Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Right now? Not so proud to be a Texan.

News taken directly from the 'net:

"Texas lawmakers accomplished the one job they were constitutionally required to do: passing a state budget. They also placed more restrictions on abortion, gave Texas voters a say in banning gay marriage and declared the chuck wagon the state's official vehicle during their 140 day session that ends today. But Texas schoolchildren will have to wait. Lawmakers failed to agree on the marquee issue of 79th Legislature pumping more money into public schools while replacing Texas' share the wealth education funding system. Despite a last-minute surge of activity, House-Senate negotiations petered out over the weekend. The two Republican leaders, House Speaker Tom Craddick and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, were at loggerheads, and the finger-pointing began."

Good thing they got that chuckwagon issue figured out, I was really worried, there.

And now for the small print, which is mostly cursing: Stupid ass fuckers, the lot of them. May they all burn in the hell of MY choice, which right now consists of lots of gay people waving down at them from Heaven going, "Nyah Nyah! Jesus wore a dress too, you assholes!". GAH!

Oh and I forgot....

I also heard, today, that our house break-in was part of a crime spree.

Apparently about 17 people have gotten broken into, the same way we were. It's a crime wave! All people in the area where we live. Organized crime. Wow.

Misery loves company and all; I'm glad we weren't the only ones.

Random Crapiosity

I like the word "crap". Especially as you can use it so many creative ways. Holy Crapping Crap. Crapness. The Great Crapinski. Crapiosity. Etc.

However, that was not the point of this crappish post at all. Just a fun, slightly vulgar digression.

Crapski. I forgot what I was going to write about....hmm. Ermm.....

Oh! Yeah.

I'm off to London tomorrow for a few days with Karen and the ever-so-fabulous Ben. Should be fun, and it will be nice to get away to somewhere warmer than here, if even by only a few degrees. It's just WRONG to have to wear a sweater AND a jacket in May, almost June. Grrr. But I need to get away for a bit, I have too much on my mind.

I just got news that a good friend of mine here is moving to Houston. This, after finding out a month or so ago that another good friend is moving as well. That is the serious downside of being an "expat trailing spouse". (Well, one of the downsides, another major one is being referred to as a "trailing spouse".) Just when you feel like you are a bit settled, when you have a nice group of pals, some folks to hang with every so often, someone has to move. And now I am losing two of the five or so that I really like to hang out with. Major bummer.

It's very unsettling, really, I know I feel constantly under the gun and a little wary of developing a friendship too deeply, as I am always afraid that person might have to go. I hit it off really well with one woman not long after moving here, then she got transferred to another country less than a year later, and it really threw me for a loop. Hard lesson, that. So whenever one of "my girls" has to go, it hurts, and honestly, it makes me pull back into my shell just a little bit deeper.

I won't even go into the fact how mad it makes me at the large multi-national company that my husband works for, that they move people with so little thought for the spouses, and with so little help or support for them in the process of moving. I know the husbands are just doing their jobs, but the company should think a bit more about what it does to the spouses and families. Sometimes I think we work for the one company that has the least support for spouses in all the multi-national corporations. I hear of the benefits folks get at other companies, and I am blown away. And when I say "we work" I mean it, because these companies basically get two employees for the price of one, when a trailing spouse comes along. One who goes to the office every day, the other to do all the support and grunt work behind the scenes. The mover, the housekeeper, the planner, the organizer. Why hire a person to plan moves and house sales, when you can get the wife to do it for free?

I won't say anymore, it could go on forever, but to all "trailing spouses" out there, man, I know there are benefits to our international lifestyles, but there sure are pitfalls, too. And I salute you for all you do. I know it's not easy.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Me as a South Park Character

Introducing Queen Evilla, Kick Ass Queen of the Earth
and Assorted Subsidiary Cosmoses

I have not had this much fun with a web site in YEARS. You can create yourself as a South Park character. How fucking cool is that? OMFG!

So, here's ME! I'm sort of a Sword Wielding Busty Goth Queen of Heaven, but with attitude and cool shades and stuff. Look she's got my hair!

Go do yourself! (Um, that came out wrong. I meant, go create yourself. Yeah, that's what I meant.) It's too much fun! And thanks Dave, for the link. When I take over the world, you are SO going to be my Darth...something. You, me and Okapi...Dude we are SO taking over this joint.

Three about me

1. Karla
2. But you can call me Evil Ruler
3. I'll also answer to "Incredibly Sexy One"
4. That girl who's full of shit

1. karlagodwoman (goddess was taken!)
2. karlagoddess (note theme here?)
3. Evil Axis of Karla
4. That girl who's full of shit

1. Hands
2. Hair
3. small waist

1. fingernails
2. thighs
3. sun damage from sunburns when I was younger

1. Texan
2. German
3. Jewish/Scottish/French

1. Things with more than four legs or an exoskeleton (snakes and mice? No problem)
2. Not having something to look forward to
3. Cold dark enclosed places

1. mochachocalattayaya every AM
2. internet
3. possibility/anticipation/hope

1. funky beaded embroidered denim skirt
2. Omega Watch (bought used, don't get excited)
3. Some of my new underwear...and yeah, it matches!

1. NIN
2. Gary Numan
3. Neil Finn

1. Closer...NIN
2. Days Go By....Dirty Vegas
3. Camel Walk....S.C.O.T.S.

1. Strength
2. Humor
3. Dependability

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
1. I'm proud to be a Texan
2. I love to travel
3. I support George Bush (ew, it hurts me to even write that...excuse me while I wash my hands)

1. huge dick (ok, kidding, let's go for tall)
2. eyes
3. broad shoulders/manly arms/muscles...oh don't get me started.

1. Writing/blogging
2. making jewelry
3. planning next trip/traveling/sleeping after trip

1. Money
2. To have it be easier to see my friends and loved ones in the States
3. A spanking new WRX and some fast fun roads to drive the shit out of it on

1. Actress
2. Paleontologist
3. Parapsychologist (Note: these were all when I was 9)

1. Thailand
2. Angkor Watt
3. India

1. Montana
2. Tatiana
3. Bob (Hey, everyone likes Bob)

1. Have a kid
2. Circumnavigate the globe and write about it
3. Not ever say "Boy I wish I had done that".

1. I have an addiction to swirly, fun, very full skirts.
2. I like wearing corsets/tight belts/things that show off my Victorian figure
3. "EEEEK! A bug! Kill it! Kill it! Here's a shoe! I'll be in the other room!"

1. John Cusack
2. Liam Neeson
3. Angelina Jolie

I stolded this from Kjersti.
And I'm tagging Bookhart.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

My Take On Star Wars

So tonight we saw the last (third, what the fuck EVER) Star Wars movie. I can break it down into good, bad, annoying, and cool. And one over-arching piece of advice.

Good: Seeing how Darth Vader became Darth Vader. I found that very affecting, when he was all burnt and stuff, and was put into the suit. And after he was told he killed Padme (which I took as a lie, as he didn't kill her THEN, she died later of a broken heart) that totally sealed him into the dark side for sure. (Would for me, too, honestly.)
Also good, getting more story than in I and II. I read in Entertainment Weekly, that III had 60% of the "prequel"story, which left the other 40% to be spread around I and II. Goes a long way to explain Jar Jar Binks, time waster that he was.

Bad: 80% of the dialog.

Annoying: How Padme, formerly this strong kick ass girl, suddenly, due to love and pregnancy, becomes the whiniest, weepiest goober I've ever seen. Ugh. A study in how not to do romance.

Cool: The fight with Grievous, when he had four light sabers.

Advice: Hayden Christiansen? WASH YOUR HAIR!!!! PLEASE!!!!! What was UP with that horrible hair you were sporting? Were there budget cuts at LucasFilm and your hairdresser had to go? Oh My God, boy, DO something about that, PLEASE! (Nice pecs and stomach though, rowr.)

I noticed, in the theatre, that the usually noisy and restive Norwegians sat perfectly still, and, to my great surprise, NO ONE left to go to the bathroom. Not even the very pregnant woman sitting next to me. She was, however, pretty eager to get out of there when it ended.

Overall, I give it 6.5 out of 10 stars. Points deducted for some unsuspended disbelief, the dialog and whiny-assed Padme.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Loch Ness Monster Captured on Film

nessie, posted by karlakp.

I have long promised to post definitive proof of the Loch Ness Monster on this blog, proof captured on my recent trip to Scotland and Loch Ness. Others saw her, too. I was not alone. I was just quicker with the camera, an advantage of the disposables that I so swear by.

Without further ado: Here it is. Proof of the Loch Ness Monster.

The Loch Ness Monster. I came, I saw, I photoed.

Maybe you can sight Nessie yourself, here, online. They've got a webcam going.

She peaked up from behind a bluff....her inquisitive head lifted on her long graceful neck. She twisted her head and saw me, and with a wet snuffling, disappeared back into the water, not to be seen again. Lucky for me I had my disposable camera with me.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I bought the wrong kind of underwear

When I bought underwear earlier this week? I screwed up.

I shoulda bought these.

You won't see THAT at H&M or your local annoying grocery store...though it would go a long way to making Norwegians much happier grocery shoppers!

Possible Human Rights Violation?

Here is an article in Aftenposten about the deplorable state of the au pairs living in Norway. One of the quotes from the article is as follows:

"All of the girls I interviewed worked over 30 hours a week, many up to 45 hours."

Oh God NO! Everyone, we MUST do something NOW! OVER 30 HOURS A WEEK? This is just intolerable and must be stopped NOW! I'll provide the protest signs, you all meet me at the Storting tomorrow, ok? We'll protest this evil, horrible abuse of poor over-worked girls. Here's a chant: "Hey hey....ho ho....30 hours a week has got to go hey hey....ho ho....!"

The article goes on to say that these girls are forced to: "Scrub toilets, wake up in the middle of the night to comfort crying children and tons of housework, this is reality for many of them," Hovdan said."

Um....excuse me, but isn't that also called motherhood? I'm just checking here.......

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I guess this posting can just be called a "blahg".

Not much to report. Rainy shitty cool weather. The kind you want to nap through.

Monday I bought all new bras and underwear because I realized mine were in such a sad state of repair that it was embarrassing. Especially as I used to manage a Victoria's Secret. You'd think I, of all people, would have decent undies. But no, it was to a point where if something happened that necessitated my being picked up in an ambulance, I would make them first stop by my house so I could change into the one decent pair I still owned. That I save for special occasions. Like death.....
But it's all ok, now, I can die decently clad in soft microfibers and matching sets. All bought at H&M. I must say, though, that I like my American underwear size much better than my European one. My US size is size 7. With a 36D bra. Here I'm a 42 underwear (AYIIEEE! That's 6 times bigger!) and an 80D bra size. Damn that metric system to hell. It just sounds fat.

I took the car to the Subaru dealership to see what they would offer me for it. They will try to low ball me, of course, but their lowball is so laughably high by US standards that if I can just get them a little higher, I will get more for it than I paid for it new in 1997. A new 2005 Subaru WRX here costs about 425,000 kroner, which at today's exchange rate is $66,500. When I say cars are expensive as hell, I do not lie. Mine, I found out today, is the only Subaru Impreza Outback Sport in all of Norway, so yeah for me having the freak car!
My poor baby was pouting on the way home, I just know it. She will feel abandoned when I sign her away. I hope she goes to a good home.

I booked a trip to London next week, to hang out with Karen. She's moving back to Canada end of the month. Ryan-fucking-Air for the flight, but at just over $100 round trip, it's the obvious option. I'll just pack light and take a xanax before I go, so I don't kill anyone.

I've also booked a super special, extra secret surprise trip for Rich's birthday, his 40th. I can't tell you where we are going, as he will read this, but I can say I am totally psyched about it.

And in July I will go to England again, this time on the ferry from Kristiansand with my friend Lesley, to her home town of Lewes. That should be a nice time, Lesley makes me laugh so hard I snort, and it will be a welcome break from the packing and the moving.

Can this post be any more boring?

Next post, more about Budapest, I promise.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The power of the link

The Manolo linked to me about my Eurovision post...and my hit count has SKYROCKETED.

It all goes to show the power of the big dogs on the web. Here's lil' ol' me, with a hit count of about 125 a day (which, honestly, I am thrilled about, I feel like the popular kid in class) and then Manolo links to me....and so far I have gotten about 700 hits in one day from his link. Sheesh!

The Manolo, he is the all powerful, he is the most generous of the benefactors, sharing the wealth and the linkage of the web.

I bought a pair of the shoes today, in the honor of the Manolo. Cute ones, too. The Manolo would approve.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Eurovision song contest; what's not to love?

First, I need to quote from the brilliant Terry Wogan, the British commentator for the eurovision Song Contest:

"The Eurovision Song Contest is rubbish," he declares. "It is a piece of huge, grandiose, magnificent rubbish...and I love it. The British are the only people in Europe to have got the joke, while everybody else takes it terribly seriously. Even in Ireland, where there is wonderful cynicism, they think it's a song contest rather than an exercise in foolishness."

"Anyway, it's no longer a song contest. It's a dancing contest with scantily clad girls galloping in the background while the presenters paw each other."

Last night Rich and I stayed up until 1:30 am to watch the most stunningly cheesy event in worldwide television, the Eurovision Song Contest. 600 million people watch this soul sucking event. It's like a train wreck you can't look away from. We are lucky enough to get the BBC broadcast of it, complete with Wogan's guffaw inducing commentary. (My favorites? When the show first started and the announcer was about to talk, Terry quips, in his deepest baritone, "And now, here is a man with a very deep voice". I also giggled at his comments on the dancers, usually along the lines of "And look, not a bit of cellulite on that stage at present". )

If he did not comment, I know I would not be able to stomach it. It's just bloody awful. And bloody wonderful. I want to make a drinking game out of it. Do they even show it in the US? I know I never saw it. If they do, you can bet that when I get back to Austin, I am so having a party and everyone will get plastered. You almost have to be drunk to watch it properly. I mean, if you are gonna throw up, you might as well at least be drunk when doing it.

They've been doing the contest for fifty years. The Eurovision is where we first met Abba and Celine Dion. (Whether that is a good thing or not, is entirely your choice.) Eurovision is where you get to see some of the most humdrum, plastic, pre-programmed and robotic acts in the world. Where you see costumes so bad, you really just have to wonder who the hell came up with them. (Like the Hungarian act. Could they not afford the other half of her pants? Surely they could have come up with the 50 forints need to give her two pant legs, and not just one?) Where you see that pop music is truly only about how you look, and apparently this year, about how many drums you can fit on a stage a la Stomp. Every act had a big drum number. Do they all have the same manager? And the same, apparently one-eyed, costume designer?

The show was broadcast from Kiev, Ukraine, and I gotta give them big props for doing a great job. The Ukraine has been through so much in the past year, it felt like this was their big celebration of freedom. Too bad their "hosts" were wooden androids with the spontaneity of a tree stump. My God they were bad. Hilariously, wondrously, impersonate-ably, bad. They are supposed to act like they are hot for each other, this man and woman, but you could tell they could hardly stand to be near each other. Absolutely no chemistry, but lots of fake smiles and oh-so-stilted witty banter.

And why is it that though the broadcast is in English, and all the bands and the presenters and everyone speaks English, the French and ONLY the French get their own translations? At the end of the show, all the residents of all countries in Europe (39 of them!) call in and vote for whom they think should win. These votes are tabulated and then a representative for each country calls in to the show (via satellite) and announces which act gets the points from that country. Everyone does this in English EXCEPT the French. And the announcements/point awards from each country are also translated into French. How come the French get special treatment, and not the Germans? I think there might be more German speakers than French in Europe. And what about Italians or Spanish? That has always bugged me. The French are the ONLY ones to not speak English. And after you have heard the French word for "points" repeated 9 times for each of the 39 countries voting, you really start to hate that damn word.

"Un Pwaah" " Deuh Pwaah" "Twah Pwaah".......... AAAGGHH! Up to the number 12, 39 effing times!!!!!!

Greece was the winner. As for who I was rooting for, it was, in order of preference: Latvia, Moldova, Malta, Ukraine and Norway.

Norway wins, hands down, for the most cheesy retro silliness ever. A pseudo-ironic yet also serious faux-80's hair band called "WigWam". Wow, it was just mind boggling. Only in Norway would these guys ever get as far as they have. Like the Darkness mixed with Rat, Poison and Guns n Roses, with a little Spinal Tap all rolled in. One of their songs (I see ads on TV for their album constantly) is entitled "It's Hard to Be a Rock n Roller".

Overall, though, I give this Eurovision a 10. Or, as my nightmares will remind me, "Dix Pwaah".

By the way, Tracey over at Studio Zoe posted on Eurovision last year. Here is her post. What a stud she is...she even VOTED! But I would have voted for Germany, too. Is Schlager like kitsch?

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Clowns, posted by blackbird.

I got this off of Blackbird's flickr site.
This is the funniest thing I have ever seen. Unless you are a clown, of course. Then maybe it's not so funny.

Friday, May 20, 2005

In Which the Austin Connection Surfaces

Rich and I, during our wanderings around Budapest, kept passing a little place that we were both intrigued by. In an old building, it had a nice ornate sign outside embellished with grapes and vines, so it was obviously wine focused, but when you looked into the interior it looked like nothing so much as a total 1950's dive bar/lounge. Tattered linoleum, an old counter covered in flaking formica, home made art on the walls, a back room filled with benches, locals splayed about inside emitting a miasma of smoke so thick you could chew it. Old style leftover decor from the time when Hungary was still under the control of Russia and the communists. A time warp.

In other words, our kind of place.

So, one night after a nice (cheap!) meal at a local restaurant, we ventured inside. I was a bit trepidatious, as I figured a place like that, so obviously for the locals, would be a bit unwelcoming for us tourists. It's called a Borozo, or wine bar, of the old style. Not one of them new fangled schmantzy expensive ones. Wine in Hungary is the drink of the common man, beer being an aspirational drink brought in by foreigners at different times in the past. Your nice average locals go to the Borozo, where decent Hungarian wines can be had for about 50 cents a glass, ladelled out from a bucket by the guy behind the counter. It's not a wine snobs' wine bar, in fact it's the absolute opposite, but the wine is good, cheap and plentiful. And the atmosphere? Well, it's like stepping back in time.

Rich got the red wine. I wanted a Tokaji, which is the justifiably famous white wine grown in Hungary. The man, who spoke tolerably good English, asked if I wanted sweet or dry. I asked for medium. I learned quickly in our days there that sweet Tokaji is a dessert wine kind of sweet, and I wanted something in the middle.

The man paused a second, shrugged and said, "Ok". Then he ladeled out half a glass of dry, half a glass of sweet, mixed the two and said, "Here is medium". I just giggled and said thanks. I loved his prosaic handling of my request.

We paid the man his dollar for the wines and sat on a nearby bench, I with my compromise wine and Rich with his musky, rich red. The glasses were tumblers, held about 6 ounces, and were filled to the brim. You get alot of wine for your money in these places.

There were two rooms in the place, a back room filled with people, and the front, where the bar was, not so full. The back room was where the action was, but there was no seats for us to join the fray, so we say up front, where the people in there sat, drank, and focussed on the TV on the wall.

There was a movie with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan playing. I was impressed at their fluent Hungarian. Really good. Who knew they were such good linguists?

Suddenly, there on the screen, was the Texas Capitol building. And there was Congress Street! And holy crap, is that a scene in the Continental Club? By God, it was! We were watching D.O.A., a Meg Ryan Dennis Quaid flick filmed in Austin in 1987-1988. I remember it because people would point out to me the house in Hyde Park where they filmed it, and all the gossip flying about town when Meg and Dennis got together during the filming of the movie. I was in college then, and living not far from the filming locations.

Rich and I started laughing and freaking out, at how strange it was to be watching a movie filmed in our hometown, while sitting in this completely foreign (to us) place. So strange to see such familiar landmarks right there on screen, with Dennis Quaid cursing in Hungarian and Meg's oddly high pitched voice sighing her lines in soft sibilances. And then thinking about where our lives were in 1988, and us having no clue that we might be watching that movie, the subject of so much Austin gossip, in 2005 in Budapest Hungary. Strange how life works out at times, isn't it?

We told the bartender that the movie was filmed in our hometown, but I think he was less than impressed. He just shrugged, and spooned out Rich another cheap wine.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

She's Baaa-aacck!

I'm back from Budapest.

Just got back a few minutes ago.

We had a great time, what an interesting city! And Budapest is CHEAP. I found it hard to spend money. I repeat, I (Queen Shopper) found it hard to spend money. Oh, shit, I have to pick my Mom up off the floor, she just fainted at that statement. But yes, the shopping still is not quite up to the usual EU standards, and prices are really cheap, so it was hard to go nuts and spend too much. Plus Hungarian money? Wierd. 200 forints to the dollar, and I can tell you that 1000 forints ($5.00) goes a helluva long way. Rich and I got two glasses of wine at a borozo (Soviet style wine bar) for 250 forints....but more on the borozo later.

The lack of internet cafes in Budapest is complete and distressing in the extreme. The one I did manage to find consisted of two ancient computers (do the numbers 486x mean anything?), one of which was broken, the other being used by a very smelly, moist fat man looking at porn. I did not stay. So sorry for my silence of late.

I am a bit pooped, so will make this a short post, with more to come tomorrow and days following, but will leave you with this vivid piece of travel information:

Toilet paper in Budapest is not so much quilted as it is corrugated. If you like soft paper, I suggest bringing your own sandpaper or butcher paper, it would be a vast improvement over the usual stuff provided in toilets everywhere.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

official badge of evil

has made me my very own badge. She made it honor of this post.

This is the coolest thing EVER. I think I managed to get it on the sidebar, at the top of the buttons. I am not sure that I did it right, however, so if I did it wrong, Okpai, you will tell me, yes? (I am not sure how Idid it, actually, but it worked, and so I am not one to quibble. You know, evil and all? Quibbling is not evil...just annoying. )

You are my Official Evil Compatriate, Class 1. Go forth and be Evil.

easy for them to say

I'm going to Budapest tomorrow. So it might be a bit quiet on the Texpatriate pages for a few days.

I know nothing about Budapest, but just found out that it is famous for its spas and thermal baths. This is very good news. Very good news indeed. I am a spa WHORE, people. I love them spas. Gimme hot water in which to immerse myself and I am a happy camper.

I also just looked up how to get to the hotel. Here are the directions:

From the airport:

- take the LRI Airport minibus (shuttlebus),
- take the BKV Plussz-Reptér bus to Köbánya-Kispest then take Metro 3 to Deák tér, change to line no.2 then ride to Batthyány tér then take tram no.19 for 1 stop to Halász utca

Uh-oh! Maybe there is a spa on the way.....

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Driving my Penis

I was talking to Rich the other day, saying how I was feeling a bit sad at the idea of selling my car.

You see, like all good Texans, I have never been without a car from the moment I got my drivers license at age 16. My car is an extension of myself, a suggestion of who I am and the way I want to be seen. It's a part of me, like an arm. It's also damned useful, and, more importantly, really fun to drive. Sometimes it's my release; to just drive, anywhere, is to feel free and unencumbered, I can crank the music and fly wherever I want. But, since moving to Norway, my beloved little Subaru is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity. So the decision has been made to sell it, to help with the expenses of the posh new pad.

But, though I know it's the right decision, I can't help but have some pangs about it. I mean, no car means I must rely on (gasp!) public transportation! Raise your hand if you are from Texas and have used public transportation for anything more than a class trip or a trip to the airport. Yeah, see? No hands.

So I was trying to express these feeling to Rich, of loss of freedom and possibilities unexplored.

He just looked at me and said "So? I've never owned my own car." (Which is true, but he was always provided a company car, so it's not like he never had one.)

"And", he continued, "it's not like you use it all the time. It just sits in the garage. And you could rent one if you needed one."

I just kind of looked at him and said "Yeah, maybe. Still....you don't use your penis all the time, but you would miss it wouldn't you? Even though it just sits in your shorts? It's nice to know it's there, waiting for you when you need it. And rental penises are just not the same as having your own, are they?"

I think he got the point. So, when I sell my penis, I know I can rent another one, but damn I will miss having my own.


Bookhart just posted the coolest image ever on her blog. Her 'Austin Talisman'. I remember her having that poster in her dorm in college.

Read her story. Damn she rocks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Did I mention.....

sauna nyah nyah, originally uploaded by karlakp.

the sauna?

Don't hate me. I'm just a lucky geek.

The wait is over

We got the flat.

Thank Effing God! I was starting to rattle and shake from nerves, like a punked out old car in its last throes of life. I was really worried that the Gods of Cool would see right through me, know that I was not hip enough for such a sweet joint, and throw a wrench in the works. No matter how much you pretend and dress yourself up in your own personal version of hip, once a dork always a dork. And I am the Uber dork. (Is there a twelve step program for dorks? If so, tell me where.)

But yeah, we got the flat. SWEEET!

Groovy gatherings and cocktail parties to come. I need to start wearing tight 60's dresses and stiletto heels.*

*Note to self: learn to walk in heels.)
*Additional note to self: Might want to learn how to walk without falling over in flat shoes, first.)
*Additional additonal note to self: Do they do training wheels for stilettos? That might be an option.)
Addendum to additional notes: Drink less coffee.)

that is scottish

that is scottish, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I managed to get a tourist free shot of a guard at Edinburgh Castle. I like the pompom on his hat. This picture could be anytime from 1850-now, don't you think?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Serendipitous Knight

R001-002, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A serendipitous moment at Edinburgh castle. There goes a knight on his way to work, duffel bag in hand.
I was just standing there, being all touristy, and there he went, clanking past me. It was really crowded that day, but somehow I managed to get a picture of this guy just walking by, with no one else getting into the frame. I am so glad I had black and white film in the camera.

Tracey over at Studio Zoe has given me a great idea for a story to go with him. All about your Average Joe Knight (OoH! good title!) going about his daily Knight grind.....

Hello? Goodbye.

My Hello photo posting software has stopped working. No matter what I do, install, un-install, delete and do it all again, it WILL NOT LET ME LOG IN. I think that the new Windows service pack has something to do with it, that they are not compatible, but whatever, I refuse to mess with it. Life is too short to argue with a computer. I am not one to go on and on messing with software and operating systems. Uh uh, no way. It works or it does not. If it doesn't, I go somewhere else.

I found Flickr. I'll be using that from now on, as soon as it get it figured out. But it looks pretty cool so far. And more flexible than Hello.

Wish me luck.

I know why guns are not legal here


It's one of those days. Started off by going to the grocery store and having a lady RUN OVER MY FOOT with her cart. Apparently I was in her way, and she wanted to get by me.

Hey, Cart Lady, ever hear of the phrase "Excuse me?" I know it's not often used here in Norway, but it will certainly make me move out of the way better than you crashing your cart into me. I am a fairly large obstacle and running your cart into me will just make you stop, NOT GO! And, you punk ass BITCH, I was wearing tall sandals, and so if you think you can push past me by crushing my toes with your cart wheels, well, you are about to open up a 6'2" can of major pissed off Texan whoop ass on your sorry Norwegian rude self. Really, just freaking say "Excuse me" and I will happily move aside. I promise!

AND, while I am on a roll here, hey you, little Miss Check Out Girl? Yeah, you. When you see me with 4 litres of milk, a dozen cans of various food stuffs, vegetables, bread, chicken and other assorted cold products, do you REALLY need to ask if I need a bag? And when I say yes, maybe, just by the law of averages and numbers larger than 10, you might be able to notice that I need MORE THAN ONE!? I am paying for them, after all, and yes, I do need more than one. Unless you enjoy me picking up all my broken groceries from the floor after the one stinking bag you give me breaks because it is overloaded with 15 pounds of stuff?????? YES I NEED THE FUCKING BAG!

OH, and I'm so not done yet. Now we are on to you, Miss Dirty Looks at the Plant Store Girl. Now, you were hogging the whole aisle, just standing there right in the middle of it. I was loaded down with plants, because I am trying like hell to be a good neighbor and make my yard look a little better for the big Norwegian Independence Day coming up. See, I am TRYING here. Trying to fit in with the Norwegian customs and get the yard all nice in respect for YOUR holiday. So, when I say EXCUSE ME, (and in Norwegian, mind you) maybe you could move aside for me? I know, you have never heard that phrase before, but maybe you could move your FAT ASS out of my way so that I can get by. No, instead you give me a dirty look like I am personally insulting you by walking down YOUR aisle. Well, fuck you too, because I could have, and by then would gleefully have, run a cart into your low-rise-with -the -back -fat -hanging -over-the-waist- jeaned ass, but I did not because I know how I felt when that damn lady did it to me earlier. I was trying to be NICE. But hey, fuck you too, I'll play your games, and so from now on? I just push and shove, just like you, and fuck being polite. Why bother? Really?

ANY questions? Repeat after me: "Please", "excuse me" and "thank you". That's really all I want. It's not too much to ask!!!!!!!!!

And no, I have not heard about the flat yet, except the landlord is still reading the contract. Either it's a really big contract or he is a really slow reader.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

First let me apologize for not sending you a card. However, having known me all my life, you know that I am terrible at actually mailing stuff. I think I have a slight post office phobia. I have three care packages sitting here right now that have yet to be sent, and I believe the small children for whom the presents are meant will be in college bythe time they get them.

That being said, I am also sorry that I have not sent you flowers. I wanted to, but my credit cards were stolen and I still have not gotten the replacements. My purchasing power is shot to hell. Rich seems gleeful about this. I wonder why.

Now that it is firmly established that I am a shit-assed non-present sending daughter, let me tell you the following:

I love you more each time I talk to you. You totally rock, and i am so glad that i can count you as a friend now, and some one I can talk to as a person and as a woman. I know I wasn't an easy kid to raise (though compared to that brother of mine, I was a fair walk in the park, wasn't I?) and I sometimes wish I could go back and just kick my own ass for some of the stuff I did and said when I was younger. But I guess that's part of getting older, isn't it, wising up and realizing what an ABSOLUTE BONEHEAD you've been all your life. I am still a bonehead, but at least now I recognize it, and I just want to say thanks for dealing with me all these years. By rights, and you would have been forgiven, I am sure, you should have put me in the burlap sack and tossed my annoying ass in the pond, there to sink or swim, but you didn't and for that I say thank you.

You are one hell of a wonderful woman; patient, kind, funny, goofy and opinionated.
When you sing "You Are My Sunshine" in your vaguely Marlene Deitrich Teutonic lilt, (after my ears stop bleeding), I laugh and sing along with you.
When I am sick, the first thing I say is "I want my MOMMY!"
When I buy that 6th pair of cute black sandals, or that skirt that shows off my waist just so, I think "Gee, I need to tell Mom about this. She'd understand!".
When you tell Dad to "Stop grunting!", I grimace because I realize that I say the same damned thing to Rich when HE chews too loudly, and that I have become my mother . But you know what? It ain't so bad. There are worse people I could be.

I can't think of any at the moment, but I know there are....

Mom I love you so much and just want to wish you a very happy Mother's Day, even if I am lame and not there and didn't send a card (see:"Phobia").

Can I make it up to you in jewelry when next I see you? Somehow, methinks you won't say no...


Saturday, May 07, 2005

So today, when I was putting back a cast iron pot and it fell out of the stupid frigging cabinet that it is supposed to stay in, because the stupid frigging cabinet is too small for my rather large collection of cooking pots, and they all fall out and usually land on my toe and it really pisses me off ..... I thought longingly of this kitchen in the flat that I am STILL WAITING TO HEAR ON.

The corner fridge? It's in the corner! Right there! Yeah, over on the left, you can barely see it, next to the separate freezer.

Oh man, excuse me, please, I need another cold shower. I have house lust.

So I am Hunter S Thompson ?

You are Spider Jerusalem.
Spider is THE journalist of the future. He smokes,
he does drugs, and he kicks ass. The drugs are
going to eventually kill him but not before he
gets his way. And his way is the demise of the
failed American dream. Although full of hate,
he cares about his city. All he wants to bring
the world is truth. Spider Jerusalem,
conscience of the City. Frightening thought,
but he's the only one we've got.

What Gritty No Nonsense Comic Book Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Well, at least I am a writer.....an ASS kicking writer!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Artistic expression

It's nice to know that true art is not taxed in Norway. Maybe instead of doing jewelry I should do this. Would save money on materials. Just need some pasties and a smile. Hmm.....

Friday Q: Weather

FQ TOPIC: Weather.

FQ1: What's an ideal day for you when it's sunny and blue skies?
Today is one such day, in fact. A nice long walk, a snooze in the sun, then in the evening steaks cooked by my husband on the grill (whilst I hover going "Hey! Don't over cook it! Are they ready yet? I like mine rare with a singed exterior!"). While at home I love to have all the windows open and the stereo on so I can dance around the house while cleaning or what ever I am doing.
If I am traveling, it still includes a long walk, and then maybe hanging out at a nice cafe somewhere, sipping a beer, people watching and just basking.

FQ2: What's an ideal day for you when it's overcast and rainy?
A book and a blanket or a movie and a blanket. A nap. Another book. A nice chili or soup for dinner with a glass of red wine.

FQ3: What's an ideal day for you when it's cold and snowy?
See "overcast and rainy". Add another blanket and a fire.

FQ FORECAST: What's the weather forecast for your area this coming weekend?
Highs in the low 60's or upper fifties. Warm spring for Norway. Partly cloudy.

What will you be doing out there in it?
Same as the rest of Norway: "Can you believe this weather? What a wonderful spring it's been! Come, we most go walking!" And so I will go walk. Or garden. Or just bask. I am a very good basker.
It's so clear outside and the way the light reflects off the fjord and the trees.......just stunning. I can see every shade of blue from navy to turquoise and every shade of green from lime to forest.

A truly beautiful day in Norway kicks the ASS of any beautiful day I have seen anywhere else in the world. Really. Just kicks ASS.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Baking BooBoo

I've never hidden the fact that I am a better cook than I am a baker. Take tonight, for instance.

I have a few packs of chocolate chip cookie dough mix that I can bring out when I hanker for that specifically American Chocolate Chip Cookie experience. Some Pillsbury mixlet, where you just mix two tablespoons of butter and an egg into the mix and bake. Easy, right? Yeah, maybe for people who have patience and follow the damn rules.

I had some room temperature butter on the counter, so grabbed what looked like two tablespoons outta there and dumped it in to the mix, along with the egg. The butter, however, was not American room temp, but rather Norwegian room temp, which means, of course, hard as a rock. Aw, ratfarts. Well, it was already all mashed up and lumpy in with the mix, so I went ahead and stuck the whole bowl in the microwave on what I assumed was a low setting, to melt it a little. That was mistake number one. Too hot. The butter melted, as did the chocolate chips. So now instead of chocolate CHIP cookie dough, I have just plain ol' chocolate cookies. Well, that's ok, in the scheme of things, chocolate is chocolate no matter how you slice it, so I proceeded with the mixing.

And then we find mistake number two. I may have over-estimated the size of two tablespoons. So instead of the thick lumpy cookie dough one would expect, I sort of had cookie goo. Chocolate cookie goo. Tasted ok though. Hmm...tasted really good. Might just need to lick this here spoon for a bit. 'scuse me.....mmmmyumyumslurpyum. Mmm missed a spot. Yumee!

Ok ok ok, I should bake it at least a little. I'm not 8 years old, I can't eat the WHOLE bowl of goo. (Well, I could, but I will resist.) So I added a little flour to the goo and dumped it in spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Baked it and it just sort of spread itself around into flat floppy splotches that were not so much cookie-esque, as, well, really nasty something else brown and gooey.

They finally did eventually harden into something that I could at least pick up, but the transformation from basic American chocolate chip cookies into...that....was nothing less than startling. The best of intentions laid to waste, as it were. Really, I am normally better than that. I promise.

But I'm still eating them. They might look like shit, but they don't taste like it. Chocolate is chocolate, even in a melted gooey booboo-poopoo form.


So this is the part in the suspenseful movie where in the old days you would have a fifteen minute intermission. My suspense is longer lasting, of course, waiting to hear about my future Flat That is Way Too Cool for My Goofy Ass, but I am hereby pausing that tension for a note from our sponsors.

Well, actually, I am just going to introduce you to my blogroll. I don't have many, as I only link to people I read daily. Though that list seems to grow as time goes on.

From top to bottom:
Bookhart: my dearest friend from Austin and one who knows the real me
Karla May: another dear dear friend in Austin, she can make me laugh until I shoot beer out my nose. She just adopted a baby girl from Russia. Just last week!
Dave: his blog is completely great, his rants RULE and I love his little cartoons.
Greg: an old high school buddy who now lives in Austin and, among other things, writes for the Austin Chronicle. It's a small damn world.
Fug: my daily bitch fix
Manolo: the shoe blogger, (though I think he focuses on high heels too much). I love his comments on celebrities
Vivi: my first expat blogger crush. She's somebody I wanna have at a sleepover, you know? All popcorn and movies and girl talk?
Ben: my Australian connection. He's young but he knows who he is and I like his world view.
Meg: you never forget your first (blog). She doesn't post often, but digging thru her site can take DAYS, and it's all brilliant.
Dan: I'm too scared to post a comment on his blog. I just lurk. His posts are wicked funny. Seems like really nice guy, too.
FoFuSa: American in Sweden, she is also invited to my sleepover. Cool chick, indeed.
Badger: A Texan, her writing makes me snort with laughter. I MUST get drunk with this woman.
Sylvana: She recomended my blog on her review list, which shows her excellent taste. She also has a blog lampooning stupid quotes made by famous people, I love it.
Kjersti: My Norwegian blogging pal, and my next door neighbor on the Euroblogs ring.
Tracey: Another American in Sweden, and a hugely talented photographer. She's invited to the sleepover as well.
Theresa: American in Norway. She has a knitting blog, which is way more interesting than you would ever expect. Trust me on this one. Knitting is COOL.
Okapi: She's Scottish, and her descriptions of her wayward undergarments have made me snort milk out my nose. She'll be the one at the sleepover spilling the beer. Which is usually my job.
Waiter: Don't know him, but he's a really good, if sometimes overly self conscious, writer.
Wil: Wesley on Star Trek, Next Generation. His is sort of the Uber Geek Blog.
TurboSlut: Ain't no slut at all, she's a thoughtful and interesting blog writer and creator of the Creme de le Creme blog ring.
Last Girl: She's new in my blog world, a musician in NYC, with a great world view. You can see that she just enjoys life to its hilt. Plus, as Last Girl, she's perfect for this spot on my blogroll!

So, did you get your popcorn, run to the toilet and meet all my blog buddies?

Ok then, back to the movie of my life.


It's actually a kind of boring movie, now that I think of it. The intermission is much more entertaining. Go back there. I'll just stew in my own juices for a while, and wait for Dave to put up the Friday Q.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Veruca Salt Says " I want it NOW!"

Would you not give your first born for this place? Or at least a minor organ of which you have another for back up? I'm talking kidneys here, people!

Tense? Me? Why the fuck would you ask me that?

Oh holy crapping crap. Monkey spanking asshats.

I have to wait until Friday to see if we get the Flat Made in Heaven.


No response yet from the landlord (which is good news as it means he has not said a flat out "no") and the Norwegian work day is pretty much over at 4pm. So that's it for today. And tomorrow is a holiday. So I am stuck here, in turmoil, until Friday.

I tell you what, it could turn a girl to drink, this tension could. And I would drink, except that I am still kind of hungover from drinking LAST night from the stress. So what's left?

Oh, I know. Oreos. Mmmmm...yum.

Tagged, I'm It!

I'm It! I been tagged by turboslut.

What I am supposed to do is pick five of these following options, and finish the sentences however I see fit. I can add more sentence starters if I want. Then I tag three people to carry it forward. So here goes:

If I could be a scientist
If I could be a farmer
If I could be a musician I'd for damn sure play bass and get laid as often as possible.
If I could be a doctor
If I could be a painter I would never take my talent for granted. To be able to make your hand express in colors what your eye and mind sees....that would be the most wonderful gift.
If I could be a gardener
If I could be a missionary
If I could be a chef
If I could be an architect
If I could be a linguist I'd be very cunning. (Sorry could not resist, I know that's six.)
If I could be a psychologist
If I could be a librarian
If I could be an athlete
If I could be a lawyer
If I could be an innkeeper
If I could be a professor
If I could be a writer
If I could be a llama-rider
If I could be a bonnie pirate
If I could be a service member
If I could be a photographer
If I could be a philanthropist
If I could be a rap artist
If I could be a child actor I'd want to be Emma Watson in the Harry Potter movies with Daniel Radcliffe so that we could grow up together, and then have a mad passionate youthful first fling.
If I could be a secret agent
If I could be a comedian/comedienne
If I could be a priest
If I could be a radio announcer
If I could be a phlebotomist
If I could be a pet store owner
If I could be a computer programmer
If I could be a police officer
If I could be a politician
If I could be a mom
If I could be an underwater basket weaver
If I could be a reality tv host
If I could be a forensic pathologist
If I could be a TV show writer
If I could be a dictator of a small country I would make the country a cross between Norway for its social policies and the US for its economic bounty. Just think....over the counter birth control AND cheap food and shoes. It would be the perfect country. I'd have a small, tasteful castle for me, of course. I AM dictator, after all!
If I could be a ice cream store owner
If I could be a teacher
If I could be a diva
If I could be a bus driver
If I could be a fashion designer I would design clothes to fit women, and not try to make women fit the clothes. I would also not have itchy tags in any of my clothes, but would print my labels into the inside with permanent ink, so nothing would rub or irritate. I would not allow Britney Spears, Gwyn Stefani, Chloe Sevigny or Mariah Carey to wear my stuff.

Ok, so I am tagging Bookhart, Tracey and FoFuSa. You go girls!

Ratchet up the tension

So I saw the place in Asker I talked about yesterday and went bat shit CRAZY for it. I mean, screw it, I'll sell my first born for the joint. I've already mentally got my furniture placed and milk in the fridge. (It has a corner fridge. Have you ever seen one? A frigging CORNER fridge. You could sleep in it, there's so much room!)

So I made my offer for the place (Rich is out of town, and he can just accept that THIS is WHERE WE WILL LIVE) and am waiting to see if the landlord accepts.


While I was waiting for the realtor to show this place, the landlord of another place I had an appointment to see in Oslo called and said it had been rented, so obviously things go pretty fast.

Stressed? Me? Nah......I needed a drink after that, though. Sooo.....

I went out with my friend Julia last night in Oslo, we had a girls' sleepover night. It was fun. We went to a wine tasting at her bar (which in my case rapidly devolved into a wine guzzling), then saw a couple of bands, one of which I have heard in Austin, called Son Volt? Anyhow, I met a lot of really nice people, all Norwegians, and all very freindly and outgoing. Oslo is definitely one of those towns where it's all about who you know and who they introduce you to, as I doubt I would have met these people and had so many nice chats had I been on my own. As it was, though, I met alot of really fun folks. Then I crashed at Julia's lovely apartment with the graveyard view (sweeeet) and took the train back to my suburban aerie this morning. I met some friends for lunch at 12:30 and had another nice girl chat. One friend is moving to Nigeria.....wow.

And I still wait to hear the news about the flat......tick tock???

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

why on earth am I so nervous?

Today I am going to go look at some places to live. I am so nervous I am jiggering all about. Can't stand still.

One is a place that is not in Oslo, but in Asker and it is SO cool. It's out of our price range, but might be negotiable, and if they meet us halfway we could just about make it if I sell my car and Rich would no longer pay for the monthly train pass. He would not need it, he works in Asker.

Oh the place is so cool. I can't jinx it by saying more, but OH it's cool. Perfect place for having parties.

I will also check out two places in central Oslo. I love snooping about in living spaces, you know? Imagining the possibilities, the decoration, where furniture and stuff would go. I miss doing interior design, and the prospect of setting up a new house (I am conveniently forgetting the part where we MOVE) is a nice thing to sink my teeth into. It's nice to finally have a PROJECT to work on again.

Keep good thoughts for me. I only have one more hour to waste before my appointment.

Monday, May 02, 2005

fifteen minutes

This week I have started the search for a new place to live. But I seem to be running into some problems.

I found a few places I like online, thru Finn.no and called around to see when I could see them. Unlike in the US, when you can just call and make an appointment that suits, some of these realtors set up specific times to open the place to the public. These are called "visnings" or viewings. They are not flexible. It's like an open house. It would seem to be a workable system, except:

The visnings I am seeing advertised are only once, and are VERY short. There is one tomorrow that I am going to,that lasts from exactly 7:15-7:45. That's half an hour. There is another place I am interested in, that has a visning set for June 9, for 15 minutes. Yeah, you heard me, FIFTEEN MINUTES. Seriously, here is the link. So what, are we all supposed to rush over and wait around until they let us all in at once, and then rush us all back out? WTF?

Plus when I call these realtors, they either hang up on me, put me off or don't call me back. I have sent 5 emails and not gotten responses. When I say that I want to see a place and that I do have a good budget AND a company sponsored lease, they STILL blow me off. I thought the idea of a realtor was to get people IN to rent a place, not scare them off? I am confused and not a little frustrated. Am I doing something wrong? Am I being too American?

We are supposed to be working thru a relocation/housing company used by Rich's employer, but I am impatient, and I really like looking at places, so that's why I have set up some of my own viewings. I just thought it would be more fun, and less hassle, you know? But maybe I am only supposed to go through the housing company and not do any of it myself? How do normal people do it? I'm supposed to meet with the relocation person on Friday, and she seems really nice. Between that and what I will rush to see tomorrow, I have some hope of finding a decent place fairly soon, even with the absolute lameness of the realtors I am dealing with.

I just wish the visnings were a little longer......

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Appreciating the finer things in life, London

Ok...now COUGH!

This and the next "art appreciation" shot were taken at Kew Gardens.

I'm an art lover.

An EVIL art lover.

View from the flat in Cadogan Square where we stayed. It had a nice rooftop terrace...I believe this is looking Southwest.....

The Bank Pub, London. The Crown Jewels were hidden in the basement of this building for a time, long ago. There is also a Bank Pub in Dublin that is equally as beautiful. If ever you see a pub in the UK called "Bank" just go in, it's probably stunning.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, in Fleet Street London. Can you tell I am in the mood for a beer? Alas, I am in Norway and all the places I could buy beer are closed on a Sunday.

Ye Olde Mitre Pub in London, Hatton Gardens area. Sigh...I love a good pub.