Friday, December 30, 2011

IN which I am addicted to Downton Abbey

I've got Downton Abbey on DVD, seasons 1 and 2, that I got in London. I just rewatched season 1, and will hunker down and see season 2 this weekend.

I saw this spoof of it on You Tube, from the BBC, that was so funny it actually made me snort my morning coffee out of my nose. That is rare, as I generally don't laugh before 9am, because i don't like mornings.



If this doesn't make you snort, you may not read my blog anymore. I especially lost it when they introduced O'Brien, about halfway through, when the servants were standing out side the house greeting the guests. BWAH HAHAHA! (Then Carson burped.) (Carson in this case reminds me of my friend Grant.)

HAHAHAHA!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
If your particular Christmas doesn't look like this (and very few do, this is old town Tallin, Estonia, from a trip we took in 2009) I hope you are drunk enough, warm enough and happy enough not to care. I know I am!

Love, and thanks for visiting, Karla

flower FAIL

This is what I ordered from 1-800-Flowers for my mom for Christmas. A little spot of color and brightness to liven up winter, which can be dreary, as we all know. A bouquet called "Field of Europe". Colorful, bright, with lilies and gerber daisies and roses. (Note the lack of carnations.)

This is what she got. Some crappy white roses, carnations (I HATE carnations, HATE them!) and baby's breath. WHAT THE FRIGGETY FUCK? How did Fields of Europe become a Load of Crap?

I called 1800 Flowers and was all, "WTF?" They said the local florist is the one who makes the bouquets, and so they will let them know I am not happy. I'm thinking, if the local florist can't offer what is pictured, then maybe they should not offer to be a part of the 1800Flowers website. To the website's credit, they are going to redeliver what I ordered, and they gave me a 50% refund.

Now, my parents DO live in the middle of nowhere. I totally get that. But if a local florist says they can do whatever the website offers (and let's face it, these are not exactly exotic flowers that are offered) they better damn well do what they say they will do and not try to sneak something by me, and the customers of the website. I mean, wow. How shitty is that?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oslo party remnants

IMG-20111222-01039.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20111222-01039.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.



Oslo morning after. I found this bottle exactly as pictured. Someone is regretting drinking that!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My manky mink

It gets cold in Norway.

I mean, yeah, I know people know that, but damn, it gets COLD in Norway. And sometimes my goosedown duffle coat just doesn't quite cut it. Sometimes, you need to go old skool.

So I finally gave in and went Russian style and bought a mink coat. (Russians know cold, and they know how to keep warm, too.)

Now, before you PETA types come screaming at me, listen up.

I don't buy new fur, and I don't think I ever would. (I do have my grandmother's old sable muff, and a fur stole that I bought from a vintage fur stand on Portobello road.) Not when there is so much awesome vintage fur around. Seriously, grannies die, and they leave all these fur coats around, and who am I to say no to a coat that is not only cheaper than any new run of the mill cloth coat, but actually, really, truly, no shit, keeps you warm? I think of it as haut recycling.

So, yes, I bought an old, second hand, used as shit mink coat. I got it at a Salvation Army type place in Oslo called UFF. As in, Uffda! I bought a mink! Well, actually, I made Rich buy it, though I picked it out, so that he could say, in all honestly, that he bought me a mink coat.

I kind of think the used mink might be the best thing I have ever gotten. It's warm. It's soft. It's oddly flattering. It's comfortable. It does glorious things for my 40+ year old skin. I can insouciantly toss it on over any old thing and I truly do feel glamourous. It cost about 7% of what a new mink cost, and it cost less than a new coat costs. It's real honest to God recycling, and I wonder who owned it before me.

I love love love love love it. Even if I do look a bit like a little teddy bear in it. It has no shape, it's just a fur barrel of warmth. There's sort of an ageist thing around here that only older ladies wear minks. I am still a bit young to be sporting the fur, ok, to be honest, right on the edge, but shit, I got tired of being cold and wanted something I could throw on and guarantee that I would not be cold. I figure, I am tall enough, perhaps hip enough, and young enough to carry it off ironically, especially since my hair is still long and wild and not short and 'set' like the older ladies. Plus I wear it with Frye biker boots. Old ladies don't wear Frye biker boots, do they?

I had a Russian friend of mine at work check it out. She expertly crinkled it up in one hand (it's not dried out, that's good), checked the fur for cracks (none), checked the weight (light and lofty, good quality), looked for shedding (none) and checked the shine and smell (all good). She said I got a good deal and that it is a high quality old mink.

All I can say is, this coat is the most practical thing I could have bought in Norway. It's warm, it's pretty and it's comfortable.

So here's me, wearing a mink. Ironically, yet practically. I feel glamorous in it. I like to toss it on the sofa at work, where it sits, like an uber-luxurious throw, and it shines in the dark Norwegian winter light. I totally get the appeal.

But, like i said, I wouldn't buy new. I like the old. It suits me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I got the butter hook up.

IMG-20111217-01033.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20111217-01033.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Busy busy. Thanks to two friends who gave me some black market Swedish butter, I've been able to be somewhat profligate and used a pound of butter to bake today. How decadent! Chocolate chip cookies complete, next up oatmeal raisin. Smells like the holidays up in here. Thanks, Sweden for filling in the holes left by the Norwegian dairy monopoly Tine and overly protective tariffs.

I have GOT to hit the gym tomorrow to make up for all the cookie dough I just ate.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not dead, just hella busy.

Hit the ground running after my trip home and have not had time to come up for breath yet. I convinced Rich that he would be a better Christmas tree elf than me this year, so he has been slow and steady getting some Christmas sparkle into the house.

He's rather a large elf, but useful for things like tree toppers and garland in high places.....




Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Grrr......

This really pisses me off.(The "grr" is a link, btw.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Awaiting my flight

Awaiting my flight by karlakp
Awaiting my flight, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

In BA business lounge. The next 11 hours will be spent with these 2 things.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

quickie

I'm freaking exhausted. Drove straight from Missouri to Houston in one shot, with only some delays in Dallas. It was fun, actually, when I get into road trip mode I can go and go and go, but once I stop that's it, I'm swaying from exhaustion, kind of like I am now.

I'm at a La Quinta in Houston, a rather odd place with a tiny little desk clerk straight out of Of Mice and Men. When I arrived I caught him watching the Victoria's Secret 'Fashion' Show, ('fashion' being surrounded by ironic finger quotes, cuz that ain't fashion, it's just T&A). Kind of funny. I hope the door locks are secure, though. And that there aren't any little secret cameras in this room. Yoiks. yeah, he kind of reminds me of one of those kind of guys. I'll change clothes in the closet.

I always wonder what would happen if I got stopped by a cop on the road trips I take when I come home, as I routinely go at least 85 mph and this time I really pushed it. I have my Norwegian driver's license, I kind of want to see what they would do if they did stop me and that's what I gave them. But it hasn't happened in 9 years of me having it. Hmm. Maybe it's a magic bullet of anti-cop-stoppingness? I really liked my rental car this time around, a VW CC Turbo. Fun and it has this crazy gearbox that can be manual (without clutch, but you do shift) or automatic. It could be the ultimate compromise between my lust for sporty cars and Rich's desire for lazy marshmallow automatics.

I could see the Milky Way from the windshield as I drove, singing along to Lyle Lovett, it was that dark on the road from Dallas to Houston. Fuck, I'm gonna miss me some Texas!

Note to former Houstonites: Dave Ward is still the news anchor on Eyewitness News 13! He looks totally ancient, but it's the same guy! He's been the news guy since I was a kid. (Marvin Zindler died, though, right?)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Scenes from a walk in the woods (Ozarks)





Went on a walk in the woods today, on a cold Fall day. I'm heading back to Norway this week, though it's actually colder here in MO than it is in NO right now. This is all on my parents' property, in a place that is literally almost named Bumfuck. Still, Bumfuck is really pretty. The dog is also theirs, one of three, though one is pretty old and I think he won't be around much longer. Teufel, you're a good ol' boy.

Argh, I don't want to do the flight back. Such a pain in the ass. Sigh. Can't I just stay here, in the bosom of my family, I get wine in the evenings with Mom, and we giggle a bit, and today Dad gave me all the stuff he has on the family history, which was interesting to read. (Interesting factoid I found out, whether it's true or not I don't know, but apparently my German grandmother's (Mom's mom) governess was one of Franz Kafka's sisters. This would've been in the teens/twenties, in the part of Germany that became east Germany before the war. I'm not sure which sister, but Mom thinks it was Elli, the eldest.)

I don't WANNA go....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Road trip, somewhere in Oklahoma

221120113352.jpg by karlakp
221120113352.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

85 miles per hour for 750 miles. (Ok, I went slower a few times.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why America has a weight problem

This is a bucket they sell at a convenience store for people to fill with Coke. Seriously.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Enchanted

Enchanted by karlakp
Enchanted, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

On top of Enchanted Rock!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

East Austin art tour

East Austin art tour by karlakp
East Austin art tour, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

My kinda art!

God bless Texas

God bless Texas by karlakp
God bless Texas, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

No fucking BUTTER?

See what I mean about Norwegian grocery stores and the state of gorcery selection? I mean, What the fuck?

Can't I just stay here? There's butter everywhere! Do I have to bring that back to Norway with me?

Friday, November 18, 2011

The post about the shopping

While I'm on a blogging roll....

So usually when I am in the States I go on a whirlwind shopping extravaganza. I pretty much buy anything that hits my fancy because it is all SO much cheaper here than in Norway, better quality, better fit and, well, honestly, also, because I can. I feel pretty rich here, when you compare exchange rates and so on. I routinely save 50% and more on every purchase, just by virtue of buying it here.

So, why am I just not feeling the shopping urge this time around?

Don't get me wrong, I HAVE bought some stuff. Got a great deal at Furla on a bag or 2, I finally bought my Frye leather motorcycle harness boots I have ALWAYS wanted, I bought this dress
that I saw online months ago and found on sale and it's GORGEOUS on, so that was exciting. I got a few things at J Crew. Got some workout clothes at Target I promised myself, to help me get motivated for more workouts when I get back to Norway. Got my hairs did, went to the dentist, running those personal errands you have to do when you come home, taking care of bidness all around. It has been nice being a bit lighter, things are fitting so much better and HELLO size 10 pencil skirts, how well you fit! That has all been nice.

But....I think I'm done. I don't have the urgent sense of 'must buy it all now because if I don't I can't'. I don't feel it this go round.

I just want to go hang out at Town Lake, or go to a coffee shop. I just wanna walk around the neighborhood and look at all the lovely houses. I don't want to pressure myself to go anywhere or be anywhere. (Maybe I am getting seriously ill, I mean, I don't even want to go to the OUTLETS this time, so I am not!) This morning I am having a lazy morning in my little Hyde Park pied a terre I rented for the week, though I guess I should get motivated soon and take my shower. I have had a real hard time sleeping for some reason, though I am very comfortable here, and have been waking up every morning by 6 or 7, which is not something I want to do when I am on holiday!

The only stuff I want to buy is the stuff I can't, like ALL the groceries at Central Market and those yummy frozen Chinese dumplings that you steam at home and that I miss so much. And there are so many good smelling hand soaps and shower gels and things, I am such a whore for the good smellies, it's probably better that I can't bring those things back, I'd be buying dozens of bottles of potions, lotions, soaps and gels.

Well, right now I will just carry on with drinking my 'taste of Austin' coffee (they say it's got hints of cinnamon and vanilla, I'm getting hipster irony and boot sweat) and enjoy being lazy in my little Austin aerie.

Oh the grocery stores!!!!

I know I say this every time I come back to Austin, but damn, man, I need to come home.

Yesterday I was wandering around the HEB grocery store, and I swear I felt like a country bumpkin in the big city. My US friends just don't GET the soul sucking standard of shittiness that is your average grocery store in Norway. (Even the Norwegians agree that the grocery store situation is pretty crap.) I mean, even the fancy big stores, like Centra in Majorstuen, it's less than 1/5th the size of HEB and the selection is just sad, comparatively. (OK, perhaps in seafood it might be better, but only in certain things.)

A kilo of fresh boneless chicken tenders at HEB, cost $8 (45nok). I pay at least three times that for chicken breasts in Oslo. A pound of the biggest most delectable fresh large Gulf Shrimp, $6.79 (37nok) on special (I took a picture, the counter guy was all "Can I help you?" and I was all "No, *sigh*".) I pay 99-120 nok for 400 g of frozen ones.

I wandered around and looked at all the lovely sushi and dumplings (I love Chinese dumplings) and the HUGE selection of meats and cheeses and the lovely fresh vegetables and the organic vs non-organic choices and the coffee and the WINE IN THE GROCERY STORE ( I found the yummiest Malbec rosé, $11 a bottle) and just wondered why is it so impossible to have something like this in Norway, the richest country in the world? WHY?

And then people would just come talk to me, and they are all so nice and outgoing and will complement you on your shoes or on your pants without any guile, just because, hey, they LIKE your shoes and want to TELL you about it. I feel a part of this community, we are all chatty and friendly and shit, it's nice. Nobody shoving, nobody giving you rude looks, everybody making way and being polite to strangers. Wow, what a concept.

I find myself in a velvet trap. I love my job in Norway, I love my coworkers, and I know I will never have another confluence of job awesomeness like this again, where I am well paid for a job I love with people that I highly esteem. Also, the security of the health benefits in Norway is really very important and reassuring, yes, national healthcare is a GOOD THING). But when I come home to the place of my heart, and see what I am missing out on (and it's not just the material stuff, it's also my friend's lives and their kids and knowing I am not there for some big milestones and the day to day stuff that cements your lifelong friendships) I do wonder how much longer I can stay away.

I really do.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breakfast tacos

Breakfast tacos by karlakp
Breakfast tacos, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Breakfast of Austin!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I've been saying this all along, but never thought of putting it into bumper sticker form


This was on the back of a tough little Toyota truck. I NEED to meet this person.

I am that powerful (karma is a bitch)

So you may or may not know, but I am in Austin. Austin has had a severe drought for a year now. So of course, I figured I'd be totally set for sun and fun and tan-getting, right?

Yes, but this is me we are talking about, so of course today it BUCKETED down rain, just poured it down. Now, I am not complaining, really, as I know how much they need is here, but I mean, really? There were 365 other days it could have rained, 52 other weeks it could have rained, and it has to pick one that I am here and I want to be in the sun. Obviously, I brought the rain with me, I mean, I kept trying to send it from Oslo and that didn't work, so I had to physically bring it in my suitcase and let it out on arrival, for it to build itself back up and drench Austin.

So, you're welcome. Well, mostly, because after I got drenched the 4th time running to my car, I finally broke down and bought an umbrella...and the rain stopped immediately. I gorgot about that quirk in my powers.

My superpower? Control over the sky by the mere expedient of buying (or not) an umbrella.

Also, in other news, I have eaten nothing but tacos since I got to Texas. It's been AWESOME.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yes

Yes by karlakp
Yes, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

S Austin Breakfast

S Austin Breakfast by karlakp
S Austin Breakfast, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Jet lag has me in its restless grip. Up early so headed to Jo's for a mocha and an Elgin sausage roll. Good morning home of my heart!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It made me buy it.

It made me buy it. by karlakp
It made me buy it., a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Friday, November 11, 2011

rugby surround.jpg.jpg

rugby surround.jpg.jpg by karlakp
rugby surround.jpg.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.


Holy crap I've been surrounded by an entire rugby team at Heathrow airport. Have i died and gone to heaven? Sorry if the pic is sideways my phone won't save it the right way. But i wanted to show you my incredible good fortune! Rugby players! Like 20! In uniform! Swoon!!!!!! (Um, hi Rich. Im just looking. :)

Friday, November 04, 2011

oslo night out

IMG-20111104-00990.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20111104-00990.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Oslo at night. Window of a head shop. Rock n Roll, bitches, Rock n Roll.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

suck

I did Zumba for the first time today. It was spur of the moment, I went to the gym to lift weights, saw there was a Zumba class, and thought, "eh, what the fuck". So I lifted for a half hour and then went to boogie gym style.

It was fun! I mean, don't get me wrong, I sucked and I sucked hard, but some of my old aerobics class training came back, and many of the moves were very aerobic-y, so I just did those and added some ass shaking and it seemed to go ok. I'm still that slow, uncoordinated white girl in the back of the class, going the wrong way. You know the teacher goes left and I go right? yeah, that's me. But I didn't really care, it was fun, the music wasn't bad (a big deal for me, I can't dance of the music sucks) and I kind of got lost in just trying to follow along.

The best part was, either I really AM in better shape, or the class was easy, but I could totally keep up. I had energy, I could do it, there was even some hopping around and stuff, and I totally (but sweatily) could keep up. So I was happy with that. I did sort of realize, mid stream, that my 15 year old sports bra should be replaced, as there was some uncomfortable bouncing and jiggling going on. Also, shit, how the hell did my sports bra get to be 15 years old? Well, anyhow, I'll be hitting Target pretty hard when I am in the US next month. I do love their sports clothes.

I missed my friend Margaret in the class, we used to go to aerobics and step classes together back in Austin, and it was fun having a compatriot in suck. I mean, we'd both routinely fall off the step, but it was ok! We were together! We sucked equally! We would have laughed our asses off in this class, as we smacked into each other when one of us went the wrong way.

Well, just shake your booty and fake it. Teacher likes that. Actually, I wish I could use that at work. I'm totally sucking ass, fucking up all over the place, but I just shake my booty and all is well.

Sigh.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

While the potatoes roast

I'm hard at work cooking. I wanted to show Rich how tough it really is to make the yummy roasted potatoes. So I threw them (little baby amandine potatoes) into a casserole, tossed them in olive oil and sprinkled liberally with sea salt and pepper. Put in oven at 220C. He's all, that's it? And I'm all, yep.

So yeah, while I slave, what else is up.

Not much. Work has been up and down, hectic and quiet, in phases. I prefer hectic. I finished a project today that I have been working on for 5 months. Not that it has been 5 months of work, but more that I have been waiting for deliveries, logistics, timing and so on, that took what should have been fairly quick project into a 5 month monster. But now it's done and working and I am quite proud of the result.

I had my personal trainer appointment today, and afterwards I was so worn out I almost fell down some stairs when my legs were like, "WTF? I still need to carry your ass?" I also boxed for the first time today. I *liked* it. I liked it alot. What a great way to work off some steam. I put the face of some folks that annoy me on those pads the trainer held and went to town. SWEET.

Any surprise I don't punch like a girl? I think I did ok, though was surprised that it hurt my wrists. I didn't expect that! I am loving the results, though, I must say. I feel so powerful, somehow. I hope I can keep up the momentum, though the way it makes me feel is addictive and I get a bit jittery if I don't get a workout in a few times a week now.

I'm gonna go home to the States for Thanksgiving, so am planning for that. I already did my big Missoni for Target order when that whole thing happened and managed to get quite a bit of the collection. Looking forward to seeing it, it's with my parents right now. Need to do my big Amazon order (True Blood, Californication, etc etc.), and then I think I am done with online ordering. I am looking forward to shopping in person now that things are going to fit me better. Ann Taylor has some nice stuff lately, their pants fit me really well last time I shopped there, so will give them a go again for a power suit or two. Last Call and the outlets beckon as well. I think it will be somewhat warm in Austin so I might be able to have some sun time at Barton Springs or somewhere equally sunny and water oriented. I've got some nice one-on-one time planned with some good friends and will let the rest of the time fall as it may.

I'm just looking forward to sun and warmth and good Austin hospitality. Whatever else happens is gravy.....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lazy Sunday recap

Ok, I admit it, I'm procrastinating.

I've been procrastinating on blogging, and you know you are REALLY procrastinating when the thing you are putting off (the blogging) becomes the thing you use to put off something else (going to the gym today). I've promised myself Sunday afternoon gym time, but dammit I don't feel like it today. I still hurt from my session with my personal trainer on Thursday (yes, I've hired a PT for 6 sessions to see how I like it) and I'm crampy too. (TMI? who cares.) But I WILL go, even if I procrastinate with a blog post (and then breakfast) first.

I was procrastinating over blogging because holy hell, so much to say.

The trip to Berlin was awesome. Laid back, no pressure to see everything as I've already been there a few times, and easygoing. I went with Rich, Grant and Keith, so me and three boys. I just checked out some museums, did some shopping (but oddly didn't feel like buying anything, so I think I may have turned that corner of "I have it all" now), did some walking, checked out some of the great street markets there. There are few things I like better than a street market. Berlin has some GREAT ones. I love trolling and exploring and checking out all sorts of wierd old things I've never seen before.

I bought a little painting, a still life, that just called to me. (Picture below, scroll down.) It's just some eggs, limes and a glowing green marble on a table, with a little vase in the background, but I like it. Rich calls it a 'pub painting' which kind of pisses me off, but yeah, it could be one of those old pictures that has been hanging on a pub wall forever. Who knows. I just like it.

Of course, the market I got it at was right outside the portrait museum I was planning on visiting. I learned, the hard way, that it is a bit awkward to bring a painting *into* an art museum. It just doesn't look right, you know? Everyone's all like, "Um, where'd you get that and where are you going with it?" So I checked it in at coat check, which was also kind of awkward, as no one knew what to do with it. They asked me if it was valuable, the painting, at which point I laughed and told them I'd just bought it at the flea market outside. So, um, no. Anyhow, laughter ensued, I, as usual, was that odd American, but yeah, lesson learned. Don't bring art into an art museum.

The first night in Berlin I escaped all the boys I was traveling with and met up with fellow expat blogger Adam, he of TQE, for a nice evening out. He took me to a place called Perlin, this awesome wine bar/cafe that works on the honor system. You rent a wine glass for a Euro, then serve yourself all the wine you want from a selection at the bar. You settle down for a nice chat in the small but comfortable surroundings, and then they offer you the meal o' the day, which you accept or not. We accepted and it was a good salad with cucumbers and pomegranate seeds, and a very tasty goulash. At the end of it, you pay what you think it's worth. No pressure. How cool is that? So Adam and I had a good time talking and chatting, eating good food, drinking good wines, and sharing experiences from our expat existences. He's a cool guy. It was a fun night, and we both agreed that our time at Perlin was a 25 Euro experience....(each). Thanks for a great night, Adam!

A couple nights later, I made the boys I traveled with civilize themselves for a nice dinner at a place called Rheinhard's in the Nicolaiverteil in Berlin. I think it might be a chain restaurant, but the food is good, the service is FIRST RATE and I like the atmosphere. So we had a lovely meal served by an AWESOME waitress named Claudia, who I instantly liked and clicked with. She was great. (The boys were all teasing me, "You've pulled, mate, you've pulled." Hey, what can I say, chemistry is chemistry.)

Rich and I stayed at a hotel called Askanischer Hof. I'm breaking a rule by telling the name of the hotel, I tend to keep that to myself so that if I stay there again, people don't know where I am, but hell, man, this place is awesome and deserves the accolades.


Decorated all in antiques and funky stuff from the turn of the century to the 40's, with an elaborate brocade furnished breakfast room and an atmosphere of louché (my new favorite word is louché, along with roué) Cabaret glamour from old Weimar, it's comfortable, cozy and fab all at the same time. Service was great, they wrapped up my odd little painting in bubble wrap for the flight without my asking them to. (Which was great, as I was worried about how to get it home!) Our room, though it faced the busy Ku'Damm shopping street, was dead quiet and had an extra set of pocket doors inside the entry door to completely close off the room for quiet and privacy. The ceilings are probably 11 feet. So cool. It's classified as a three star, but for my purposes it's 5 star all the way.

OK, enough of that. So now I am going to go cook my (low carb) eggs for breakfast and then go *&^%ing work out. (yes, still working on the weight loss and the getting in better shape. There's muscles and shit happening, yo.) I posted some pictures, below, from our first trip to Berlin in 2006, as I didn't bring a camera this time, but at least you get the idea.)



Having fun in Potsdam.


Nearby Hakescher Hofe, obeying the signs. (I never did get any instructions, btw.)


At Charlottenburg. This is one of my favorite pictures.

They have such lovely train stations in Berlin.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

best hotel room ever

best hotel room ever.jpg.jpg by karlakp
best hotel room ever.jpg.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

This was a great hotel. Loved the room, loved the service, loved the atmosphere. Second time i've stayed there, both times were great.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

what a good bar feels like.jpg

MMS-email

I love a good dive bar. This one is particularly good.

still life i bought.jpg

still life i bought.jpg by karlakp
still life i bought.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

MMS-email

I just bought this at a flea market. I really heart it. Something about the rounded shapes and the colors appeals. Plus I have a thing for still lifes. So, this is my 50 euro German art purchase.

pergamon.jpg

pergamon.jpg by karlakp
pergamon.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

MMS-email

Pergamon museum.

Monday, October 10, 2011

World's biggest dumbass

I think I deleted my comments app thingy. I kind of hate it, but I didn't mean to actually delete it!

Shit. Now I have to find it and re-install it.....

SHIT!
__________________________

Follow up:
Hmm. Seems as though the blogger commenting saved some of it. All the ones before 2010 are gone, though. Honestly, I think it might be easier to just carry on with blogger and get rid of the former Halo/Echo/JS-Kit whatever the hell it was. I really did hate it and only kept it to keep my 7 years of comments. If they are gone, now, no point in staying with a system I hate.

Apologies to all my commenters prior to 2010.....not that you probably care!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

results?

IMG-20111009-00858.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20111009-00858.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.


Is it just me or is this the start of a six pack. Right? It IS there isn't it?

Also, nice shot of my Blackberry, isn't it? Really hard to take a picture of yourself in a mirror.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Kicking it up a notch

So I took on a personal trainer today.

Judging by the exercises he had me do today (something with ropes, then something with my feet on a big ball while I kept my hips in the air and tensed by ass muscles, then something called kettle bells where I had to sort of swing the ball thingy and thrust my ass forward (gosh, I hardly KNOW you!), hanging from strappy things with stirrups and arm straps and so on) I had a very hard time not making jokes about how it all reminded me of the episode of Sex & the City when Samantha experimented with a sex swing. I kept getting mental images of everyone in that gym hanging upside down and nekkid as jaybirds. I managed not to make the joke, as, poor kid, he just met me. I've learned that the average younger Norwegian needs time to get used to me. I'm like a fine wine or scotch....it takes time to fully appreciate all my flavors and nuances.

This is obviously not conducive to a serious workout. And my trainer has NO idea what he is up against with me. He is a sweet, blonde, sculpted, eager trainer trying to build up his clientele (and his English, he wants to move to Australia, of course he does, sweet dear, they all do). I am a 43 year old, possibly *slightly* jaded, possibly slightly scary Texan gal with a wicked naughty sense of humor, a ready quip, a sardonic grin and a tendency to not take things very seriously. However, I also have an ass that I want to shrink, so if he wants me to hang upside down from those ropes, holding a ball of some sort, while singing "Alt for Norge" in my best operatic voice and flexing my abs, I will do so.

I'm certainly paying him enough for the privilege of him putting me in strange positions. But I've gotten far enough in my workout routine now that I need to shake it up a bit. I've already gotten complacent and it's time to push it farther....

Poor kid. Wish him luck.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

random photos of me day

That's me and my friend Keith on his birthday a few years ago. A VERY rare picture of me un-posed and unaware of the camera. I am one of those unfortunate people for whom being photographed does not come naturally and I always pose. (And not well. Completely ruined my modeling career. "You could do runway", they said. Bah humbug.) Keith is also one of those also, well known for his 'blue steel'. So I have always loved this photo as Keith's wife managed to get both of us posers at a non-posed moment of joy.

Me in 2001 on a hike in New Mexico. I was in the best shape of my life. I'm just about back to it now, I think. I think I could kick that hike's ass once again.


Me singing karaoke in Austin. Quite sure I am the only woman you've ever heard of who sings Joan Jett's "Do You Wanna Touch" in cashmere, leather, Prada and pearls. (Thanks to Raf for the photo.)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

psych!

It didn't get up to 70 today. The weather forecasters all over Southern Norway are hiding under their beds, quivering, as there are a lot of angry people right now saying, "WTF? You assholes promised us a gorgeous sunny day! Get the tazers!"

Nope. We had wet chilly mist and not a lick of sun.

Effing weather forecasters.

Meh.

Friday, September 30, 2011

rare

It got up to 70F in Oslo today.

On September 30th. I wore sandals and a sleeveless top today. On SEPTEMBER 30TH.

That's freaky warm for here.

Supposed to be really nice tomorrow, too. Supposedly it got up to 80 in London today. Maybe I should head over there. That extra 10 degrees sounds nice. We didn't really get a good summer here, so I guess this is our payback for the crappy rainy summer we DID have. An Indian summer.

Last year I remember September was really cold, unseasonably cold and early. In our building we have shared heat, so the rule is that the heat comes on in October and gets turned off end April. They took pity on us last year and turned the heat on in mid-September, it was too cold to try to make it to October. We had frost on the inside of the windows. This year we seem to be ok, we'll make it into October fine. This last gasp of summer is a wonderful gift.

I had a nice after work happy hour enjoying the sun with some girlfriends and then (after 5 hours of drinking) headed home in time to catch "Diamonds Are Forever" on tv. Just as wonderfully cheesy as I remember. Jill St John was not exactly the Meryl Streep of her time, was she?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

texpatriate approved

IMG-20110929-00815.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20110929-00815.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.


Now THIS is what rain boots should look like. Just got them today, sent on from the States by my mom.

Fall is coming

It's a beautiful sunny day. We are having an Indian summer, so the weather people tell us. It will be almost 70 degrees in the next couple of days.

But it won't last.

The days are already shorter. Mornings are colder. And darker. I am already feeling that Fall lethargy. I can't get up, I'm tired all day, and my energy levels are shite. I'm forcing myself to work out, to walk, to move, to stay out of bed.

I rode my bike to work today. It's probably one of the last days I will be able to do so. Once it gets icy, once the leaves are too thick on the ground, I don't ride my bike because let's face it, I'm a klutz and the likelihood of me falling off the bike due to slippery leaves or ice is fairly high. So I am enjoying it while I can. Riding my bike makes me feel like a kid, like I am flying, I truly love everything about it (except, maybe, some of the hills I have to go up.) I will miss my bike when I have to park it for the winter. I will miss that little energy rush I get as I fly down the hill through the crisp morning air to work. I bust in to the office lobby with pink cheeks, hair crackling with static, elevated heart rate, faster breath....I feel alive.

When winter comes I will walk when I can or take the bus. The bus saps my energy, I don't like it. Cranky people packed like sardines into jerky busses, no one being particularly polite or pleasant. We are all resigned to the fact that we are cattle on the way to the slaughter that is the daily grind of work. Oddly enough, I like my job, but that damned bus ride just feels so bleak. I think I might try to shake it up by bringing my iPod and listening to comedians en route. I can bust out laughing to the raunchy comedic stylings of Patton Oswalt, Bill Hicks, Louis CK and Craig Ferguson. I can be a ray of slightly mad sunshine in an otherwise humorless world.

Or maybe I am just that crazy red headed lady with the wierd glasses on the #20 bus laughing at nothing. I'm kind of ok with that.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's all kind of wierd right now

Last night was just a wierd night.

Rich came home drunk and lordly, so sleep was rather fitful due to snoring and general noisy-man-in-bed issues. (Honestly, the only orifice he was not making noise out of was his ears.) I was tossing and turning, tired but somehow wired, and just could not sleep.

And that's when I saw it.

The cat in our bedroom window. INSIDE.

Granted, I didn't have my glasses on, but I know a cat shape when I see one, and that was a cat, and it jumped down from the windowsill and then just....disappeared.

I would like to mention, we live on the third floor. I would also like to mention, we do not have a cat. (There has been some scaffolding outside our kitchen window, so it could, ostensibly, have come in through the cracked kitchen window, but I would have heard that with all the glass and tchotchkes on the windowsill. Even so, that is one AGILE cat.)

So the cat disappears, I jump up and am all like, "THERE IS A CAT IN OUR FLAT!" which made me giggle as it was very Dr Seuss like, in a grown up, urban sort of way.

Rich staggers up, lets out a RESOUNDING fart, and we commence cat searching, though I am pretty sure that the sonic boom of his ass-cannon probably deafened the cat and it now lay stunned and twitching under the bed (which we gingerly checked.) (I mean if it was feral cat, and you go sticking your face under the bed...that seems a good way to get your face scratched all to shit, no?)

No cat anywhere, but there was a good fug settling over the bedroom due to the continued resonance of Rich's over active blowhole. Maybe we could smell the cat out...like tear gas. (Well, that's how it was affecting me, anyhow.)

We gave up on the cat, I tried to air out the room a bit, and back to bed.

CRASH!!!!

The laundry-drying rack in the dining room fell over. The cast must be in there.

Race in to the room, laundry rack down, balcony door open (SOMEBODY forgot to close it when they wandered out there in a lordly state, hmmm, I wonder who) but no cat to be seen, and believe me, if that cat* could have gotten onto our third floor balcony via the vertiginous brick walls that surround it, well, then, it deserved to be in our flat.

So I have no idea. Is it in here, or isn't it? Finding a cat that wants to not be found in this big ol' rambly apartment would not be easy, I can tell you that. Is there a cat detector somewhere? How does one find a cat that does not want to be found? (And I think of that show "Hoarders" where people find dead things in their houses they didn't know died, and I go ARGH. I mean, we are by no means hoarders, but this is a large flat with lots of hiding places.....)

My friend Jackie has a dog that she suggests might be effective in ferreting out a cat, she could bring him by. I think we may need to have the dog over for a sniff......

*And then Rich said it....."Maybe it was a rat. A big Norway rat." Fucker. THAT IS NOT HELPFUL.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

why I have a bike....flowers in the basket

IMG-20110924-00806.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20110924-00806.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Me and my bike. I love riding with fresh flowers in the basket so much that I take the long way home from the flower shop. Here I'm at the fountain at Vigelandsparken. The blue bag on the back of the bike is my groceries. Tomorrow's to-be-marinated and grilled spareribs are in there. Precious cargo, front and back!

what s wrong with this picture?

IMG-20110924-00804.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20110924-00804.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

These two things are not like each other. They should not be in such close proximity on the shelf!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Perry for President? Not if you are a woman!

Let me make this abundantly clear: if you are a woman, you should not vote for Rick Perry. EVER.

See, he doesn't respect you. He doesn't care what you think. To him, you are nothing more than an assortment of reproductive organs with no brain, thoughts, or actual mode of coherent intelligence attached. You are there to make babies. Babies that he won't pay for of course, because you probably don't have health care. (And really, you slut, why are you having sex in the first place?)

Nope, you are merely a uterus, one that can be invaded by the government if you decide to not have a baby, and one that doesn't and shouldn't have the otpion of being used when YOU see fit.

So in a nutshell: Rick Perry doesn't think you matter. He won't allow you to have reproductive freedom, he wants you to have that baby, but in a Christian way, of course, but even then he won't help you pay for it because he's cut reproductive health care in Texas AND he has made insurance more expensive.

So if you want to be looked at as a uterus, and nothing more, and you think you will never ever need health care or birth control for your own lady parts, or insurance for that, then go ahead and vote for that guy. If you think freedom of choice in light bulbs is more important than freedom of control over your OWN BODY, vote for Perry. If you agree with his statement that he didn't want to 'micromanage the behavior of adults' by banning texting while driving (which bill he vetoed), but it's ok to shove a sonogram wand up a woman's hoohoo even if SHE DOESN'T WANT IT, and that is somehow not a violation of privacy.....vote for Perry.

Me? As a woman who cares for the wellbeing of other women, and one who is tired of being treated like my head and my body are two separate entities, that guy is anathema to everything I believe, think about, appreciate and support. I think he is an evil hypocrite hiding behind a veil of Christian hypocrisy and prejudice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I wish I was there now, Tunisia 2008

I found this picture in my computer, it's from our trip to Tunisia in 2008. Oh I wish I was there now, drinking their wonderful rose, eating those amazing olives, and about to have a great meal of freshly caught seafood while being serenaded by two astonishing musicians from North Africa that I swear made me want to get up and dance and holler. Most amazing music ever.




We got there a bit earlier than the rest of the diners and watched the place fill up, full of families and celebrations and a wedding party and life and fun and happiness. We were on a pier on the ocean, and watched the sunet while the fishermen came in with their catch of the day. I was wearing a dress that I absolutely adore (so comfy and fun to wear and rather gorgeous if I do say so myself) and there was nothing about that evening I didn't enjoy.

You gotta remember moments like that, they sustain you on chilly dreary days like today.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

fall colors

IMG-20110917-00794.jpg by karlakp
a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Signs of Fall already coming on strong. I suspect an early winter. Argh.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11, 2001

10 years ago today. Woke up to the news of a bomb or something in NYC, then saw the planes, and the buildings on fire, and things got worse from there. I was due to start a brand new job the next day and sincerely wondered if I need bother.

Rich called from South Texas, he was with clients. The clients were stranded due to the no-fly rule and needed to get back to Canada ASAP. Rich was volunteered to drive them back. He was leaving that day. it would take at least a week. At the time he had already been gone over a month, managing his crew, so it would be at least 6 weeks of him having been gone by the time he would get back. I was kind of used to it, but it seemed so much worse this time. And I was worried about him driving all the way to Canada from South Texas.

As the day progressed i got more and more stressed. I felt kind of wierd. It all seemed so surreal. It looked like movie footage but I knew it wasn't, but my brain couldn't really reconcile that fact.

At one point I looked at myself in the mirror and noticed a fullness in my upper lip that was unusual. As the day progressed my upper lip got bigger...and bigger. Soon it was about 4 times its normal size. I couldn't talk normally...I sounded like a character out of Fat Albert.

I called my friend Julia and asked her if maybe she could take me the the hospital, as I was having some strange reaction to something. She kindly accompanied me, after teasing me about my pronunciation of things. It *was* kind of funny, really.

The hospital was not too busy, everyone was glued to the TV, but they saw me and quickly and half-heartedly diagnosed stress related hives and gave me some anti-anxiety meds. They helped, but not fast enough to get my upper lip down by the next day.

The next morning I showed up at the new workplace at 9 sharp, with a gigantically puffy upper lip, (my new boss said, curiously,that I looked different from the interview), a husband on a cross-country international road trip for two weeks, and a country that would never be the same again.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

12 things at once

While I type this my husband is talking to me. I'm also thinking about work and the day I had. And I'm typing and running water for a bath.

Multi tasking? I'm your girl.

Today I took a young coworker of mine out and showed her how the old pros vintage shop. It was fun. I handed her stuff, told her to try it, and I'll be damned if it didn't look awesome on her. It was a perfect storm of style, shopping, my practiced sense of fashion style and history and her young person sense of funk and adventurousness. She was impressed by my ability to find the good stuff and I was impressed by her instant acknowledgement if something worked or didn't.

Really, I should be a personal shopper or a stylist. I can just TELL if something works.

Vintage shopping in Oslo can be really awesome. Prices here are cheap for old stuff (Norwegians don't really go for used stuff) and the selection is pretty good. Especially, oddly, for leather.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

rainbow at the end of the long day

IMG-20110830-00750.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20110830-00750.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Rainbow at the end of our street. A really bright one.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

out of the frying pan into the fire

This week was so busy. I wasn't expecting it, and so when I got back to work on Tuesday after the trip to Stockholm, it was all hands on deck, no time to think, go go go go go! It was crazy.

So I haven't had much time for catch up on things blog related.

Anyhow, the trip to Stockholm was very nice. Our hotel was in a trendy chi chi foo area of town called Stureplan, I can't say it was my kind of thing, very night clubby and exclusive bars with every table reserved (dammit I just want a DRINK, I'm fabulous in my own right, but I am SO not gonna play poser for you people.) and blonde women with big purses and boobs, little asses and brains, high heels and yippy little dogs with swarovski collars. God i hate that shit. Anybody who models their style after the Paris Hiltons of this world is someone I already know I don't want to talk to.

The hotel itself was nice, though our first room was so small it was kind of ridiculous. If you ever stay at the Hotel Stureplan in Stockholm, don't book a standard room, they are really small. Spend a bit more for the bigger rooms, then you're talking something nice. The room we moved to was much nicer and a good size, we slept well there, it was very comfortable.

We got there on Thursday (my birthday) and went for some drinks and a light dinner, then crashed. The next day we took a boat trip out to Drottningholm Palace, the family seat of the royal family. That was so nice, an hour boat ride through the gorgeous suburbs of Stockholm, ending up arriving at a glowing, imposing, yet oddly comfortable looking building placed right on a quiet inlet of the water.

We wandered around the grounds and the house and the outbuildings, it was a nice day, though the weather started getting blustery. What I liked about Drottningholm was the hand-painted everything there. All the 'stone' finishes were actually painted, and with my decorative painting background, I found that fascinating. The techniques and colors and the overall saturation of the different effects, it was truly great, and somehow also warmer than if it was real stone. We barely made it back to the boat before it started raining, which it did for all the rest of that day and the next. It rained so hard that it actually rained up and sideways.

Anyhow, we spent most of the rest of the time wandering around, finding cozy bars for a drink or two, and trying to stay dry but also see something. Gamle Stan (the old city) is nice and has charming alleys and little twisty streets. People watching there is great, too. I have NEVER seen so many handsome men, even if many of them are a bit overly trendy. But still, the handsome human quotient is extraordinary. Stockholm sort of kicks Oslo's ass, it's got all that history and large architecture and gorgeous views and that European Grand City thing that Oslo just never developed, it being a historically poor rural nation until not that late into the 20th century. Stockholm also has better shopping.....

Of course I had to take some time for shopping, and surprisingly I only bought two things, a pair of Arche shoes (very Euro-comfort and crashingly expensive in the US, but if you can find them on sale in Europe they are not too pricey, relatively) and a truly awesome up- and- coming-designer sleeveless coat thing that is so beautifully cut, it's a bit silly. I put it on and I feel like I'm invincible. (Both in black, of course.) I went for quality over quantity this trip.

If you want pictures of the trip, they are all posted in my Flickr page.

Got back from the trip and got thrown straight back into reality. Damn what a week I had this week!

But with a bonus. I tried on some of my clothes, you know, the ones that you save because you will fit back into them 'one day', even though they are too tight? The ones you love and can't quite get rid of? Well now they fit. I've lost enough weight that things are fitting better, I think I've gone down a pant size, and people are noticing the weight loss, so, yippee! Just gotta keep it up...8 lbs to go.

Woo!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

blue.jpg

blue.jpg by karlakp
blue.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

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Gorgeous porcelain room.

Friday, August 19, 2011

the royal rose.jpg

the royal rose.jpg by karlakp
the royal rose.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

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A big honkin' glass of vino after a long day of culture and history.

drottningholm.jpg.jpg

drottningholm.jpg.jpg by karlakp
drottningholm.jpg.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

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Drottningholm Palace.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

That promised bullet post

  • Ok, so where to begin.
  • Well, first, I got really sick exactly two weeks ago.
  • Like, that Wednesday night, one minute I feel fine, the next I have a horrendous stomach ache and am hurling my guts out.
  • It lasted a week.
  • I've never had stomach pain like that.
  • It was like an alien was trying to get out.
  • The doctor told me to take Tylenol and go for a walk.
  • Cuz, yeah, I could totally stand up straight.
  • Norwegian docs don't go for the pain meds and the fun drugs.
  • However, I was impressed by the fact that this doc's office (a new one I just registered for) has an on site lab, that does lab work WHILE YOU WAIT.
  • Took five minutes for a full blood and urine work up.
  • Total cost for visit was $35.
  • My tests were negative for any recognizable, earthly ailments.
  • They don't test for aliens, though.
  • Which I TOTALLY had in me.
  • Also, you know when you are watching a movie set in the Victorian era or earlier and someone has a fever and the doctor and the concerned wife/sister/mom watches the sick person as they sweat and are delirious?
  • And how they are so worried they will die?
  • And then the sick person suddenly opens their eyes, and the doctor says, "The fever has broken. She will live."
  • That was me.
  • I totally FELT the fever go away.
  • One minute I'm sweaty, weak, semi-delirious and exhausted, the next I'm all like, "Hey, can I have some Kool-Aid?" (That Kool-Aid tasted fucking awesome.)
  • So now I totally understand those movies.
  • There's an upside to stomach maladies, though.
  • Ladies, you know what I'm talking about, right?
  • Yep. WEIGHT LOSS.
  • I lost 3 pounds.
  • So a total of 9 pounds lost altogether.
  • Surprisingly, that has almost been enough to get me back to a place where I feel good in my clothes again.
  • Luckily I lose weight in my stomach first.
  • Ass goes last.
  • (Actually, ass will never go, let's face it. Ass remains; when the zombies come, they won't eat my brains, they will eat my ass.)
  • I'm aiming for another 10-11 pounds and then I will be where I was when we moved to Norway.
  • Cuz I had just come off the "OMFG I'm moving to NORWAY" diet and boy was I stressed and skinny.
  • But people at work are asking if I have lost weight and I am getting boys checking me out, in a "hey baby" kind of way, which is kind of nice.
  • (Digression). Why does my husband always insist on starting a conversation with me when I am trying to write or concentrate on something? He won't say anything all day, then, when I want to focus, BAM there he is wanting the attentions. (Digression ends.)
  • Speaking of work, I've been on a bit of a high lately.
  • It's been really cool, I've been the office moderator/problem solver.
  • Everyone comes to me now for professional advice and help with problems whether IT, personal, HR, dealing with bureaucracy or whatever.
  • I feel like I've turned a corner and people actually value my opinions and input.
  • I totally love it. It feels good.
  • I probably should have gone into HR or some sort of people-helping field.
  • My birthday is tomorrow.
  • I'm mid 40's now.
  • EARLY mid-40's, but still fucking mid forties.
  • I don't like that idea one little teeny bit.
  • Life has gone way too fast and I am now on the downward slope, and I ain't happy about it.
  • I'm going to Sweden.
  • Seems a sensible thing to do on a birthday.
  • Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

bathrobe guy

bathrobeguy.jpg.jpg by karlakp
bathrobeguy.jpg.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Bath robe guy! Bath robe guy is back! Sans bath robe lady this time! See, what did I tell you! Wtf?

Friday, August 12, 2011

I DO have stuff to say

Just been too busy to say it.

Bullet post coming this weekend. Sorry I have been so LAME. (I plead deathly illness, btw.)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

swedish tv freaks me out

swedish tv freaks me out.jpg.jpg by karlakp
swedish tv freaks me out.jpg.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

What the fuck IS that? And WHY? Its not a cute bunny, its a scary staring rabbit creature!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

tiny tomato baby

tiny tomato baby.jpg.jpg by karlakp
tiny tomato baby.jpg.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Our balcony tomato plant, given me by my friend Jay, has a tiny tomato baby growing. Yeay!

Friday, August 05, 2011

I'm sick.

I want my mommy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

naughty strawberry.jpg

naughty strawberry.jpg by karlakp
naughty strawberry.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

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Summer fruits!