Wednesday, December 31, 2008

happy new year!

We had our New Year's celebration 12 hours ago, but you guys in the US are having your snow. And you guys in Norway had yours, what, 6 hours ago? Anyhow, Happy New Year!
We were on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, we sort of crashed the party at the Peninsula hotel. We told them we'd buy ab otel of (overpriced) champagne and voila, we were in to the $400 a head party merely for the price of a bottle of hooch. We sat right along the river, outside, on a beautiful night.
And then the fireworks started. Holy shit, y'all. I have never, in my entire long life, seen fireworks like this. They were set off maybe 100 yards from us, from barges on the river, and each hotel set off their own firework show in tandem and in competition. It was like each hotel along the river was trying to show it had a bigger fireworks dick than the others. And boy did we appreciate it. 20 + minutes of sparkling booming explosions, it was like the finale of a normal show going on and on and on.
Am I a loser that I cried? I couldn't help it. It was so beautiful and it hit me that here I was, on the banks of a river in Bangkok freaking THAILAND, on New Year's Ever, having just gotten back from Bali and Mallaysia and Cambodia, and how fucking lucky am I to be here and experience this and who am I to deserve this much amazingness anyhow? So I cried. Rich was a bit confused, being surrounded by three crying women, all crying for different reasons (one because her husband died earlier this year and it's her first NYE without him (I cried a bit for her, too), one in sympathy and then me, just crying for life's rich pageantry). Rich just gamely drank and oohed and aahed.
Ok, so, one of the best NYE's ever. Definitely top three. (Bottom one being the NYE I got my appendix out.)
Gotta run, we are going to go to a see movie in a theatre where they also massage you during the movie (!!!) and you lie on chaises to watch it (we are seeing Australia) and then we are going to see a lady boy show. What a day this will be.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Bangkok, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Testing if I can send a picture. Here's Bangkok from the Japanese Restaurant on top of the Emporium mall. There are so many food choices it's silly.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Greetings from Ubud Bali. We are in the jungle at a resort near the town. I've never ever stayed in a place like this. Each tiny bungalow has it's own pool! Seriously! You go out back and there is a black stone bathtub all filled with frangipani flowers and water and then past that is a perfect little pool about 16 feet long, blue and inviting. I feel like a princess. A princess who can swim in the buff!

We spent yesterday shopping in Ubud. It's pretty much been turned over to tourists and shopping, one long shopping street ending in a market selling traditional wares at semi-bargain prices. I went a bit nuts on textiles so got an ikat and some handwoven silk batik and some beaded baskets and some cotton batik and and and...dragon sandals. (yes be jealous!)

We head back to Bangkok today which means I have to remove myself from this white netted four poster heaven of a bed and go down to the public (sigh) pool where we have requested our breakfast be served. It is a hard life I lead!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quick itouch update

At Kuala Lumpur airport awaiting fly to Yogjakarta. Hard to type on itouch but woo free wireless!

Have had wonderful time so far. Got a tan at railay beach and went night snorkeling and swam in phosphorescent waters. It was absolutely amazing, like swimming in the sky and creating stars with a mere sweep of your hand. I felt like a floaty wet goddess. I'll never forget it.

So much more to tell, like about the great food (damn can Thais fry chicken!) and our flt over and the beauty of Cambodia and how much I like Kuala Lumpur and did I mention my tan? Have to run to board plane will update as can. Hard to get time and Internet simultaneously! Done nothing but run.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

see you later

I'll post as I get access. Keep an eye on the Twitter......

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and here's hoping 2009 is everything you want it to be.


giving my self permission

Well, it's all just too overwhelming. There's too much to think and worry about. The husband is equally as worried and stressed as me so we are breaking out into little bitch sessions every so often as he lays his stress on me and I try to deflect it. This doesn't work. We both end up mad. I really just want someone to lean on and he is just not up for it. He wants to lean on me!

I think I am packed for Thailand. I know I am not prepared for the Great Apartment Destruction. But honestly, how do you go through everything you own and deem what is worthy to protect and what you leave to possible dust/theft/fire/etc? How do people facing hurricanes, etc., do it? Gah!

I've packed away what first came to mind to pack away and subsequent stuff that I found as I went along. As for getting the other apartment set up for our return, I've put some stuff over there that might do for a few days upon our return, but this is where I gave my self permission to just stop worrying. I'll just come back to our own house and get what I need when we get back. I just can't think about what I will want to wear/eat/do/etc in over three weeks from now.

That apartment is very austere, a bit of a winter version of a beach condo, so I've just layered that damn place with all our rugs and ethnicy things to brighten it up. Now it looks as if an owner of a shop in a souk in Marrakesh has temporarily moved operations to a small flat in Norway and some of his boxes exploded. Well, at least it has a bit more color and character!

Honestly it might have been easier to just have people come in and move everything out and store it. this constant thinking and detail managing is just too much.

And now, picture of the day: fishermen along the Mekong River in Laos.

Friday, December 12, 2008

how to blow your diet, but good.

I was craving a steak all week so I met my friend Emily tonight at the local steak house and told my diet to fuck off.

I ate 1 1/2 day's worth of food in one meal tonight. Rock on Karla! Out of my 23 points per day, today I used 42.5.

31.5 were used on tonight's meal of steak, pomme frittes (that'd be french fries to y'all Texans), a helluva lotta red wine and a salad with a good (though not huge) quantity of dressing.

I try not to talk about the diet too much, as I think a blog where you talk about your diet all the time about as boring as talking about your kids' diaper habits, but still, I totally blew the lid off the Weight Watcher's numbers tonight.

I feel positively punk and rebellious (and gassy and fat and full and happy) right about now.


I am eating nothing but bran cereal tomorrow. You do NOT want to be around me tomorrow. Or tonight, for that matter. Oof.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm STRESSED! I'm COLD! I'm overwhelmed! And these damned tights ITCH like a BASTARD.

So, here are pictures. Pictures of places I have been and that I will be visiting again next week. Warm places. Places without ice and snow. Where i don't need sleeves. Also a picture of drinks I will be ingesting. And some penises. Calgon take me away!

Me sitting awkwardly at Ta Prohm, one of the many temples and sites at Angkor, Cambodia. You cannot believe the scale of the place until you are in it. Yes those are tree roots.

Mmmmm....Mai Thais!
Railay beach at Krabi!
A penis shrine right off Railay Beach, it's a sacred spot for fertility. Me? Just happy to see big penises everywhere. It was damaged by the tsunami, apparently all the penises used to be more, er, upright.
Me, chillin', on a boat near Mae Hong Son. Yo, wassup, beyotch? Yeah my titties be escapin' my shirt, so what? I'm on VACATION!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

really freaking cold


It’s about 18 degrees Fahrenheit outside. For you non-Fahrenheit folks, that’s about 8 below Celsius? It’s so cold that it hurts to take a deep breath. I think I left my ass on the train platform this morning when it froze off as I waited for the late train. I heard a rather large thudding ‘kerchunk’ and there was my ass, laying there, frozen. I almost froze my tits off, but they were covered in a few more layers than my ass so I managed to retain them.


Seriously, even the Norwegians are talking about how cold it is. That means it’s COLD.


I basically skated to work today.  The snow melted just enough the other day to refreeze overnight in a lethally slick coating on every walkable surface that has me shuffling like I have a stick up my (frozen off) bum so that I don’t fall. Just when you think it’s safe, you get false confidence and then BAM you are down on your face on a very cold hard surface and hoping to god you haven’t broken anything (as many people do every year). Norwegians grow up learning how to walk in this shit, they just zip by in high heels and normal shoes while I lumber along in my tight assed sliding walk in thick chunky soled winter boots, and yet STILL fall at the slightest provocation. I’m a Texan, dammit, this is not in my DNA!


Checking the Austin American Statesman just now I see that snow might be falling in Austin, but then I saw that the high for the day is forecast at a balmy 52 (+11c) and that makes me want to put on a bikini and get a tan. (That is 35 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than here, fyi.)  Is Austin going to shut down the schools or have them start late? Are the news people going nuts and showing Doppler Weather Radar every 4 minutes with urgent updates on the state of the icy bridges, roads and overpasses and warnings not to drive on the aforementioned? Are there videos of wrecks?  Do they have someone outside in the weather wearing heavy duty winter gear and blathering on about the frigid conditions? (God I love it when they do that.)  Have you been warned, oh lucky Austinites, to bring in your pets and cover your pipes?


Are your kids making tiny snow peoples? I could build an igloo on our deck, if I wanted to.


Seems so strange to be packing bikinis and shorts and tank tops for Thailand when my underwear is more substantial than that right now!  Brrrr……



Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I really don't have anything upbeat to report

I usually try to blog when I have something goofy to report or something funny to say.

This past couple of weeks, not much silliness to report. Mostly stress (as has been reported previously) and trying to stay awake in the dark days leading up to winter solstice, on December 22. (For which we will be gone.)

We checked out the temporary apartment that we will stay in while they tear up our apartment. It's not a terrible apartment? But it's not home. It smelled funny and had approximately 3 square feet of closet space and NO BATH TUB. The lighting is not good (I'm a light snob) and the kitchen implements leave much to be desired. To live there for upwards of 4 weeks, we will need to bring a lot of stuff over to homify it. Carpets, kitchen stuff, lamps, and where the HELL am I going to put clothes? And it smelled funky....not like home, but of other people, who smoked inside.

So we are going to make many trips back and forth (over ice as it's snowed, melted a bit and frozen) to lug stuff over and get prepared. Envy me? Me neither.

Tonight I WILL pack for Thailand, to get that out of the way. I won't bring much, though. Gonna travel light. Mostly need just bikinis and t shirts, anyhow. No sweaters going into my suitcase. What a treat.

Spaking of treat...mmmmm...white wine and risotto. Risotto is low fat and so fits quite well with Weight Watchers, as does the shrimp I will make with it.

And now for random picture of the day (to be done for the rest of the week as I am obviously not doing so well with the words): Khao San Road in Bangkok at night.

Monday, December 08, 2008

one week

In one week I will be drinking a Mai Thai in Bangkok.

Kind of makes my brain go (squish) to think about it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Some pictures from my trip to Bergen

Just some random views from my trip to Bergen last weekend. There's lots more on my flickr. Just a little something for me to keep my mind off all the other crap I have to do, what better way to procrastinate than to mess with pictures?

My hotel room in Bergen. I really liked the purple and brown together, who knew that could be such a good combination?

The Lepers' Museum in Bergen.

A collection of rooftops of the Leper Museum and surrounding houses. I was on my way to the train station at about 9:30 am. Not very good light yet!

A small back street off Kong Oscar's Gate in Bergen. Bergen feels very medieval and quaint and European compared to industrial Oslo.

This is not in Bergen. It's outside Oslo, but it was a gorgeous Fall day and I was testing my new camera.

People skiing in Finse. I was on the train from Bergen to Oslo and snapped this shot. (I did crop it a bit, the house was about a half a kilometer off the tracks.)

The train stopped briefly in Finse, and this lady just hopped off the train, put on her skis and skied away. More people skied to the train and traveled on to Oslo! It was pretty cool.

Friday, December 05, 2008

If not from bad to worse, then certainly from suck to suck


Was awakened very early this morning by what sounded like jackhammers directly outside our (5th floor) flat.

Got up to investigate, only to see scaffolding, with men in work clothes on it, using small versions of jackhammers directly outside the laundry room/kitchen/spare bedroom area of the flat. Digging into the bricks of the building right outside my windows. The floors are rattling, the noise is an appalling mixture of screeching, vibratey-pounding metal on metal and bricks breaking, and it feels like they are taking the building apart while I am in it. This is not fun. I don't like it. And I hate the thought of them being INSIDE our flat while we are gone, with everything we own, using jackhammers and soldering and welding and God knows what else. And why the FUCK do they have to start so early? They start before 8! For fuck's sake it's not even light outside yet.

My chiro when he adjusted me this morning (yeay escape from the noise!) told me not to go to work because he didn't want me sitting all day. He told me to keep moving, keep busy. I told him about the flat and packing up and stuff, and he said that sounded perfect and to do that so that I vary my movements and not to go to work. So now I am stuck in jackhammer land, packing shit up and being mildly freaked that the wall is going to fall down with my closet going with it. (They are right outside my closet. Where my favorite clothes are. I don't want my clothes hurt. Or, gasp, my shoes or bags. Which are also in that closet.)

And then I got news that the house in Austin, my little heart that I left in Austin, has a gas leak in the furnace. and they are going to fix it, but once again it's another big repair on a lease that so far, since it started in July, has had us in the negatives for the whole run of the lease. It's starting to stress me out. One repair or fee after another, and a substantial property tax hike (hello? Economy in toilet and you RAISE the value of my house? Bastards....what world are you living in?). I really want to have that house to come home to but right now it's pretty much a money pit, after I spent a lot of money two years ago to get her all fixed and happy.

And two friends yesterday within half an hour of each other got bad news, and I am worried about what the "three" is gonna be.

Unless all the above stuff is the three.

God what the hell is this new noise? Did they pull a girder out like a spaghetti? Holy crap y'all I am going to die in this fifth floor flat. Die or go deaf. It's like nails on a blackboard but MUCH LOUDER.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

bad blogger

I've been a bad blogger this week. Sorry.

Just haven't felt the mojo. It's the dark days in Norway (morketider) and all I want to do is sleep. I go to bed at 9 and get up at 8. I have no energy and feel a little overwhelmed at all the shit I have to get accomplished in the next 10 days, to whit:

  • Pack away anything I own that I worry about having stolen or ruined during the Great Apartment Destruction
  • Buy Christmas presents for a widely varied (and located) family (Ever tried getting something for someone in Thailand when you know that they can get anything they want there and all they have here right now is winter stuff that is way to heavy for the hot climate there!)
  • Think about what to pack (summery stuff) for vacation (luckily it looks like it will happen, so I guess things could be worse in that regard). Then pack it.
  • Think about what to pack (winter stuff) for when we come back and we won't be in our apartment for another few weeks. Then pack it.
  • Try to eat light and healthy on this Weight Watchers thing
  • Getting all the stuff done at work I need to do before we leave
I'm just frozen right now, I can't seem to get started on any of it, and I know it's going to bite me in the ass if I don't get a handle on it.

I slept wrong the other night (I normally sleep on my stomach, which is bad) and threw my neck out big time. Somehow when I did that, I knocked my shoulders crooked, so one is substantially lower than the other. I swear I am the biggest mess. Black eye, crooked shoulders, hungry, and lately I spill coffee on myself like, once a day. I only ever wear black now so that people can't see the coffee stains! People should not come near me, for I am Disaster Girl. The messed up back is giving me perfect posture, though, because it hurts too much to slouch, so I am walking and standing ramrod straight. I need to remember to keep that up. I've been to the chiropractor once, and have three more sessions before the holidays to try to straighten it all back up. He just tsked at me when I told him I sleep on my stomach, and says that he always gets people in with the same problem. Apparently we stomach sleepers are dumbasses. I hate being a cliché.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Aw shit.

Our trip to Thailand is not looking good. Even if they get the protesters out, it will take at least a week for the airport to get back to the security level required for flights in and out.

Our airline is diverting flights to Phuket so we might be able to arrange a Plan B, but holy crap, what a nightmare! Grr.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Worst home decor ever

Worst home decor ever, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A lighted white plastic moose head. Complete with antlers. Spotted at high end design shop. WTF?

Hello, my name is Karla and I will be your Dumbass for today

I wonder about myself sometimes. Like, seriously? I am my own worst enemy. I'm ALWAYS hurting myself, doing stupid shit, getting in trouble. Now? My latest "aw shit" activity?

A black eye.

OK, pick one of these possible explanations as to how I got my black eye:
1) I was at a metal show and got kicked in the face in the mosh pit.
2) I was trying on clothes and my necklace flew up and hit me in the eye.
3) I popped myself in the eye with the earpiece of my glasses in a badly aimed attempt at putting them on.
4) I got a little overexcited during a facial and scrubbed too hard when removing my eye makeup.
5) I don't actually know how it happened.

The answer? 5. I don't frigging know HOW I got this black eye. But I'm telling everyone at work 1, because it is less dorky than the rest. (2-4 are all possibilities.)

My trip to Bergen was interesting. It was definitely helpful from a work perspective, I learned alot. So that was good.
There was not much choice in hotels as I booked pretty late, so I stayed at a place called the Clarion Hotel Havnekontoret, right along the Bryggen in Bergen. I can say, I highly recommend the hotel. Great breakfast (with a little grill for cook your own eggs and bacon...sweet!). Waffles in the afternoon as a snack. A "light dinner" in the evening, enoughto fill you up, though I was still full from the waffle so passed on dinner. (Weight Watcher's, you know. Can't have a waffle AND dinner, it was a kind of substantial waffle.) They had a little library where you could borrow DVD's for free, so I watched Gosford Park and have to admit it was just as boring the second time. There is this cool tower you can get a key to access, and you get gorgeous views of Bergen. (Well they would have been gorgeous views had it been daylight and not raining like crazy.) The staff was even really really friendly, which is unusual in Norway. Even in some of the best hotels I have found the staff to be very offhand and brusque, so it was nice to have "American" style service.

Plus I got treated to an aural (that means SOUND, people) sex show as the people in the next room were obviously getting to know each other in really interesting ways. At first I thought some dude next door was watching porn, but then, when the wall behind my bed started shaking, I knew it was live. My my my, the sounds they made. (The hotel might want to think about soundproofing the walls a bit more...) Maybe I got my black eye from them having sex? Maybe they rattled the wall so hard it injured me. Maybe it was more fun on the other side of the wall, now that I think about it.

The train trip back from Bergen was great, very beautiful it snowed the whole way. At one station, Finse, people skied right up to the train, and skied right off it. They skied along right next to the train on the platform. That was cool to see.
I sat with a very nice Norwegian lady who told me about growing up in Norway in the 50's, and across the way were a very VERY posh older English couple who sounded like the Queen and Prince Charles. They talked the whole way about very erudite and esoteric topics. I think he was a Lord of some sort. His gardener was mentioned offhandedly as were many discussions of travels of yore. They'd break into perfect French and Spanish occasionally, she also spoke perfect Norwegian and I could swear they threw in some Latin for good measure.
He was rather fascinated by the books I had brought with me , which I didn't realize until too late were titled "Vice" and "Wicked Pleasures". I can only imagine how I looked to him, this Texan with wild red hair, biker boots and jeans, a black eye, a tattoo on her lower back and two books with such titles. At the end of the trip, I put my book away in my back pack, and he said something along the lines of "Ah, the American has put her Vice away", to which I replied (finally a bon mot at the right time!), "Ah yes but a lady always keeps her vices well hidden."

I would have paid money to accompany them for a while to learn their stories.

Have lost 3 lbs on WW so far. Seems like alot of work (and a black eye!) for a small payoff, but I am sticking with it goshdarnit, and see whare I end up.

In my last little bit of news, I am starting to get REALLY worried about our trip to Thailand. I fear we are screwed. If they don't get this solved in two weeks, we might not have a holiday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bergen Bryggen

Bergen Brygge, originally uploaded by karlakp.

The famous Bergen Bryggen, a collection of 17th and 18th century wooden houses from the time Bergen was part of the Hanseatic League. Does it look cold today? Because it totally is!

Mickey D's

Mickey D's, originally uploaded by karlakp.

The McDonald's in Bergen. Also, the smallest loo in the universe is to be found at The Dubliner in Bergen.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fascinating NYT article about the myth of the Naughty Scandinavian

All you boys who want to come over here to Scandinavia to meet gorgeous randy blondes who go topless at beaches and spout anthems of Swedish Free Love and wholesome naughty fun, should read this New York Times article.
It perfectly encapsulates the Norwegian view of nudity/sexuality/views of women.
And it’s not what you expect.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love and jealousy

My favorite thing about my family's Thanksgiving is turkey and gravy sandwiches the next day.

Mom makes them on honey wheatberry bread, using a nice slathering of warm gravy instead of mayo and white turkey meat. She cuts the sandwiches in half cross wise, then piles the sandwiches (things of beauty) up on this ancient wooden plate that I remember from my earliest days. Oh sloppy warm turkey laden goodness. I ADORE them. I can eat three sandwiches (6 halves) without even thinking about it. LOVE them. Below, Mom is making a sandwich.

So last year, when I couldn't be in the States, my family, with what I am sure was nothing but love and caring concern in their hearts, sent me pictures of the post-Thanksgiving turkey-gravy sandwich eating extravaganza. Here, below, is my brother with a plate of sandwiches and a loving look on his face, look at his concern and how much he misses his sister.

Here's my brother and his wife Kathy eating their sandwiches, in a show of Thanksgiving solidarity at my sadness that I could not join them. I am quite sure they were forced to eat the sandwiches, they seem so reluctant.

Here's a picture of Kit holding a plate with a sandwich with a bite out of it, apparently a bite that he took in honor of me. I am quite sure that is NOT a shit eating grin on his face, that he was not saying "Nyah nyah I'm having sandwiches and you are not!". No, my brother loves me too much to be that mean and cruel.

Ah Thanksgiving. A time to show family love and closeness. (koff)(koff)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you all have a great day.

To my brother: The next day? Enjoy your sandwiches, BEYOTCH!!

of course

Over Christmas our travel plans include visits to Thailand (Bangkok and Krabi), Indonesia, Bali, Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur.


Let’s look at the latest news, shall we?


Bangkok airport mobbed by protesters and now they are reporting ‘blasts’.


Earthquakes in Indonesia.


Travel warnings to Bali.  


Border conflict Thailand and Cambodia.


So far looks like things are quiet in KL. I think I am most worried about the airport situation in Thailand. It looks like it is getting out of hand. The rest I’m not too bothered with.


I’m going to Bergen early early (oh so early) Friday for work, and am treating myself to a ride home on the train the next day (cheaper than a flight, so why not?). I booked the train trip for daylight hours so I can see the icy winter mountain views. Seems like a nice day, me and a book and phenomenal views of Norwegian winterscapes.


I’m trying to save some WW points for then, so I can have a nice meal in Bergen Friday night,  but I am SO DAMNED HUNGRY these past couple of days, I really don’t know how well I am going to do. Is 1200 calories a day really enough? I mean, I know I need to work on portion control, but I’m craving protein and all the protein-y things I rely on are really high on points. And there are only so many hard boiled eggs I am willing to eat. I am eating a lot more fruits and veggies lately, so I guess that is good. Pomegranates being my favorite snack, they satisfy both the crunch-lust and the need for sweet red things. My biggest problem seems to be that if I go out in the evening, I pretty much have to choose between alcohol or food, and so I end up tipsy and hungry at the end of the night. And then I wake up hungry and am hungry all day.


What I really want is a big plate of Hard Rock Café nachos with chicken and beans and CHEESE and sour cream and oh so many chips. And a margarita as big as my head. Alcohol WITH food, what a decadent notion.


Monday, November 24, 2008

The bane of my existence or, infuriating piece of shit.

Where I work they use this web censoring software called Websense. I FUCKING HATE IT. I can understand not wanting your employees to use porn sites or Facebook or MySpace, and I can understand using it at schools, but it continually blocks me from stuff I ACTUALLY NEED FOR WORK as well.
Basic stuff, like, "search engines and portals".
It blocks me from industry sites I need to access.
It blocks me from looking up restaurants or stuff that I might want to book for company events.
And today, it blocked me from my email. This I cannot forgive. And I can't get around it, not by using another proxy or anything. I really hate being treated like I am not smart enough to use my own judgement when online. Believe me, I am not going to look at porn or play games, so can't you just trust me to do what I need to do and be a grown up about it?

So, in honor of fucking websense, I googled the term 'fuck websense', and here, for your enjoyment, are some links to what I found:

urban dictionary's opinion on websense.

Some guy's blog got blocked by websense for the wrong reasons.

This one's entertaining not for the article but for the MANY comments.

Arg, it's so frustrating to have a computer program telling you what you can and can't look at online. There's no way you can fight it. Nothing you can do but fester in your own steam and fury.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

interesting article in NYT about Beaujolais Nouveau

Wine snobs ALWAYS hate the stuff, but I think it's just fine.

Read this.

Coq au vin was mentioned in the article, I think I will make that for dinner tonight. I'm sure it's Weight Watcher's friendly, right?

Norwegians will think this is funny, too.


You can buy them in cans at any grocery store in Norway. Poor fish.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ok, so far not so good

So tonight I drankeded a bottle + of wine. Without any food.

So I was so hungry that I came home (at 12:30am) and ate some leftover meatloaf and taters. (Granted a small portion.) Tasted great second go round.

I don't think this is what Weight Watchers meant with the points system.

In other news: Don't get me drunk and dare me to do stuff, because I SO WILL take the dare. That being said, Grant? I apologize for busting in on you in the men's room as you, er, relieved yourself. Elaina dared me. (She was right behind me.) I promise I didn't see anything (or did I?)

Recipe(s) for disaster?

So I joined Weight Watcher's online today.

I'm not so sure about this. Really not sure.

To whit: You can drink a WHOLE BOTTLE OF RED WINE and it costs only 9 points (out of my whopping 23 I am assigned per day, oy vey I'm gonna starve!) yet my tiny little cheese sandwich at lunch (two small slices cheese, 2 thin ham slices on wheat bread toasted on a panini toaster) is 10 points. Out of 23. And I really wanted two.

23 points? What is this madness? I am a grown woman! 23 fucking points is NOTHING. I am gonna starve I tell you STARVE!

I ate almost all my 23 points by noon today in one sandwich, a coffee, a bolle and another coffee. I gotta start drinking tea. Looks like my daily food will now be one sandwich and one bottle of wine a day. I have 4 points left for tonight and it's pub night.

After all this time of being brain washed into CARBS ARE BAD CARBS ARE BAD Weight Watchers is saying, CARBS ARE GOOD. So out with the cheese and the cashews and the chili and in with the veggies and the bread and the wine. And all in teeny tiny portions. Except the wine. The wine I can slosh around in pint glasses for all they care.

Which I think I will start

My Weight Watcher's plan looks like it will have to involve a stomach bug caught whilst in Thailand over Christmas. I'll have to lick toilets or something to get the proper bug. The right one might clear me of 10 pounds or so, and I can have extra points if I lose 10 pounds in 3 days, right?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In which my Domestic Goddess status is announced*, as well as my nostalgia for plonk

So here I sit on a freezing Norwegian winter's night. (Yeah yeah it's technically still fall, but fuckin' A it's cold and windy out there, so for all intents and purposes, let's just call it winter and be done with it, hmm?)

I am drinking Georges DeBouf Beaujolais Nouveau (thank you spell check) and have a meatloaf in the oven. Yeah, I'm making meatloaf. I've never made meatloaf, but Rich keeps talking about meatloaf, so I am making meatloaf. **

It needed 3 tablespoons of wine, so of course I had to open one of the bottles I got today at the Vinmonopolet, and once that bottle is open it seems a waste to not drink any, doesn't it?

I love Beaujolais Nouveau. Not because it's like the best wine in the world or anything, but because it comes out around Thanksgiving and I like Thanksgiving. I discovered the Georges DeBouf one year at Rich's sister's house, it being her year (one of many enjoyable ones) for the hosting of the FoodFrenzy that is Thanksgiving. So we drank a shitload of plonk (it being a bit classier because it's a special yearly event instead of just Cheap Grocery Store Wine) and ate and talked and an instant tradition was born in my little brain.

And then we moved to Norway and I didn't have Beaujolais Nouveau (is that a pain in the ass to type or is it just me?) for 6 years. Why? I didn't know I could get it. (Once again, proof of my life motto, "it's always a no unless you ask.")

So imagine my happiness when, last week, on a whim, I asked if they might have it and they were like "Zoot alors! But of course we will have zee Beaujolais Nouveau! Would you like zee cheep sheet or zee good stuff? You can peek it up next Thorsday mon petit Viking!***" I opted for the cheep sheet, it being my nostalgic pal Georges, reserved 4 bottles, and so here I sit, drinking a fresh and fruity little red with a nice plummy/vanilla/oaky finish for such a cheap ass bottle of zee plonk.

With the meatloaf (Grandma's recipe, and no, I don't know WHO'S Grandma's recipe as I pulled it off the web somewhere, but it's got all the hallmarks of classic meatloafiness such as ketchup, worcestershire, an egg, Lipton onion soup and, in a New Agey twist, oats instead of bread crumbs) happily baking in the oven, my fruity glass of red and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me nattering away on my iPod speakers****, I feel relatively content right now. We'll see how long that lasts, once the meatloaf is done.

Hey, look, my glass is empty, I should rectify that sitch! 35 more minutes until the meatloaf is ready. I'm going Total Trad and making mashed potatoes to go with it (from flakes, I'm a Domestic Goddess, but I work, too, so there is only so much time.)

*Hey, I like to cook, ok? This qualifies me as a Domestic Goddess, in my book. (I am not, however, a particularly tidy or housecleaney sort of DM, though. Eh, we all have our quirks.)
**I made it once before but it fell apart. It was not so much a Loaf as a Pile. Meatpile....doesn't sound all that great, does it?
***OK, so they didn't speak French, they snakkered Norsk, but we were talking about French wine and I never said this was a non-fiction blog, did I? I can imagine at will. Deal wid it.
****Tom Brokaw is talking about nipples. Is it strange that it made me a little hot?

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm one of only 315, so far.

I've been given an award! Thanks Christina! (There's some rules, though, which are copied and pasted below. Seems like alot of work, but I think I've got it all done.)

*Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

*Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

* Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

* Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post (same one as linked above) and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

*Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

(Whew! Right now maybe I am thinking it's just a way for the Superior Scribbler creator to get as many links as possible to their blog. Because I am cynical like that.)

So, for my 5 Superior Scribblers, I hereby attack:

For her amazing writing skills and thought provoking posts. I love her more than I can ever say.

Karla May
For frequently making me snort milk out my nose. Which is less painful than vodka, granted, but still messes up he keyboard on my Mac.

He's a poet. (Ha! Ha! No pun intended! Maybe he's more of a Po. It?) Always has been.

The bitch can write! And I like her. And I miss going to the gym with her and falling off the step in Step Class.

Because he's one of my oldest internet friends and I want to make him follow these Byzantine rules just to annoy him.

And in other news:

Yesterday after my walk I got Cake Obsessed. This happens to me every so often. I go without cake for a long time, then have a piece, and it's like the floodgates are opened and I. Must. Have. Cake. I am, you see, a total Cake Whore. My favorite cake is chocolate with white icing. My second favorite is yellow with chocolate icing. (And then there was the cake Bookhart gave me once with the caramel icing that she brought me back from Jackson Mississippi, that was so fugging good I still dream about it, but I can't put that on the list in good conscience because, honestly, lightning? Doesn't strike twice. Cake that good can't be had more than once or twice in a lifetime.)

I'm also a whore for carrot cake with cream cheese icing and Red Velvet cake. Mmm.....are we sensing a pattern here? That it's mostly about the icing?

So anyhow, I got my Cake Obsession after the walk yesterday and baked a chocolate cake. Just a big 13x9 inch pan one, nothing fancy. I thought we had a bucket o' Pillsbury icing, but it turned out we didn't, and it was Sunday and stores are closed, so I was forced to make my own buttercream icing. (Luckily I had all the ingredients, but seriously, any kitchen that doesn't have butter, sugar and vanilla is a very sad kitchen indeed, in my book. Some things are just basics, you know? )


I am never buying bucket icing again. Buttercream icing is THE SHIT and is so damned easy to make. And it kicks the ass of bucket icing, like, by a factor of 1000.

I can't keep my fingers out of that cake. There's a gutter around the edge of the whole thing where I run my fingers, you know, to 'smooth' out the icing so it looks even.

I'm going to have to go for another walk. Very very soon. I have to work off the cake.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Today's walk

Today's walk, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Went for a good walk today, up to an old farm that served coffee and pastries. It's a blustery cold day, everyone had pink cheeks and blown hair. I felt like I deserved my chocolate cake when I got to the top of the hill!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Comme des Garcons at H&M

Yep, I got some.

For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, here's the scoop.

I got the jacket pictured in the middle which fits really nicely and is very comfortable and flattering. It's made of boiled wool, so it's a bit linty, but the sleeves are fully lined as is the back so it is easy to wear. I also got a couple white shirts, one with ruffly bits at the bottom (3/4 down) of the sleeve, and another which I can only describe as a dead ringer for Seinfeld's Puffy shirt, minus the ruffles on the body. I managed to snag a polka dotted cardigan as well, as seen on the models and on Katie Holmes (joy of joys, not). I wanted the scarf but those were snatched up before I could get one, as was the "showpiece dress", seen on the right. Apparently each H&M store only got about 5 of those dresses, so unless you were first in line and made a beeline straight for it, you are so not gonna get one. As with Cavalli, I was early in line but just as I got to touch the dresses they were swept off by grabby bitches. (I'm not too disappointed, though, as the dress was cool, but it was shorter in the back than in the front, and if you got a booty at all, you know that you never wear things that are shorter in back because it just looks like yo' ass is too big and taking up all the fabric. It is beautifully made, though, almost more a work of art than anything else.)

Honestly, though, this time it was not near as crowded as the Cavalli collection, it was almost civil. The collection is simple, now quite as avant guarde as I was expecting, though I think the bottoms were disappointing. The jackets and tops, great, but the deconstructed bottoms will only fit skinny people. The one pleated skirt was cute, but the one side of it was 'deconstructed' and it just made my hips look finny. I would have liked to have the wide legged pants but never saw a pair, I wonder if they even got those in Norway or what? Wide legged pants are very refreshing in this world of skinny jeans, I am really starting to hate skinny jeans with a fiery passion. The saggy bottomed Hammer pants, are, apparently, the Next Big Thing for next season, but hello? Been there did that. I have decided that I won't wear Hammer pants or bubble skirts again, no matter HOW popular they ever get, I am so past that now. (Even though hammer pants are surprisingly comfortable, the only problem being they do tend to restrict your legs movements a bit.)

I also got a kick ass hat, not quite a fedora but shaped like one, smaller brim. I think it's water proof, it shook off really nicely the Coke I accidentally spilled on it earlier today.

All in all I enjoyed the collection, I like the quality of what I got, with an unexpected bonus of comfort and ease of wear. It's a little bit edgy (I think the real edginess comes in the bottoms in the collection, of which I bought none) but no more edgy than the stuff I wear already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vietnamese Snot with Pork

I had a craving for Vietnamese food tonight. Vietnamese food is my favorite Asian style food. It beats out Thai, Chinese Japanese, Korean, and whatever else that is Asian. I could eat it every day and never get tired of it. (Rather like the Vietnamese, I guess.)

My favorite Vietnamese dish is Bun, vermicelli with roasted pork and fish sauce. Unlike Pho, it's not a soup, it's more like a noodle salad. I can't find any good Vietnamese food anywhere in Oslo, so I learned how to make Bun myself. (My favorite Bun is with roasted pork and eggrolls, but I can't get a decent pre-made eggroll to save my life here so have given up the eggroll part and just go with the pork. I miss the freezers at Central Market where I could get pot stickers and egg rolls and all sorts of nummy bits that tasted just like at the restaurants.)

So, anyhow, I ran home from work and stopped by the grocery store to get a small pork loin. I broiled it with a hoisin glaze and let that rest while I made the Nuoc Cham sauce (fish sauce, lime, sugar and chile) and cut up all the little veggie bits to go with the pork and noodles. Then I made the noodles. The directions said to bring water to boil, drop in noodles, immediately remove from heat and let sit for three minutes. Then rinse in cold water.

Which I did.

And the noodles? Had the exact texture of snot, or possibly a jelly fish. Slimy, clear and sort of disturbing. (Hmm, I thought, this isn't right. I've made this before and I never got snot!)

I really didn't have anything else to substitute. I could have made rice but didn't want to wait the 20 minutes that would take. And I didn't really have enough pork to make it a main dish. Rich is pretty big so I have to think about portions sized enough to fill up a 2 meter tall guy.

So I ended up putting the pork and the vegetables on the snot, as planned, ladled over the Nuoc Cham sauce, and we had a very tasty pork and veggie on snot salad. If you didn't think about snot, it was really good. Tasted just right. And it was filling, too. But next time I will try a different brand of noodle. The Non Snot brand.

I've been in a class all week at work, a safety class, QHSE being a big deal where I work, so haven't had much time to blog. Sorry about that. I promise to do better. (Later). I am very safe now, however, so that is good. I practiced safe cooking tonight and didn't do stupid tricks with the Snot Noodles or anything. So it is possible to learn as you get older. I am proof.

In another completely different direction, here is a book recommendation. I think she is me. I think I wrote this book but nobody told me I did it. Seriously. She even cusses like me AND she's from Austin. She started off as a blogger, and now she has a book AND there's a movie coming out based on her book, so maybe there is hope for me someday. Maybe. Any editors out there wanna take a chance on a Texpat? I cook, blog, cuss, and eat snot noodles (safely). I'm a book waiting to happen!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I am becoming my mother, example 12

It started a few months ago. I noticed that if I wanted to look at something close up, it helped if I removed my glasses. I started looking over them, in that way particular to 'people over 40', peering over the lenses as if I was in deep thought when in fact, I only was trying to see the needle I was threading. Threading a needle was something I never had a problem with before, in fact I was always proud of my needle threading skills. 1,2,3.....Good hand-eye coordination, sharp sight (through the glasses, I mean) and grab that needle and that thread, shove it through and poof, needle threaded. No thought no fussing involved. Just, done in a second.

Now? To thread a needle? Many steps.

1. Turn on punishingly bright light. Place light 1.5 feet from my head, light in line with job at hand.
2. Find needle with EXTRA BIG hole.
3. Make sure thread is neatly cut, no fuzzy bits or anything to interfere with the delicate operation ahead.
4. Remove glasses. (Place glasses where I can find them later.)
5. Hold up needle and thread approximately 3 inches from eyes.
6. Move needle and thread back and forth from face trying to find that little place where I can see them clearly. Do this for 10 minutes.
7. Tongue automatically goes into place in corner of mouth slightly outside lips, in classic "I'm concentrating really hard here" fashion.
8. Squint.
9. Stab thread at needle approximately 15 times before thread goes through extra large needle hole.
10. Tie knots in end off thread with same intense concentration.
11. Sew item (usually buttons).

I used to laugh at my mom when she would thread a needle. The concentration involved, the bright lights, the many failed attempts before success. What really always made me laugh was the expression on her face, the head down, frown, eyes up look that is instantly familiar if you have ever spent even a little while with someone over 40.

And now I am doing it. *I* am looking over my glasses with that bemused, 'I can't see you but don't I look smart and thoughtful' expression. *I* am having the problems putting on the mascara, as I no longer know where is the best place to hold the mirror...too close I can't see but too far is not good either. The mirror goes back and forth as I gamely attempt to focus on the efforts of my right hand to gouge out the eyeballs in my face, all in the name of beauty. (Major shout out here to Dior Show mascara. it has a brush so large you just wave it in the vicinity of your eyes and it hits something you want hit. A blind girl's best friend.)

I almost can't see close up at all in my contact lenses. I have to stand about 3 feet from the mirror to see my face then, and that, my friends, is dangerous when you are dealing with liquid eyeliner. Dangerous indeed.

I find myself, when reading, moving the book back and forth from my face in a pendulum of desperation, to find that place where both eyes will focus on the words I want to see, just wanting to hold still and see the damned page like I used to.


Give me back my simple nearsightedness. I was cool with that. I knew how to deal with that. This change in my sight, this transition zone between youth and whatever the hell I am now, is freaking me out big time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

grrr rackin' frackin' farga' rarga...(think Yosemite Sam)

You know how Yosemite Sam would get mad and just mumble these nonsensical muttery angry noises?

That's been me all day.

It's just been a day where the little things WON'T GO MY WAY. (And after such a wonderful, BIG PICTURE Wednesday, it is so frustrating to come down to Earth only to be bedeviled by crass stupid day to day things, you know? Put me back on that cloud!)

I've been having intense problems with my Yahoo email, and then my computer at work had to be completely wiped out and restored because it basically became a brick that froze everytime I tried to do something. The weather sucks, and in the midst of all the rain and yuckiness, I have spent the past THREE DAYS updating passwords and computer shit and networking crap just to make the computer at work usable again and try to make my rackin' frackin' yahoo email work again (still no luck.)

I am SO SICK of passwords. I need about 10 (I've lost count) different ones at work for a variety of softwares and tracking systems, and then I come home to have Yahoo not accept my passwords and all this other shit and I am PASSWORDED OUT! How many fugging passwords can one person have to deal with on a day? Is this just me, or is this a common thing, this password overload. I mean, passwords to log in to my computer and to log in to the network and to log in to the internet and to log in to the invoicing system and then more log ins for work tracking and data tracking and databases and my Outlook email at work and the security system (VPN means Vicious Pernicious aNnoyance) and the contacts database and the work home page and the web based informations system and so on and on and on. I've given up trying to remember the work log ins. I file them all in a safe place (password protected, natch) and look them up as needed. I wish they would give me one master password for everything, but no, that is not 'safe'.

And then once you get home and log in to get onto the freaking internet there's passwords for the NYT and the Austin American Statesman and Google and Yahoo (and that one is not working so I am stuck in a 'looping login' which means it wants me to enter my password only to send me right back to the log in page again!) and Amazon and my bank and the Norwegian bank and the credit cards and the web email and blah blah blah blah FUCKING BLAH.

I never write down passwords, just seems like an exercise in stupidity, but seriously, my brain is getting overwhelmed and I'm having problems remembering and I just don't know what to do anymore. There's security and then there is insanity.

I am definitely on the road to the latter. Rackin' frackin' schnag' ragga' varmints.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I spent the whole day thinking it was Wednesday, and didn't realize until about 3:30 (pretty much end of a Norwegian work day) that it was actually Thursday today. Which means tomorrow is Friday. And I can sleep late Saturday! Which is right after Friday! Which is tomorrow!

That's pretty much it for today. Me looking forward to naps and laziness. This "morketid" (dark time) in Fall/Winter always gets to me.

Dark by 4.

I want a nap.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Weight Lifted

I'm probably not going to express this right, so try to read through the words into the meaning.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off me.

For the past 6 1/2 years (yes, six and a half) I have been doing my damnedest to hide my Americaness. When I travel, when I'm at work, when I'm out and about in Oslo....I was never proud of where I came from. (OK, I love being a Texan, but an American? Not so much.) A few times I faked being Norwegian or German or Canadian, just to avoid the questions of "Why is your country the way it is?"

And now, today? I'm actually wearing a US flag pin and I am proud of it (and getting a bit teary eyed writing this.)

I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. Like I can go places and have people be happy for me, be glad that our country has smartened up and shrugged off the dark times of the Bush administration, that the rest of the world can now appreciate me as a symbol of a good country and not the backwards, hawkish, indecipherable mystery that America has been of late.

Maybe, just maybe, I can be the good guy again. People can smile and say "You're American? Great!" and not "Oh.... you're American?....(pause)"

Maybe I don't have to be embarrassed to be American anymore. I can be a Texan AND an American and feel a part of the world again, not a sideliner.

This is good. this is a very good feeling.
Woo hoo!!!!!!!!


I can now once again say "I'm American" when I am traveling and not have to cringe when I say it.


Don't fuck it up Obama. We've put alot of trust in you and I don't think we can take mere political disappointment.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Today could have been far.

Went to get our new work permits put into our passports this morning. We have to reapply every year. It's pretty much a formality, but they sure like to draw it out. this year we reapplied in June, and just now got the letter saying we've been 'approved' and to come get the stamps.

So we go to the horrible early 70's era office (think, every bureaucratic office you've ever been to) and wait....and wait.....and wait....wait....wait....wait. Our number gets called, she takes our new passport photos that we just took (no glasses, no smile, we both look like slightly startled serial killers in them) and our passports and disappears....for almost an hour.

And we wait.

A seriously smelly man walks in. We didn't notice how funky he was til he removed his jacket and then all hell broke loose, olfactory wise. Everyone sitting next to him moved to another part of the room. His miasma filled the entire waiting area. It was RANK. How could he NOT notice the smell? The people almost running to get away from him? The women covering their noses, sitting in far corners of the room, almost gagging? Wow.

And we wait....holding our breath.

Finally get called back up to the counter to retrieve our passports, only to be told "Oops, I didn't put the right note on your permit, you are here as a specialist and that needs to be noted."

And more waiting. Found out that my permit was ok, that it was just Rich's that needed redoing, so I got the hell out of there and left Rich to his fate.

By now it's noon. All told it was over two hours of waiting at that office. I called my boss and told him, look, day's half gone I'm gonna take a personal day and get some shit taken care of. He was cool with it.

Took care of my stuff, came home, decided to go for a walk to relieve myself of stress after dealing with unwashed masses and to run off some energy before I hunker down in front of CNN, not to move until 2am.

Walk was a bit of a mistake, as that black ice is slippery and I fell twice. Cars can drive on it, but feet will definitely have you sliding around like Bambi on ice. No more walks for me til spring. My knee is banged up but good.

Now I'm home, about to pop some popcorn, switching between CNN and BBC to watch whatever comes in on the election, while simultaneously checking Google News, MSNBC, Zogby, the coverage at the Austin Chronicle and whatever else I can get on my browser. I'm nervous. Everyone who has heard me speak (instantly knowing I am American) has asked me about the election and if I am nervous and what I think. The WHOLE WORLD is nervous and awaiting the results. Americans, this ain't just about you, you know. This is the WHOLE WORLD waiting to see if Americans have smartened up and are ready to change some stuff around. I hope we give them what they need to like us again. Or at least tolerate us.

Has Obama won yet? Go ahead, make my day (better).

(Here's an entertaining article from the Austin American Statesman by John Kelso, resident Austin crank, calling bullshit on this poll that says that 23% of Texans think Obama is a Muslim. Of all the stupid crap.....who took that poll anyhow? did they pull them out from under their trailers?)

Monday, November 03, 2008

quiet weekend nervous week ahead

One of the best things about when it snows in our little part of Norway is how quiet it gets. It's not only the silence of the snow, the way it muffles the sound of cars and tires on the road, sends everybody scurrying inside all warm and toasty by the fire.
I like the snow because it scares away the teenagers. (OK, everybody say it with me like Grandpa Simpson: "GET OFFA MY LAWN!")
 The screaming, skateboarding, scooter-with-no-muffler driving, bottle-tossing asshole teenagers. The teenagers who hang out right down under our flat at the plaza below.  The worst are the scooter drivers. I could handle the skate boarders and the nocturnal hollerings (and moanings) and occasional bottle breakage if only the SCOOTER FUCKERS would go away. One of my biggest confusions with Norway is why on earth do they let teenagers under the age of 18 drive these scooters around where they take off the mufflers. It doesn't matter how big or small the engine, remove the muffler and these things get LOUD, you can hear them for miles in any direction. I HATE them. I call the scooter drivers the 'little fuckers' and many of the Norwegians I know do too (maybe not those exact words but very similar.) WHY do the parents let them ride them? Don't they know how rude it is? Don't the kids have any feeling of social angst as they drive around in residential areas at 2am with their 180 decibel mufflers making a noise like a hive of angry bees that you can hear all the way to the next town? It's truly unbelievable that there seem to be no controls on offends me that kids (and by association, the parents) could be that rude and uncaring of the people that live around them.
It makes me happy when the snow comes because I know the scooter fuckers (and skate boarders) have to put their noisy toys away until spring, as they can't drive on the snow and ice. Ah...peace.
In other news....pins and needles as I await the election tomorrow (ok Wednesday, dammit, I'm 7 hours different from Central US.) . I know my little vote won't do much, but if everyone bands together and does what they say they are gonna do, oh I do have a quiet hope for some change. But I'm knockin' wood and throwing salt over my shoulder, don't want to jinx anything. Go Obama! On Wednesday I'm either calling in drunk from happiness...or dead, as I will have killed myself as I just can't face 4 years of Sarah Palin. NO MORE NYEWKYEWLAR!   How I will call in dead, I am not sure, but I'll find a way.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween in Norway is a kid's holiday. Like Easter in the States. They don't really do costume parties for grown ups here (expats do that more than anyone else), and showing excitement (as a grown up) about Halloween is looked at with bemusement, like if a grown up in the States was really excited about an Easter Egg hunt.

So you can imagine the indulgent, yet bemused, smiles I got on the train Wednesday and today when I brought in my Halloween Jack O' Lantern trick or treat bucket full of candy to share with coworkers. Everyone on the train smiled at me, I wonder if they think I belonged on the short bus or something. I wasn't sure what to think, I've never been smiled at that much on a train in Norway EVER. I guess I'd smile at a grown up with an Easter basket. Which is basically what I looked like.

Since Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays, and neither of them are noticeably celebrated here (though I did see that there was alot more Halloween stuff out this year than ever before) I always get a little homesick this time of year. I'm missing out on both my favorite days. I used to throw a Halloween party every year in Austin that was pretty well attended. My friends and I sort of co-opted certain holidays (I had Halloween, Bookhart had Derby Day, Kirk had New Year's, etc etc) and we always knew where we would be on that day. It was nice. I miss that.

I won't even go into Thanksgiving. I loved it whether I was with my family or Rich's. It was always great, I could eat and drink myself silly, and I didn't have to buy presents. What's not to like?

Well, anyhow, I've got the candy ready and the picture above stuck on the door for our one trick or treater who comes every year. The kid who lives across the hall gets a good haul from us.

Trick or Treat, y'all! Have a good one!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Birthday pouf

Birthday pouf, originally uploaded by karlakp.

My friend Bassim brought me two 'poufs' from Egypt for my birthday. I have always wanted one. Now I have two! They look great with our stuff. I love them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A quicky post before I run to catch the train.
  • Why must I run to catch the train you ask? Why, I'll tell you. Because my effing bank has changed some stuff on our account and I have to go ask WHY. But the bank is only open (ha, I so wanna be a banker) from 10 to 3:30. Seriously, 5.5 hours a day. So in order for me to track down these fuckers I have to take time off from work. HOW is this customer service, I ask? HOW!? With the bank fees these guys charge, they should be open 24 hours AND give me coffee and donuts every damn day for free. (EDIT: It took me over half an hour to get some attention and service once I got to the bank, mostly because the one woman there who called my number (it's a number queue system) doesn't speak English and made me wait for another person who did. I get her every time. As this bank is in an area that has a large English speaking populace, and is the suggested bank for a large expat company, you'd think they would have a more skilled staff, language wise. I always meet other English speakers there whenever I go. I was about ready to burn the place down. Finally got my questions answered, but have to go back Monday to sign some stuff. MORE hours off work. Grrr......that online bank with the cheaper rates everyone tells me about is sounding better and better.)
  • It snowed like crazy last night and, as happens every year, everybody is all, "Huh? Snow? In Norway? What a surprise!" Then they all go out and drive with their 'sommerdekk' tires on the cars when they really should have 'winterdekk' and then they all get in wrecks on the icy snowy roads. and are surprised that this happened. Yes it is a bit early for such a heavy snow, but it's NORWAY and SNOW HAPPENS EVERY YEAR.
  • But damn the snow is beautiful when it is fresh like that. All fluffy and white and so clean looking. It had a tint of wildness to it this morning as the wind blew and there are still a few golden leaves on the trees that fluttered to the ground and landed on the pristine snow. Strange to hear wind blowing through leaves on trees when it is snowing. I wasn't sure what was wrong until I identified that sound. Usually snow is so perfectly silent, hearing it with rattling leaves was very odd.
  • I have a headache.
  • We meet with the people who will rip up our apartment today to go over terms and logistics. Oy. This will not help my headache. (EDIT: they were very nice.)
  • I was thinking as dressing up as either a pirate or Sarah Palin for Halloween. Sad thing is, if I came to work as a pirate, no one would notice the change. Sigh.
  • For that matter, they might not notice either if I dressed as Palin, for I do occasionally wear dressy uppy office clothes for no real reason. If I went fully into character and talked like her all day, though, they'd probably just throw me outside for being annoying.
  • I could talk about laying pipe all day and justify it as a business discussion. That would be fun. And you can, almost, see Russia from our window, though first you have to look over Sweden and Finland.
  • Hmm, maybe I actually AM more qualified than Sarah Palin, come to think of it. Sure have more world experience. Karla for Vice President! (Yes please, can I have the 150k worth of clothes?)
  • I think I busted my brand new popcorn popper. I keep overfilling the thing and it all pops up and overfills the lid/bowl. I have to get better on the measuring. I loves me popcorn popped with real butter.
  • Still snowing out there. Brrr.....
  • I'll be going here on November 13th. Comme des Garcons, woo! I want the jacket/dress. Unfortunately, so does everyone else.


1st, originally uploaded by karlakp.

First winter snow. It's a big 'un!

Monday, October 27, 2008


VOTE!, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Here's my mail in ballot! If I'm doing it so can you!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

crisp norwegian fall day

Today was one of those perfect fall days where the air crackles with cool freshness. So crisp it burns your teeth.

I always am amazed at the difference between the air and water here and the air and water in Texas. Here it is crisp, sharp, so clear it can cut you, whether water or air. There is nothing soft about it, it's exhilarating and refreshing. It energizes you, but it is not calming in any way. You can see forever and the colors and shapes are so vivid, so sharp. The water is crisp and peaty, it's slightly green in the white bathtub or against the frozen ice in winter. But green in a clear, filtered way....there is no vagueness to it. It's very easy to drink, and so cold that ice is an affectation.

Texas air is soft, hazy, caressing, relaxing. You can feel it on your skin, all around you, like a weight. It settles on your skin like an invisible cloak. Colors are a little bit muted (except at sunset, when they blaze orange and pink on the clouds). The water tastes of where it comes from. Sometimes in Austin you can taste the algae from the lakes west of town. It's not unpleasant, but it can be a bit strange if you aren't used to it. (Makes me think of that old saying, "I never drink water. Fish fuck in it".) I noticed when I was in Austin a few weeks ago it felt like the air was hugging me. So completely, 180% different from Norwegian air. (Like so many things from Texas and Norway.)

Today, in this brilliant crisp bright fall air, everyone in Norway was out walking. Or, at least, everyone in our part of Norway. The trails in the woods, along the pathways, around the lake, anywhere with trees or nature, were crowded with hearty looking people of every age, families of all colors, walking. Moms, dads, kids, grandparents, Texpatriates, all out. Some with walking sticks and Goretex jackets, some with back packs and hiking boots and water bottles, some, like me, merely with an iPod a pony tail and some sneakers.

Everyone walking. A walk in the woods in Norway is the answer to everything, whether that might be a headache, a thrown out back, a cold or cancer. (Possibly the only thing they don't tell you to walk for is a broken leg, at least at first.) Whenever I've gone to the doctor here, they invariably tell me, after my appointment, that I should go out for a walk in the woods to reset myself. My chiropractor was insistent on it, after every session, that I walk for a half hour after the appointment and walk, also, on the weekends. In the States, they give you antibiotics or a pain pill. Here? A walk.

Judging by this weekend, there will be a lot of healthy people in Norway next week.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm not dead. This is a surprise to me.

Ok I have had a really busy week. So busy I didn't have time to check any emails (personal or professional) and am now swamped by emails from Move, various Democrats, the Democrats Abroad, a variety of on-line shoe stores, jewelery making newsletters, LL Bean. Anthropologie, J Crew, Boden and Nordstrom's (how damn much on line shopping am I expected to do?) about 15 forwards from my aunt who forwards everything she gets into her computer back out again (love you, but don't have time to read it auntie!) and so on and so forth. Work emails? Oh god can't even begin to face that, and won't til Monday.

The delete key is my friend.

However, one exciting thing happened this week in my severely neglected personal life. One little beacon of light and hope for a better future landed in my mail box.

I got my mail-in ballot! I'm gonna vote today and mail that sucker in! Woo! I think I'll post a picture of the ballot, for this is a historic event.

That was the only piece of mail I opened all week, come to think of it. Email or snail!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Democrat Broad

Democrat Broad, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Here's my friend Pam in her new Democrats Abroad t shirt. The campaign button is Obama, natch.

booga booga booga

I'm stressed! I'm stressed! I'm stressed! I'm gonna start making crazy booga booga noises soon, like insane people in old movies do.

I have so much on my mind right now that I have heartburn all the time and I can't.!

Skip the following paragraph. It's bad for your health.

I'm stressed about work and the craziness that will be next week and will I get it all done and not forget anything as I'm supposed to be this great organizer but I feel totally like I am missing something and I am stressed about the work that has to be done on this flat that I am dreading worse than visiting the gyno which is saying alot and I can't stop thinking about all the fucking details that we will have to work out before someone comes in and tears up my HOME and I am stressed because my tits are killing me because I started a new bcp which I actually like because I've lost 5 pounds from it and it's stopped Aunt Flo cold which is awesome but I really don't want my boobs to get any bigger than they already are or I might just fall over and never be able to walk upright again and my damned boobs grow everytime I try to take bcp and this is the third time now in the past 4 years and that is three cups sizes that never go away and I never wanted big boobs ever and I am stressed about winter coming and having to wear socks and tights and boots all the time and I am stressed about having to change over my wardrobe from summer to winter which just makes me worry about the work they are going to do on the flat again and will they RUIN ALL MY CLOTHES but they won't fit my anyhow because of my huge new boobs and what the hell will I wear for 6-8 weeks while we aren't living here and how do you pack for that long and I hate it hate it hate it hate it because Rich is also stressing which makes me stress because he always wants to talk about HIS stress just as I am falling asleep which wakes me up again and why does he DO that it drives me NUTS even though I want to be there for him but why can't he talk to me after work like NORMAL people and so I am also kind of tired because of the stress and the heartburn and the sore boobs and the apartment that farts and the fucking construction workers who are replacing the roof of the building next door who started throwing the old tiles 4 stories to the ground at seven thirty fucking AM this morning and it sounded like sonic booms and so now I hate them and then the elevator was broken this morning from the people who are doing the work on the flats in my building and if they break the elevator their first day of doing this work then what the hell are they going to do to my apartment I mean they can't even not break the elevator and I am supposed to trust these people with all my worldly possessions I don't THINK so and then don't even get me started on the US election because if McCain wins I will barf for days and that's just bad all over and of course the economy is in the toilet though it's not affecting Norway too badly but you never know what will happen and maybe I'll just go and take me and my sore growth oriented boobs and try to have a nap because maybe sleep will make me not stress but I can't sleep and and and.....dammit.

If you made it through that non-sentence than you must really be bored. I do feel a bit better though. Thanks for being there. (Or not. whatever you want.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

News Junkie

Here's a list of the podcasts I download daily.


Day to Day
Fresh Air
Story of the Day
Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
Other stuff:
BBC NewsPod
A Prairie Home Companion
KUT Morning NewsPod
NBC Nightly News
ABC World News
Russell Brand
Stephen Fry's Podgrams
This American Life
Travel With Rick Steves

I don't really have enough time to listen to them all each day. I have developed a new routine in the morning where I plug my iPod into the little speakers Rich gave me and listen to NBC, ABC and Nightline news in the morning as I get ready for the day. On the train to work I listen to BBC NewsPod. If I have time and the frigging trains are late, I catch one or two NPR Stories of the Day as well.

I save the light stuff for the trip home, so maybe a nice dose of Prairie Home Companion and KUT NewsPod. My absolute favorite is Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, which has made me laugh out loud on the train a few times (sign of insanity). I recently started listening to Stephen Fry's Podgrams, and holy crap are those fun, but he doesn't do them very often so I sort of save them.

It's all added up to make me a total news junkie. ABC and NBC news is always from the night before, but I feel pretty up to date. The NPR gives me a break from the doom and gloom of mainstream US news. It's gotten to the point that when I read the news on the internet, I'm all, "Yeah yeah I know that already gimme somethin' I DON'T know!"

Can anyone recommend me more podcasts in the news/entertainment/wry commentary/comedian vein? None of those one minute ones, I hate those, but something in the 15 minute to one hour range.

I guess my chicken is defrosted now. Time to roast the bird (thank you French Laundry recipe!) It's a chilly wet evening, good for a nice chicken and stuffing, with lit candles and a good book. I've given in and bought the Stephanie Meyer vampire series, which I am on the third one. It's ok, not great, but ok. I have some problems with the main character always being led by men and doing very little for herself. Show some backbone honey. But maybe she gets stronger as it continues.

Harry Potter is still better by a landslide.