Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And....it's over

Tomorrow I go back to Norway. Today is a grey cold day in Missouri, which fits my mood.

This morning I did my traditional last day errands:
  • Mail stuff back to Norway that is too heavy for the suitcase, takes up too much space, or that I won't need until later (this time it was two boxes that together weighed 30lbs),
  • Mail back stuff I had ordered from catalogues that didn't work out (2 dresses from J Peterman, I kept one),
  • Last trip to Walmart (only game in town) for incidentals like scrubby sponges, cold medicine, cherry Twizzlers and Ro-tel that I always like to bring back with me,
  • One nostalgic trip to a fast food joint (this time being Taco Smell for a mexi melt).
I did the majority of the packing this morning, and I think I will just barely squeak by the weight limits. Even though I upgraded to business class on BA, and they allow me three suitcases, I am only bringing two as that is all I can manage. Unfortunately the first leg of my trip is with American, and they ALWAYS try to give me shit over my luggage and try to charge me for an extra suitcase (they allow one). I will not pay American $50 for the privilege of carrying my luggage on the first 1/15th of the distance back to Norway! I have won the fight every time, though, I just patiently allow them to figure it out.

So now I am back from the errands, waiting for one last delivery of something I ordered, and also a delivery of a surprise for my mom. I rather enjoy spoiling my parents now....nice to feel I can give them back a little of what they gave me. Spending time with my mom reveals more and more to me what an awesome person she is, and also what a total and complete GOOBER she is. I mean, I know I'm goofy but, holy hell, that woman is a paragon of the goofy arts. She's always making faces, joking, snorting, laughing, dancing and generally being hilarious. If I am even 1/10th as funny as her, I can see why people tell me I am funny, too. Dad's funny, too, but he is also very intense and can take things a bit too seriously at times, and so sometimes when I joke with him, his mind doesn't quite get that I am teasing him and he reacts as if I am being serious. Mom always gets it, though, and then we just sit there silently and look at him while he reacts and curses and defends....and then he just says "oh" and shuts up. Hee hee, I love that.

And now I just tried to check in online but of course I can't because American Airlines and British Airways, while they code share, can't get their shit together enough to allow me to check in online for the whole flight. BA sends me to American's website, and then American sends me back to BA's. I HATE this part, why can't they communicate enough to let me check in online for the whole flight like I am supposed to, instead of making me check in piecemeal for just parts of it.

Well, a few more hours, then. I'll make some tortilla soup tonight to give mom a rest from cooking, pack up the last incidentals, and that is it for this trip!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Karaoke Karla

This is me singing karaoke at my friend Margaret's (and also Clark's) birthday at the Highball in Austin. I sang Joan Jett's "Do You Wanna Touch". Loudly and tunelessly, but definitely with bravado.

Rock n Roll, bitches, Rock n Roll.

Photo credit to Rafael Rodriguez.

Things that happen when I visit my family

This is by no means an exhaustive list.
  • Giggles.
  • Guffaws.
  • Some hollerin' (usually by Dad.)
  • Farting (my brother, though Mom has done herself proud this visit)
  • A visit to Walmart, as there is really no place else to shop.
  • I needed toothpaste.
  • A walk in the woods
  • Comments on the level of water in the creek (high, it rained)
  • A lot of eating.
  • Some more eating.
  • Drinking wine
  • And more eating
  • Which makes the farts recommence
  • My brother actually farts directly in my face in a very sneaky and awful walk by farting.
  • I give him a wedgie.
  • We watch a movie
  • First we argue over which one to watch.
  • The boys wants shoot-em-up or car movies
  • Us girls want something less testosterone-y.
  • We settle on 'Adventures in Babysitting".
  • (Both the boys think Elizabeth Shue was the cutest girl to ever appear in a movie)
  • Dad hollers that the TV is too loud.
  • Mom says she can't hear it
  • Mom guards the remote and immediately turns down the movie everytime music plays or something loud happens
  • Both parents complain about how the noise levels vary, and how much that bothers them
  • This always stresses me, the constant attention to TV noise levels.
  • Like what, will it KILL them if it gets a bit louder?
  • Mom pounces on that remote like a kitten on a mouse.
  • They both fall asleep within 5 minutes of the movie starting
  • So it doesn't matter anyhow.
  • At 10 on the dot we switch to the news.
  • We all wait expectantly for the weather.
  • The weather forecaster comes on, Dad hollers that he is always wrong and he never gets the temperatures right and that it never DOES rain here like he says it will.
  • Immediately after the weather, the TV is switched off (we abjure the sports) (and there is no staying up for Leno, at least not on the main TV, though any one for the three other tv's may sport Leno or Letterman at the watcher's leisure, provided sound is low.)
  • Pillows are fluffed, room is tidied, and everyone is sent off to bed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bye Austin!

Bye Austin!, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Don't think for a minute that I don't love you and yearn for you. Love, Karla

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the hard part

I always hate the last night of a visit home to Austin. (It would suck regardless because of the packing, of course.)

Don't get me wrong, I have a good life in Norway. A beautiful apartment, a great job, great friends and a husband who loves me (though he is mad at me right now about his perception of my spending while here, but I've been saving all my mad shopping for a YEAR, not to mention not having had a haircut in a year, a visit to the dentist in three, etc etc. Expats, you understand, the shopping when you go home, right? Hes just freaked at seeing the number all at once instead of dribbled in spits and spats.).

But coming home to Austin, it's, well, it's...home. It just IS. I feel comfortable. The freak factor is right where I like it. (There's a dude who rides his bike around Austin and he wears nothing but a thong. Everyone calls him Thong Guy, but nobody knows who he is. Walking around Town Lake I saw a girl wearing a t shirt that said "I heart moustache rides" and she was walking with a guy with a very large handlebar moustache. I just LOVE that sort of thing that happens here in Austin.) The grocery stores have a salsa and tortilla chip aisle, and the beer selection is huge and cheap. I can sit outside in November in a t shirt and feel perfectly comfortable. I can have BREAKFAST TACOS any time I want. People say hi just because you look at them, and everyone holds door for everybody else and men flirt with you and treat you like a lady. I can sit on my friend Julia's deck with a beer in hand and shoot the shit with someone I have known for 37 of my 42 years. These are things I do not take lightly. These are things that are a part of what makes me who I am, that make me whole.

So I am always a bit sad when I leave. The last night I usually keep to myself, take myself out to dinner (tonight was Chinese at an old favorite restaurant, Suzi's), watch tv and pack my stuff up, trying to wedge the cans of salsa verde in to the toe of the new boots, and to not crush the amazing red dress I bought while also fitting in the bulk spices I bought into the nooks and crannies among all the other stuff in the suitcase(s).

Sigh. Well, I still have another week in the US to go, I'll have Thanksgiving with my parents in Missouri and time to hang out and come down from my visit to Austin. I do that on purpose, this schedule. Austin first, then the parents, then back to Norway*. A three step process, three different lives and realities to live and experience.

*Note: I know full well that when I do move back to Texas, I will bemoan what I miss in Norway. I now have a foot in both places, straddling the Atlantic, and will be torn no matter where I live from now on.


Perfect, originally uploaded by karlakp.

This is the perfect red dress. Scored it at 65% off at Neiman's. I have never felt so good in a piece of clothing in my life.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Need, originally uploaded by karlakp.

This is what my hangover needed

Friday, November 19, 2010


Look what I am missing!!

Damn. And here I am in this warm sunny weather, when I could be in the cold.....

Barton pool

Barton pool, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Was there Wednesday and will go back this weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meat coma

Meat coma, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Austin Land and Cattle.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Close up of art i bought

Close up of art i bought, originally uploaded by karlakp.



Last night went out with Bookhart to East 6th street east of 35, and went to a couple bars. First was The Good Knight, which wasn't, and then Rio Rita, which was great. Very friendly, and it felt like the Flight Path cafe back in the old days. We enjoyed that place, there were bluegrass players there practicing so we got impromptu bluegrass concert as well. I bought a piece of art......I didn't mean to, it wasn't in my plan, but I did.

I just saw it and had to have it. It is thousands and thousands of nuts, bolts, watch gears, cut up telephone wire, beads, pearls, little strange tiny toys, monopoly tokens, etc, all drilled into a board and once you look long enough you see an image of a dog's head looking to the side. It's AMAZING. I don't want to post a full picture because the impact is in the details, and a photo doesn't do it justice. I'll just post a close up of a portion of it. It was $100, and it could easily command $1000, I really think the artist (a very cool young girl) undersold herself severely.

Of course it is not exactly lightweight, so I am going to have to find a way to ship it. But I am in AWE of the amount of work that went into it, it is simply stunning, and oddly elegant in the color usage (dulled metallics) and the way it gleams. It's a wierd mix of ugly things that have created this insanely beautiful textured landscape.

I am now forever known as that crazy rich lady who bought the art at Rio Rita. (You should've seen the artist, you would've thought I had just told her she won the lottery when I said I wanted to buy it. That felt good.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random Austin

  • Got a clean check up at my awesome dentist today.
  • Been going to her for 15 years.
  • Love her.
  • She has almost the exact same name as me.
  • Saw a perfect, GLORIOUS mullet today.
  • Got a haircut.
  • NOT a mullet.
  • Went back to my natural color.
  • I think.
  • I mean, I haven't really seen my natural color since I was 14 or so.
  • Have highlighted, lowlighted, used Sun In, or generally had some version of reddish something since 14.
  • But now, I am auburn again.
  • I love it.
  • Went around Town Lake again.
  • My favorite walk in the world.
  • Then found a patch of grass in Zilker Park, laid down on it, and examined the sky.
  • It was blue.
  • And perfect.
  • Had Chipotle for lunch.
  • Can they open one in Norway, PLEASE?????
  • Met my friend Bookhart for drinks and dinner in East Austin.
  • Ate at the Good Knight.
  • It wasn't that good, it was sort of the OK Knight.
  • Odd place, they are trying to be a gastropub, but they are missing the mark.
  • Then went to Rio Rita.
  • LOVE.
  • LOVE.
  • LOVE that place.
  • I bought art.
  • AT Rio Rita.
  • Staff art show.
  • Some really talented people.
  • And now I have to find a way to get it back to Norway.
  • I fell in love with it on sight.
  • It's the most amazingly detailed intricate thing I have ever seen.
  • It cost a hundred bucks.
  • It looks like a million.
  • Well, at least a thousand.
  • Tomorrow lunch and dinner with friends.
  • And either shopping or some more sun time.
  • This is a perfect week.
  • Content.


Now, originally uploaded by karlakp.

My view right now

Monday, November 15, 2010


Austin, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Obligatory shot of Austin from Town Lake trail. Insert usual maudlin reminiscence here. Wahh!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Howdy Y'all

Howdy from Texas. Yeeha!

My flight to Houston was smooth and very nice. I upgraded my ticket to business class with miles, and damn that is just WORTH it. So worth it. I scored a seat on the upper deck, something I have always wanted to do. I flew in a backward facing seat, which seemed odd during takeoff and landing, but other than that, I didn't even notice. They fed me about 43 little glasses of wine and some shrimpy starter and some meaty main and a really good dessert. And then I rolled out the flat bed and slept.

So I landed in Houston in good shape, but with very bad plane hair (what is UP with that?) and my brother picked me up at the airport. It was warm out, but not too warm, just nice. Soft Texas air. Lovely. We headed back to his house where my sister in law Kathy had some sushi she picked up for us all ready to go and it was yummylicious. I crashed at about 10 in their very comfy guest room and listened to a nice Texas rainfall pitter patter out side.

Next morning up, shower, and Chuck and I went to breakfast at IHOP. American food is BIG. After guzzling everything in sight ( the waitress asked me if I wanted a side of Tums or Rolaids with that, which I thought was hilarious) I took off to Austin, with a brief stop at some outlets, of course. Yesterday was a beautiful cool day, so I drove to Austin with the top down on the little Cabrio Chuck lends me and had a great time rocking out to whatever AOR music showed up on the radio. Driving in a convertible does good things for my hair....it was BIG.

Got to Austin at about 5pm. Checked in to the hotel I booked just for that night, changed clothes, and headed out to meet my friends Nick and Anne at the bar at the Stephen F. My friend Julia decided to join us, so, lucky me, I got to spend the evening with two of my oldest (as in, know for many years) friends! And it was Anne's birthday, too. I have known Julia since I was 5 and Anne since about 12. We had a crazy night, it's always a crazy night when you meet up with Nick and Anne. They are so well suited and live with such joie de vivre. After the Stephen F we went on to some other bars, and more drinks, and other bars and ate dinner and had more drinks, until finally went to a dance club, where the picture of Anne, below, was taken in the unisex bathroom. (She just posed, she wasn't actually peeing, by the way.) Oh God I laughed so hard. Anne kept screaming "Take the picture! TAKE THE PICTURE BEFORE SOMEONE COMES IN! MY ASS IS OUT!!!" But I was laughing so hard it was very difficult to take the picture......

I also discovered, sadly, that I still am a total snob about the music I will dance to, and last night was no exception. I hated the music at the club, so just couldn't dance to it. I like my music angry or house, but I don't like poppy gay bar music, which is what they were playing. Also, we were older by at least 15 years than anyone there. And I really kind of didn't give a fuck. Which was nice, because I could look around and see the place and the people with these new eyes, as oppose to how I used to look at a club, which was all "Ohmygod do I look ok, am I dancing cool enough, will they let me buy a drink with this fake ID, am I drunk yet, how long with my $20 last me....?"

I woke up this morning with way less of a hangover than I should have had. I suspect the anti inflammatories I am taking for my back had something to do with that, that and the fact that I skipped the last few drinks and just had water.

Had lunch at Matt's El Rancho with the folks from last night, plus Bookhart and her family and Julia's partner and their son. I crave the shrimp tostadas at Matt's, and they did not fail me today. After that Julia and I went to Last Call, where I was worried that I might be too hung over to shop, but nope, I was victorious with a nice charcoal grey suit by Ellen Tracy, a cashmere sweater and a pair of pleated linen trousers by Magaschioni. I will go back later this week for another trawl. Then I checked in to the little garage apartment I booked for the week, it's so cute!, and then to Target for supplies and some comfy fat pants for lounging. Oh Target....how i miss thee......

Tomorrow....a massage for my sore travel weary back.


Party, originally uploaded by karlakp.

This is a typical night out with my friend Anne.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Good way to travel

Good way to travel, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I could sooooo get used to this. Business class upper deck!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

back spasms suck, or, "I've got a toomah"


So, yeah, interesting week so far this week. Tuesday at work I had this stabbing, stitching, ripping pain in my back, on the right side, around my bra strap, that was so intense at times I couldn't breathe. I also couldn't sit for very long, it hurt too much, so I had to keep getting up and walking around. I finally gave up with the sitting, and left work, walking home to work out the kink.

Tuesday night, it got worse. The pain throbbed in waves, it would get intense and then die off, it sort of felt as if an alien was trying to escape out my right shoulder blade. Rich kept trying to make me feel better, but I am one of those people that when it hurts, leave me alone, because I am going to bite you if you come near me. Poor guy was worried with my occasional holler of agony, though.

That night I took 800 mg of ibuprofen, a muscle relaxer and then later a vicodin (left over from dental work) and luckily the vicodin worked a bit and I was able to sleep (pass out).

Next morning I took myself to the doctor at Volvat. Volvat is the private medical facility that, luckily, my company bought me a membership in. It's still more expensive than the Norwegian health care system, but I really could not sit long enough in a waiting room to get the cheaper service they offer. So, Volvat (on walk in basis) was the choice. I went, they signed me in, I took the ubiquitous number that all things in Norway entail, and, God be praised, I was in with a doc within 10 minutes. The doc poked around on my back and confirmed my suspicions: It was, indeed an alien. Not only an alien, but also a huge tumor. An alien tumor about to erupt from my back.

OK, I lie. It was muscle spasms leading to an inflammatory reaction that hurt like a motherfucker. How did I hurt myself? I don't know, actually, but I suspect it is an over-eagerness to bend like by yoga teacher, which, with my level of flexibility, is an abject lesson in stupidity. I can touch my toes, I should be satisfied with that. I will never be able to kiss my own ass.

The doctor prescribed me some anti-inflammatories and a very ass-kicking strong pain pill that makes me even loopier than vicodin does, due to it having, as I discovered, later, after drooling on myself all yesterday afternoon, twice the mg of codeine than the vicodin I already had contains. And I thought Norwegian docs didn't prescribe the strong stuff! I actually cannot ever take those pain pills outside my house, or I will forget what I left the house for, as well as where I live. Yes, I am a lightweight. I don't like being that foggy, those pills are emergency only.

However, and this is how awesome I am? I STILL managed to roast the most awesome chicken ever last night. I might be a cripple, but this Texas chick can roast a chicken!*

I felt much better today, I brought my heating pad to work with me and sat in my chair like an old lady, with heating pad and ramrod straight posture all day.

I have to get better, and the sooner the better, as I am going to Texas on Friday. Woo!

*Roasting a chicken is very hard. You put it in the oven for an hour, take it out, and eat it. It was hard hard work and my back barely survived the ordeal.**

**That was sarcasm, btw.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Brrr, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Norwegians swimming. It's at 0c exactly.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

In which I get a break from men

Now, don't get me wrong: I love men. Love them, love them. Love them.


I work with men. I live with a man. I am always continually surrounded by men. Some of my best friends are men. I work and live in a man-centric world. Men, for all their nice cozy manliness, are hard work sometimes. I feel like I am always taking care of the needs of some man or other. I have two male bosses at work (and am training up a new one). At any time I will get an email or a call or a shout out from a guy needing help with something, they need some taking care of, they need me to remember something for them (I never get that, why do *I* have to remember FOR them?), they need me to do something for them. For the husband, he wants dinner, or can't remember our address (!!!) or where the pot in the kitchen goes, or what kind of cheese I wanted him to get or what is the code to the ATM machine. Men need constant soothing, reassuring, feeding, and diplomacy. It can be EXHAUSTING to be relied upon all the time.

Which is why? It was so fucking nice to hang out with WOMEN last night.

I hosted a bachelorette party for a friend of mine. By hosted, I mean, it was at my house. My contribution to the party was thus: I bought some paper plates, cleaned the toilets, and made sure I had plenty of toilet paper on hand. Then I took a nap. At 7pm, the doorbell started ringing. The ladies arrived, bearing beautiful food they had made or bought or prepared or created. They brought things to drink. They brought games. They came in like a lovely laughing tornado of food and fun, and all I did was give them plates to put stuff on.

It was SO GREAT. It was so nice to just let other women take over, to know that for once, I didn't have to take care of stuff, that they had it all in hand, they were prepared, and I could literally let them get on with it, and it would be fine. The food was gorgeous and we somehow had a perfect mix of sweet, savory, snacky, and everything, so nothing was missing. I don't think they planned who would bring what, either, but it sure worked! It was the best, most refreshing thing that has happened to me in a long time. And it wasn't even MY party (it was Elaina's) but it felt so great to let it all happen around me and I could participate instead of control. Some girls brought games, and then ran a series of entertainments that was equally fun and funny. It was silly, good natured and sweet, all at once.

I don't think men realize how much they rely on women. I don't think women realize how much we let men rely on us. All I do know is that I could feel the difference between the world of men and the company of women, and it felt really, really nice to let some responsibility and worry roll off my shoulders for an evening and let the amazing power of women carry me along.

Thanks ladies, it was a great night.

Friday, November 05, 2010

And the evening progresses

And the evening progresses, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Viking helmet and porcelain penis

Pin the dong on the depp

Pin the dong on the depp, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Party games!

The bride

The bride, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Viking hen party


Elegant, originally uploaded by karlakp.

The elegant party drinks champagne from a penis straw

Thursday, November 04, 2010

today made my hair stand on end...

Well, today started by my getting stuck in my apartment.

They are renovating the stairwell in our apartment, and it is absolute chaos. They have to chip the old plaster off the walls (it's plaster right on brick) and then sand it and replaster. The amount of dust and mess this is creating is ASTOUNDING. AND, when they are working, they set up a scaffold on the stairs that you can barely squeeze by, and even then, you are rubbing up against it (and thus all the plaster and wet dust and so on.) It's awful, it's noisy and it's messy as all get out. And, to top it off, the guys doing the work? SO NOT FRIENDLY.

So, today, I sashay (shauntay) out my apartment, dressed in head to toe black, looking rather nice, I thought. It was as I stepped onto the threshold of my flat that I realized....there is no way for me to get downstairs. No way to get downstairs without being covered head to toe in dust and plaster and goo. All of it WHITE. On my nice sassy black dress (full skirted dress, mind you.)

Fuck. I stood there trying to assess the scene, and the work dudes just stood there, like lumps, didn't offer to move any of their shit aside, didn't offer to help me down (common courtesy, one would think), didn't stop the messy splashing of plaster they were doing, didn't even move the huge honking pile of shit off the stairwell that was not only an obstruction but actually dangerous as well. I stood, they stared, aaaand...impasse.

"I picked the wrong day to wear black", I quipped. (crickets)


"I'll just take the back stairs", I said, after the pregnant and very uncomfortable pause of them doing fucking nothing to help me whatsoever though their mess.

So, I went to the back door of our apartment, only to find that, while I can very securely lock the door from the inside, I can't actually lock it from the outside. Key. Fits in lock. Doesn't turn. Won't lock. FUCK! So my choices were: leave apartment unlocked and unarmed (yeah, that's a big hell no) or get filthy going downstairs.

I called in to work to say I'd be late.

So, I don't know about you, but when I have on the perfect outfit (and it was perfect for my mood for the day) the idea of changing said perfect outfit is nothing less than crazy making. What does one wear, I ask, that somehow will look ok for work, but also allow you to possibly get covered in plaster and dust and shit at the same time? And also, will make you feel as good as the outfit you were just wearing and are now forced to change out of?

Well, as I found out, there is no such outfit, so I just changed into a cardigan, tweed jacket and jeans and rubbed my way out of the building, pissed off, harried, flustered and late.

I got to work to find surprises on my desk: a pair of earrings as a thank you gift for a dinner the previous week, and a beautiful pink rose, wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon around it.

The rose had no card. No identifying anything. Nothing. Just a beautiful flower on my desk.

I still have no idea who its from. I asked all my friends at work, anyone I might have done a favor for, anyone who might want to mess with me, anyone who I have spent time with or ever hung out with. Nope, nada, no one. And no one saw anyone come in with a rose, and no one saw anyone leave it.

A total and complete mystery.

Which I really rather love? But am also totally flummoxed by.

What's entertaining is all the girls are like "Ooo, secret admirer!" (I wish) and all the guys are like "Who's fucking with you?" (more likely). I'm thinking it is a thank you for something I did, which I am not sure what I did, but thank you for thanking me, whoever you are. It's beautiful and smells wonderful.

Mystery flower

Mystery flower, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Someone left the most beautiful rose on my desk at work today....but who?????

A mystery that is driving me nuts!