Dim sum! Good too! But had to wait 1/2 hour for it and the head chef was yelling Gordon Ramsey Style. Entertainment with lunch!
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Our bank in Norway? SUCKS.
Nordea*, I mean you.
OK, first item of suckage: they are open 9-3, M-F. Talk about a pain in the ass, this means you either have to be late for work or leave work early. HELLO, we have JOBS! JOBS which make MONEY that we then put into your crappy BANK. Maybe you could make it easier for us to visit it?
So, this morning I showed up at our crappy local Nordea branch at 9:03, so that I could turn in my old, non-working ATM card. (Note to Americans: Nordea (and all Norwegian banks) charges a fairly hefty per year fee for an ATM/Visa card. If yours goes bad and you need another one, which frequently happens with their crappy cards, you have to turn in the old one or they will charge you for TWO cards. Something they don't tell you, until you wonder why you are being charged out the ass for ATM card fees. One friend of mine found this out after her third card went bad, and she was paying for three cards, two dead ones and a functional one. YEAH.)
At 9:03, there was no one in the bank but me. As I walked in, a woman greeted me and asked if she could help me. I logically assumed she wanted to HELP me, so told her I wanted to return my broken card.
"You must take a number", she said.
"Er, there's no one here but me", I pointed out, making a fairly grand waving gesture to display the expansiveness of the emptiness around me.
"Yes, but you must take a number, you must put your card in the machine and it will give you a number", she said, immune to my graceful arm motions.
I walked over to the machine she pointed at. Apparently the idea is that you put your ATM card in it and it checks your account to see if you are a customer an ALSO what level customer you are, so it can assign you a number.
The machine was off. Blank screen, black face, no amount of poking my card into the slot was gonna wake that bitch up.
"Um, your machine is off, and I don't need a number as there is NO ONE HERE", I logically pointed out.
"You must take a number", she said, as if I was a stupid 2 year old.
"OK, well, you tell me HOW to get the number, and I will get the number", I said, in my most ironic American tone of voice. (Note to Brit: yes, Americans ARE IRONIC.)
She huffed, got off her stool from behind her little counter (it's on WHEELS, people, it's not furniture) and came over and pounded on the machine until it woke up (with the pointed attitude that I should HAVE DONE IT MYSELF).
"Do you have a Nordea account?" she asked.
I was starting to get really annoyed by now, so I just gave her a look that said it all. (It mostly said "fuck you", if I was going to be completely honest. )
She grabbed my card, shoved it in the machine in a pointed way, DESCRIBING HOW TO DO IT the whole time, like I was too stupid to do it myself, and out popped my number.
It was number 1. (I mean, 'duh, much?)
Then she went back behind her counter and sat down.
I stood there, holding a tiny slip of paper on which was written the number 1, a Texan who KNOWS HOW TO USE A GUN, by the way, amazed at the sheer "Office Space" mentality of what was going on. (I mean, I even looked around for a camera as this was so a skit out of the Office or something, I still can't believe it was real. Where is my TPS report cover, where is my red Swingline stapler?)
I waited a minute or so, then SOMEONE ELSE pushed a button, and guess what? My number came up on the screen over her head. Wow, what a shocker. I'm next? Lil' ol' Me? Next? No, you don't say?
So then I had to go to another, totally different person, to turn in my old card, while the woman who 'helped' me, sat there, behind her little wheelie counter, staring into space, ready to 'help' the next non-existent customer.
I tend to be fairly friendly to people at the establishments with which I do business? I wasn't at my best on this transaction, I must admit.
I mostly muttered obscenities.
*(We only stay with Nordea because all the other banks suck, and Nordea does offer a more convenient and cheaper way to send money overseas. But honestly, I wish they would lech mich am arsche.)
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The Sonia Rykiel collection for H&M came out today.
Today is a really crappy day, it's snowing like crazy, it's really cold and the wind is pretty fierce. The snow pelts right into your face no matter what direction you go.
In other words, a perfect day to hit H&M by 10:30 and grab some fashion. I think it worked to my benefit by keeping people away.
One interesting thing about Norway is that the mainstream of people have fairly narrow interpretations of what they think is fashionable. Some of the collections at H&M were mobbed (Mathew Williamson and the Cavalli ones were stupid busy) but others are almost ignored, they not being on the desirable radar here. This Sonia Rykiel one is middle range...I got there at 10:30 and there was still plenty left and it wasn't that busy. Granted, all the size larges were gone. (They apparently only got 4 larges per item, and they had at least 50 of each item, so wow, H&M and Sonia, size-ist much?. I mean, WTF, can only extra smalls buy your stuff? You'd sell many more of the large sizes if you JUST MADE THEM.) I saw some photos on Twitter other people had posted of long lines waiting for H&M to open in other cities. Mob scenes. Luckily, not here.
I kind of bought a lot of stuff. (grin) The sweaters were heavenly, in fun stripes and bright colors, and a really pretty shade of pink that I normally never wear but she sort of rock starred it up, with black accents or these really cool large knit flowers on the front, so I got a couple of those too. I mostly had to get mediums, which fit quite well, especially if you are going to go for the sweater girl look....snug and boobilicious. I also got those two adorable little dolls pictured, one for my goddaughter and one for Karla May's doll obsessed daughter, the Geej. I'll send them eventually.
Rich wasn't mad (much) when I told him how much I spent. I rationalize it by the fact that I really haven't bought any clothes in January and February, so this is my two months clothes budget. All spent in an hour.
I'm still coming down from the high. Now to find closet space!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Seriously odd rude slang. On the front page of a Norwegian paper.
(It's a blurb about a pop musician, Bjørn Hellfuck, and that he is "just a little bit of a manwhore".) Just cracks me up, the odd usage of slanglish mixed with Norwegian. Fuck isn't really that bad of a word here, like using faen in the States would be no biggie. Faen is the bad Norwegian word. Well, that and fitta. heehee.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
- Don't link to the blog from Facespace. While I am sure some folks I work with have found my blog, I don't want to advertise it to all of the ones I am friends with on Facespace, you know?
- I don't link to Facespace from the blog, either. Separate lives, separate places.
- Don't write about work, husband's work, use last names, addresses, or hotel names on the blog. Self censoring is my friend.
- Never make friends with someone on Facespace that you have never met in person. I only friend people I know in person, and only allow people I've met to friend me. That's personal information there, yo! I need to have looked you in the eye before I let you see my private info. Seems only fair, in both directions. Why would you want to friend me if you didn't meet me first? I could be crazy!
- If I do friend you, cuz I knew you from high school or whatever, and you turn out to be a neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie religious right proselytizing sort of person, you will be unfriended. I don't like being preached to. But then, you probably won't like my Obama-lovin' self, either. See how fair that is? Even-Steven.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Now, of course Vienna is a beautiful city. It's imposing, grandiose, monumental and awe inspiring. Broad lanes and huge squares and giant palaces and statues statues statues. Monuments and memorials and columns of reminiscence and fountains celebrating all sorts of historical milestones. Big stone architecture-y things everywhere.
In other words, not my kind of town at all. (It kind of shoots the hell out of my "royalty in former life" idea. Pretty sure I was a dairy maid, a brewer or maybe, tops, a courtesan. But not royalty, I don't feel comfortable in that sort of atmosphere.)
I like things that are on a human scale. I like small medieval towns with windy streets and alleys and courtyards and crooked rooflines. I like dark cellars and tree lined lanes and little wooden cottages and old stone huts. And pubs, boy do I like pubs and taverns and ale houses. Vienna is so grand and royal and impressive, it left me cold. Café society? Nah. Not for me.
Vienna also left me literally cold, by the way, as the weather, she was crap. Windy, cold, wet and just not what you want to be out in. The snow kept falling from the imposing rooflines and splatting me on the kopf. That hurts!
On the up side, we had some very good food (I had a great truffle pasta that rocked my world), some wonderful wines, a few good desserts and we actually found the service throughout Vienna to be very good. We found a GREAT bar, too, a very old and very tiny one, maybe the size of our dining room in Oslo (big for a dining room, tiny for a bar). This bar was awesome because it was what you want a bar to be, and nothing more. It was from 1908 or so, all original, designed by Loos, and the bartender made the perfect vodka gimlet and in Vienna you can smoke inside, which, honestly, is appropriate for this bar. You can't have a bar like this and NOT allow people to smoke. The bartender was theater and entertainment and refreshment, in one guy. It was great. But the city itself, not my bag. I think the time of year had a large part in this, man was it grey and dreary and depressing.
I had a bit of excitement this morning when the hotel maid opened the door to our room without knocking. It was about 9:15, and suddenly, I heard a key in the door, and there was the maid, staring at me, eyes round and wide.
I, of course, was butt nekkid. I didn't even have time to cover myself. (I had just had a shower, and thank God Rich was in the bathroom at the time.)
She let out a discreet little "EEk!", I turned around, and she closed the door, apologizing profusely.
Thing is? I really don't care, and am rather impressed at the level of which I really don't care. So she saw my big fat nekkid ass, so what? We're both girls, that's life, what the fuck ever.
I think it's just another interesting facet of getting older. 15 years ago, I think I would have been MORTIFIED, but now? Meh. It's just my naked ass. Who really cares?
I laughed as she closed the door. I thought it was kind of funny, and I am quite sure she was WAY more embarrassed than me. (Though it was me with the bare ass.)
So that was our trip to Vienna. Mostly.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
I'm going somewhere today and will post via my mobile (I hope, if it works, damned cell phone provider) some pics to the blog so that you can guess where I am.
I think I will start with food......mmmmm......foood.....
Monday, February 08, 2010
Last night's Lyle Lovett/John Hiatt show was nothing less than amazing. To hear and see two such consummate musicians so close up was an honor and a privilege. The sound was perfect, the venue was great, and I was right at the front. RIGHT THERE. I could see the hairs on their wrists.
I wore my (Texas Flag) HOME t shirt given to me by my dear friend Bookhart. As you can see the flag is large. Texans are instantly drawn to the image of the Texas flag, while other people might not recognize it quite like we do. I knew, if I could get close enough, that Lyle would see it.
Which he did. And he waved and smiled at me at least twice. Happy happy me. A little slice of home and in such a familiar guise. I've been a fan for years, saw the Large Band play in Austin and I saw Lyle a few times back in the 80's when I was in college.
What I loved was watching his rather gnarled big ol' hand strumming the guitar and making those luscious sounds. His voice comes from heaven, or somewhere not human, it is so full of soul and heart and longing. Yeah, I cried. More than once. He has the true heart and soul of a troubador; in those rough hands and quirky face is magic.
He's truly beautiful when he smiles.
I have to admit I wasn't sure who John Hiatt was when we started off, but after just one song, I was like, 'Wow, he wrote THAT?". He is an amazing guitar man, very blues influenced, and he has written so many great, famous and amazing songs. Also I enjoyed the banter they shared, you can tell they like each other and respect each other as musicians. I laughed a lot.
The Norwegian crowd was respectful, and unlike many shows I've been to here, pushing, shoving and disrespecting personal space was kept to a minimum, which was refreshing. Everyone really was there to enjoy the music and the fellow-feeling. The vibe was very good.
I was in Texas last night. I was home.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Running past the tree is a bubbling, clear, cool stream. The water burbles over the roots rocks and ground, eddying and flowing, dancing and laughing in its cool trek to unknown places.
The stream is full of fish. The fish are protected and well fed.
The stream runs underground into a cave or a grotto, which has become a holy site.
There is a path that follows the stream for some of its length, and people come to visit to walk the path, listen to the water's playful laughter, and enjoy the light and shadow play of the sun on the leaves.
I got to visit this place in 2006. I wish I was there now, in the sun and the warmth and the color.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Ah, yes. This is when I went to Istanbul in and met my parents there for a week. I think it was October 2006? The photo is at the Grand Bazaar. That's my mom on the left of the pic (nice rack Mom!). I'm in the background, looking scary as I bargain for a scarf. I got lots of vendors hollering "You crazy lady!" at me when I wouldn't buy what they wanted me to at their price. I am fearless, when I bargain. If they don't come down, I walk. They don't like that.
Severely crazy week this week. Busy as hell.
I go see Lyle Lovett on Sunday. SWOON!