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!

Friday, July 29, 2011

the dub.jpg

the dub.jpg by karlakp
the dub.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.


Had a great night out at the Dub last night with my hell raiser buddies, Corinne, Tressa and Karen (The Blogless Scot). We giggled drank laughed and hollered. A proper knees up and yet another late night at the Dub. I swear, there is nothing like a good night out with the girls.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

1000 words



A picture can say 1000 words.

Jens Stoltenberg has become a statesman within two days. He is very impressive. He is rising to the occasion and truly showing himself to be a leader of his people. Somehow I feel better knowing that this man is in charge.

I do not know who took this picture, but will find out and credit it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Freak


So the bomber/murderer in the Norway attacks is a fundamentalist right wing Christian, a Norwegian, who lives in a posh flat right by my office and apparently bought a farm just to have an excuse to get the phosphate he needed for the bomb. So the dude has plenty of money and no humanity.

This is so very different from what people automatically expected, which was, of course, a Muslim terrorism act, by al Quaeda or similar. That's automatically what people expected, what they discussed ad infinitum and honestly, what we all figured was true.

So first, apologies to all the Norwegian Muslims. Sorry you got stereotyped and automatically blamed.

The sense of shock that a Norwegian would do this, one of 'our own', is quietly bubbling up. I don't think anyone knows what to make of this, how could one of 'US' go so wrong, in a country known for its moderate approach and demeanor? And how could this guy be so brutal, heartless, cruel and inhuman?

It is truly shocking.

So instead of yesterday being Norway's 9/11, it was more like Norway's Oklahoma City/Columbine combined. That is a lot of terror, heartache and brutality for one small country to take all at once.

I send my thoughts and heartfelt sympathies to all the families of the children/people affected by these terrible events. A senseless act of useless violence.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm ok

I heard the bomb blast at work. I thought it was an intense blast of thunder. A bunch of us commented on it and were looking for lightning (it's a rainy day).

I walked home from work, the streets are very quiet. It's like Norway's innocence has been swept away in one bomb blast.

FUCK whoever did this.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wierdness

I'm sitting on my balcony on what has turned out to be a lovely warm day. (A bit sweaty, actually. 80 degrees seems really nice and cool when you are from Texas but when you don't have AC and it's a bit humid, it can get sweaty. Texas peep, don't hate.)

Anyhow, there's some strange shit going on in Oslo right now.

First of all, it's July, fellesferie time. Fellesferie means 'common holiday', it's the time when EVERYONE buggers off on vacation. Day care closes, so people have to take off work to care for the kiddos, so they might as well go to Greece or something. It's DEADSVILLE around here. I mean there is no one around. It's so quiet.

Which, if I'm honest, is AWESOME.

You don't have to fight traffic. You don't have to fight (much) for a place on the bus. The sales are on, so everything is 50% or more off (Norwegians hold DAMN good sales) and there's nobody to fight over the bargains with. Riding my bike (when it's not raining) is a complete and utter joy. Streets are quiet on weekend mornings. People smile at each other, kind of like "I know, right! Nobody's around, it's warm and can you believe it's just us here?" I honestly don't know why more people don't stay in Norway during fellesferie, it's the best time of year to be here.

Fellesferie also seems, this year, to be bringing the odd people out of the woodwork. Like, a few days ago, I noticed a woman at the coffee shop under my flat. She was wearing a bathrobe (striped terry cloth) and slippers, her hair wet, obviously fresh out of the shower. Yet there she was, in public, at a trendy coffeehouse, bringing her latte or whatever out to a table on the terrace, with her paper under her arm, obviously ready to settle in for a good morning coffee coze. I'm all like, "Dude, what up? This ain't your kitchen nook, honey".

I saw her again a few days later.

Then, yesterday I saw her again, same robe, same slippers, but this time with two other people, both of them in bathrobes, too. (Striped, terrycloth.) A guy (obviously with no shirt or anything under his robe as it fell open) and a somewhat younger woman. They were sitting at the prime table outside, the corner one, the 'see and be seen' table, drinking their cappucinos, reading their papers, slippers hanging off their toes, comfy as if they were in their living rooms. BUT THEY WERE NOT DRESSED FOR BEING IN PUBLIC!

Is this a trend? A flash (literally) mob? A protest? Performance art? A wry commentary on fashion, appropriateness and the cafe culture of Oslo?

I honestly don't know.

My mamma always taught me, a southern girl, that you never leave the house in house clothes, meaning sweats, flip flops, yoga pants, etc. So for me to see people sitting in their bathrobes out in public, honey, I swear, it gave me a turn. (Read those sentences in a southern accent, please.) There is NO WAY I will join that party. (Though I might ask them why they are doing it, next time I see them.)

Summertime in Oslo. I honestly, sincerely and completely love it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the wall

IMG-20110719-00640.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20110719-00640.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

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The forbidding entrance of the US Embassy, where I stand in line. I'm pretty sure pictures are forbidden.

Monday, July 18, 2011

curtains (small things make me happy)

IMG-20110718-00638.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20110718-00638.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

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This makes me happy. I bought these vintage hand embroidered curtains at a textile market in Tunisia and packed them away to make a quilt. Realized this weekend they fit my window perfectly so hung them up. Little things make one happy!

two weeks!

Props to the US Embassy. They got my new passport done in two weeks! I am impressed.

Just in time for me to now go renew my Norwegian residency permit (and do the name change thing in Norway, too.)

I don't think men appreciate the pain in the ass factor of women changing their names, nor do they, I think, really appreciate the act of the name change itself. It really is a big deal, changing your name to show the world that you are in this relationship with this guy. I'm still a bit wigged out about it. (Ok OK I'm 18 years late doing it, but still.) (And by the way, honey, you still owe me an anniversary card or flowers or something for this year......)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

obsessed

That brown green line is my carb percentage intake over the last three months. See how it goes down towards the end? That's me starting this low carb thing, which, by the way, is WORKING.

As a true Instant Gratification Girl, this is my new obsession.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The diet takes hold


Well, I think I posted a while ago that I was starting a diet. It's been going ok, mostly, I mean, I have definitely not GAINED any weight, but I haven't really been losing, either. My tummy is a little flatter, which is the goal of this whole exercise but.....I want to get back to the picture, on the left, there, when I was about 20 lbs lighter. (and 10 years younger but WHATEVER.)

I had to kick it up a notch. I'm going low carb.

Yeah, I know, EVERYONE is doing it and low carb people are SO annoying because they natter on and on bout how many grams of carbs they are taking in and what they eat and so on. (BTW, discovered a totally yummy low carb treat today. Take some pre cooked refrigerated shrimp, rinse, add to a bowl with some chopped avocado and a dollop of aioli and you have a hellaciously yummy little low carb salad. I ate it with a Wasa knekkebrod for a little crunch. Yummers.) (Sorry. SEE WHAT I MEAN?)

My grandmother (my Dad's mom, the most elegant woman I've ever known) always swore that bread and starchy foods make one fat. I always thought that was interesting, I mean, she came of age in the late 20's so that old nugget about starch had been around for a while. She did always manage to keep a pretty svelte figure, for someone for whom exercise was gardening and that was IT. And damn if I am not JUST like her, in so many ways. What worked for her, might work for me too. I DO know that I feel better when I don't eat a lot of rice or potatoes, though I also have that intense craving for a damn bite of bread, already. (I'm DYING over here.) (And I am a fan of the crunchy, I looked at pork rinds the other day at the grocery store but can't quite go there yet.)

My version of low carb is fairly moderate: keep it under 100 grams a day, less if possible. Yesterday I managed 40. I am trying really hard to not have the sugar in my morning coffee, but the health food store alternative sweetener (stevia) isn't doing it for me (it tastes like licorice!), and I can't do artificial sweeteners (migraines!). So the sugar might have to remain. When I get hormonal (gals YOU know) if I want bread/that -amazing- pastry -at -the- bakery -by -work -where -the -cute -guy -works, then I shall have some. But, overall, I can totally do this low carb thing as it also allows me to have my rosé occasionally, which, as we all know, is Karla Juice. (I hear cava and prosecco are low carb, which is even BETTER news.)

The main thing is, between the low-carb and the LoseIt website, is that it is forcing me to think about what I eat and take responsibility for portions and so on. It's not too hard, once you get into the habit of it, which I now am. I just have to make judgement calls and decide if this particular craving is worth the calorie/carb number, can I eat less or substitute something else or should I just say what the hell and go for it.

I lost a half a pound after 3 days. I'm calling that progress.

Friday, July 08, 2011

friday in the park.jpg

friday in the park.jpg by karlakp
friday in the park.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Well that wasn't so bad at all.

So I went to the Embassy to get my new passport (and do my name change, I figure after being married for 18 years, the relationship might stick, so I am going ahead with the name change).

I have to say, it was rather pain free. In fact there is one guy working there, they refer to him as The Officer, who is actually quite cool and I wouldn't mind having a beer with him.

Granted, there were lines out the door and around the corner, full of college students trying to get visas to study in the US. But as an American Citizen, my tax dollars finally get me something so I zipped to the front in my own VIP Citizen line, and evil glares from those behind the velvet ropes notwithstanding, got right in and out of there within about 15 minutes. Name change and all.

I still have to change it on the social security card, and also change it with the folkregister in Norway, which I think will be a bit more red tape-esque, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm just glad that I am finally changing my name (and getting rid of my middle name, which I have always hated and which I won't tell you anyhow, so don't ask.)

For right now, I

Sunday, July 03, 2011

happy july 4th!

I don't really have much to say, in that, there is too much to say so I usually just end up not posting. Which explains my silence of late.

So. What's up.

Um...there's a July 4th celebration at Frogner park today. I'll probably go, as I do most years, but I never really like it. (I've never been a flag waving Amurcan patriot, to do it once a year feels false no matter where I do it.) (I do enjoy the part where me and some friends ignore the July 4th stuff, plunk down picnic blankets, and make occasional forays into the crowd to scare up a snack and then we all just laze around in the park and chat.) I don't mean to sound ungrateful or jaded, but it's like they created a party in 1990, said, 'Hey Americans will love this" and then roll out the exact same thing every year thereafter. And they have all sort of "American" stuff, but it's not really American, it's Norwegian American, and dangit, I'd kill for a really good breakfast taco or a plate of fajitas (hold the parsley, please, Norwegian chef, HOLD THE FRIGGING PARSLEY!) and not a plate of what a well meaning Norwegian/American THINKS I will like as an American. I know, I KNOW, that's awful, but I was never a huge fan of July 4th celebrations even back in the States, to be honest, so to go to the one here and suddenly be all 'Ra Ra' about American stuff and then have American stuff like Coke! and Hot Dogs! and Line Dancing! (no really, there's line dancing, and NO I don't know how to do it even though I am from Texas!) be put forward like it's all so great....meh.

Well, it is a nice excuse, like I said, to hang out in the park with some friends. But I don't wave flags. Not my style.

If I want to celebrate my American-ness and be what I consider patriotic, then that would be going to a dive bar in Austin (like Deep Eddy or the Mean Eyed Cat) or in Oslo (the Dub or F&B or the Rock In) wearing my boots, kicking back with a Lone Star and hearing some blues/country band warbling around while I sweat in the 90 degree heat (60 degrees in Oslo) and shoot the shit with my friends. That's my America. And it comes with me wherever I go.

Speaking of American-ness, next week I get to go to the American Embassy. I think we all know how much I enjoy that. I need to get a new passport, mine is running out of pages, even though I have had new ones added twice, and there is no more room for stamps or visas. I've got a year and some months left on it, but they won't add more pages, so I gotta get a new passport. I might have to take a prophelactic xanax, I get angry every time I go there.....I mean, they don't even let you bring in your PHONE or a book, and then all you have to entertain you are jingoistic propaganda videos of the US with happy shiny people and amber waves of grain. barf.

So strange, the other day I walked by the Venezuelan embassy, they were having a party, and people were just walking in the door, waving hello and then going to a courtyard out back for drinks and bbq. There were no guards, no walls, no showing of passports, no security cameras. Just people enjoying their fellow countrymen on a nice day. Contrast that to the US Embassy, where the security is so tight you can hardly walk by the joint without getting strip searched. If they DO have a party you have to register online, bring your passport and STILL get searched, once you get past the iron gates, guys with guns, security cameras, police and metal detectors.

No wonder people hate us.

**edit: A few hours after the original post, I must say, the food has improved over the years and I can say that there is some pretty good bbq happening there right now. And pecan pie! No parsley in sight....