Friday, July 30, 2004

Some pictures of jewelry I case you were interested.

People keep asking about my jewelry, what kind I do, etc, so here are a few pictures of things I made (and sold) recently. These dangly pearl things sell like hotcakes. I really can't keep them in stock.
The set above is a bracelet, necklace and earrings made of pearls, turquoise and rock crystal on sterling silver.  I call it Cleopatra's jewelry. The photo quality is not the best, I was in a hurry and forced Rich to take the pictures for me in not-so-great conditions. But you get the gist.

Chain of jewels....

Here's another one...I call this one "Chain of Jewels". Get it?

It's a bracelet with matching earrings. The stones are labradorite....a stone I find fascinating as it is greyish but has this amazing blue opalescent fire to it. The stones I used in this bracelet are particularly nice. It's sterling silver hand made (by me) chain in a nice heavy weight. I make alot of things that I want to keep for myself and this is one of them......

Thursday, July 29, 2004

And the traveling continues...

So we are going to Prague next week for a few days. I'm already packing. Or should I say unpacking as I just got back from London last week. Still, the laundry is almost done and I have a fairly good idea of what i am bringing along. THat is half the battle.

In Prague, Rich is intent on tasting the beer and I certainly do not mind accompanying him there again, where I can drink even more beer than the first time. Oh yeah, and Prague is also pretty, I guess.  I mean, if you like medieval architecture, old churches, cafes in the square, palaces, statues and cobblestoned streets. Most of the buildings are painted in pastel shades, which makes it even prettier. Pretty, that is, if you like that sort of thing. Which, thankfully, I do.

Rich also sprung a pretty huge surprise on me yesterday. This year I have been the one doing the traveling, mostly. Rich did manage to make it to Morocco with Colleen and I, and he and I have gone to London a few times. But for travel it has been a fairly light year for him. He sure as hell made up for it yesterday. Get this:


Yeah, you read right.

We are going to EGYPT! End of August. HOLY SHIT!  

He had originally been looking at cruises in the Baltic, going to places like Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallin, Stockholm, Copenhagen. But everytime he called the companies that he found on the web, the cruises ended up being quite a bit more expensive than advertised on their web pages. So on a whim he checked out Egypt and it was half the price of the Baltic cruises...including the flight from London to Luxor!  The Baltic cruises didn't even include the travel to Copenhagen, where the boat left from.

Yeah, it seems strange that a trip to Africa is cheaper than a trip right here in our own backyard, but there you have it. We're freaking going to Egypt!

Remember how I was bitching about lack of summer and heat? Well, I guess you get what you ask for because the average temperature in Egypt when we will be there is 47 centigrade, which is like, 110 0r 120 degrees Fahrenheit. So basically, we will be wedging summer into a week.....That's kinda like roasting your chicken at 500 degrees for 20 minutes instead of for an hour at 350.

There's a pool on the boat, though, so I guess we will be able to cool off that way.  

I have some other travel irons in the fire for the fall months, but nothing is confirmed yet so I won't mention those. Let's just say that this year I will have been on three continents and 10 countries thus far in 2004.  And only one of those countries was Texas!

Thursday, July 22, 2004


Aftenposten reports that this summer is the coldest in Norway in eleven years.

The sun has become a distant memory.  You guys in Texas, I envy you. I haven't broken a sweat yet in 2004!

I'm going back to London. At least there I can get warm weather. Even if it is just in the Tube. It gets downright hot in those Tube tunnels and trains. 


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

This does not inspire confidence

Walking about London yesterday, I was in the Clerkenwell area, just north of the City. There is a famous and ancient hospital there, called St. Bart's. It is a teaching hospital.

Along one roadway near the hospital, among the variety of street signs pointing one here and there, were two disturbingly juxtaposed signs:

Sign on top:
School of Birthing and Midwifery

Sign just under it, pointing in same direction:
School of Butchery


Sunday, July 11, 2004

London is a foodie town

I just had the BEST meal.

I am in London. Right around the corner from Colleen's flat (where she generously lets me crash while she is in the US) is a gastro-pub called the Admiral Codrington. I decided to go there for dinner tonight as it is close, easy to get to and I was HUNGRY. (I walked all the way from Leicester Square to her flat (in Knightsbridge) this afternoon for a bit of exercise, I guess it's about three/four miles or so. Just past Buckingham Palace and Harrod's, how posh.)

So what I ordered was simple. A piece of seared blue fin tuna served on a sort of tomato puree. There were pieces of fresh cucumber scattered about as well. On the side were chips (french fries)....All the flavors together just mixed in such a perfect way...the tuna was perfect sashimi grade, raw on the inside, the cucumber bits were crisp and fresh, the fries hot and salty... I sopped up every bit of the sauce with the freshly baked bread. It was not a big meal (it was one of those places where they have good food, small portions) but it was AWESOME. It was so good I decided to treat myself to dessert....small dinner, not too fattening, why not?

The dessert made me moan, it was so good. The people sitting next to me gave me funny looks (and one guy sitting nearby suddenly looked rather interested) as I quickly tried to quell my vocal enjoyment of the dish. It was described on the menu as "chocolate donuts with vanilla cappucino". Well, my favorite two words in one phrase are chocolate and vanilla, so I figured even if they were crap, they would be ok. OH MAN. This's in my top three of all time. (The other two have been in London also, go figure.) Anyhow, the "donuts" looked like fried samosas or beignets, little triangle sized pieces of fried dough, sprinkled with powdered sugar, served with a tiny little frothy cappucino on the side. The waitress told me to be careful when I bit into them...they could be hot. So I carefully cut into the first little pillow of yum....and out gushed this rich goo of chocolate, all hot and melty. Not too sweet, just right. The chocolate pastries with the bitter vanilla coffee, it was just too amazing.....It was so good, I literally used my finger to get all the chocolate off the plate, I didn't care if it looked tacky, I was in heaven. The waitress, as I finished, asked me, smilingly, if I liked it, and I just smiled back at her and sighed. I noticed, as I left, other people ordering that dessert as well...I guess I started a trend.

I am a happy girl right yum yummmy.....

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Ten Dream People to Have Dinner With

You know that game where you list 10 people dead or alive you would like to have dinner with? Here's mine:

Queen Elizabeth the First
Diana Vreeland
Johnny Depp
Nicholas Cage
Madame de Pompadour
Lord Byron

There would be some interesting conversations, I am sure.

I would also like to invite Jesus to a second meal, this time with George W. Bush, Billy Graham, the Pope and the Dalai Llama. I would like to hear Jesus set the record straight with GWB, BG and the P and tell them to stop making insane rules and pronouncements in his name. I'd like to see how he and the DL interacted, I bet they'd get along well. Maybe he could work some mojo with some loaves and fishes, just for grins. It would be cool. Do you think the Secret Service would frisk Jesus or maybe do a background check? I can see it now:

"Hmm. This guy claims to be the son of God, born of an immaculate conception, and he has no social security number, photo ID or credit record. I dunno, guys, whaddya think? Do we let him in? He's clean, no weapons...just a walking stick...and he's, er, commando under those long robes. I gotta say, though, something about the guy seems trustworthy!"

Jesus would do the Jedi mind trick, say the equivalent of "These are not the droids you are looking for", and go on in.

Friday, July 09, 2004

What would be the FCC fine for THIS????

So the FCC in the US charges a fine of $500,000.00 for a split second TV broadcast of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" boob.

Here in Norway a couple had sex on the stage during one band's (called "The Cumshots") set at the Quart Festival and the Norwegian authorities fined the couple $1,400.00 each. Which they refuse to pay, as they apparently "fucked for the rainforests". (Be careful that is an "adult" site.) They screw in front of other people for money which they then give to organizations that work to save the rainforests. It's a charity fucking, don't you see? So that's ok, then.....

You won't be hearing about this in the US. There is no way the news CAN report it....even the name of the band is verboten.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

More traveling to come

On July 10th (this Saturday) I am going to pop over to London for about 10 days of, well, not exactly R&R, but more like "get out of Norway" escape time. It seems that summer has decided to bypass us in Norway's been cold and rainy ever since I got back from my trip to Amsterdam and beyond. (Today is the first sunny why the hell am I inside writing to this blog?????) Rich will join me for part of the time..he can't get away for the whole t ime, though.
I will be back on July 21, but there are internet cafes all over the place in London (my fave being on King's Road) so I can update this as the urge hits.

Of course, as I complain about the weather here, the UK has been hit by a "freakish July storm" with gale force winds and colder temperatures. And there is a threatened baggage handlers strike which I am constantly checking on, as I soooo do not want them to go on strike on Saturday! But just in case I will pack some essentials in my back pack to cover any emergency baggage issues.
My friend Norway Jennifer (I have three friends named Jennifer...I call them "My Jennifer", "Jennifer Cook" and "Norway Jennifer") said "Why don't you just carry on your baggage?".
To which I reply..."10 days of stuff in a small carry on? I have standards, you know."
She said, "But I thought on your recent big trip you did carry on the whole time?"
To which I again reply, "No...I could CARRY it, but it was not carry on". See the difference?

It's all semantics.

Anyhow, Rich has also planned us a trip to Prague for early August. After I came back raving about the beer and the beauty and the beer, telling him my stories about how much he would like it, well, he got a bee(r) in his bonnet and planned us a trip. Did I mention the beer?

When Colleen and I were there we had the great honor and opportunity of being guided and shown about by Milan Reban, my friend Milena's dad, who is from the Czech Republic. He really went all out for us. We really felt very pampered and special, being shown around by this true gentleman who knows everything there is to know about Czech culture and history and BEER! I do not have my pictures back yet to post here (they are in hock to the photo place while I get up the guts to pay the exhorbitant amount I owe for 8 rolls of film + CD) but I will get them after the trip to the UK. Anyhow, there are some of our charming host Milan and I am forever grateful to him for making that trip so special!

So now I am going outside to enjoy what sun I can before it goes away. Oh, shit. The sun already went away. The clouds are rolling in again. Why is summer avoiding me???? Did I piss off the sun god or something? I WILL do the naked sundance if necessary. Norway is empty, so no one will see me, they are all on vacation......

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Why Bush should not be re-elected.....

Here is a link to an AP article I found on Yahoo. If there is any better reason to not re-elect Bush, I honestly can't think of one.
(Is Kerry all that much better? No. But he's not Bush and right now Bush is a totem for all things bad that have happened lately. Removing Bush would be like removing a big thorn in the side of the world.)
Americans don't get to see how the rest of the world views George Bush. The US press conveniently does not mention it. He is almost unanimously hated, laughed at, ridiculed and discounted. Everyone pretty much wants him to go away. The damage he has done to relations between the US and Europe (and indeed the rest of the world) is almost incalculable.
And folks, let me tell you, being over here in Europe, I see examples of it everywhere I go. When people in countries I visit find out I am from Texas (of which I am VERY proud but don't talk about that much anymore, for fear of retribution), the first thing they do is ask if I support Bush. When I say my usual variation of "HELL NO!", they relax their guard and then they tell me their reasons why they think he is so awful. They ALL hate him. They all are confused by him. They wonder why America stopped being the land of the free and and started being the world's aggressor.

I wonder about that too. Alot.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Family European Vacation, 2002

This is a picture of me, my "little" brother, my dad and my mom at St. Odille Convent in France.
We did a family road trip in October 2002 drinking our way through the Alsace wine region of Germany and France. (For pictures of family wackiness, click on the "Want more pictures?" link at left.) We rented what we thought was a big turbo diesel Audi A6 Station wagon, until we all got into it, when it suddenly became much smaller. But then as most of us (except my Mom at 5' 7")are in the 6 foot and up range, there aren't many cars that WILL seem big. I think my brother is standing on a step in this shot. I mean, he's big, but he's not THAT big.
Rich could not come with us on that trip. He had a deadline at work. At 6'7" he definitley would not have fit in the Audi, though. It was squooshed enough with the four of us. Next time we will have to rent a bus or something so he can come along too. Do busses come turbo diesel?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Warm colors for a cold climate.

A view of our house in Norway.
This is the main floor living room looking out to the deck. It was already painted the right shade of red before we got there. The curtains came with the place. (I am not a fan of curtains, myself, as I prefer shutters or just clean light windows, but the ones here are ok, so I left them up.) On the right, that white thing is the fireplace. I LIKE the fireplace.
I wonder what we will think of this photo in 20 years...will it still look ok or will we cringe like we do now, thinking of avocado green?

Ruminations on style

Before we start, I want you to do me a favor. Go to this link. Check it out, then come back here for a story. ......Go ahead, it's ok. I'll be here when you get back. I promise....

Done? Have you seen it? I know what you are thinking, it's the same thing everyone thinks: Wow. What the fuck? That's HORRIBLE! General laughter ensues.

Now, go back to your childhood. I will assume that most of you reading this grew up in or have good memories of the 70's, yeah? Ok, so think back on where you lived in the 70's. Think. Yeah, uh huh. See what I mean? You are cringing right about now, aren't you? And you know why! Because you grew up in surroundings that were not entirely unlike those in that link! (Ok, maybe with the exception of the horse/garage/kitchen combo, I have no friggin' clue WHAT that was about.) C'mon! Hands up! Who admits it! Ok, I'll go first with a description of a room we had in our house in Houston, where I grew up in the fierce style ecclecticism that was the 70's. It was called "The Star Room".

It was called "The Star Room" by my brother and I, in honor of my dad's really awesome collection of lighted and neon and glowing beer signs. Like, he had signs for Coor's beer, and one of the big old Clydesdale Horses signs (was that Budweiser?)and a bunch of others. One for Hamm's Beer had glowing and fading stars that constantly changed, it was mesmerizing. My brother and I were never allowed to touch them, of course. The beer signs were purely adult territory.

The Star Room was a "party" room that had black and red deep shag carpeting on the walls, with the beer signs on the higher shelves along one wall, along with a hookah collection and dad's "technologically state of the art" stereo with reel to reel system on proud display. The room with these dark shaggy walls was furnished with a black and white houndstooth sofa. The sofa was accented with red, white and black shiny vinyl pillows. (I remember stabbing those pillows with darts from the red/black/white dartboard to hear the "popping" noise one gets when piercing vinyl. I regretted that later in life, as that sofa and those damned pillows became the hand-me-down decor for my first college apartment.)

The room had black and white zebra striped curtains, as well as one furry white chair with chrome feet and one furry black chair with chrome feet. More funky shiny pillows, shades of red and black. Somewhere in the room I also remember a patterned furry flokati, which is basically a big sheepskin. Like the beer signs, brother and I were not really allowed to touch it either, for fear of mysterious flokati disasters, I guess.

The coolest thing about the room, though, was that Dad had a beer cooler, covered in shag carpet to match the walls, serving chilled Coors beer on tap non-stop, whenever desired. (I learned at a young age the advantages to beer on tap and would climb up there and just open the tap into my gullet.'s still my preferred way to drink beer.) Then add the chrome and glass table and "accent" wall that was plastered with black computer boards (Dad owned a computer supply business back then) from floor to ceiling, and you had a room that Austin Powers would have felt quite at home in. Groovy or what?

Thinking back on it, of course, all that red and black and shag carpeting just seems horrendously cheesy and charicature-like, but back then it was definitely the epi-center of cool and all my friends were pretty jealous. I mean, who else's Dad was cool enough to have a Star Room with all that awesome electrical and stereo equipment. (Of course none of us EVER snuck drinks of beer, did we Julia?) I need to see if maybe my Dad has a picture of that room somewhere, maybe he can scan it and I can post it....