book: I now refuse to read anything from the Oprah Book Club. I read something from it, once, and was so disgusted by the hopelessness of the main character, I was angry for the rest of the day after finishing it. I like a certain escapism in my movies, books, TV, and Oprah likes to recomend things that are "gritty and real". No gritty and real for this girl, please. (Except my music, which I want angry and hard.)
Taste: Fishy taste or chicken fat. Capers.
Smell: Dead things. Cat pee. Calvin Klein scents (made from synthetic fragrances) give me migraines. People with negligible hygiene.
Sound: Gum Smackers. Loud chewers. Sudden squeal of tires. Someone I love crying.
Touch: When you touch something that is supposed to be dry and it's moist, damp or soggy. The feel of shrimp when I peel them.
Sight: A creature suffering. George Bush.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Have I ever......

(Shamelessly nicked from Kjersti) (even that part about shamelessly nicking) (shameless, me.)

Have you ever?

1. Snuck out of the house........ Not in the house I grew up in!. I could never get out quietly, what with very large German Shepherds in the backyard, a noisy Corvair of my own, a noisy door and a light sleeping Dad. Hopeless.

2.Gotten lost in your city......... I've gotten lost in Oslo. Numerous times. There are no straight streets they all curve and go in circles.

3. Seen a shooting star.......... Numerously.

4. Been to any other countries besides Canada.... Yes. (though why Canada?) (To which I have been) Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, Mexico, Cayman Islands, England, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway (duh).

5. Had a serious surgery........ Does an appendectomy count?

6) Gone out in public in your pajamas....... See Appendectomy, above.

7) Kissed a stranger........... Yes. On New Year's Eve 2000 a girl named Gemini kissed me. Hey, we were drunk, we were in New ORleans, it was a crowd. She grabbed me. Rich LOVED it.

8) Hugged a stranger......... Yes. More than once. I'm affectionate.

9) Been in a fist fight........ I punched Micheal Gittess (we called him Michael Gitesticle) in 10th grade when he reached under my Corps skirt and touched my private bits. I punched him HARD.

10)Been arrested.......... ER, not exactly. Though I was notified there was an arrest warrant for me in California. In 1987. Long story.**(below)

11) Laughed and had milk/coke come out of your nose...... Yeah, both.

12)Pushed all the buttons on an elevator........ NO. It's rude.

13) Swore at your parents......... Yeah. Not proud of it though.

14)Been in love....... Yes

15)Been close to love.......Wouldn't that be lust? Then yes.

16) Been to a casino......... yes

17) Been skydiving.......... No. Though I would, if I were attached to someone else.

18)Skinny dipped........... Yeah. It feels goodi n salt water. Things float.

19)Skipped school........... Yes. I was such a geek that on nice days in Houston, I would skip school, go to Hermann Park and read Jane Austen!

20) Seen a therapist........ Yup.

21) Done the splits...........Not without a VERY good reason.

22) Played spin the bottle........... Who hasn't?

23) Gotten stitches.......... When I had my appendix out, they taped me shut! I did not take a deep breath for weeks.

24) Drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour.......... Probably close. Maybe a day. My brother and I were SERIOUS Milk drinkers. I still love the stuff.

25) Bitten someone........... Every night, for life's sustaining blood. BWAH hahahaha...ah, no.

26) Been to Niagara Falls........ Yes

27) Gotten the chicken pox....... Yes. And then shingles many years later. Sucked ass. .

28) Kissed a member of the same sex....... Um, see number 7 above.

29) Crashed into a friend's car........ Um, yes. Here in Norway. Cut too close to another woman's car when backing up...Norwegian driveways are hard to negotiate.

30) Been to Japan......... Not yet. Though I am turning Japanese. I really think so.

31) Ridden in a taxi............ Yes

32) Been dumped........... Yes. His words were "You just don't fascinate me anymore." I did not date anyone for longer than two months for three years after that, I would dump them first. Then I met Rich. Decided I'd keep him around.

33) Shoplifted............Um, yes? Evil, remember? Very long ago. My mom made me return it, it was candy or something. I nicked a lipstick once, too.

34) Been fired............. Yes. My theory is that only the truly brilliant ever get fired. (Hey, let me have my delusions, 'k?)

35) Had a crush on someone of the same sex......... Do Angelina Jolie or Tilda Swinton count?

36) Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back........... Of course. I was 5'10", clumsy as hell, wore glasses, had bushy red hair and braces. Of course I had unrequited crushes! I was taller than 85% of the boys!

37) Gone on a blind date............. Luckily, no.

38) Lied to a friend............... Not seriously.

39) Had a crush on a teacher............Yes. Dated him too.

40) Celebrated Mardi-Gras in New Orleans........... No. New Year's Eve? Yes.

41) Slept with a co-worker............ No

42) Seen someone die............ No. But I put my dog to sleep and watched the light go out of her eyes. It makes me cry to even think of it.

43)Had a close friend die........... No

44) Been to Africa............ Yes! Woohoo!

45) Driven over 400 miles in one day........... I'm from Texas. We go 400 miles to go grocery shopping. Fuck yeah. I frequently drive over 700 to my parents' house in one day.

46)Been to Mexico.......... Yes.

47) Been to India............. No

48) Been on a plane............ I'm to the point that I am sick of it, I am on a plane so much.

49) Seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show............. Dammit Janet You're a slut!

50) Thrown up in a bar.......... I am not a barfer, but yes, once. Under a table. I was sort of kind of passed out on a bench.

51) Purposely set a part of myself on fire............ Well, not on purpose. I accidentally burned off my eyebrow and eyelashes trying to fix a lighter.

52) Eaten sushi.......... As often as possible.

53) Been skiing/snowboarding............. Nope.

54) Lost a child............. Wierd one. Not sure what it means. Will plead the fifth.

55) Gone to college/university............ Yes

56) Graduated college/university............. yES.

57) Fired a gun.................Yes and I am a very good shot.

58) Purposely hurt yourself................. Once I had chiggers that itched so bad (on my feet) (I itched til I bled) that I literally poured rubbing alcohol over it, thinking at least the pain would make me forget the itching. It did. Oh yes. It did. And I also have two tattoos, does that count?

59) Taken painkillers............... Oh yeah.

60) Been intimate with someone of the same gender............... No

I was going to tag FoFuSa, Badger, and Doctawife. But I will make it "optional". Because I am nice. And have had some wine. But I'd like to see your answers!

*(NOTE: My overly protective, and quite frankly, at this moment, annoying husband, wants me to explain about this one, so that no one freaks out.
Short long story: I slept in a meadow in 1987, in a national park in California. I worked there for a summer. I wanted to just try sleeping outside, without a roof, once, so I took out my sleeping bag and crashed. Me communing with nature. Full moon, beauty, trees and mountains, all that crap.
I woke up, in the morning, to a park ranger looking down at me from wwaaayy up on top of his horse. He gave me a ticket for camping in an unauthorized area, or some such shit. (I fluffed up the grass that was smushed by my sleeping bag, even, but it did not sway him.) I ignored it, because it was about half my paltry monthly salary at the time and, frankly, a ticket for sleeping in a meadow? Come the fuck on.
Months later my parents got a notice in the mail that the State of California wanted to arrest me. They freaked, I copped to it, taken care of, case closed.
So, dear hubby, stop being such a noodge. I am evil, yes, but would I be so stupid as to post something about an arrest warrant if I was a real criminal fugitive? I think not. Jeez.)

Gondoliers and the Rialto Bridge, Venice

Rich got this shot during a ride on the vaporetto.

Its what you expect of a photo essay about Venice, gondoliers and the bridges on the Grand Canal.

Ah but there is so much more....keep scrolling down and you will see.

me across from the "House of Gold"

Across the Grand Canal is the Ca d' Oro, or house of gold. It used to be ornately painted and gilded on the outside.

Where I was standing was the outer edge of the fish market, one of the most beautiful markets I have ever seen, still in use every day.

Like my dress? I was feeling very artsy and girly that day.

blue boat and narrow alley, Venice

I think this is my favorite of all the pictures I found on Rich's camera. (All the ones I am posting today are taken by Rich, except the Cafe Florian one.)
I love the structure of it, with the blue boat the bottom and the long narrow alley balanced by windows. Really cool.
That alleyway is maybe 5 feet wide, probably more like four. Sometimes we would see rooftops touching over the alleys.

cafe florian


cafe florian, posted by karlakp.

I grabbed Rich's camera away from him to take this picture. It's the famed Cafe Florian, on the Piazza San Marco. It's been there since the early 1700's. Room after gilded room of tables, frescos, velvet and very expensive coffee. You could also sit outside, where you paid even more, to soak in the atmosphere of the plaza (and smell of pigeon shit). In the evenings they had small orchestras play for the customers. Crowds would gather to hear. Free show for passers-by!
It was very crowded, very international and very overwhelming.

after sunset grand canal

The Grand Canal just after sunset.
Romantic, ageless, ancient.

me and the miracle bridge, venice

This was a private bridge that went to someone's palazzo.
It was so amazing, so light looking,and yet it had been around for centuries. No visible means of support.

laundry day


laundry day, posted by karlakp.

small alleyway in Venice with laundry drying. It smelled nice.

reflection laundry and boats

A picture of a "typical" Venetian residential area. This was a quieter area, off the beaten track, and apparently we hit laundry day. I guess dryers are hard to get in Italy. What do you do if you laundry falls into the water?
Anyhow, I love how much is going on in this shot...laundry and boats and buildings and water. Level upon level.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I hope they did not have "axe blade" seats

OUCH.

And might I suggest you use your towel to wipe off the seat when you are finished?

Piazza San Marco


Image064.jpg, posted by karlakp.

Phome cam picture of Piazza San Marco.

If you are wigged out by birds, you will be ducking alot when you walk around there. The birds are everywhere...crazy. I was always afraid they would land on me.

The Piazza has not changed in 300 years...It was awe inspiring and I admit I got teary eyed on my first view of it. It's one of those elemental sights, where you go, "Oh, yes, I know this", because you have seen images of it so many times. It's in your brain already. To finally see it in person is overwhelming. I was definitely whelmed. Rich laughed as I wiped away the tears, then put his arm around me, like "Yeah, my wife's an emotional dork".

Incredible.

Back from Venice

We're back.

Our house is intact, the car not broken into. (We always grit out teeth when coming to the car after a trip...one too many vacation break ins.)
Huzzah!

Venice...ah, La Serenissima. Here are words to describe Venice:

Gorgeous, stunning, beautiful, infuriating, crowded, surprising, expensive, colorful, decadent, textural, frustrating, overwhelming, annoying, uplifting, rip-off, friendly, rude, modern, ancient.

All those words apply, and we felt them from minute to minute.

Venice is really something to see. It's just like in the Canaletto paintings. The water is a bluey-green shade. The buildings are all different colors, and like Rich's mom described the town, the ornate windows and shapes resemble lace. They all have stone windows and Gothic elements. Just gorgeous. You can't stop looking at the buildings. The town is ancient, basically unchanged since the 18th century. It was first settled in the 9th. Many many buildings still in everyday use are 14th and 15th century. The upkeep on these buildings is tremendous. It's basically, to be honest, a town that's dead on the water. Like an old ship that's listing, and through monumental effort (and charging tourists outrageous prices for EVERYTHING) they manage to keep it afloat. They say not to go in August, when heat coupled with moisture make it quite smelly. I can see that, as you can see many buildings decaying before your eyes. Gorgeous death.

We did not see ONE car from the minute we left the airport (by boat.) There are NO CARS on Venice. None. No bikes or mopeds either. You can't use wheeled vehicles there, because all the bridges are up and down steps. You either walk, or take a vaporetto (water taxi), but you mostly just walk. And walk. It's a small town, but very convoluted, so you can't get anywhere in a straight line ,and you most certainly cannot navigate the town without a map. We got lost many times and ended up in a completely different part of town than the one we were aiming for. Best way to get around is to get a vaporetto, and then tunnel into town from the drop-off point.

The hotel was pretty nice, well located right by Piazza San Marco. The bed was HUGE. We slept well in it. The room was small, but adequate, though decorated in what can only be called "Ventian Whore", all red drapes and wallpaper and green painted furniture. Four poster bed, lovely, but with sticky-outy bits that I was constantly running into. I am bruised all over. Ouch.

While the hotel and rooms were decent, the evening desk clerk was the most obnoxious person I may well have ever met, and really did his best to ruin the experience of Venice for me, by among other things, giving me the wrong room key one evening, then insisting he was right and I was wrong. (Like, I KNOW my room number, and this AIN'T it, buddy.) He finally looked up our room in his records, saw I was right, and then could NOT FIND our room key. I was worried, like was there someone else in our room? (And he never apologized for the mistake or his assumption I was wrong. Just tossed the key at me.)
This was the same guy who would not give us an extra blanket when we called down for one on a cold night ("There is no one else here"), gave me some serious attitude when I commented on a piece of art in the lobby, and then, at the end, actually made me cry when I was checking out. (Their credit card machine was not working properly, and he blamed me and my card....that I had just used not 10 minutes before. He was AWFUL about it, like I was trying to commit fraud. Made me feel defensive and with my back against the wall. Offered no solutions, didn't even try calling the bank, just told me to find a way to pay. ("There's a cash machine around the corner". Yeah, because I have THAT much cash just sitting around to pay you, asshole!) He was a Class A, Grade One Woman Hating Jerk. Don't stay at Hotel Torino if you don't want to be annoyed by the smarmy night clerk.

I will get pictures from Rich tonight, and I have a few rolls to develop, myself, and will post some of them in the next day or so. As well as more descriptions of things including: good food, bad service; there is no such thing as "free" in Venice; why Norwegians and Italians should not mix; the Venice Biennale and the Trendsters; and why we did not take a gondola ride.

I will also offer advice for travelers that you really should know about....there's some interesting bank scamming going on.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Leaving you somethin' purty to look at

While I'm in Venice, here's something purty to look at.
It's a shot I took from a graveyard in Edinburgh, overlooking Holyrood House.
I may have mentioned my obsession with graveyards before?
Enjoy.
Or not. Whatever floats your boat.

Last for the day, I promise

Here's more about the Venice Bienalle.

That's all.

It's a Tie!

The wierdest thing happened.

I clicked back onto the blog, to see where the stats were at, and there it was, big
Ten Thousand.

Right in mid whoop, as I'm whooping and hollering, Rich called me, saying, "Hey! I think I am number 10,000! When I went on-line, to check your blog, it said 10,000!" Wow, that's CRAZY, right, that he would be the one? (Besides being the One one, you know what I mean.)

Then Eileen posts a comment, that SHE was 10,000. Hmm. What's up?

So I checked the sitemeter stats, and I'll be damned if you guys did not go onto the blog at the EXACT SAME SECOND.

And now it seems stuck at 10,000. So you BOTH were ten thousand, though, when I go back to the Sitemeter thingy, it does say that officially Rich gets 10,000, wtih Eileen being 9999. Which is actually cooler than 10,000, in some ways as it's kind of like 6666 upside down, which is WAY evil. Eviler than evil, all things being evil.
So, Eileen, you get Extra Special Evil Minion status. official badge of evil
Because I think you broke my counter thingy. See? Evil already. Evil from afar. Ooouuh, are you in league with Kjersti to overthrow me so soon?

Rich, you get......well, maybe I won't mention what you get, it's not appropriate for a family blog such as this. But you'll always be my 10!
Ahem.

13

13 to go to 10,000.

Whoever is reading this post and is 10,000, let me know, ok? I'll have a general idea, but give me specifics.

Not only will you automatically be an evil minion, but you will be an extra SPECIAL evil minion.

I'm just sitting here, listening to this, my new addiction, and obsessively, yeay, even geekily, watching my counter.

Tick tock tick tock.

In which the evil are brought low

Rain and thunderstorms are forecast all weekend in Venice.

I will use the term "atmospheric", ok? It will be ATMOSPHERIC, DAMMIT!

Yeah, atmospheric.

(sniff)

I can finally talk about it!

To say I'm excited about going to Venice is like saying a kid is excited on Christmas Eve. It's Just. Not. Possible. For me. To Be. More. Excited.

Oh yeah, and Rich is psyched, too. Ahem.

I mean, seriously? Even the trip from the airport to the hotel is cool..the whole thing is by boat! And the boat is called the Alilaguna. Say it out loud to yourself. The Alilaguna. Don't you suddenly get all Italian and start saying it like "Ah-lee-lah-GOO-nah". 'Eh?

Getting the tickets for the trip was no problem, once I managed to find tickets that a) fit into the time slot Rich had free from work and b) were affordable. I spent two days looking at Dubrovnik, Riga, Istanbul, Greece, blah blah blah, but could never really get it to work out, so when I finally found affordable tickets to Venice (direct on Norwegian Air) I grabbed 'em.

Ah...then the hotel. No problem, I thought. Uh, yeah, Problem.
Ever hear of the Venice Biennale? It starts on the 12th. When I would call for hotels, they would literally laugh and say,
"You want a hotel this weekend? For the 12th?"
"Uh, yeah?"
(muffled sounds as hand goes over phone, explosions of mirth as in the background Guido and Giuseppe the Hotel Guys bust out laughing 'hey this American lady wants a hotel room for the Biennale!' hahahahahahahah!!!!)
(comes back to phone, mirthful giggles in background) "No, we aint'a got no hotel room. It's the Biennale!"
"Oh. Um....any suggestions who I might call?"
"No, it'sa kinda late. You might try down the street."
"Um....what street? Maybe you got a name of the hotel down the street? I'm calling from Norway."
"Oh...NORWAY, eh? Hmm. You sound American".
"Yes, I know."
(It's best to let them think what they want to think in cases like this.)
"I been to America once, but I never been to Norway."
"Oh." pause. "It's nice". pause.

Then he would rattle off some hotel names, that I could never understand as he spoke so fast. And on it went. For about 30 calls to Italy. They speak good English in Venice, that I can say.

I finally managed to find a hotel on line. It looks ok, it's very central. Three star tourist class. No I won't post the name (yet) as Mr. Nosy Guts Richard will instantly google it to see how much it cost. As I bet you all would, too. (Here is where I plug Trip Advisor. Use it for hotel recomendations. It rocks.)

The hotel is on the Piazza San Marco. This is a picture on the hotel's website.

< >venice room

Yeah, so it's a bit pink but whatever. It's in the "new" part of the hotel, which, by the descriptions, is 200 years old. The "old" part? 16th century.

So now I have to go pack. My wardrobe this trip will purely consist of romantic dresses, floaty skirts and a straw hat. La Dolce Vita, y'all. La dolce freakin' vita.

Also, I have found a way to post pictures to my flickr page (my ID on flickr is karlakp) via my camera phone. If I can get it to work in Italy, that is. So check flickr this weekend, and if all goes well, I might have a few things up.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Secret's Out

I told Rich where we are going for his birthday tonight. I wasn't planning on it. I was actually going to post it here and then let him read it at work the next day.

But.

I had a margarita and have just eaten, I have a tummy full of food, and am hat and fappy. So, when he asked, for the thousandth time, where we are going, I finally gave in. I handed him four travel guides (one each for Istanbul, Dubrovnik, the Baltic States and Venice) and told him to pick the one he thought we were going to. (We will eventually get to all of them, which is why I bought all those books.)

Finally, his last choice was the correct one.

Venice.


Yee--fucking--ha! In the top ten of my personal "must go" places. Equally high on his list as well.

So, Richard, for your big 4-oh, we go to Venice.

Happy Birthday. I love you. We'll open your presents when we get there, ok?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

If the Pope was really smart....

...judging by the effect a truly beautiful church has on people, if the Church (whether Catholic, Church of England, or whatever) was really smart, they'd have a guy at the front entrance, holding a large sheaf of "nun-papers" (or "priest papers" if you are a boy) whereby, when you are caught up in the spirituality and beauty of the church you have just entered, you sign away your soul and all your earthly possession just because you are so emotionally overwhelmed by the beauty around you.

I say this because I STILL remember, from 1987, a trip to St. Paul's in London. Julia and I walked in, and somehow we were lucky enough to be there when the choir was practicing just before a service. The main chorus guy (excuse my lack of knowledge of technical terms) invited us to sit in the choir seats during the service.

So there I was, all of 17 years old, sitting in the choir of St. Freaking Paul's Cathedral in London, listening to the most beautiful choral music I have EVER heard, and bawling my eyes out. During a service. With priests and dudes in dresses and all that stuff.

I mean this literally, if someone had handed me nun papers, it woulda been a done deal. I'd be wearing a wimple. (Well, let's be honest. Me? EVIL! And REALLY bad at chastity. And humility. And isn't there something about poverty? Eww. So I would been kicked out by now, but still, they would have gotten at least a few months of fervent nun-ness out of me. I am nothing if not enthusiastic.)

The best part of the nun-papers scheme is, that, when people realize what they have just done, the church could also have anti-nun-papers standing by, whereby, for a smallish fee, you can get back your soul and all your earthly possessions. I say a smallish fee in the most general of terms, of course.

Man, the church should totally hire me. My evil minions and I, we would totally rake in the buckage.

my favorite church


Image045.jpg, posted by karlakp.

St. James Church in Picadilly, London. By Christopher Wren.
I'm not a religious sort, but I do love this church and this is where I go to light candles and think about stuff. My own version of prayer, I guess.

Image046.jpg


Wierd, but when I was there on Sunday, for some reason I just started weeping and boohooing,and had a hard time getting myself together. Maybe sometimes it's better to not think too much.
Anyhow, this is a very powerful place for me. It has a nice sense of community, and I just like the vibe.

Wildest Imaginings

Wow.

On June 17th it will be my one year Blogiversary.** When I started this blog, it was basically a way for me to consolidate my stories about my traveling for my friends, all in one place, so that I would not have to email all the time. I also wanted a place to put pictures, and the occasional snarky comment. I basically just wanted an online diary, for my own fun, and others, should they choose to read. I had no idea how addictive it would become, and honestly, how necessary for my sanity. I think blogging has gone a long way to making me a little more satisfied with my expat experience, something with which I have been struggling with over the past few years. I feel connected, now, and maybe a bit more understood, too. There are others who feel the way I do. Thank you for your support, it has meant so much.

I think it has turned out the way I envisioned it, this personal adventure of blogging. I certainly have learned that blogging, with its quick commentary, the short "slice of life" story, is ideally suited to my writing style. I like that some folks think I am funny.....*I* think I am funny, of course, but then the voices in my head tell me many things. So it's nice to have outside confirmation that at times, yes, I can be funny.

What has blown me away, and this was something I never expected, is that it looks like I might reach the 10,000 readers mark by my one year anniversary as well.

THAT blows my mind.

Ten Thousand Hits. Here. To lil' ol' me? Wow. I know, I KNOW I am small fry as far as blogs go, but 10,000 was my big, bad "Wow what if?" number. Ten frigging thousand.

Do me a favor: If you are checking the blog, and the number 10,000 comes up when you are on here, leave a comment, ok? Tell me where you are reading from and who you are (you can send an email if you prefer to be private) and I will celebrate you and your being number 10,000 somehow....ok?

**Um, in the interest of marital happiness, I suppose I should mention that June is also a big month for two other reasons: my 12th wedding anniversary, which is the 26th, and Rich's 40th birthday, which is the 13th. I am whisking him off for a surprise for his b-day, which I cannot post about yet, as he obviously reads this blog. Damn nosy husband......

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Four Costumed Krauts


Image047.jpg, posted by karlakp.

I was walking thru Hyde Park, and right there, on the big roundabout was a large stage set with a full orchestra. Hmm, interesting. Playing Beethoven. OK, so I'm not used, in general, to seeing orchestras on roundabouts, but hey, it's London, they do strange things sometimes.
Then I turned around and saw these guys. Four guys dressed as 18th century German gentleman. They seemed happy, just sitting there all in a line, in the sun in their wigs, waistcoats and buckled shoes.
I curtsied (my skirt was long and full) and asked if I could take a picture. They said "Of course, Fraulein", and I snapped them with my camera phone.
They got up and bowed.
Just another normal London moment.

ggggrrrraaarrrgg!!!!!

Still no success on the software/drivers/getting pics off my camera and into computer issue. I have no idea what else to do. Even Rich has looked at it, and no luck. I am also EXTREMELY annoyed with the place I bought the cable/software, as I asked for the Nokia cable, and instead of giving me the REAL Nokia cable, the one that works with the Nokia software that I found online at the Nokia site, I instead have a fakey generic one that works with...nothing. And cost me over $50 to boot.

It's like asking for a Rolex, getting a Rilex, but they tell you it's the same thing. Pig fuckers. And I got it in London. So I can't return it. I tried calling them, to express my dissaatisfaction ("Why did I not get the Nokia cord and instead was given the generic one? Why did no one tell me there was more than one option? Why would they not assist me, as I obviously had many questions when I bought it and I was relying on them, the 'experts', to give me all the info? Can I send it back? Why would they sell something so substandard?") Don't, whatever you do, shop at The Link, ok? Fuckers.

My mom emailed me and said I use the word "fuck" too much.

fucking software!

All I want to do is make the pictures from my cell phone get onto my computer.

IS THAT TOO FUCKING MUCH TO ASK?

Rat Bastard Kondor software.
Rat bastard Windows.
Rat Bastard Nokia.

Two hours into it and not a fucking thing is working. God I hate this.

Now to the Kondor site to get the fucking whatever I need to make this fucking software fucking work!

I thought I was evil...now I know, I am merely an amateur. It's the software and drivers people who are the evil ones.

Back from London

Hullo. I'm back from London.

For some reason my neck is out of whack, and I can't really move my head, which is vastly annoying when trying to nod yes or no. I guess I'll just stare straight ahead and say "maybe". Anyhow, while I go take a hot bath, do some stretching and get Rich to rub my neck, here is a hilariously wierd website for you to check out:

Rent A German.

My new cell phone (the one I had to buy to replace the one that got stolen) has a camera in it. I messed around taking pictures in London, and I am really quite pleased with the shots I got. Well, pleased, at least, from what I can tell from the 1 inch square screen on my phone. If they look anything near as good big as they look small, this phone cam thing will be my new obsession. I bought a scarily expensive USB cord (comes with software by Kondor, eek) to use to download the pics from phone onto my computer. I will go fuss around with that for a few hours or so, get frustrated, have my neck sieze up, and go have a margarita in frustration and pique.

So, there's my day all planned out. And how are you?


Ah, and Tracey tagged me, but it's one that I have already done, so, please excuse me for being a lazy bastard, but here is a link to the post for the previous tagging. Nothing has really changed, except the last CD I bought (well, Rich bought it but I told him to) was the new NIN and the new Moby. And my first concert? Don't laugh. Quiet Riot. I tagged Bookhart on that previous posting, and I think that tagging will still stand, as she now has a blog and can do it. Plus her musical taste is so much cooler than mine.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

In which Karen gets a date

We went to Toto's for dinner Friday night. It was good. It's in a building which used to belong to Lady Clementine, Winston Churchill's wife. The showpiece of the restaurant was a huge fireplace surround, carved wood, dated 1559, which had been given to Churchill by the Dutch government. Itwas too big for her house, so she left it there for the restaurant, as she was their landlady when it first opened. It also has a very beautiful huge murano glass chandelier, which I took a camera-phone picture of and will post when I get home.

I had a lobster pasta, it was very light, just tomatoes and spring onions with bits of lobster. Karen had a veal something. We both had a buffalo mozzarella salad, and shared a bottle of wine. It was a good meal and the service was perfect.

So perfect, in fact, that we shut the joint down and were invited to join the manager for a glass of champagne after closing. The waiters are an international lot, being from Brazil, Morocco, Italy, etc. None that I saw were British.

The manager is from Sicily and sounds exactly like what you would expect a Godfather to sound like. A very philosophical man who loves the ballet and opera.

Karen got a date with him. She's such a stud. They are having lunch on Tuesday at Scalini's, another very posh Italian place. I figure at the rate she's going, she might well have all her food needs taken care of until she leaves London at the end of the month.

Today we are going on a London Walks tour of "Subterranean London" and thence to try to get into Spencer House.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Stream of Consciousness Bullshit

I'm still in London. Today we (me and Karen) did a walking tour of Soho, had a very acceptable burger at Hamburger Union, and then walked all the fuck over London. Damn, that Karen is a SLAVE DRIVER. My feet are killing me. From Soho, we walked to St. Paul's, thence south to the Tate Modern (awesome) and then alllll the way down to St. James, past Buckingham Palace and over to Shepherd's Market.

I'd never been to Shepherd's Market or the Tate Modern, so that was cool. We had a couple of beers at Shepherd's Market, and after that at a chocolate shop I bought the world's most expensive cookies. Two cookies cost 4.50£. Yeah, that's like $8 for two cookies. They looked better than they tasted. Good chocolate, but at $4.00 per cookie, I pretty much expect an orgasm the second I bite into it.

That did not happen. Damn.

Tonight we are going to Toto's for dinner (Italian). I'm starving. Out reservations are for 8:30, which is early for Europeans and damn late for a Texan who is already cooking dinner by 5. Ah well, when in Rome.....eat Italian.

Tomorrow the fabulous Ben and I will go shopping (Rich, don't worry, Ben will buy stuff and I will be advisor.) Then in the evening we might all hit Soho and some bars. I like bars.

Anyone who knows me might have noticed I have had a few glasses of wine already tonight. Ahem.

Karen and I have reached the epitome of laziness. When one of us says something the other doesn't like (which is every other utterance), instead of actually physically flipping each other off, we will just say "finger". If Karen embarks on yet ANOTHER boring story, I just say "yawn". If my story grosses her out, she says "barf". If the music is good, and it moves me, I just say "dance". We think it's a new, improved way of communication. The wave of the future. "Bullshit".

But, like I said, I've had some wine. God I love London.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Greetings from London. I love being evil in a different country. Today's humorous guy-begging- for-money quote: "I'm not homeless and I'm not hungry, I just want drugs, man!"

My Swedish blogging pal FoFuSa has tagged me with some questions. I think she's a nosy bugger, but whatever, I guess I'll answer. (Actually my husband called me all excited and he was like "Hey, that Snafu blog has a bunch of questions on her blog you are supposed to answer", like it was really important homework or something. Fo, I think he has a crush on you. He reads your blog RELIGIOUSLY.)

Answers, forthwith. Fofusa wants to know the following about lil' ol' me.

1. How are you able to travel so much? Trust fund? Lottery winnings? Selling your body on the street?
Yes. To all. I am a trust fund lucky bastard whore. The whoring? I just enjoy it, don't really need the money, what with the Trust Fund and the lottery winnings.

2. What do you like most about living in Norway?
The water. The color of the sky, when it's blue. The quality of the light. This dinner in a box meal kit by Toro, Indisk Chicken Curry, that rocks my world.

3. If you had to choose which would you give up? Computers including Internet or Television?
Bitch. That's a hard question! I guess TV. Computers and internet are my lifeline to home, friends and family now. Surpasses the phone. Plus I get almost ALL my news of the 'net as well.

4. What color of underwear do you have on right now?
Leopard spotted with pink lace trim. They itch, though.

5. Write a rhyme about you and me.
This girl in Sweden
Some answers was needin'
About Karla, who she met
On the internet.

The girl was FoFuSa
With hair like Medusa
A wit that was sly
And a humor that's wry.

So here's your damn poem
Though I'm a long way from home.
See how I'm dedicated?
Though maybe I should be medicated.

(Just so you know, I wrote that poem, one draft, no pauses, and right off the top of my goofy fuzzy head. Yep, that's talent.) (And the quip about Medusa? Not an insult, really, you have long curly mop head like me. We can tease each other, right?)

I don't have time to think up questions for other folks, but will do some once I get home on Monday. Wonder who my victims will be? BWAH hahahahahaha.

PS Dave, tomorrow I wear the Bad Monkey t-shirt, photos to come. Will look for Elizabeth Hurley.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

eeekkk!!!!

Vampires DO exist.

And boy do they have bad plastic surgeons.

Packing and bitching

I'm STILL pissed off about that article about the Texas legislature. Especially the part about how the two leaders were BOTH Republicans and they STILL couldn't get their shit together. Oh man, y'all. I really fear for the US. It's going back in time, to the 50's or so. Abortion will once again be illegal, and the people segregated this time will be gays. And it will be illegal for gay people to adopt all the babies that women are forced to have because abortion is illegal, but those pig fuckers who enacted the laws are also to OLD and too SELFISH to adopt these babies themselves. They certainly won't make birth control or morning after pills easier to get, because that's just immoral, isn't it, and you bad, evil women should practice abstinence like all the good Christian men do. (God save those innocent men from those sexual cheerleaders!) And there will be all these moms with kids they can't afford to take care of or give good health care to, because GUESS WHO CUT SOCIAL BENEFITS? But hey, at least gas is still pretty cheap! And the chuck wagon is the state vehicle!

OK, forcibly removing self from soap box. (Yes Dad, your daughter is a Damned Liberal. But she still loves you.)

So, I'm packing for my trip to London, and have decided, come hell or high water (though in London, this would be cold rain...and rain) that I am bringing sandals to wear. So I dig out my favorite pair of sandals. (You can see them on my feet in the link.) I love those sandals, from Aerosoles, when I used to buy Aerosoles shoes by the half dozen pair (buy 5 get 6th 1/2 off!) at Barton Creek Mall. They are brown, soft and oh so comfy. (I got them in black too, but those pretty fell apart while on my feet.)

And I realized...that trip to Egypt last August was the last time I wore them. They still have Egyptian sand and camel shit on them.

And I am packing them just as they are, sand, shit and all. How cool to walk around London with camel shit from Egypt on your feet? (Well, cool and also kind of gross, but still, in a literary Hemingway-esque way, really cool.)

Now I just have to find my favorite floaty skirt...and I wonder if I should pack the djellaba? Hmm...I sense ethnic motif in my packing this time.