Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pod blog

Short post from my iPod.

It's too cold to be outside to do much touristy stuff because today it is snowing HARD. Pelting, blowing, icing, in-yo-face ice bits that manage to get into that tiny space between my hood and my glasses, thence directly into my eyes. Or down my neck. Brrr.

About all we can do is duck into a bar or cafe and eat or drink something. So I had a lovely jaegerschnitzel and spatzle for lunch, with a Paulaner hefeweizen dunkel and then a Saku Tume (a dark malty, slighlty smoky brew). Then we wandered out into the blizzardy weather, and after a few tumbles into various snowdrifts on admittedly beautiful cobbled (tho snow covered roads), retreated for Irish coffees at a cafe by the main square. Warmed up, then to the Christmas market where all was snow covered but genial.

More wandering and exploring, avoiding snow as much as possible (impossible) and bought a few gifties and souvenirs. Then we both had enough of the snow so back to the hotel to warm up.

Now we are deciding what to do next. Not terribly hungry, but don't want to just stay in the room. More drinking? Argh.

I'd go take pics but the snow aims right for my camera lens. And my eyes.

Another schnitzel and some more German beer might be a good idea. They had a nice fireplace!



Sent from my iPod

Monday, December 28, 2009

Castle district, Tallinn


Castle district, Tallinn, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Please excuse my crappy blackberry camera. We went up the hill to the castle/embassy district of Tallinn. All pastel buildings in Baroque or medieval style, snow and trees that look like cast iron sculpture. Cold as hell and equally beautiful. Am now warming up with Irish coffees. I might be a bit tipsy in a few minutes, however, my cockles are VERY warm.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hotel view Tallinn


Hotel view Tallinn, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Here's the view from our hotel room. As you can see the snow followed us!

Friday, December 25, 2009

blue sky moon over steeple


blue sky moon over steeple, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Tallin...my post Christmas excursion.

Cold Christmas.....


Cold, originally uploaded by karlakp.

"I'm cold", he hollers.

We went on a cold Christmas Day walk through Frogner park. We were there with every Italian, Russian, French and American in Oslo. You could tell the Norwegians by the minks and the ski wear. (Mink coats are about the warmest things you can wear...they are actually sensible here, unlike in Texas, where you are really just showing off your money.) The Russians wore very tight jeans, the Italians wore the wrong shoes for this type of weather and slid on the snow, and the French, well, they just always look French, don't they? It was the coldest I have ever encountered in Norway. Not only temperature cold, but with a cutting wind that whipped the snow right into my ears and face. Usually I have no problem with the cold, or the snow, or the wind, but put them all together and damn, that was a bit much.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve meal with our friends Keith and Gilly, and I am very happy to say that my tenderloin of beef turned out GREAT thanks to the use of a new meat thermometer. I have been convinced: meat thermometers actually work and I will use one for all roasts henceforward. The meat was good, the veggies good, the potatoes took twice as long to cook as I expected and still weren't quite done to my liking, and the dessert, Tom Perini's Jack Daniel's Bread Pudding, is a heavenly, evil, decadent taste sensation that never fails to make people lick the bowl. Of course, if you don't like butter, cream and sugar, mixed with whisky, then you won't like it one bit. In which case, you should give me your portion.

Here's to a Merry Christmas. I hope you are surrounded by loved ones and if you are away from home, that you know that you are loved even if you aren't with them today.

Snowman


Snowman, originally uploaded by karlakp.

At Frogner park

Stroll


Stroll, originally uploaded by karlakp.

On a snowy Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!, originally uploaded by karlakp.

.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Busses. Who knew?

Growing up in Texas, and being middle class, means one thing: when you turn 16 you get a car.

It also means something else: You have no experience of public transportation. None. Nadda zip. Cuz middle class kids don't DO busses. (Except for a school bus, maybe.) And we ain't got trains in Texas.

So, on moving to Norway, and living in the 'burbs, I found the train system to be very efficient and oh so European. Trains are very acceptable to middle class Texans, as we associate them with European holidays and Eurail passes that we get on our trips over in college. I've traveled in trains all over the world now, and am very familiar and comfortable on rail-oriented transport. Busses? Only when the trains are down.

Now I live in central Oslo. No more burbs. Trains only take you out of Oslo. We do have inner city trams (also acceptable as on rails), which I take frequently, but, which, unfortunately, are not routed all that conveniently for me to take one to work. Busses were my last resort. Busses are scary. Busses just don't register in my mind as a viable, effective and non-crazy people laden alternative to the more acceptable, to my Texas middle class upbringing, rail-oriented public transportation. Busses...well, dammit, I'm just not a fan.

Until. Until I found a stop by my house where I could take the bus to work. Easy distance, they come every 6-10 minutes, and stop practically out side my office. So I manned up and took the bus. Same one, same stop. I didn't venture farther. I used that bus stop for 2 months. I figured, that was the bus, that's my bus, that's the bus I take.

Until. Until Rich showed me another stop by our house, maybe even closer, where, like FIVE busses stop and FOUR of them go to my office. So, I can get a bus every, I dunno, 2 minutes. I found this out on Monday. MONDAY.

Sad thing is, I would never have twigged to that bus stop had Rich not shown me it was there, thus allowing me to be brave enough to go check it out myself one day and discover the whole world of bus goodness that will get me to work even more efficiently.

I don't know that I will ever be a fan of busses. I don't know that I will ever LIKE them. But, maybe, perhaps, I will be more open to them in future. In Europe.

I don't know that I will ever take a bus in Texas (Lee, you'll have to come with me if I ever do.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

grrr. It's the little things that piss you off.

Annoying:
I lost my gloves. I had some nice, over the wrist leather gloves I bought in the US, and I swore to myself that THIS TIME I would NOT lose them, as I always do with gloves. THIS TIME I was going to be a grown up about it, and not lose them, and keep them for a long long time.
Apparently for me, a long time with gloves is a week. Shit. This is why I buy the three pack of cheap wool gloves at H&M and never buy expensive leather gloves. (Ditto sunglasses.)

More annoying:
I opened a frozen chicken with the plan of roasting it. I knew something might be wrong when it felt particularly bony in the (opaque) package. However, I have bought this brand before, so figured it would be ok.
Er..... no. Nasty scrawny assed, no meat bony bird WITH FEATHERS on parts of it. NASTY.
So bad there was no way I could do anything with it but make stock. I guess that's ok as Rich says he has a cold and has retreated to the bedroom in his jammies to disconsolately watch tv and mope. He can have chicken soup when the stock is done. I wasn't in the mood for soup, but I guess things change.

Most annoying:
I can't get a fire going. The wood is too cold and wet.

Completely annoying as hell:
How much a freaking tenderloin costs. Wow. I had no idea. I think they raised the price of larger cuts of meat and poultry just before Christmas because I can see a newer tag on the 1.85 kilo piece of New Zealand frozen filet mignon I bought. God let's hope I don't fuck it up when I cook it, or that is going to be one hell of an expensive mistake. I had to buy frozen as there were no larger cuts of beef available of any good quality. (Right now I SO miss the US. Scrawny chickens, overpriced hunks of meat, and I can't find molasses ANYWHERE.)

So annoying I want to kill:
STFU YOU NOISY GODDAMN NEIGHBORS! The people upstairs are on a noise safari today. Hammering, hollering, stomping, and rolling something around on the floor for hours. The worst part is that they make noise 24 hours....they are especially lively around 4am. I HATE them. They were yelling at each other above our kitchen today and I lost it and yelled at them to shut the fuck up....I think they heard me because the noise abated for a 1/2 a minute. I guess I will have to fight fire with fire. And...I think they are cooking stinking fish and cabbage again. HATE THEM.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Comments problem

Well hell, y'all.

I just got an upsetting email from Haloscan, who I have used from inception for commenting on this blog. I liked that it was a separate, customizable pop up window and that I could moderate comments, there being trolls and nasty people out there in this world. It's been a fairly reliable useful service for over 5 years now.

Haloscan has been bought out/destroyed/eaten by something called Echo and won't be around anymore. So I have two 'choices': Move/migrate my comments elsewhere or pay $10 a year for a service I know nothing about. And this is being called an 'upgrade'. An UPGRADE is when you get something MORE for your money...not paying for something you always got for free, know nothing about its replacement and NOT getting anything extra out of it. And I have two weeks from today to do it.

I guess I will just move everything back over the Blogger. It's not the money that bothers me, it's the way they are forcing it like this and calling it an 'upgrade'. Also there is no explanation on the site to help you choose one way or the other....which would be nice, if maybe I got an idea of what the new service would be like before I move to it? Nope...just two buttons, one for migrate and one for 'upgrade' (my ass).

UPDATE: Dammit! It's impossible to transfer old comments to blogger from haloscan. So I either lose all of the wonderful comments I have had for FIVE YEARS or I have to pay these bastards for a format I don't know, don't want and doesn't work as well as what I had!

clicking my heels as hard as i can....

Well, I'm not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. I click my heels for home and warmth, but then I hear that it is just as cold in Kansas, and we all know that clicking of heels leads there, so what is the point?

Clicking aborted. No more clicking. I want out of the cold, not back in it in the middle of America.

DAMN it's cold. Some areas around here are minus 0 fahrenheit. It's BRUTAL out there. I'm not going out unless it's stricly necessary.

So, on to other things.

I sent out an email at work earlier this week, to a few girls, telling them to wear red to work on Friday...just for fun. And don't tell any men, but just wear red....and to spread the word at will to the other gals.

The power of the female network? EVERY woman in my office wore red today. The guys actually noticed...I was impressed. And I was so happy to see the female solidarity. That's just AWESOME.

I'm feeling very karmically in tune with things right now. I have been on a high this week, I felt powerful and very take charge. I got things done before people asked for them, wheeled and dealed and put ideas in ears, and found ways around obstacles like nobody's business. I wish every week was like this one.

But they aren't and I will just have to remember how I felt THIS week when the next bad week happens.

So now I am in front of the fire, eating a home made mushroom-onion-'italian' sausage pizza (we are out of frozen pizzas, I'm hungry, it's too damn cold to go outside and it literally takes 10 extra minutes to just make one from scratch anyhow). SYTYCD is on, the Christmas tree is lit, I am warm. I forgot to get wine, but cherry vodka seems an ok, if somewhat breathtaking, alternative. Later, a bath. A bubbly hot bath.

Life is ok today. OK indeed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

nipples frozen off

Damn it's getting cold. Some sort of Ice Age thingy is settling over Europe, and, Norway being northier than the rest of the continent, is gonna be DAMN cold.

Tomorrow? High of somewhere around 10 degrees. FAHRENHEIT.

I better wear the padded bra to protect the pink parts. I skated across the street tonight in my Doc Martens. I didn't mean to skate, by the way. It just happened. That ice is slippery.

In other news, all sorts of madness happening at work. Looks like I will be in a new position once the new year starts. How the hell did THAT happen? You think you are on one path and then, woosh, you change track and go down another one. I am actually quite psyched about it. New responsibilities, interesting stuff to do, I'll be in the center of it all and I still get to work with great people. Seems a win win to me. I'm very lucky in that I actually come home from work quite frequently jazzed and upbeat. I feel respected and appreciated there. If you've known me in the past, you will know that that is NOT something I am used to, so I feel oh so very grateful.

Maybe getting older has mellowed me a bit? Who knows.

Did I mention...COLD. COOOLLD!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

farts fashion and the Nobel

Farts:

Had our office Christmas party on Friday night. It always makes me laugh, Norwegian office parties. I mean, the people I work with are SO intelligent. Very well versed in their fields, very well educated and professional. Great people to have on your team.

When we have an office party? 13 year olds. We all regress to junior high. Somebody tapes a fart machine under a chair and sets it off during a dinner speech. We titter like 12 year olds in church. There's teasing and ass slapping and fart machines and dancing and inappropriate jokes. Suddenly these Captains of Industry are wearing silly wigs and Afrauxs and goofy hats and giggling at boob jokes. Oddly enough, we get a lot of business done too. We let loose enough to discuss things that might be harder to talk about on a day to day basis, but still need addressing. I swear, going out drinking with my co-workers has really been the thing that has opened a lot of doors for me and gotten a lot of things sorted. Interesting how things like that work out.

Fashion:

I found time to check out the Jimmy Choo and Sonia Rykiel collections at H&M. I heard that people lined up for hours in the US and UK to get into the Jimmy Choo collection and practically fought over the shoes and stuff. Well, those people should come to Norway because there's plenty of it left. The flat shoes and the bags sold out, but there's tons of the suede clothes (they are sized really small and only go up to 42) and the high heels left. Maybe because it's, like, below freezing outside and the idea of wearing 5 inch heeled sandals is ludicrous? However, I got a sequined dolman sleeved dress and a cool pair of lizard-print shoe boots with sparkles on them. The shoes are a bit funky, but fun. They've dropped the prices over the past few days, quietly, because people were balking at the cost, which was really a bit too high even for a special collection. It IS just H&M after all. So I timed it just right, didn't have to wait in line AND got it at a discount.

I wore the sequined dress to the office party. The only thing about it is that there is a slit in the front, that, well, it goes all the way up to the hoo-ha, so there is no way it can be worn as a dress. It has to be worn over pants. It looked good as a tunic over skinny black pants, though. The dolman sleeve thing is something I remember very well from the 80's.

With the dress, which is pretty low cut, I wore a black balconette bra from the Rykiel collection. (I might have precipitated some of the boob jokes at the office party, the bra is very effective.)

Nobel:

The Nobel parade was intense. When I went and saw Jimmy Carter, there were maybe 300 people? On Thursday is was 10,000. It was so crowded that I tried to take a picture with the camera above my head and I couldn't put my arms back afterward. I also, unfortunately, dropped my camera. It still works, but the lens cover is stuck in the open position. The pictures didn't turn out too well as I was trying to walk and take pictures at night....movement doesn't help a night picture. Nor do jostling crowds. Anyhow, I was just glad to get out of that crowd. The nachos and beer at the Hard Rock afterwards was a nice bonus.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Well deserved


Well deserved, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A Guinness at the Hard Rock after being squashed in the biggest crowd I've ever been in.

Bush...in the way, again


Bush, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Ironically a bush is in the way. (There is a window with whiter light right behind that bush, that is where Obama came out to wave. Yeah, he's there, you just can't see him.) Damn Bush.

It was actually pretty funny, people started chanting "No More Bush! Down with Bush! Remove the Bush!". Because dammit, that bush was just in the damned way. What you CAN'T see in this picture are the sharpshooters all along the roof of the Grand Hotel, and up in the clock tower. There were snipers ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Lots of people


Lots of people, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Wow.

Waiting to march


Waiting to march, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Oblogging

OK guys, I'm going in. Going in for the Torchlight Parade. I wish I fucking had access to Twitter (HELLO TWITTER YOU HEAR ME? WHY WON'T YOU ACCEPT MY MOBILE NUMBER ANYMORE???). I had lots of reports this morning...like...helicopters hovering over my neighborhood, big throaty military helicopters. All hovering over the Nobel Institute, which is apparently a lot closer to my apartment than I thought. And I couldn't Tweet any of it.

Also? Snipers. snipers all over the place in Oslo to protect the Prez. Yeah, I am going out where I might get sniped. There might also be tear gas and the cops have guns today. And there will be protesters, too. And here we come, little happy paraders, singing our little happy parade songs. (Yes, the parade sings a song to the Nobel winner. Sweet, no?

I'm bringing my camera and my cell phone and a hat and some cash. No bag, in case they want to search me or something. I'll try to send pictures of the mayhem from my cell as it goes on.

Wish me tweet-free luck.

karla

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

...but i forget, you might be interested in other stuff, like Obama coming to Oslo

So, President Obama will be in Oslo tomorrow. The whole city is gonna be shut down. I know a bunch of people who are not gonna make it to work because of the trains and trams being shut down. The whole center of Oslo is under lock down.

I live not far from the American Embassy, which is, as you may know, a total eyesore on the face of Oslo (which is not that pretty of a city when compared to the rest of Europe, all told.) Tomorrow will basically just be an extension of the bullshit that you go through with the American Embassy.

However, because I am a glutton for punishment, I am going to try to join the traditional annual Nobel Torchlight Parade. Every year on December 10th, a bunch of people gather to walk from Youngstorget (a square not far away) to the Grand Hotel, where the Peace Prize winner comes out on a balcony and waves to the crowd. I've gone on a few of them, most notably Jimmy Carter's. (Mostly memorable because that was when a society lady in her mink standing next to me had her hair catch on fire from a candle. I put it out, though she didn't understand, at first, why I was beating her on the head. She was getting mad at me, then I yelled FIRE and she caught on. Her hair smoked for about 20 minutes afterwards. She had one of those high boufy older lady hairdos that uses lots of hairspray, which is why it caught fire so easily I think.) This year might be a bit hairy though (no pun intended), with protesters and pepper spray and what have you. At the first sign of overcrowding or chemicals, I am OUT of there.

I don't know if I will get any pictures but will try.

The clunkety clunk of upstairs elephants

World full of Christmas charm up here in Oslo today.

I cleaned, I scrubbed, I decorated, I'm pooped.

I found out it takes an hour and a half to vacuum this new apartment. (I've done parts of it but not all in one go.) An hour and a half! I am not sure why it takes so long, but it's something about the circuitous nature of the place. It's all right angles, corners, nooks and crannies. Those crannies are a bitch to vacuum. Damn crannies.

I mopped all the floors with lavender scented natural French soap and scrubbed the bathrooms. Then I got going and decorated the dining room with the new stuff I bought before I went to the US. I bought some cute black, red and white linens that are Christmasy without being too cheesy. I had fun hanging little red and silver balls all over the very posh and staid chandelier. It took it down a notch in seriousness. I hung disco balls from the wings of the eagle at the top...hehe. I feel a bit like I decorated the Queen of England with Silly String.

While I did all this I had the music CRANKED. I like to dance while I clean. I figure, the upstairs and downstairs neighbors are so loud all the time, I can be noisy one damned day. Neighbors? Meet the Dali speakers. Why yes, they DO have punchy bass and crisp high end sound, don't they? You wanna hear it better? No? Oh damn, sorry, I can't hear you. My dance music mixed with punk and metal is too loud for me to hear anything. What? You might not like Goth Industrial? You don't like Godsmack? Well, shoot. Sorry about that. I sure like it when you play Europe "The Final Countdown" at full blast. I'm just returning the favor.

But now I'm quiet again and the elephants upstairs are stomping around in their military boots, high heels and Panzers.

It was nice going through the ornaments and Christmas stuff. I haven't looked at much of it in many years, apparently some time in the 90's. I have an ornament from 1999 and I think that is the last time I did anything for Christmas. (It's pretty funny, that ornament, a CD with a clay Santa wrapped around it. The CD? A Compuserve software CD. Talk about a time capsule!) I also put out some of the old German wooden stuff I got from my Mom. That stuff's been around since I was a little kid.

So now the tree is up, ornaments on, garland around the fireplace, and sparkly stuff all around the house. I know it's Norwegian tradition to put up the tree around the 23rd, but I am not gonna do all that work just to take it all down again a few days later. I'm enjoying it for as long as I can.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Office puppy


Office puppy, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Here's our new office puppy. Belly rubbing is happening at the workplace. And licking and cuddling too. She uses tongue. I don't.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Well THAT was interesting

I went out last night for a Christmas party with my book club. Man do we bookish types know how to party. I literally staggered home around 3am.

Things I learned/saw/discovered last night:
  • Oslo is a strange place at 3am.
  • The streets are heaving with people.
  • I had no idea a city could be that busy at that time.
  • Sidewalks were packed.
  • Drunk people everywhere.
  • I was one of them.
  • People were pretty friendly.
  • Well, the guys were friendly. I think they were looking for that last minute hook up.
  • One guy offered to give me chlamydia. He said it was high quality.
  • I turned him down.
  • I think that was the right choice.
  • I came home with Christmas tree balls attached to my ears.
  • Big red ones.
  • I sort of forgot they were there (I stole them from a tree at a bar) until I went to bed and couldn't figure out what those hard lumps were on either side of my head.
  • Maybe that's why so many people were trying to talk to me...I had big balls.
  • I drunk dialed some people in Austin as I walked home.
  • Sorry, y'all.
  • As I walked home I felt something soft wrap around my ankles. Then suddenly I couldn't walk very well.
  • Well, maybe I should say I started walking worse then I already was.
  • I looked down in confusion.
  • My slip had fallen off...just fell right to my ankles, there on the street.
  • This would normally be an embarrassing occurrence, but; a) I was drunk and, b) I had the giggles.
  • A guy very nicely helped me remove it. He held me up while I stepped out of it.
  • We both laughed.
  • I stuck the slip (well named, now, I think) into my coat pocket and carried on staggering.
  • It was impossible for me to walk in a straight line last night. No matter how hard I tried, it just didn't happen. This made me giggle.
  • I got home drunk as a skunk to a bemused Richard.
  • I told him about the slip thing...and then I started laughing.
  • I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.
  • For about an hour.
  • I couldn't help it, every time I thought of the slip falling off, it set me to giggling again.
  • He really didn't know what to think.
  • I've always been a happy drunk, but last night reached new levels.
  • I finally fell asleep around 4am.
  • I got up at 11. I'm not sure if I am hungover or if I am still drunk. I think a bit of both.
  • Being jet lagged drunk is very odd. I had tons of energy and as partying goes, it was a perfect storm of a night. I just kept going and going and going.
  • I'll pay for that later, I think.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Big head Phil


Big head Phil, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Party back in Oslo. The jet lag makes everything funny.

Got Milk?

Get your milk on Amazon!

(Go to the link, read the reviews. The reviews are what kill me.)

For further Amazon giggles, go here.

Who knew Amazon could be so much fun...even without spending money?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Always a 'no' unless you ask

My strictest life rule is that you always get a no for an answer, unless you ask otherwise. So why not ask for what you want? The worse that happens is that you end up where you started. The best is, say, an upgrade to business class on your long haul flight from Dallas to London.

Teehee.

That will be the third time I have flown business this year. I could REALLY get used to that. It makes it so that I am not completely useless when I get to my destination. And it helps the jet lag go away faster.

Plus? I got to see two movies I have been DYING to see: "The September Issue" and "Up". I didn't get to finish "Up" but it sure had me crying for the first half hour or so. I need to get it for Rich and I to watch. The "September Issue" was total fashion geek out...loved loved loved it.

Plus? Champagne, Kir Royales, tuna tartare, wild mushroom rigatoni in a fresh tomato sauce, red wine, white wine, truffles, fresh fruit, hot towels for my face and hands, a lie flat bed (I actually slept!), access to the lounge at Heathrow with free cappucinos, breakfast, drinks and wifi. Not to mention no additional fees for luggage and use of the Fast Track line at security. That flight went all too fast, I could have hung out a bit longer. Compare that to the ENDLESS flight to Houston on the way out. Argh.

I'm sort of thinking that maybe it ends up being cheaper to fly business (if you get it on sale) when you factor in the cost of all the freebies. Especially the luggage. Hmm... I wonder if they have showers here? I could use one.

So now I am waiting for the last flight of the adventure, the one back to Oslo. I'm told it is snowing and very VERY cold there right now. As it will be for the next 5 months.

I'm glad I had this time away to look back on in the cold days ahead.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Upgraded!


Upgraded!, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Now to live like the other half. I get to sleep!

The record stands

I have never, not once, had a flight out of Springfield airport be on time. Unfortunately, the lateness is usually quite large, at least an hour.

Today is no different.

I think the only reason I don't complain as loudly here as I would at other airports is that there is free wifi at SGF....which helps make the time pass.

It'll be a bit dicey for my connection in Dallas...and I have lost my window for Mexican food, which I was going to get at that airport.

I am traveling again. Hello world. I've bust out of the coccoon of relaxation.

UPDATE, one hour later.
So now the flight is over an hour and a half late. They won't rebook me on a new, later connecting flight as I haven't missed the connection yet. They want to make me run for the BA flight first before they'd consider rebooking me on an American flight in a class I paid for! (I fly economy extra on BA which translates to business on AA. But they don't want to waste that seat on someone like me.) Cocksuckers!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Last day in the US

I go back to Norway tomorrow.

This last day of a long visit is always a bit melancholy. I have to face the packing....oy the packing!... and tie up all those last bits and bobs that need tying. Mom always plans a last minute visit with some of her friends to 'show me off' to them. They have a deal that when one of their kids comes in to town, they always have to bring the kids around to show off to other members of their little offspring show and tell group. (Note. By 'kids' I mean grown ups in their 40's and up...but I guess we are kids to our parents and always will be.) Usually Mom likes me to dress up but I am too damned cold right now for that...it got chilly here in the country. I might have to do a last minute run to Malwart for a few foodie things I want to bring back. (Pillsbury cookie dough and cinnamon rolls! Even though they do explode in my suitcase, if one makes it, I am happy.) Another part of me says, "Fuck it. You can always figure out a substitute in Norway. Once you start seeing all the things you can't have in Norway, you just always get upset." Oh for some goddamned Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage in Norway!

Yesterday Mom and I had our Mother Daughter day in Springfield. We have a routine...we hit some shops, have lunch, get a Starbucks. These are all things Mom never gets to do as usually Dad is with her when she goes to town. Dad is not known for patience with shopping or looking around. (What man is?) So it's nice for Mom to get to have some girl time, and I get to spend time with her, so win win! I've showed her, also, the virtues of Target over Walmart. She's a big Target fan now...unfortunately they only have Walmart where they live. But when she goes to the big city, she too, can wander the aisles of Target and fill up her red basket to her heart's content.

I went back to Banana Republic and bought some more of their awesome costume jewelry. My fashion tip for you, right now? Check out BR's jewelry! They have some very gorgeous, funky, vintage inspired pieces that are just...wow. These things are instant collectibles. I bought a necklace there that literally stopped people in their tracks when I wore it. It looks like 5 vintage rhinestone brooches attached as a necklace...it is sparkly as all get out and amazing. Even MEN noticed it (and they noticed it independent of my cleavage...I swear!) I could make a necklace like that, of course, but this one is so much fun, why take all my grandmother's stuff apart when this one is ready to go? Of course, all this bling must fit in the luggage somewhere, right now I am thinking carry on.

This trip was all about restoration. I knew I was stressed. I knew I was worn out and a bit demoralized. I knew I needed a holiday from EVERYTHING. I knew I needed to get away from my job, Norway and my daily life for a while. I needed to remind myself about who I am and what I enjoy doing, independent of anyone else. What I didn't realize was just HOW stressed and burnt out I was until... I wasn't anymore. I actually feel rejuvenated. I feel refreshed. I can go back to Norway, enjoy my job again, enjoy my friends and my husband again, and feel grateful for what I have and my expat life, knowing that here in the US I have family and friends who will always have my back and will be there for me. I'm so fucking lucky.

Monday, November 30, 2009

pictures in the country

Some pictures of stuff around the parental land. We go for walks in the afternoons.

The latch on an old outbuilding.


A late Fall sunset through the tree branches.


Another sunset, this time looking over the horizon. The land always looks like the English Cotswolds to me.


Lavender sky.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mom-isms

My mom has a tendency to rearrange the first letters of a series of words, to new effect.

TJ Maxx become MeJay Taxx. Banana Republic becomes Ranana Bepublic. WalMart is MalWart.

Etc.

I think she might have reached her highest point today, with dinner. Tonight we are having Turkey Schnitzels. Or, as she says in her slight German accent, Schnurkey Titzels.

Try to say schnurkey titzels and not smile. I dare you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

whoremart on Thanksgiving.

Mom and I consider Walmart to be a whore.

Cheap, open all night, and there when you need it. The town tramp, and a successful one at that. You all know she's there, and you can't avoid her. She's the only game in town. Everybody goes to her.

However, when, say, your mom's 20 year old toaster oven self destructs messily by falling apart mid-green bean casserole, and you need a new one because the regular oven is full and it is THANKSGIVING and you MUST HAVE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE OR IT IS NOT THANKSGIVING, the large slutty Walmart is right there, open and ready, tempting you with shiny new toaster ovens at low low prices. How can you not fall in to the trap? You MUST have that toaster oven.

Dammit.

Leaving the Whore, I noticed another trick, er, customer, leaving who had two toilet seats and a plastic plant in his basket. Now, honestly. ON Thanksgiving. You go to WhoreMart to buy two toilet seats and a plastic plant? What on earth would be the emergency that would necessitate a complete toilet seat replacement and a plastic plant on a day like today? The mind boggles.

That being said, I am thankful for my family and friends and that I don't have to buy two toilet seats and a plastic plant today. Happy Thanksgiving y'all. And to my friends outside the US: May you be warm and sated.

Excess baggage


Excess baggage, originally uploaded by karlakp.

The 2cv on the trailer. Not traveling light. (see below) (are we there NOW?)

230am, somewhere near Little Rock

On I-30. Left Houston at 630. Have 4 hours left. My brother is driving his giant Ford diesel truck. In the back is a fourwheeler offroader for Dad. Towed on a trailer behind is my 2cv, to be stored by Dad, filled with our luggage. I bought a car to carry suitcases in? I should rethink my baggage situation! Are we there yet?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

reality smacks me in the face

After my evening at the Mean Eyed Cat, I drove back to the hotel (last night in the Lovely Bed) and seemed to be surrounded by blues music. Everywhere I went, it streamed out from bars, cars, shops, and my car radio. It was awesome. I do love blues music, though I don't own any cd's of it or anything. For me, it's a serendipitous music, you have to happen upon it preferably in a dive bar with other folks around. It doesn't have the same magic for me if I just play it on a stereo. So that last few moments, driving on my last night in Austin, surrounded by blues....precious.

Damn. I hate to leave.

Oh Lord it was hard to leave Austin. I had the most PERFECT time there. I was flying. So, of course, on the last day, I hit the reality runway hard, no wheels down and belly scraping the concrete.

Morning came and I got some bad news from work (nothing too major, just upsetting for me), and I felt the very inkling of a cold coming on, and I had to pack up the car and leave, and I had to go to the bank and meet the insurance guy. Oh shit. Life. I treated myself to a last breakfast tacos plate at Red River Cafe (yes, Lee, I said RED RIVER) and then followed Airport Rd (hitting EVERY GODDAMNED RED LIGHT EVER MADE) out to Highway 71 and thence through La Grange to Houston. I snuffled sad little tears, driving in my little convertible with a tissue shoved under my sunglasses every few seconds. I looked a right idiot.

Houston. Place of my birth. It's so big and harsh, the roads so wide and concrete-y. The shopping and food are quite excellent, however, and some of the older neighborhoods have the Southern charm one would hope for in a town that is almost on the same level as New Orleans. I had a wonderful meet up last night with my high school friends Anne and Forreste. It's like going back to being 17 again except with better jewelry and more ass. (Well, not more ass for Forreste or Anne, but definitely for me.) We had a great time. Funny how the people you meet when you are young remain basically who you met, even with the change of life's experiences. Ladies, here's to you!

Tonight I do the 12 hour drive to my parent's house with my brother and sister in law. It's gonna be a long night. (Oh and I do, definitely, have a cold. Shit.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mean Eyed Cat


Mean Eyed Cat, originally uploaded by karlakp.

My fave bar.

Evening view from hotel


Evening view from hotel, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Not bad for a cell phone camera!

Smorgasbord


Smorgasbord, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Haha.

Minions


Minions, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A woman running around Town Lake trailed by her chihuahua Evil League of Evil. Adorable and funny.

Old Austin meets new Austin


Old Austin meets new Austin, originally uploaded by karlakp.

SRV and a horrible new condo building.

The elves came


The elves came, originally uploaded by karlakp.

They put up Christmas at the hotel!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My week: drinks, food, naps, shopping, fun

It's hard being me right now.

I'm back at the hotel resting up from an afternoon gathering, in preparation for the evening gathering. Life, she is a hard taskmaster.

I must mention the dinner I had last night. You see the photo below. It does not do justice to the meal.

Nantucket Bay scallops (apparently only in season three weeks a year!) on risotto with brown butter, truffles and arugula (rocket to us Euro types). Oh. My. So rich and deep in flavor. You know when you taste something and it just explodes in your mouth with flavor and texture? Mmmmmmm. It was savory, but tasted of the sea, with a dark edge of butter and the depth and earthiness of the truffles. I had it with a mild Cotes du Rhone Blanc....so lovely. I was the envy of the table. (I did allow some bites.)

For a starter I had a drink called a French 77 which was a mix of St Germain, a Swiss floral liquor, champagne and lemon juice. I like my drinks on the sweet side (unlike my beer) so this hit all the right notes. Then after dinner I had a lemoncello, something I have developed a definite fondness for.

I did not have a hangover today, so I guess the high quality alcohol was worth the rather punishing cost. (Still cheap by Norwegian standards. I am so screwed as to the relative costs of things now. Things I think are cheap, other people are like, WTF?)

We chatted with some guys who were here from Kansas for the football game, but when one of them turned out to be a total "Woo guy", I was so outta there. (You know what a "woo guy" is, don't you? One of those annoying yutzes who runs around when he's dunk, high fiving everyone and yelling "WOOOO!!!" at the top of his lungs. I tend to run when I meet woo guys. Quickly.)

Oh and another thing: I have never been into football. Ever. I never went to a UT football game. I just never saw the point of the football obsession. (Rugby however, I am a fan of. Oh those muscles and heaving thighs. But I have mentioned that before.) It seems there is a game in Austin this weekend because the hotel is overrun with people in burnt orange t shirts and funny longhorn hats all drinking and corralling their children. It is a very different place in feeling from last weekend, which was Wedding Central.

Let's hope UT wins, because then everyone will be in a good mood.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wow


Wow, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Nantucket bay scallops with truffles and brown butter on risotto. Cannot describe the yum.

I won't nap...just yet.

A rainy day here in Austin. I suppose I could go off and do things. Important things. Detaily, niggly things. Things that I must do before I go back to Norway. Things that are on My List Of Things To Do. Things which involve leaving the hotel and driving around in the world.

Or I could take a nap. Which is foremost in my mind at the moment.

But first, must blog.

So. I met Julia for lunch today, at the Roaring Fork. (Sorry, but how can you NOT think of it as the Roaring Fuck, which would make it a much more interesting sort of place, in my opinion.) Anyhow, we both ordered 'Half Ass' burger, which was huge. They also have a 'Big Ass' burger, which, if I can judge by the size of the Half Ass, one damn huge assed burger. I am very full and very sleepy now.

Yesterday was a day of wearing myself out. I went and got some exercise around Town Lake, and overdid it a bit (ow thighs, ow ass, ow arms) and then got a wild hair and went out to the outlets in San Marcos. Spent a half hour out there, realized there was nothing I wanted or needed, so hotfooted it back to Austin.

Met Karla May (check side bar) for dinner and got loopy on a few margaritas. I love spending time with that woman, I wish I had met her earlier in life so I could have had more time with her.

After dinner I went back to the bar at the hotel to cadge the free internet and fell into talking with Austin Powers.

No really.

Austin Powers is in Texas right now and bought me a beer. Groovy baby!

Turns out Austin Powers is a rather fabulous Englishman with a penchant for the good life. He has a Very Important Job, though honestly, I am not sure what it is, but it involves neuro-something or other. (She twists her hair around her finger and acts blonde.) We had a rousing round of Bar Philosophy, which is one of my favorite sort of discussions. You know, where you idly chat with someone, usually somewhere liquor is served, and you start to discuss...everything. I have been lucky enough to have a few such discussions at bars in many countries (one of the reasons I enjoy traveling alone, when I must, because I usually find a good chat somewhere, my long time readers may remember the Yorkshiremen rugby team I fell in with in London?). I think between him and me, we have solved life's biggest problems and established a world view that could be a very good ideology as well. Too bad I had one too many beers and can't really remember the exact details with which to build my New World Order.

Because it would totally kick ass.

Julia eats the small burger


Julia eats the small burger, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Wonder what the large is like?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Soul


Soul, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Fried chicken and sides (and an RC Cola!) at Hoovers after a morning of exercise.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A - Texas


A - Texas, originally uploaded by karlakp.

luckiest bitch on earth

Hi.

So much to tell.

No energy to do it.

I checked on our house today. It needs a new roof. It's just a freaking awesome little house, every time i get near it I just love it more. I can't help it. It's small and funky and built in 1950 and has a great vibe to it. The tenants are actually taking care of things and I feel very good about it.

I think insurance will cover the roof, as it has a lot of hail damage from a storm last March. There have been a few hailstorms the past couple of years, The roof has taken a beating.

I've been driving around in my brother's VW Wolfsburg Cabrio (a 1997 or so?) and it has been so much fun. So nice to be in the sun and the weather is so damned fine. Like summer in Norway, but with more sun and more warmth behind the light.

I met my friend Gail for lunch today and it was so nice to reconnect to someone I have always admired for her style, grace and strength. She just reminded me that life is what you get out of it, and what you make of it. Something I always have believed in, but so good to see it in practice. She's always been a bit of a goddess in my eyes.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night. I should be out partying, but it feels so good to just sleep and luxuriate. I look at this trip as my time to re-group and recharge.

I'm at the hotel bar now, drinking cosmos, and in a few minutes i will wander down to...somewhere...and get something for dinner. I don't know what. Yet. But it will be good.

Or maybe I'll go to bed. I don't know.

But I can do whatever i want right now and the luxury of that is awesome.

Tomorrow I will drive...somewhere. Not sure yet. Will see where the mood takes me. San Marcos? Fredericksburg? Lake Travis? I dunno. But my time is mine to do with as I will and I am going to wander at will.

How many people right now can say that? Damn I'm lucky.

Little Austin home


Little Austin home, originally uploaded by karlakp.

How I miss this little place!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ok. Fine. You want it? You got it.

Here's me singing Ozzy. Watch and listen at your own peril.

Faves


Faves, originally uploaded by karlakp.

My favorite pasta, a glass of wine and a cupcake. Dinner!

New


New, originally uploaded by karlakp.

This sure ain't the Austin I started out with!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bar Blogging Austin Style

While I love the hotel I'm staying at, the only downside is that they charge for internet. I don't pay for internet.

The upside is that wireless is free in the bar.

Hello beer, bar and internet!

SO I am in the bar at the hotel, having a lovely Fireman's 4 Austin local beer, and writing this on the spanking new Macbook I bought today. The old mac is starting to die a slow, sad death. Also, 40 gigs of hard drive just ain't enough. Hello new 250 gig wonder computer with a really nice keyboard and bells and whistles and stuff and things!

So yes, I am still in Austin. Whenever I come back I wonder why the HELL I ever left. Yes I like Norway, yes I like my job and our apartment, and of course our friends, but this is home and that will never ever never change. Odd things happen here and I like that. I understand Austin. I fit in here. They like oddballs like me. Mainly because it is a town of oddballs. Like me!

Like, Saturday. A 40th Birthday party for my friend Margaret (Mags over there on the sidebar, I believe.) She hired a band, Karaoke Apocalypse (hard to spell with beer) to play at the Carousel Lounge, this awesome divey place just east of I35. Karaoke Apocalyose (shit) is a totally 100% professional band who can play any damn song you throw at them and you get to be the lead singer. They are patient with drunk ass forty year olds singing in front of them. They guide you. They support you. They help you along. All the while you get to play out your rock star fantasies by vocally butchering any song they competently and brilliantly play. All I can say is, I tossed back 4 Fireman 4's before I got onstage (I called them "Fear beers") and then I went on stage and I sang the FUCK out of Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, and then I did a particularly raunchy version of Joan Jett's "Do You Wanna Touch" that brought down the house.

And then I saw the videos.

Drunk people think things are much better than they are. They think they are AWESOME.

The level of suck I achieved is going to go down in history. I sucked so bad there is never going to be a suck to match it. I am so tuneless, a dying cat sounds better than me. I am very loud, however. What I lack in tunefulness I make up for in....loud. AND....I look very, very angry when I sing. What is UP with that? I look like I am wanting to KILL people. But Saturday? I thought I KILLED IT.

I was going to post the videos here, but now...not so sure. Do I really want to embarrass myself quite that much?

But oh yes I am happy to be here. Why? The warm weather, the cushy hotel that I booked via Priceline. The funky little VW cabrio my brother lent me that is a bit scruffy on the inside, but drives like a dream and when the top is down I am 17 again. The sunburn I achieved while driving it. The bed at the hotel that I never want to get out of yet I pop up at 8 am ready to hit the town and get going to explore my beloved Austin. The shopping. The girl at the Allen's Boots who speaks Swedish and majored in Scandinavian Studies (I did not know there was such a thing.) The incredible vintage stingray (shagreen) boots I bought for $89. The $20 silk dress I got at Last Call. The lunch at Matt's El Rancho, the dinner at Flying Saucer, the dinner tonight at my favorite steak place in the WORLD, Austin Land And Cattle.

The list goes on.

This computer is NICE.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rock out with yer cock out


Rock out with yer cock out, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Drunk karaoke


Drunk karaoke, originally uploaded by karlakp.

We were drunk by 3pm. Funnest. 40th. Birthday ever.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The texan sings


The texan sings, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Karaoke

Huge fried shrimp


Huge fried shrimp, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Heaven

Room in Austin


Room in Austin, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Nice big room in downtown A-Tex!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

so good to be here!

My flight landed early yesterday, and after some stupid crap from immigrations (they always ask WHY I live out of the country, as if I am being unpatriotic or unAmerican or something), and the customs guy making me list everything I brought in (Moulton and Brown shower gels, Christmas decorations from holland and a GUN TO SHOOT HIM WITH**) I made it out into the pick up area, where my brother waited for me. Big brother hugs are the BEST. He drove me to his house in his very fast and racy Mustang. Cops probably give him tickets when he is parked, just because they know that he will go very fast at some point very soon.  I could hear the gas getting sucked through the engine. Such an American sensation, getting forced back into your seat from sudden engine acceleration and brute noise!

God does the air here feel good or what? It's so SOFT and carressing. The Norwegian air pokes and bites and tries to get into your uncovered parts to nip you. Any skin you show in winter will get needled. Here? Just a warm soft southern hug. I know it sounds strange to describe AIR as soft, but it is! It's soft! Oh lovely.

And so warm but not too warm, it's just right. You could have a jacket or not, it's up to you. You don't have to wear socks or boots or even leggings. But you could if you wanted to, you know, for fashion. Oh I am so happy to be home in Texas. I'm wearing sandals today. Because I CAN.

I crashed at 8:30 last night, and slept until 8:30 this morning. I slept HARD.

Today is outlet shopping with my sister in law. And tonight she is taking me to a wine tasting. Cuz she is a wine steward.

Life? Not sucking right now.

Tomorrow, AUSTIN.

**(Note to self, need to write Obama to tell him to fix the awful airport situation while he's off fixing everything else Bush messed up.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lonely seat


Lonely seat, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Here's my seat for the long haul fight to Houston. Alone in economy extra splendor. If only it reclined all the way!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

long week away

Sorry for my absence of late. I really thought I'd be able to post at some point, but had to rely on use of cell phone photo uploads only.

I went to a project management course, an intensive one, for people in my company. Experience ranged from absolutely no clue to many years of experience. Me, I'm in the early part of that scale. Not clueless, but not all that experienced either.

Anyhow, long story short: it was exhausting. The teacher was Tigger...bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy fun fun fun fun fun....and it got annoying. I mean, wow, he had a big job, keeping us entertained for a week, while we were deprived of sleep, put through an intensive 'project simulation' where NONE of us had a fucking CLUE what was going on (and of which I was 'voted' (forced) to be leader of our team) and trying to learn a lifetime's worth of project management techniques.
But I got tired of him taking my much loved sleep from me, and being in complete control of my schedule, even down to when I ate. And then I had to lead a team, which was not easy, not easy at all, especially with some strong personalities on it. (Leading people is the hardest part of any management job.) Did I do a good job? I don't think I did, to be honest.

I never saw Aberdeen. Not even a bit. I was in class at 8am and working until after midnight. All I wanted was bed. You could have had Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hugh Jackman and Jeff Goldblum in my room, oiled up, naked and panting for me, and I would have wanly waved at them before flopping into bed and passing out.**Really. (Though if they wanted to have their way with me while I slept, that could be negotiated. I'm sure something would get through into my dreams, right?)

The internet didn't work....well, it was supposed to, but it was crap, so I was completely shut off from my world and the workings of it for a week. Felt like prison. I managed to get outside for about 5 minutes a day. Standing at the entry of the hotel. It lashed down rain the whole time.

And now I am completely behind in life, in planning for my trip home on WEDNESDAY and with work. I've given up even thinking about trying to catch up with work; whatever needs to be done will either go away or wait for me in December.

Last week? Not an especially good week. Did I learn a lot? Yes. Mostly I learned that I have a lot more to learn. I don't mind that....just let me get some sleep while I do it, ok?

**I would have taken a cell phone picture or two, though, before I passed out. I'm not insane!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Home


Home, originally uploaded by karlakp.

In front of our first fire here. It works great!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Reward


Reward, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Ahhhh........

Suggested reading


Suggested reading, originally uploaded by karlakp.

At aberdeen airport bookshop.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Continuing view of Aberdeen


Continuing view of Aberdeen, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Class yesterday from 8am to 1am. I can't tell I'm in Scotland except for the occasional burr. Hotel internet won't work!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Aberdeen


Aberdeen, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Or what I see of it. Dudes I'm TIRED. I won't get out of this hotel. I havent been outside since Saturday.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A benefit of travel


A benefit of travel, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Starbucks at Schiphol!

Holidays

I have two favorite holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving.

These holidays aren't celebrated in Norway. So, for 7 years, I have missed out on my favorite holidays, unless I am in the US at that time.

Halloween has got a toe hold in Norway, but they honestly haven't got the hang of it yet. They sell a few costumes at Nille and the toy stores. If you are a girl you can be a witch or a princess. If you are a boy you can be Harry Potter or a vampire. When the movie Scream was big, those awful white masks were everywhere. But, basically, the tradition and the fun of Halloween, the creativity and the embrace of sides of yourself that you get to let out for a night, they haven't gotten there yet. There is still a wariness of Halloween here, that the Americans are forcing yet another American thing on the Norwegians, and isn't Halloween just an excuse for bad behavior, anyhow?

So, I am going to Aberdeen today for a one week intensive Project Management course. Happy Halloween!

Thanksgiving is my other favorite holiday. I like it because it's all about the food and the companionship. No big expectations for presents, no big plan for activities...just a meal and the recuperation after the meal. None of the stress of Christmas, but all the benefits. I do try to get back to the US for Thanksgiving every year. I didn't make it last year, as we had our big trip to Thailand to look forward too over Christmas, but I was there in 2007 and I will be there this year! Bring on the turkey and gravy sandwiches!

Christmas, you might have surmised, just stresses me out. Though I might put up a tree this year, first time in 7 years.....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

...and....

My cold got worse. I woke up feeling like shit on toast.

Grrr. Grumble. bad day.

I freaked myself out today when, desperate to get out of the house for a little bit, I ambled up the road for a coffee. I had been glued to my computer all day doing an online course as a precursor to the course I have to take next week. It's worked out ok, I mean, I felt too crappy to go to the office but had to do that course, which ended up being better to do on the sofa with tissues and a blanket than sitting on my desk at work. Got more done that way....chalk one up for deathbed efficiency!

ANYHOW...

I threw on some street clothes, went to get my coffee. Now, I am used to the level of non-service one generally receives in Oslo, but wow, what was up with today, I wondered. I mean, jeez, rude much? I mean, i'm not homeless or anything, and I don't smell....

Then I got home. Glanced in the mirror. Realized...I hadn't actually glanced in a mirror yet today. And realized why the service at the coffee place was just trying to get me the hell out the door.

I didn't know hair could DO that. I didn't know I could look quite that bad. I looked like a tired and cranky hedgehog pulled backwards out of a log.

I also didn't know I could be quite so unvain as to go out my apartment without even THINKING about how I looked, even a little.

Is this what happens when you get old?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

this is not my beautiful wife

I feel like that Talking Heads song....How did I get here?

People, I'm busy. So damned busy. It's funny how, for years I was all wanting a career and was so impressed by people who were busy and running around and on their cell phones all the time....I thought they looked so important. So productive. So focussed. So successful.

Now, I just think they are stressed. Like me. Stressed and overwhelmed and just trying to keep my head above water. It's not about being successful. It's just about trying to manage it all.

I will see my husband a total of 4 days in November. I, or he, will be traveling the rest of the time. I will see him November 7, 8 9 and 10th. That's it. Like the old days when he used to travel alot. Except, now? It's me traveling.

I'm not sure which is harder...being the one left behind or the one leaving.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

whirlwind

Wow what a week this is turning out to be.

I popped over to London for just one night, a whirlwind 24 hour trip. Left Oslo Tuesday morning at 10:30 and left London the next morning at 10:30. that gave me about 4 hours to shop, a few hours in the evening to hang out with my uber cool cousin Edward and his delightful friend Hannah, and then up in the morning and back to the airport and home.

In that time I:
  • Bought three skirts, two sweaters and a cardigan at UniQlo
  • Bought a dress at COS
  • Checked out the H&M on Regent street, damn they get all the GOOD stuff, we get the crap stuff here in Oslo.
  • Got fitted for new bras at Rigby and Peller. 34E bitches! Karla got's some TATA's! Also, wow, the most expensive bras EVER.
  • Ran up and down Picadilly, Bond Street, Regent Street, went in circles in St James, and had no time to eat
  • Had 2 Starbucks mochas, for a little American moment
  • Met my cousin in the city and then ended up at a pub in Leadenhall market.
  • Had too many beers and not enough food
  • Crashed in me sweet hotel room in Half Moon street, where I was upgraded to an 'Executive Suite" that I only wish I had more time in.
  • Met the Prince of Norway.
OK, ok, so MEETING the prince of Norway is a bit of an overstatement, but he WAS on my flight back to Oslo the next morning. Unfortunately, they boarded our flight early (I was wondering why they were telling us to go to the gate an hour before take off), which really pissed me off as I lost a lot of my shopping at the airport time, and Terminal Three at Heathrow has great shopping. I had to run to get the plane and didn't manage to get any Pret sandwiches, or hit any of the stores except a quick run through Boots. I had no idea why I was on the plane and just sitting there, hot and sweaty after sprinting, when a car drove up to the plane and there was a bit of a hubbub, and then this very formally dressed military guy came on and stood at attention. I, and the rest of the plane, were all craning our necks to see what was what and then...there was Prince Haakon of Norway, getting on to my flight and taking seat 1A. Nice to know he takes public transport, even if it IS first class. He was smaller than I expected, but very sort of delicate, like, finely made.

Anyhow, it was a whirlwind adventure trip. It wasn't really enough time, I REALLY wanted fish and chips and to get to a Waitrose to get some sausages and stuff, and did not manage it. But it was great to get some shopping time in and to see my cousin and the lovely Hannah. London, is, I think, the best place to shop in the world. I am always a bit shocked, when I go there, when I realize the lack of shopping opportunities in Norway compared to other places. London just has it ALL.

Then today I had to do my first client presentation. It went fairly well, there are some things I'd like to change, but for a first effort (when they had WAY more technical knowledge than me and we all knew it AND I had never done a powerpoint presentation either) I held my own pretty well. I'm glad it's over and that hurdle is jumped. Now I can slip into mosey until my holiday starts in November.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wow


Wow, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Calzone as big as my head.

Picadilly


Picadilly, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Courtyard in London. I'm here for about 18 hours.

Posh nosh


Posh nosh, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Enjoying a Starbucks in my unbearably posh London suite. Got upgraded!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday in the park


Sunday in the park, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Fall sun.