Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I have figured out one thing, however. It seems like American Airlines directly correlates an inverse ratio of plane size to attendant size. Once again on the flight from Springfield, the tiny plane was served by a HUGE guy, and yes, once again my arm got rubbed raw (I am trying to think of it as assular exfoliation) by the poly-cotton pants of the large male flight attendant to-ing and fro-ing on the aisle. Not only that but he paid an unGODly amount of attention to a little girl sitting on the seat diagonally behind me, and so his ass tended to rest on my shoulder while he talked to her. Poor kid, how scary was that to be confronted with a giant goofy slow talker in poly-cotton blend pants for the whole flight and have no escape? Her parents tried to be as polite as possible, but it was a little icky how much attention he gave that kid. Granted, she was pretty cute.
Got home, took a nap, and then could not sleep that night. Finally dropped off around 6 am, Rich woke me up at 8 so I could go to work, I said "10 more minutes" and then I next woke up around 1:30. Which made it a bit late to make it to work.
Same non-sleepiness happened last night, but this morning Rich made sure I got up and got my ass to work...only to be made late anyhow by total train chaos as they were all late 'due to signal problems'. GRRRUMBLE grr arg.
Spent the whole day catching up on emails.
Last night before I went to bed, I sprayed a shitload of Easy Off Oven Cleaner in the oven. See, the oven has been FILTHY for months and I am too scared to use the 'self clean' mode. There are like, 1000 things you have to do as precautions to ensure "safe usage" and most of them involve things that I am not sure what they are talking about, and all of them involve severe warnings if you don't do them just right. Plus, the self clean mode goes to something like 1000 degrees and I am not at ALL comfortable having something that hot be baking away inside a plaster wall that backs on to my living room. And you have to do it for TWO HOURS and it says that you should make sure the whole house is adequately ventilated. But it's not really warm enough to adequately ventilate and did I mention I am a big lily livered chicken anyhow? (Big confession here: I've never actually ever cleaned an oven before. They never really got dirty enough for me to need to. Because I never really cooked all that often. Until now.)
So when I was in the US I got me a big ol' can of Easy Off and brought it back to Norway. Fume Free, says the can. Toxic, say all the warning labels. Exactly what I was looking for. You can't get oven cleaner here, at least none that would be even close to strong enough to get rid of the goo I've got going on in there. And let me just say I wanted a big ol' toxic, kill your babies before they are even born, take the skin off your hands American cleaning product. That also smelled pretty and citrusy!
And holy shit did it work. I sprayed it around, left it on over night, and today, after work, voila! Sponged that baked on shit right outta there. It never had a chance. Lemony fresh clean oven. Courtesy of good ol' Murican chemistry.
I believe that I have just crossed the last threshold into true womanhood. I cleaned my oven. Yep, I am woman hear me roar.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Checking in sucked ass. American charged me $50 per bag for being over the weight limit. (Continental, by the way, charges $25.) It used to be you could bring two bags up to 70lbs each if you were going to/from Europe. Now they've dropped it to 50lbs, with charges for up to 70. I mean, it's not too horrible, but I just get so tired of them changing the rules all the time.
So I had a small snit fit at the check in counter because I was mad, and I was mad that I was mad, and yes my luggage was heavy but I live in NORWAY dammit and they DON'T HAVE VELVEETA THERE so this luggage policy is very anti-expatriate, and my parents were there, watching and being supportive and I didn't want to say bye and I didn't want to have a snit in front of them because I'm a BIG GIRL dammit and big girls don't have snits at airports, and Aunt Flo is coming any minute so I am on the razor's edge of moody and irritable and can snap you like a twig if you look at me funny, and check in people at airports generally annoy me, though I can't put my finger on WHY, and did I mention I am just pissed off that I am so pissed off? And to top it off, I really don't feel like doing any of the following:
2) Being awake for the next 24 hours.
3) Being wedged into a cramped seat.
4) Eating bad food.
5) Going through all that damned security.
6) Wearing the same underwear for 24 hours.
7) Using a plane bathroom
8) Carrying stuff
9) Sitting next to crazy people (see Sept 16th's post)
10) Worrying if my damned luggage will make it or not.
But at least this airport has wireless access.
And I had IHOP for breakfast, which is always good.
See you back in Norway.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Baby chicks. A mix of guineas and regular chicken babies. Ever been around Guinea fowl? They are noisy as hell and kind of annoying, but they are great eaters of bugs.
The puppy (now a fairly hyper and slightly annoying young dog)looking up at the grown ups. There are four dogs, all German Shepherds, and they scare away coyotes and visitors with their big barks. On the right is the wall of Dad's greenhouse, he has all sorts of fruit and veggies growing in there, including figs, bananas and kumquats.
Slightly blurry photo of the fireplace in the main room. Mom and dad have a new entertainment system that is so complex they have to refer to written instructions every time they want to watch a dvd, change from satellite to regular tv, or use the surround sound.
Dad builds Japanese gardens as a hobby. He really gets into it, moving rocks that weigh tons to make fountains, create flower beds and pathways. This photo is from a few years ago, when he was in construction phase. The Buddha was my grandparents'. They had amazing Japanese gardens as well, on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. My grandfather created new strains of camellia, he (and my grandmother) were AMAZING gardeners. All gone now, after Katrina. Where their house was (they are both dead) was in the epicenter (Gulfport) of the worst damage.
View back to the house from the orchard. I think that's a pear tree on the left. The house has been added on to and modified since this photo. It's very old, though it's been renovated over time. We have pictures from the turn of the century and it is probably older by 50 years than that. There as even a very small Civil War battle in the creek down the hill. A Union guy and a Confederate guy met up, argued and killed each other. The Battle of Hungry Hollow!
Mom and I went for a walk in the woods on Wednesday and now I have a bad case of chiggers all around my ankles. That is the WORST itch.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Drove the hour and a half to Springfield today and hit the mall. Got some much needed basic t's and sweaters, some cute winter boots (well, cute for rainproof, snow proof, flannel lined, lug rubber soled lace up brown Ecco boots), some Lucky jeans, an AWESOME jacket and skirt and, most necessary of all, a haircut.
Getting my hair cut in Norway costs me minimum $100., and as the average head there has straight blonde hair on it, it is kind of hard to find someone who is good with curly hair. So I tend to save my haircuts for when I am either in the UK, Italy or the US. (OK, I've only been to Italy twice, but it is the home of the curly titian haired woman and DAMN they can cut curly hair there). It always ends up being cheaper if I do it outside Norway. I don't want anything trendy (the salons in Norway are great at trendy angular cuts for people with straight hair), just some layers to make my curls bounce around in a lion's mane. It's my look and I am sticking with it.
Today I walked into a Regis haircutter in the mall, no appointment, and got a GREAT haircut from a tiny Vietnamese lady for $35. It air dried and looks like a million bucks. LOVE HER! I feel so much better. I haven't had a haircut since March, in London, and I really needed one.
I also had some AWESOME Mexican food. OHMYFUGGINGGOD it was great. All sloppy cheese and guac and salsa and spicy fillings dripping out of tortillas. Heaven. 8 hours later I am still urping up salsa.
Got home and Mom poured me a glass of wine so big I couldn't finish it. A nice Tomassi Ripasso. Hic!
It was pretty much a perfect day.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
2) One of my favorite series of ads in Norway is for a yeast infection cream. The ads are hilarious, always entailing a woman, overtaken by the horrible urge to scratch that nefarious itch, surreptitiously scratching herself THERE and getting caught midscratch. By a guy. Or, as in one, her boss. They totally crack me up.
Here? The ads about cooch cream are all subtle innuendo about the "discomfort" and embarrassment of it all, and feature a woman looking vaguely uncomfortable and humiliated walking hang-doggedly about in a black sweat suit. Like she is too disgusting to be out in public. Then she gets cured and she walks around all bouncy in a pink dress. If you didn't know what the product was for ahead of time, you wouldn't know what the ad was about. No mention of ANY female body parts, the actual word "yeast" or anything that actually pertains to the reality of the situation.
So how come a yeast infection, an unfortunate, but common, fact of womanhood, is earthily laughed at in Norway but in the US is treated as a nasty humiliation where they can't even use the WORDS for what it really is? Yet it's completely ok to show couples dancing around and laughing as an Elvis soundalike sings about Viagra and uses terms like "erectile dysfunction" and warns that if you have "an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours contact your doctor"? I mean, Ew?
Ew Ew Ew. EW! That ad is on now! Ack!
Completely off topic, half an hour later: I've got a late night tv show on (Leno, I prefer Letterman but the remote's broken and I am too damned lazy to get up to change the channel) and there is a dude singing, tonight's musical guest, who sounds exactly like Carol Channing. Very strange.
Oh, yummy. Now is Conan O Brien. Me likey him.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I always get seated next to that person. Never fails.
So yesterday, I flew from Oslo to Brussels to Chicago and thence to Springfield. By the time I got to Chicago I have been awake for 22 hours straight, and had a very bad night of no sleep before I even left Norway, so of course I was running on coffee, a crappy meal at Chili's and some really bad gas.
The flight leaving Chicago to Springfield was late. (All my other flights had been bang on time and very smooth.) I (and everyone else) were sitting as far away from the strange man in the waiting area as possible. It was entertaining to see someone new come in, find a space near him (as there was PLENTY of space that we had all vacated at one time or another) then, after 15 minutes of the guy's mumblings and such, move away.
The guy: had a cleft lip that was badly fixed. Black teeth. A large plastic bottle in to which he spit tobacco constantly. (I wonder how come THAT was not confiscated at security? Talk about toxic chemicals!). Raggedy beard and hair. Truckers cap and matching t shirt. Kept mumbling and talking to complete strangers, like me. (Yes, I was one of the ones who moved as well.)
Finally it came time to board the EXTREMELY SMALL plane. Like, I could not stand up straight small. 30 people max small. I wedged myself into my seat (aisle, ALWAYS aisle) and congratulated my self on having an empty seat next to me.
Until, just was we were about to leave, Mr Freak Man from the waiting area came sloping onto the plane carrying a ragged pillow, a backpack that looked like a small animal had died in it and was still there, and his plastic bottle of spit/tobacco horror. And he sat next to me, in the window seat. Shit shit shit.
The guy sitting in front of me turned around smiled at me and said "You've won today's lottery". I looked at him mournfully and sighed, "I always do". Everyone for three rows busted out laughing.
Freak Man proceeded, for the whole hour and a half flight, to mumble almost incomprehensible things to me, nonfucking stop. I did catch something about his wife having left him after almost a year of marriage, which my thought was not "oh poor you" but more like "Wow, how on earth did you get someone to marry you?" Something about him being scared of flying, and how he likes to have the window down (I of course, being slightly claustrophobic in small spaces, was like "NO! Window UP window UP!!!! Must have light and space!" Something about his job, he was indeed a trucker (which makes me fear for my life now every time I ever see an 18 wheeler because if THAT is the kind of guy driving those behemoths, I mean, holy shit?) In between his ramblings, which I desperately tried to fend off with intense interest in my book, he spit into his jar of evil, and let me tell you, that did NOT smell good. I finally had to turn the air on high and sort of point it at him to blow the smell of bad breath tobacco and decay away from me. He then said he was cold and turned it off. Grrr....
Of course, with Freak Man on one side, I had Big Assed Nazi Flight Attendant man on the other side. This guy, who was WAY too big for the plane, was goingk to follow the rules und das ist alles JA WOHL MEIN HERR! He bumped up and down the aisle, opening windows, forcing up seats, making us keep our feet in place, physically checking seat belts, and rigidly observing the "seat belts on" signs. I swear, my left arm was rubbed raw by his ass cheeks sweeping past me every minute. I've never touched a guy's ass that much without actually having sex with him. I didn't enjoy it.
The woman sitting behind me got up to go to the toilet mid flight and he came flying back to her and asked her, loudly, if she was sick? She said, uh, no, nature called. He then dressed her down completely telling her to observe the seat belt sign at all times and to NOT DO THAT AGAIN. Of course, the whole time he was bent over and telling her what a naughty girl she was, his ass was resting on my shoulder. I mimed pinching it and the people across from me nearly busted a gut, because his ass was also resting on them.
The lady behind me was pretty annoyed that she got yelled at, and was going to lodge a complaint with the airline. I turned around and told her, "Yeah, he's kind of a jerk, but think of the story you've got to tell after this!" I swear, that is what got me through that flight, thinking about the blog post I could write. Blogging keeps me sane.
My parents met me at the airport, my luggage arrived in good time, all was well and then on the way home....we had a flat tire. At 10 pm at night, on a very dark country road. Of course. With my luck how could it be any different? Luckily, Dad is a dab hand (dab hand, God how old is that phrase? My grandmother used that phrase.) at all things "car", so it didn't take long to change the tire, once we found a place with light (some poor family's llooonngg driveway. We totally freaked them out by backing into it that late... the man of the house came out in his bathrobe, all "Can I help you?"). In order to change the tire, however, we had to unpack the ENTIRE trunk, my luggage, all Mom and Dad's Sam's purchases for the day, Mom telling us not to squash the cake and Dad cursing and cussing in his usual fashion. (Dad's modus operandi is to verbally bitchslap anything he is working on. A loudly voiced verbal stream of consciousness bitch session that freaks out anyone who doesn't know him, until they realize he is just trying to yell the thing he is working on into submission. Never works but makes him feel better. We all just tune it out now.)
Got the tire changed, got the car repacked, (left a bottle of Reisling for the folks whose driveway we used, hope they aren't recovering alcoholics) and got going again. I crashed out in the back seat using the pillow Mom had brought for me. I'd been awake for 27 hours now.
1/2 a mile from home a deer jumped out of a bush into the path of the car. Dad hit the brakes, avoided the deer and I went flying onto the floor of the back seat in a rude awakening.
The last half mile was uneventful.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Mom and I are going to go to Springfield for a Big Shopping Trip and I might steal a car to do so on my own again later in the week. I need some good ol' American Mall time.
This is wierd, to be so unconcerned about packing. I've noticed over the past few years, though, that there is no sense obsessing because I always pretty much pack the same things, so why not just bring those and stop worrying? If I didn't bring it I can buy it there.
Or I can just borrow it from Mom......
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I managed to crawl out of bed enough to get dressed and go get a coffee. All I wanted in this world was that damned coffee, I thought of it all morning. I could envision tasting the chocolate, balanced with the bitter edginess of the espresso and the dash of vanilla. If I could just.have.that.coffee all would be ok and I might get well again.
I lurched over to the coffee shop, my guy who makes the coffee was there and started it without me having to say anything. He gave me a sympathetic, if slightly revolted, look as I coughed a dry hacking cough. He handed me the coffee, me handing him the $6 worth of coins as payment, assiduously avoiding his hands so I didn't germ him.
I shuffled home, placed the coffee on the night stand and plopped back into bed. I arranged the pillows JUST SO, in the perfect position for dvd watching in a supine position.
One of the pillows flopped sideways. Removed itself from its fellow pillows and made a bolt of freedom from the bed. Somehow, it knocked the full, not even sipped, coffee off the nightstand, without touching the very large cup of water that was standing directly in front of the coffee. I am not sure how that happened, it was a leap of some sort of impossible quantum physics, but the coffee (and not the water!) spilled all over the floor. The water stood there laughing down at the spilled coffee, like "Dude, how'd you get down there? Did you see me disappear just then? That was COOL."
FUUUCCCK.. It made a mess so big I just wanted to cry. Coffee everywhere. Somehow, blessedly, not on anything that was not washable with a sponge, but that coffee that looked so small and contained in its paper cup took on an immense proportion as it spread thickly and sweetly over the floor. Chocolate and vanilla mixed with coffee and milk gets damned sticky on a wood floor, yo. (I also know my husband is reading this and cringing. He HATES messes. he is going to come home and be all searching around for any stains. Dude, chill out. I CLEANED it already.)
All I wanted was to DRINK the coffee, not MOP it. Bending over hurts, dammit, my head is a tight drum of snot and sneeze.
I managed to get it mopped up and scrubbed up, letting loose a flow of invective the whole time. The towels are in the wash now. The room smells of chocolate.
As I did not even get a sip of the damned thing, I got back up and went back to get another one. My coffee guy saw my hang dog look and I made a motion that said "I dropped it and I am very upset" and he made me another one, no charge. (Probably because he didn't want to risk touching me again as I handed him coins.) I love my coffee guy.
This time I got to drink the coffee, and did not make the mistake of putting it on the nightstand with any evil pillows ready to launch themselves at it. It was good. But I bet it wasn't as good as the FIRST one. That one was probably the BEST coffee ever made...and no one but my floor will ever know.
Wine, Thai curry and rhinovirus do NOT mix.
I was doing fine until about 9pm when I knew I was not long for this world and had to leave RIGHT NOW. I'm sure everyone was all "Huh?" but I just knew I had reached the end of my rope. I cut my losses and left. Nice party up 'til then.
Taking a sicky from work today. You know you are grown up when you call in sick because you REALLY ARE SICK.
I just need to fight this off as much as possible before my VERY EARLY flight to the US on Friday. Nothing worse than being sick on a plane. (Except, of course, sitting next to someone sick on a plane.)
Monday, September 10, 2007
Oh my god do they look young! I forgot how young they were when they started the show....Wow. They just always were my age, you know? I got older, they got older...I never really noticed the progression of time. Not until I looked back at the beginning of it all.
Of course, then I looked up when the first year of the show was...and it was 1995. I was 27 that year. That was the year we bought our house, and I thought that was THE most grownup thing I had ever done. (I still sort of do, come to think of it.)
I still think Chandler is the cutest of the guys on that show. Then and now. But it is amazing how much people (and lives) change in a mere few years.
Excuse me while I go take some more cold medicine. Maybe later I'll expostulate on another sitcom. But right now I gotta blow my nose and enjoy the buzz......
I should stay home from work because I feel like shit, but I have too much to do before I go to the US.
I shall just hang a sign on my door saying "Plague, Beware" and hope people take heed.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Anyhow, after much searching I think I might have found the jacket on the Nordstrom website. It's by Michael Kors and I have great hopes for it, especially as the fur collar (which I did not want) is detachable. It's black, has a hood and is satiny nylon, sporty but not TOO sporty...Karla Sporty. To be worn with black leggings and a cute turtleneck sweaterdress....see?
This explains why I have not been posting much, as I have been balls to the wall busy at work trying to get everything in shape. And then, when I get home from work? Last thing I wanna do is get on a computer again. So the blog is sadly neglected. Even though I do think about it, and even come up with posts in my head. They just don't get posted.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
So, I looked over the DVD players and bought the smallest (and cheapest, it turned out) they had. Best Buy's own brand, called "Insignia". It cost, like 25 bucks. Fit in my suitcase, weighs like 5 lbs or so. I had wanted a multi region player, but Best Buy does not sell those...they are mostly only online for about triple the price and size.
I noticed, as I was setting it up back in Norway, that the new cheapass DVD player had the capability to work with PAL TVs. I also noticed, in the instructions, that there was really no mention of it being a "Region 1 ONLY" dvd player, just that it was a Region 1 player. So I started to think that maybe, just MAYBE there was a hack somewhere that would enable me to make it a multi region player. ( We had done this with our Norwegian Grundig DVD player to great success, so I know it's easy to do.) This would make it infinitely more flexible as I can watch my strange stuff I borrow from friends in the bedroom while Rich does his channel flipping in the other room. Hmmm..
I did a google search. "Insignia NS DVD1". Hit enter.
And here was my hack.
An additional minute to follow the hack on the DVD player, and I am now really pleased to say I have a multi region player for the spare tv as well.
This is SO SWEET!!!!!! I fucking LOVE the internet.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
This was the dessert we had on my birthday in Krakow. We went to this restaurant in this old old building, that was the scene of a huge party in 1348 attended by 6 kings and 9 princes or something. Anyhow, very old elegant building, considered Krakow's finest Polish dining experience.
Dinner was excellent. We had pierogis (this time filled with mushroom and cabbage and no lard topping. If they were Chinese dumplings they would be called Tiny Pillows of Farting Winds, because woof, yo, that was some fun later on), then soup, wild boar and mushroom roulades and dessert served with a shot of cherry vodka. The dessert was this cream cake with raspberry coulis and blah blah blah. I liked it.
The BEST part, however, was my introduction to cherry vodka. Red and syrupy sweet with a throat choking liquor heat to it that sends fire down to your innards and a giggle to your mind. The sweet goes away and you are left with....aaahhh.....! Like candy, no, like Kool Aid for alcoholic grown ups. This is the reason why I used to beg my mom for cherry flavoured Nyquil or Robitussin when I was a kid....I am a total whore for anything sweet, red and 'cherry' flavoured.
I LIKE cherry vodka. Alot.