Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Addendum to previous post

Wow, getting that truckload of sawdust unloaded was harder work than I thought. But it was also strangely fun. I enjoyed feeling strong and using my muscles in a new way. Shoveling all that heavy soil/sawdust was a good workout. My arms, shoulders and stomach muscles will hurt tomorrow!

However, when I sweat? I don't sweat 'like a girl'. Oh no. No nono. I sweat fierce. I sweat unpretty. I sweat sweaty, and in not pretty places. Like, under my boobs (what is up with that??) and the back of my knees. Oh, and I also sweat into my eyes, which hurts. Apparently, I get this from my mom, she's a sweaty one too. 

Isn't that sexy? 


Long day tomorrow, but I should sleep well tonight after my exertions.

last day

Today is my last day here at my parents' house. I will have had 18 days. 

I always hate the last day and the day I have to leave. The last day is all about catch up, pack up, clean up, tidy up and close up. Yuck. It gets a little melancholy. The thing is,  I really LIKE my parents. (I mean, yes, there are political and world view differences between me and my dad that won't ever be bridged. Those have always been there, though. So I have learned how to deal with those.) My parents are hugely funny, hard working and smart people. Mom is a  total goober, she has this impish quality that affects everything she does. She's a spitfire. I can totally see her as the redheaded troublemaker of the family when she was little. Dad is very loving, a bit of a philosopher. He just wants to world to be right, he gets so frustrated at why the world can't just be RIGHT. (His right is, of course, pretty far right of mine, but I understand his confusion as to why things can't just be simplified. I mean, does the world really need to be this complex? I just wish he didn't personally feel like he has to fix it, that is too much burden for one person to carry. And it is impossible anyhow.)

So today I will help Mom unload a truckload of sawdust into her garden. It will be hot, dirty work. Luckily today is a gorgeous day, cooling breezes and it's about 80 degrees outside, not too humid. I guess I'll try to pack my stuff up before we do that. After the sweaty outside work, I'll come inside for a nice cool shower, the water coming right from a spring fed well. I might have a glass of wine with Mom. For dinner Mom wants us to go out to dinner in one of the 2 fine dining establishments in town, we will go for the home cooking place over the Chinese place. (Though I could be happy with Sonic, for my swan song Cherry Slushee.)(And yes, my tooth is better, the antibiotics fixed it fine. Wow that was painful for a couple days, though. I'm just glad I was here to get it fixed, and that i got to eperience that AWESOME dentist's office!) 

We'll come home after and watch a movie, as the Direct TV seems to be kaput and it is beyond any of us to fix it. I am pretty sure you need a degree in Rocket Science to be able to understand the entertainment set up my parents have. Which is humorous in the extreme, as they live in stark fear of hitting that one wrong button on any of the 5 remotes that will send their system crashing. (Which is, actually, what I think happened this time.  Somebody hit a wrong button somewhere and we can't hit undo.) I'm still trying to teach them how to use the cell phone. How do you explain how voice mail works? Like an answering machine in your phone? 

I thought, when I came here after Dad's accident, that I would be able to sneak off for a few days to visit family in Texas or maybe my mother in law in South Carolina. But, between the amount of work to be done here, the fact that even though Dad has about 6 cars only one seems to be working correctly right now, and my brother and his wife coming to visit last week, I never did get away. 

It's been good to be here for such a long uninterrupted time. Not many people get to spend such a long visit with their parents after they move out of the parental nest. It's been nice to spend time with them on a one to one basis, and feel like I did a little part to help them while Dad got over his shock. He's fine, we'll have him around for a good bit longer. I think he has realized he needs to slow down a bit, and I think he will put that into practice. If he doesn't? I told him that if he pulls this shit again I will personally fly out here again and kill him AND charge him for the flight. 

Half an hour before I can check in online for my flight back to Norway. The 24 hour countdown begins. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Wow, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Had to go to the dentist for a sudden toothache. There is a giant stuffed bear in the middle of the exam rooms! I got the bear ass view. How much do i love that!

Monday, June 21, 2010

life with the family

My brother just pointed his ass at me and aimed a fart in my face. I punched him in the vicinity of his arsehole. He gets away before I can punch him in other vulnerable spots. 

My Mom has been trying a selection of odd wide brimmed hats on me, giggling when my brother then takes them and tries them on. They look better on him. Mom's back in the kitchen, now,  cleaning something and singing along to the Beatles. Mom always has a radio or tv going at all times, from the moment she wakes up until she goes to bed. Ever since I was a kid, Mom has had her noise. Every so often, if she leaves, Dad and I would commit the ultimate rebellion and turn off the radio for a bit of silence. Silence is rare in our family.  My husband also has this penchant for noise, he always has radio or tv going as well. (I still rebel with silence when I can.) I know a girl is supposed to marry someone like her dad, but I am pretty sure I married my mom. 

Dad breaks into the hat modeling every so often with a random comment about a car or something he's thinking about. Dad always speaks whatever is on his mind, sometimes it takes me a minute to catch up. 

My sister in Law, Kathy, watches us and wonders what the hell she has married in to. (I really thought I should warn her ahead of time, before she married my brother, but I never got the chance.)

My brother just farted again. Lucky for him, he's on the sofa out of my reach, so I just glare at him and wave a pillow at him to send the smell of his effluence back at him. 

I love my family. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Orgasm, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Oh god does that margarita taste good.

Faux excitement

Faux excitement, originally uploaded by karlakp.

They are filming an infomercial at the mall. Audience hollering and cheering over some sort of magic towel. So fake and so hyped. Ah America!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Things are different here

I'm sweaty. It's been in the low to mid 90's and humid and I forgot what that feels like. I helped Mom pick peas in the garden and it was like standing in a sauna, I was sweat through within minutes, and had a nice sunburn on the back of my neck within 15 minutes. I can report my farmer's tan is coming along nicely. 

Dad is ok. He's got some frustration with some motor skill issues (he can't type and his extremities aren't quite reacting to his wishes as fast as he would wish.) I am a bit worried about it, but he had a really hard knock and a harrowing experience, so I hope that time will get him back to normal (normal being a relative term in my family.) I'm very glad I'm here, I can help out Mom and do the driving and some other stuff and take some of the pressure off both of them. 

Today I helped Dad take a lawnmower to a guy to be fixed, we took his ancient rustbucket chevy that is the epitome of the farm truck. Wow, there's a rough way to travel. Later Dad wants me to learn to drive the tractor. Eek! I've had fun with driving things while here, I never get to drive in Norway, and the roads here are good and my brother and Dad have fast cars, so weeha! Fun for Karla. I've never driven a tractor, though. 

I'm pretty sure I am not a farm person, I am definitely a city slicker. And, sad to say, I've been Europeanized, too. Like, today, I stopped by the Walmart (only game in town, I'm afraid) for some mushrooms to make a nice mushroom risotto tonight. I thought I'd get some balsamic glaze to drizzle on the plates before I serve, but I was a bit incensed to discover that the Walmart does not have balsamic glaze. Oh the horror. (This is also the first time I have not found something in the US that I can easily get in Norway. I feel the pendulum swinging....)  Also, Walmart carries something called "Sweet White Wine". Like, a wine, for drinking, that is Sweet White Wine. Um, EWWWW!!! I couldn't find a crisp dry wine for my risotto, it's all sweet! 

And, much as I complain about the crap Norwegian grocery stores, and they ARE crap, I also have to say....it's harder than I thought to find basics here. I'm so used to cooking from scratch now. Here? It's all pre packaged, pre flavored, pre sweetened, full of HFCS and trans fats and flavorings and colorings. Dudes, I just want RICE. Not rice-a-roni, not minute rice, but rice. And I want chopped canned tomatoes, not Italian flavored chopped tomatoes or whatever, but plain old chopped tomatoes. But I think I am set for making the risotto tonight (they had arborio!) so we'll see how it goes. Oh for a Central Market or a Whole Foods. 

The Fudgesicles taste good, though, just as good as I remember. I've missed Fudgesicles. 

I'll post some pictures while I'm here of farm trucks, 7 foot tall lilies, Mom's gorgeous gardens, and so on. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh yeah

Oh yeah, originally uploaded by karlakp.

America the byootiful! Good beer! Cheap!

Friday, June 11, 2010


Um?, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Why is there a giant cockstand in the airport?


It took me exactly the length of one "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" podcast to pack for going to the US. Amazing how fast you can gather and pack when you don't really care what you are bringing, and you'll probably just bring back new stuff anyhow.

I just packed some shorts and some tank tops and a few pairs of linen pants, sandals, bikinis. Bikinis for when I work in the garden, must come back to Norway with some sort of tan!

Dad's ok, but he's pretty weak. I think my job will be to tie him to the sofa to make him take it easy. He's not gonna like that. He and I are similar in temperament, and we're both pretty stubborn, so I see some battles of wits (or witless battles) ahead. We are both also very bad patients, we just want to do what we want to do and no stupid illness will stop us. Well, if he protests too much, I'll just kick him in the bad knee and that will take his ass down. (Kidding, Dad, if you are reading this. Kidding!)

A strike was just announced by security staff at Norway airports. Shit. It starts tomorrow at 6am. My flight's at 8, so of course the strike starts right as I arrive. So now i am dodging two strikes, BA and Norwegian security.

I'm listening to the new band by Trent Reznor, How to Destroy Angels. it's better than I expected, his wife/lead singer actually has a good voice which is well supported by the music. But let's face it, the band sounds just like NIN but with a girl singer. I'm not complaining, but let's just say what it really is, shall we?

Speaking of music, last nights shows at Norwegian Wood were interesting. I wasn't going to go, what with everything happening, but my friend Pete called and was so excited and enthusiastic about it, I decided to go anyhow.

The venue for Norwegian Wood is a tree shaded hollow at Frogner park. It's a very nice venue, very cozy yet there was plenty of space and it never felt too crowded. One of the first concerts I've gone to here where I didn't want to just punch people who invaded my personal space. The first band, Opeth, wasn't to my taste. Sort of a Ted Nugent/guttural metal mix...either pretentious operatic or metal gawping, not a mix I like. The metal wasn't even that metal-y, to me. They did have very nice hair, though, all of them, very shiny and long. You have to buy tickets for alcohol at Norwegian Wood (I giggle because the tickets are called 'bongs', and oh I so wish the name matched the reality). I bought three, which got me three tiny little cups of wine that I poured into a beer cup, so I had my half liter of rosé to get me through Opeth (picture below). Yeah, I am THAT classy.

I had never heard of Porcupine Tree, and I still don't know much about them. They, to me, were a bit like if Kurt Cobain came back from the dead as James Blunt, with Pink Floyd as his bastard father. There was some overly melodious slow stuff, and some 70's influenced prog rock, but there were some glorious moments where they just fuckin' hit the rock and killed it. Then I felt it, they definitely were kickin' it hard. But it was too up and down for my taste, I either wanna ROCK or I wanna sway and hear psychedelic melody, but not both within 1 song. I loved the bass player, though, he looks just like my friend Sean, 'Fast Eddie', and the lead singer of the band is oddly charismatic, for a tiny little guy. Tell ya what, though, it sure sounded good, the sound mixing was some of the best I have ever heard at a show whether indoor or out.

Now off to a massage with some girlfriends before coming home to a hot bath and then to bed before my trek tomorrow.

Norway, I'll see you again in July. Stay warm and save me the sun!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Norwegian wood

Norwegian wood, originally uploaded by karlakp.

With rose wine.

Beautiful flowers

Beautiful flowers, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Aren't they gorgeous? They help get my mind straight. When I get stressed I look at them and it calms me down a bit.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

the call we fear

My mom called me today, on my cell phone.

It wasn't her normal day to call, that's Saturday.

I could tell, something was up.

Her voice was normal at first, but then she got upset. My dad fell. Well, he got dizzy, or something, she wasn't sure, then she heard an almighty crash, and then she found him on the floor having hit his head on the kitchen island. She sounded so scared, so alone. I wanted to reach through the phone and make everything ok. Somehow.

She called the ambulance, and they came. Dad was vomiting and confused (I'm sketchy on details.)

The ambulance took him to the small hospital in the town where they live, but they decided to carry on to Springfield to a bigger hospital.

He's there now.

Using my calm voice and focusing hard on making her feel better, I managed to calm her down, pointing out that his symptoms could just be indicative of a concussion, he did hit his head pretty hard, from what she said. By the end of the call, I got a laugh out of her. Her friends arrived to take her to the hospital to catch up with him.

I hung up, shaking, burst into tears (I was at work but nobody was around) and managed to calm myself down with the help of a very kind coworker.

I hit the internet with a vengeance, found the hospital it was likely he went to, called them, found him and got to talk to him briefly. He sounded slurry and like his tongue was too big for his mouth, but he was his ornery self, so I think that's good.

I called my brother and filled him in.

I went online and booked a ticket home.

I think he'll be ok. I hope he'll be ok. Even so, Mom will need some help with everything, it's a big piece of land with two houses, dogs, gardens, and so on.

Now I feel sort of stunned, stoned, empty, stressed, shaky and tired, all at once.

It's the call all expats and kids away from their parents dread. The call where someone you love is crying. And you are too far away to do anything but worry.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

perfect day

Days just don't get any better than today. They really don't.

I woke up to the husband making pancakes (from Bisquick, which are my favorites.) Rich cooks three things, steaks, pancakes and lately, a decent omelette. The pancakes and steaks are my favorites, and right now he is out there getting the grill ready for steaks, so double win for me today on the food front.

After the pancakes, I hung out on the balcony for some sunbathing for a while but got restless and decided to kick it up a notch. So, I gathered together my little backpack, a towel, my bikini, straw hat and shorts, a book, blackberry and iTouch and wandered down the road to Bygdøy, where the museums and some of the beaches are.

God what a perfect day. Warm enough to work up a sweat, but the breezes whisked the sweat away and left you refreshed, but still feeling the sun. I wandered past Oscarhallen, an old summer palace of the Norwegian royal family, and met up with some of the Kongelig Cows, as the royal family still keeps cows and horses on the land. The cows were very polite. I moseyed over to the bus stop by the Folkmuseum, and took the bus to Huk, where there is a popular beach. I had an ice cream cone and then wandered over to what I thought looked like a nice area to sun bathe, a green grassy space. I was about to settle in with my book and towel when I realized...there was an awful lot of...um...flesh on display. Pink flesh. Flesh that you don't see on a usual beach. Pink flesh belonging to what seemed like mostly older fat men who were not exactly, um, modest with their poses.

Oh shit. I wandered onto the nekkid beach. I pretended like I was cool and gathered my stuff and just sort of wandered off. Quickly. Yeah, yeah, I've lived in Europe for almost 8 years now, but I still don't do naked beaches. I might see someone I KNOW and then what? No thank you.

I went over to a likely (and less nude, though there were some topless teenagers around) spot and parked myself in the sun there. Ah. Sort of a black sand, not exactly sandy, but not pebbly either. Little bitty black rocks that were kind of flat and not pokey. I settled in and watched the fjord and the sun and the boats and the mating rituals of the under 20's. I kept my top on, didn't want to embarrass the poor girls with what REAL boobs look like. (Real fabulous, I might add.) I read my book, Diana Gabladon's latest, and sent a couple texts on my phone. Nice, lazy.

I walked home, listening to my walkies dance mix on the iTouch and just enjoying the feeling of being healthy, warm, full of energy and alive. While I walked, a message came in from work, a complimentary one from the big boss about something I had done last week. Damn, what the hell is going on that today seems to be my karmic high? Pancakes, steak, beach, sun, tan, walkies and now a good email from work? I started to float. It is possible to float when walking.

Got home and decided to go ahead and make it a REALLY perfect day and opened a bottle of prosecco I brought back from Rome. Had a shower. Cleaned up my room while drinking bubbly, listening to music and dancing.

Am now in a white sundress, with something approaching a tan, smelling the grill heating up, and thinking I'll probably watch some episodes of Mad Men later on.

I love summer in Norway. I really do.

Life's a beach

Life's a beach, originally uploaded by karlakp.

On the oslofjord.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Wow, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Check out these amazing flowers at the park. Ah spring......

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Random picture day!

Me in front of Angkor Wat.