Saturday, September 24, 2005
we are staying at a hotel that has been remodeled, but is being left to rot rapidly again. Oh well at least we are at the good end of the decay. Pretty curtains in the room.
Got word from my brother in Houston. The hurricane is over. He's taking a nap.
We went to Portobello road market today, and i didn't buy anything.
Am considering checking myself into the hospital. Must have horrible disease or illness of some sort. Only explanation for not purchasing everything.
Why am I writing a la Bridget Jones? Not v. sure. Oh well. Off to nosh.
Friday, September 23, 2005
A narrow road in Paris. Someone famous lived here, though I can't for the life of me remember who. Some French woman. (haha)
Did I mention that on the day I took this picture, we also did a walking tour of Montmartre where we got hit by a freak hailstorm? It hailed so hard, it was on the ground an inch thick. Everyone ran screaming for cover, our tour disintegrated into mayhem. Some of those hailstones were like bullets. No umbrella remained unscathed. It lasted about 10 minutes with booming thunder and lightning so loud I thought my ears would break. I saw the Sacre Coeur get hit with a lightning bolt. SCARY! After the storm, the hail melted in about 20 minutes, and that was that. Tour resumed, tourists cawled out from under awnings, and the street musicians came back to roost.
I'm not really sure what happened. This is from a cheap disposable camera. The developer said it was their fault, not the camera's. Yet three times through the developing process could not fix the problems.
Whatever. The pictures are wierd, but kind of fun, in a stoner kind of way. Which kind of describes AMsterdam, too.
THIS NYT article ROCKS!
(You might need to have a registration with the NYT website, but it's worth it, and it's free.)
The article, entitled "Supersize Strollers Ignite Sidewalk Drama" tells it exactly like it is here in Norway. These moms go around with these gigantic Baby SUV's, blocking aisles in already squinchy stores, hogging doorways, making it impossible to get around, and leaving those of us without kids feeling somehow guilty for being annoyed that we can't have free movement. (And believe me, I've helped many a mom lug her Rolling Baby Bed off a train, held a door, etc. for her, and many of them don't even say thanks, just take it as their due. Really, I try to be nice!)
Yeah, if I had a kid maybe I'd feel different, but God bless the author of this article for articulating how I feel so often. These rolling cribs just don't have to be that big! Moms, leave the strollers outside! That's totally acceptable here in Norway, and I wish you would do it, so that I can shop without having to squeeze past Baby Herkimer in his Hummer 4!
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Austinites: GET GAS. NOW.
It's 5am in Texas, otherwise I'd be calling Kit right about NOW. Damn this time difference.
I'm a bit worried about my house, but in general, not too much. Shit happens, that is what insurance is for. As long as everyone is safe, that's all that matters. (Though I do kind of hope the magnolia tree, which is so big and gorgeous, doesn't sustain too much damage. It is the biggest one I've ever seen, and it's in our yard in Austin. I'm quite proud of it.)
Anyhow, I do have some clever friends. Here is what my friend Lee has to say about Bush's hurricane readiness this time around:
Bush has assured the nation that he is ready for Hurricane Rita. Although I suspect the press misunderstood him. I think his actual quote was "Hurricanes and 'ritas? I'm ready!"
Lee, why aren't you writing for the Daily Show? Seriously.....
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Well, apparently someone does not agree with my opinion. Which, honestly, cracks my ass up. (Of course, it was cracked long ago. I took it in for service, but the crack remains. Faulty design. Nothing to be done about it, apparently.)
The guy who left the comment? He has a true and brilliant economy with words.
Bless you, whoever you are, for the best laugh I have had in ages.
This is a bookstore window in Budapest. I liked the lines and the colors.
A couple having their wedding pictures taken on the grounds of Budapest Castle.
Me on a tram in Budapest.
Some friends at a going away party, in Norway. I lost alot of friends to moves this summer.
Some Italian ladies gathered around the church at the Piazza San Marcos, Venice. This to me was a quintessential Italian sight.
Venice. On the Grand Canal.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Kjersti tagged me...
5 years ago:
In rereading some old emails, apparently on this date 5 years ago I was eating lunch at a fancy restaurant in Austin and somehow, after eating, slipped on the floor of the restaurant, fell and sprained my ankle. Or, in my own words back then:
5 songs I must dance to:
--"Fascination Street" The Cure
--"Closer" NIN (And raunchy dancing, too)
--"Dirty Vegas" Dirty Vegas (Yes the whole album).
5 Snacks I enjoy:
-- Smack (These chocolate covered Bugle things, salty and sweet yum)
-- tortilla chips and salsa/guac/queso
-- popcorn with milk (Not in one bowl, but drink the milk while eating the popcorn)
-- fried shrimp
5 Things I'd do with $100 million dollars:
-- Buy a flat in London
-- Buy a loft in Austin
-- Buy my brother a house
-- Put money away so that I get at least a couple hundred thousand a year off the investments
-- Travel, give money to TARAL, fly my friends somewhere interesting once a year.
5 places I would run away to:
--The Maldives (never been there, but they look nice)
--if I had to stay within Norway... Bergen or Stavanger
--if I had unlimited money.... A really nice flat in London
--if I were taking Rich..Make him take me on a tour of Egypt and then go back to Morocco
--if I had to walk...to the train station, thence to the airport and off to Texas.
5 things I would never wear:
-- white belt
-- empire waisted dresses (look like shit on me)
-- that dress on that girl pictured below
-- an "elect George Bush" t-shirt
-- ponchos just don't work on me
5 favorite tv shows:
-- This one I just found called "So You Think You Can Dance?"
-- Six Feet Under
-- Two and Half Men
5 greatest joys: in random order
-- Putting my cold feet on my warm husband
-- my morning mochachocolattayaya, which I am cutting back on because I have become a fat fucker
-- a long walk, when I am in the mood for it, on a gorgeous day
-- finding a really good bargain at Last Call
-- travelling and discovering a new place to fall in love with
5 favorite toys :
-- my laptop
-- my new digital camera
-- my car, which I am selling, sigh
-- is a bed a toy? I love my bed.
-- my whole collection of jewerly making stuff. Like the biggest most expensive toybox in the world.
I'm not tagging anyone. You may steal at will.....
Monday, September 19, 2005
No I've never heard of her, either.
Is she trying to show her aesthetician's handi-work vis a vis her waxing skills? Cuz honey, they ain't that great. And her dress is like she tied some dinner napkins onto herself, maybe after she spilled red wine all down the front of her original dress. I dunno...just, why?
This is usually the Fug girls' territory, but God, this picture just icks me out to the nth degree.
Just so you know.
Julia and I went to the show, and Eddie's manager created two seats for us. The show was completely, painfully sold out. PACKED. It was very nice of him to squeeze us in, and the staff there bent over backwards for us, once they saw we were VIP's. This was made more interesting by the fact that even the big Norwegian celebrities were being forced to pay for their tickets, and were quite annoyed by it. But us, thanks to the power of Julia in tight jeans and boots, we got in for free.
We even got some red carpet action! Of course, the red carpet was about 10 feet long, if that, but there was a (one) papparazzi there, and he was just as annoying as you would expect, pushing everyone aside to get shots of blonde people and some older guys with grey hair (politicians?) walking in. We had no idea who they were. But, neener neener, you guys had to pay for your tickets and WE DIDN'T!
Anyhow, we talked with Eddie's manager for a while, and dude, if it was not like falling directly into the movie "Spinal Tap" and talking to Artie Fufkin, (except with David St. Hubbin's accent) I don't know what. Seriously, that guy went to 11. Full stop. He was talkin' 90 to nothin', giving Julia a full accounting of his fiscal activities and side ventures, obviously feathering the nest so that the Texas hottie would fall right into his arms. I felt like Julia's doting auntie, there to protect her from the depredations of British husksters and the like. My favorite part was how he talked about being so unimpressed with celebrities, but dropping names right and left like he had to name every famous person he's ever met, because let's face it, the more famous names you drop, the hornier we women get!
Poor guy, it didn't work.
We saw the show, which was good but I felt not as good as when I went in March. It felt a bit like he was calling it in. Still hilarious, in bits, but nothing original from the last time. But you can tell, from what he talks about, that he is an incredibly well read person, and I would have liked to have talked to him about some of the stuff he riffed on. Especially when he talks about religion.
After the show, we went to thank his manager for getting us in, and he invited us to come play Texas Hold-Em (poker) back at Eddie's suite, after dinner. (They had a dinner with their promoter's company.) We would meet back with them in a few hours.
What would you have done? Would you have waited around, killed time drinking $10 beers until you could play poker, or would you have gone home and called it a night? Last train's at 1 am. It's 9:30 now.
Remember, you are 37 years old.
Yeah. Me too. I went home. So just remember: I could have met Eddie Izzard, if I wanted to. But I do have the autograph Julia got for me. So that's cool.
Oh and PS. I DID look fabulous, if I do say so myself.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
One of my friends, Julia, works for A Big Record Label here in Norway. She was taking one of her artists to a radio show and met Eddie Izzard. She told him I'm a big fan. He gave her an autograph, signed to me. "To Karla, Love, Eddie Izzard". She has it but will give it to me soon.
But wait, it gets better.
My friend is also quite lovely, one of those women that men always want to do favors for. Tall, thin Texan.
So, Izzard's manager gives her his phone number and asks her if she and her friend (ME!ME!) might want to come to Eddie's show tomorrow night.
I just got back home from having a couple of beers, and got her message telling me this. Of course I called her back and said "Aw HELL yeah". Considering I went to Eddie's last show in Oslo and had an awesome time....why would I not want to go again? This time, with the possibility of going back stage?
My heart is totally thumping. I might get to meet Eddie Izzard.
Holy fucking crapping crapping crapness! What do I wear??!!??
Hey Mr. Hummer Driving Idiot,
What the HELL are you thinking driving something like that in Norway? Gas is $8 a gallon and you are taking up MY space and MY roads with your gigantic pile of asinine, idiotic, nouveau riche SHIT.
Dude, when you turn a corner, and you take up both sides of the road, and you make everyone coming towards you BACK UP because your vehicle is too big and unwieldy to make it around a curve....do you think you are cool? When you ENDANGER OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES because your car is too big to fit on the narrow roads and we all have to SQUEEZE OVER almost into the guardrail so you can get by, does that make you feel better than the rest of us? When you almost ram right into the car in front of me because you are too busy talking on the cell phone to pay attention to what you are doing, are you really so important that you have the right to behave that way? When you take up TWO FUCKING PARKING SPACES AT IKEA, are you even thinking about what an asshole you are?
Mr. Hummer Driver, you must have a one inch dick to be driving a car that big. Seriously. Where do you buy pants that fit? Do you have a wife or a lover? Do you have to find alternate methods of love making because you just ain't got the weenie for it?
Also, now that I think of it, if you are that rich and important, why are you shopping at IKEA? Did you spend all your money on gas and penis enlarging medicine?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Though, honestly, I don't think you would be able to put up with the shit we have to deal with. Men don't understand what it's like to have your body basically go to war with you every so often. You have no control over it, it just causes you pain and annoyance and you have to somehow co-exist in this rebellious shell. Body and brain are at odds. I want to go for a walk, it's a beautiful day, but my body says "Yeah, go ahead and try bitch, and I'll have your ass doubled over with cramps faster than you can say, "Ouch"".
Am I cranky today? Yes I bloody well am. I could bite your head off with one snap of my finely sharpened teeth. Rip your eyeballs out with one glare from my green piercing evil eyes. Growl at you in a voice so deep and menacing you'd think there was a wolf in the house.
Yeah, I'm cranky today.
Honey, please bring home flowers and maybe some strong whiskey. Place them gingerly on the floor and then stand back. If I rip them to shreds, you should then repair to the nearest room with a lockable door. If I come up to you and just want a hug and a cry, then you are safe. You have been warned.
I'll be better tomorrow, I promise.
POSTSCRIPT, NINE HOURS LATER:
So the hubby calls me and says, "You want I should bring flowers?" Which sort of DEFEATS THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF BRINGING HOME FLOWERS! Don't freaking ask me, Yutz Boy, just do it. Hello, surprise??
So I bit his head off. It did not taste good, kind of fatty. I spit it out.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
I am going to take it to a broker on Friday to get a price value on it, and then I guess leave it with them to sell it. Sigh. End of an era. Bye Bye Baby 'Ru!
While the car was getting cleaned I did some shopping, ate lunch, and went for a walk where I felt the last remnants of a couple of hurricanes from the US come through Norway (it rained yesterday and last night but today just wind) and saw a nekkid guy.
Basically a normal day in Norway.
And I don't know about y'all, but I am STILL giggling about Napoleon Dynamite vs. my hubs. Just cracks my ass up.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I noticed something rather humorous about this movie. Here's Napoleon:
Here's Rich, aged about 20:
Here's Rich, aged about 18:
I fucking married Napoleon Dynamite!
Until the mid to late 80's Rich had an afro, with literally the EXACT SAME HAIR as the guy in the movie. Rich had the SAME MOUTH, though after he had braces it changed a bit.
And get this, this is the part that cracks my ass up. Guess what Rich used to do as his hobby and "mad skill"? He drew mythical creatures, constantly. SERIOUSLY! We have sketchbooks full of his doodles!
I called Rich into the room when I was watching to movie, and asked him who Napoleon Dynamite looked like. He totally said "Oh holy shit, that's me when I was a teenager". When I told him that this character drew "mythical beasts" he totally did not believe me until I skipped back to the part where he drew the "liger" and showed him.
Can you fucking believe it? I hereby, due to incontrovertible evidence, introduce you to Napoleon Dynamite's lost twin Brother, Richard Dynamite:
Please note: Rich has been very kind about me poking a little fun at him like this. In reality, he is nothing like the character, except for the drawing and the odd resemblance when he was younger..... ok and the falling off the bike ramp. And he does like tater tots. Other than that, no resemblance any more. He's all growed up now. And my handsome husband.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Interesting. Are they worried you will get drunk and make a wrong choice? Push the wrong button, get a dangling chad? Or that people will get in fights?
Or that maybe someone might vote for George Bush?
See, that's what happened, America. We allowed folks to drink and vote, and look what we got. Another four years of him.
Oh, and just for shits and grins, I found this comparison between living in Canada and living in Oslo. I gotta say, it's pretty right on target!
Sunday, September 11, 2005
This tells me that summer is over and the social season has once again begun.
See, everyone here disappears over the summer and then once they get back, there is a rush of invitations from people desperate to re-connect with friends. I think it might also be a bit of a bid to escape from the kids, if everyone is honest. They need adult conversation.
Last night we went to Will and Mary's for dinner. They have a gorgeous house with amazing views of the fjord.(It's supposed to be an old house, but the Norwegian way is to renovate and remodel until you can't tell the age of the house anymore. This house is really nice, wood everywhere which gives it a cabin-like feel.) Mary cooked all sorts of yummy delicacies, from samosas to spring rolls and these really decadent bacon wrapped roasted potatoes that were a meal in themselves. We drank wine, ate and drank, drank some more, and then played Pictionary. As someone who cannot draw whatsoever, Pictionary kind of makes me want to crawl under a sofa and hide in terror, but everyone was pretty well soused. I figured that I would not draw any worse than anyone else, and even if I did fuck up, no one would remember it the next day. I only wish I had not drawn "babysitter" as my thing to draw, because my attempts at drawing a person sitting on a baby drew some rather lewd guesses.
Ah well, we had a great time and I think we all made a royal mess of their house. (Sorry Mary!) Will had some pretty kick ass music cranked up, and it's good to know that I am not the only one who likes music on the "fierce" side. I figure, if growing up means listening to boring easy listening music, then I want to be a kid forever. Give me NIN! Give me Marilyn Manson! Just don't give me Engelbert Humperdinck!
But I know I am not a kid anymore because oh holy shit, the hangovers are just getting stronger and longer lasting. Which means today was a very lazy day. Naps and coffee. I gave up at 7pm and had a glass of wine, for some hair of the dog. It was the last resort, the final attempt to make the headache go away. And it has mostly worked.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Here's my new shoes (bought at 50% off!), they are Mephistos. I don't really like sneakers as a rule, but I needed some and these look really cool, don't they?:
It was a beautiful, cool sunny day and the sun sparkled through the trees:
My route took me past the church and the graveyard:
I carried on past the church down the country road lined with ancient trees:
Whenever you see trees lining a road like that it means it's an old settlement. I don't know why, but it always works. Along the way are old farms, barns and Viking burial mounds. This area has been farmed for 1000 years:
Sorry, I couldn't get a decent shot of the Viking mounds. With all the trees and foliage, they just look like piles of brush. I will wait until it gets cold and the leaves fall away.
That took me to another road that is completely canopied with trees. It's pretty narrow and cars have to pull over to let one another pass. This particular road also leads to one of the Norwegian royal family's country houses:
The sun was brilliant, but it wasn't too hot. There were some cool cloud formations:
And some really lovely views:
And the sunsets are really gorgeous this time of year too. Our new flat faces west, which is a nice change, so we get to see them all. The sky just bursts into flame over the hills:
I'm pretty pleased with the new camera. It's an Olympus Camedia C-770 Ultra-Zoom. It's got 10X zoom, 4megapixels, and more settings than I can learn about. It also has a cool "sports" setting so I can take 4 pictures within a second or something. I'm very happy with it. It also takes great night shots.
Tonight Rich and I are going to the litte "pub" around the corner (it's not very nice, but they have a very good "dagens rett" for about 99 nok, which is awful damn cheap for dinner here). The evenings are cooling off, so I need a sweater. It's down in the 40's at night and today the high was about 62 or so. Still warm enough to just wear a t-shirt once you get going.
When I was a kid, we'd go visit my grandparents in Long Beach, Miss., about every 4-6 months or so. It was always a big deal, an 8 hour drive, that Dad did in one run, with a bunch of No-Doz and some packed lunches Mom brought. Kit and I would fight in the back seat (no seat belts, hey, it was the 70's!) and Dad's way of stopping the fights was to reach his VERY long arm back and just swat whatever legs he came into contact with. Typical family road trip. (Except we were always in a Citroen and we had at least two German Shepherds in the back as well, if we were in the DS Station Wagon, and the dogs would hang over our shoulders and drool on us.)
Anyhow, one of the highlights of any trip to Mississippi for me, was the drive from Bay St. Louis, through Pass Christian (pronounced Pass Christ-Tee-ANN) and along the beach road, ending up at Omi and Opi's house, which was one block off the beach. We would pass the gorgeous old ante-bellum homes, the white white beaches, the still noticeable remains of Hurricane Camille. I knew, however that tbest was yet to come.
After unloading the car, getting settled, etc., I would start bugging my parents to take me to "The Tree". There was this immense oak tree up the road from Omi and Opi's house, huge in an almost Gargantuan manner. It started growing around the time Christopher Columbus was doing his thing. It had decks built around and in it, and I loved that tree like anything. I always liked to think about the history that had unfolded while the tree stolidly grew and grew and grew.
I've been thinking about that tree after Hurricane Katrina, wondering if it was ok. A bit of 'net research and I found this article. It's about the tree. My tree. The Friendship Oak.
Am I a total dork that after reading so much about the Hurricane, its aftermath and the victims, that it's this article, about a tree, that made me cry? I hadn't cried yet, but this article, man, it started the waterworks. Funny how we react to things.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
COVER YOUR BELLIES!
Seriously, yo, that tight jeans and cropped shirt thing is so over, it's like ancient history. Nobody wants to see your thong anymore! Norwegian girls? Y'all are hot, ok? No doubt about it. But even the skinniest of you looks REALLY BAD when your low rise jeans are so tight they are painted on, and then you have a skin tight t shirt over it that doesn't meet the top of your jeans. Yeah, even you, Size Zero, you just look like you have a gut. So stop it already.
There are some really cute options this season for changing out of your current hoochie look and going a bit more classy. Why don't you try it? I'll even help you. Really, I'm good at it. Let Aunt Karla help you cover your bum and belly, won't you? Nobody wants to do a Britney, ok?
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Snowball effect? Must be.
Thanks y'all, for sticking with me! I'm honored. (Note to Badger: Yo, beeyatch, I am SO catching up to your ass.)
Dave has tagged me. Which is a good thing, as I have fuck-all to blog about today. So thanks, Dave, for giving me my homework. I love a well timed meme.
Seven things I plan to do before I die...
- Go to Angkor Watt in Cambodia.
- See the Taj Mahal.
- Get one more tattoo.
- Give the baby making thing one more really good try
- Live in the UK as a resident for at least a year.
- Sky dive (tandem, I ain't stupid)
- Stop worrying what others think and just be me, even if she is goofy. Embrace the goof!
Seven things I can do...
- Fart in your general direction
- Make any house look good with just a bit of rearranging and some paint.
- Dress you so that you are fabulous!
- Be a good friend.
- Tell my family how much I love and admire them.
- Make a mean Cosmo or chocolate martini.
- Give a really good hug.
Seven things I can not do...
- Curl my tongue in a circle
- Stand the sound of George Bush's voice on the telly
- Handle stupidity (ignorance is a different thing, and can be changed)
- Be patient
- Stand hypocrites. Say what you mean and mean what you say, dammit!
- Handle passive-aggressive behavior. No games, please!
- Tell my grandmothers what extraordinary women they were, and how much I miss them.
Seven things that I find really attractive about the opposite sex...
- Strong shoulders
- A good sense of humor
- Willingness to explore life
- Hairy chest (no back hair, though)
- Safely dangerous
Seven things I say the most...
- Fuck!!!! Shit!!!
- "Richard! Your dinner's getting COLD!"
- "Oh this old thing? I've had it for years!"
- "OUCH!" (I'm always hurting myself.)
- "Det koster HVOR mange?" (That cost how much?)
- "Everything will be ok. Just wait. It will be ok."
- "Yes I am from Texas. No, I have never voted for George Bush."
Seven Books I love...
- The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
- Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
- Princess Bride, William Goldman
- The Harry Potter series
- David Niven's autobiographies, "The Moon's a Balloon" and "Bring On the Empty Horses"
- Bill Bryson everything
- Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, Douglas Adams
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Some fun translations of stuff I have come across recently:
- Plantskole...(plant school) a plant nursery.
- The Norwegian translation of the movie title for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me comes out to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Spermed Me.
- There's a compilation CD of 80's hair bands on sale that is called "Poodle Rock" (Pudelrock), apparently referring to the haircuts of said bands. Rich cracks up every time he sees that ad.
- When you want to buy something to read at a newstand, you go to the section called "lesestoff" or "reading stuff".
- The Norwegian Parliament is called Storting, which translates as "Big Thing".
- There are some serious DILF's here, yo. (With apologies to hubby, I think we all know what a MILF is? Well, a DILF is a Dad I'd Like To...you know.) I see these guys all lookin' like Brad Pitt or Viggo Mortensen walking around pushing strollers and being all care-taking-y and shit. It is REALLY nice and goes a long way towards making me a happy gal. I mean, few things can melt a woman's heart quicker than a good looking man with a baby. (Unless the good looking man has his shirt off while holding the baby in his manly arms, while somehow simultaneously offering the woman chocolate and something small and golden in a pretty wrapped box. He may need a third arm to accomplish this, but, depending on the pecs, I'm willing to accept a few flaws.) Today I saw a guy, with his kid in a stroller (though in Norway these equate more to small yachts) and I swear, it was the cutest, most adorable, yet strangely horny-making thing I've ever seen. (Once again, Hubby, sorry. If you had a kid, I'd look at you the same, 'k? Preferably my kid, of course.)
- Today's weather was pretty damned good. 75 degrees, a breeze, sun. I went on a walk and ended up at the Asker Church again. I saw a gravestone for a guy who was born in 1900 and died in 2005. He was just under 105 years old. Damn these Norwegians can live a long time! Most of the graves were for folks in their late 80's-90's. Is it the water?
- And. of course, the water here. I know I have mentioned how good Norwegian water is, but it bears repeating. It's the best water in the world. It's like a never ending stream of Ozarka running straight out of my tap. I even get to bathe in it!
Monday, September 05, 2005
That's me in the Piazza in Venice. The birds really wigged me out. I have that look on my face because I was afraid they would all swarm on me at any moment.
Dork that I am, I have to admit to a small flood of tears when I walked through the passage that led to the square to see it for the first time. I went from narrow darkness...... into this huge bright space that was imbedded in my memory from so many movies and pictures. It was all so familiar yet foreign and exciting. Too much to take in all at once.
Then......... I smelled the overwhelming smell of bird shit. I must admit, the tears got heavier, but this time from vapors, not emotions.
Insurgents in Iraq. Plane crashes in Indonesia. Paris apartment fires. Hilary Duff rejecting Lindsay Lohan's peace offering.
It's just too much. I am going to retreat into books for a while, and just not be a part of the present world. Future blog posts probably won't talk about what's happening on the Gulf Coast. I'm not being insensitive, I just can't write about it anymore without getting confused (both morally and politcally) and saddened. And angry. Oh so angry.
Just do what you can to help, give money wherever you think it might help, (the Fug girls have a very good list of where you can send money) and think of all this when next it's your turn to vote.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Friday night our apartment building had a gathering for residents. It was hosted by two very nice ladies who live in the building. It was to be outside, but it rained all day Friday, so it was moved inside, to one of the empty office spaces that still have yet to be rented in our complex.
We have a really nice time! Upon arrival, we were plied with wine and ham, and then later in the evening we were plied with more wine, ham, potato salad and aquavit. I like aquavit. Alot. Then we were offered carrot cake (yumm!) and coffee, and more aquavit. Everyone spoke Norwegian, of which I got about 1/8th of the conversation (they talk FAST) but everyone was also very kind and spoke English to us as well. Norwegians can be very standoffish in a group or crowd situation, but once they identify you as one of them, or part of their group, they will bend over backwards to make you comfortable. And they will get you drunk, and they will party with abandon. I just wish I had not waited three years to find this out. But, yes, in three years of living in Norway, this is our first all Norwegian party. That is kind of a sad realization. I wish I had reached out more, and maybe been a bit more fearless in my reaching out to new people. But it is hard to push through the barrier of foreigness, and most people (even me) retreat back to what they know best.
The biggest topic of conversation was the horrific happenings on the Gulf Coast and why on earth did it take four days for any sort of relief effort to get underway? In Norway the government would have been there with relief within hours, though, honestly, here, a mandatory evacuation is just that, MANDATORY, and they would have had everybody bussed out hours before the storm, bar none. (I still don't get how they called the New Orleans evacuation mandatory, yet so many people remained behind. Why couldn't they have gotten busses in to get them out? Why did they allow them to stay?)
I tried, I tried REALLY hard to just not lambast Bush et. al. in a fiery speech of disgust and hatred, and settled for just saying that I didn't want to get all political, but that people in the US were not at all happy with the circumstances and there will be some very hard questions being asked very soon. I was proud of myself for tempering my response, when my soapbox was just looking at me, from there in the corner, waiting for me to stand on it and speechify all night as to exactly why George Bush is number one on my list to enter the Pantheon of Suck. (This will be enlarged upon in a future post.)
Yesterday was a gorgeous day, and after a bit of a slow start due to hangovers from aquavit and ham, we went to a barbecue hosted by the spouse's association of Rich's company. 70 people showed up, the largest turnout we have ever had. We had chicken and burgers and shish kebabs and salads of every description, and about 12 different desserts. One woman, who is from Alabama, bless her, made my absolute favorite dessert in the whole world, Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake. (Except in this recipe, they add coffee to the icing, which is a no-no. No coffee, please! Buttermilk!) That cake is a traditional Southern recipe and I was so damn glad to have it, I could have just cried. I saw it on the dessert table and just started jumping up and down with glee, it's instantly recognizable sitting there in its 11 x 13 glass baking dish. (Everyone makes it the same way. It's just how it IS.) It brings back so many memories of my childhood, and she made it just like I remember it from home. GOD it was good. And, contrary to what I thought, buttermilk is available here, it's called kefir. Who knew? So now I can make my own sheet cake and make it true to home. (It's the cinnamon and the buttermilk that give it the flavor and texture I love so much).
Um, ahem, dessert aside, the party was alot of fun too. All expats, from everywhere you can think of: England, Mexico, the US, France, Thailand, Japan, India, the Middle East. All speaking English, yeay!
Today is Sunday, no parties today, we are being lazy. And watching CNN for the continuing coverage of the Gulf Coast.
Friday, September 02, 2005
One guy at the scene in New Orleans said about the slow rescue efforts: "You can do everything for other countries, but you can't do nothing for your own people."
I am shocked, saddened and disgusted.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
This is a map of places I've been in Europe, the US, Canada, Mexico and Africa. In the next year I will be able to add Thailand, Dubai, Burma (now called Myanmar) and probably quite a few more. (Tibet? Hope so.) I think I'll be focussing on the East and Middle East for a while.
create your own visited country map
And here's where I've been in the US. (I forgot to add Kansas. I've been there, just briefly on a raod trip, because it just seemed like, if I was that close to Kansas, maybe I should just pop over the border so I can say I've been there? Not much difference topographically from Missouri and Oklahoma, where I was travelling from.) Seems I've been mostly south and east. I guess I should try north and west, huh?
create your own personalized map of the USA
Now I'm not saying that New Orleans wouldn't be in trouble if a hurricane hit it dead on. Obviously, being lower than sea level, they are in big trouble whenever a storm hits. But, this article points out that if Bush had not sent the money that was supposed to fix the levees to Iraq, maybe New Orleans would not be in such big trouble as it is now. From what I understand, the big problem now is the levees that are burst. Seems like things would be ok if that hadn't happened.
And of course, think of all the soldiers over in Iraq who could be helping with the efforts in Mississippi to ferret out the dead, rescue the living and help get things sorted out. One quarter of the national guard of Louisiana is in Iraq. They would normally be on home turf, helping the rescue missions.
Do we really need to keep saying, "Stop sending our money to Iraq! Keep our soldiers home! Focus on our home country!" Isn't this evidence enough that something is just not right?
But I'm not letting the rest of the world off the hook: Hey, World? This is our tsunami. America needs help. You guys coming to help, or what? I find it slightly ironic that America was blasted for not coming to the aid of tsunami victims, yet I am not really finding any evidence of other countries coming to our aid right now. The Queen of England has sent her usual, useless, message of condolence. Gee thanks, Queenie. How's about some soldiers or money? Blair? Buddy? You comin' or what?