Wednesday, August 31, 2005

None of these things relates to the other

But that's ok, I'm posting them anyhow.

This is the 25+ year old can of mushrooms I found at my grandmother's house. A remnant from the days they lived in Long Beach, Mississippi. In an ironic twist, the A&P where she bought them may well no longer exist, as I have a feeling it was washed out in Hurricane Katrina. The A&P (or whatever it is called now) was in Gulfport. Strange to think that these mushrooms might be the sole historical remnant of that whole store. I always knew my grandmother was ahead of her time. Historical remnant, yes indeed. Hear that Mom? It's historical remnants! Keep that fridge full! It'll be collectible some day!

This was a squirrel that was crashed out in my buddy Julia's backyard in Austin. It was a hot, lazy summer day in Texas, and I guess that squirrel just needed a nap. He slept where he fell.

That's me in my Cavalli dress I wore to the wedding in Austin. Yes it's low cut. It was a hot day, ok? It is a seriously comfortable dress. Kept me nice and cool.

I can hear a kid hollering like nobody's business down by the fountain. Note: To the child down in the plaza screaming your lungs out right now? SHUT UP!!!!!!!! Where the hell are your parents? Are you dying or something? Get that kid a cookie! Jeez.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I walk on dead people

I guess my appeal to Mr. Weather Man worked, because we are getting some really nice weather right now. Not hot, but when you are in the sun, you are ok in a t-shirt. Refreshing, cool breeze, dry air, great weather for wandering about outdoors.

Today I went walking. The theme was "dead people". It was a gorgeous day, about 68 degrees, perfect for walking on graves. (Ok, I didn't actually plan it this way, but that's how it turned out. Everywhere I went was some sort of memorial to a dead person. I just went with it.)

After walking through Asker's historic district, (small, but with some gorgeous old farm houses) I headed over to Asker Church and wandered around there for a bit. It has a lovely cemetery with really nice views of the hills around. The cemetery itself covers rolling hills around the church. I didn't find any graves older than about mid 19th century. I think that the present church (around 125 years old) replaces a much older one, but I can't find any verifiable info on that right now. The sun just sparkled off the spotless marble and granite headstones, and flowers blazed everywhere. The trees are ancient. As far as a graveyard goes, this is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. Very, um, livable.

The area around Asker is steeped in history. Right across the road from the church is a series of old burial mounds. I climbed right up on them. One has signs of people trying to dig down through the top of it, but they didn't get very far. The biggest is at least 25 feet tall, very vertical, obviously man made and old. There are alot of burial mounds around the coastal areas. (Some of the more well known in this area lie around Tanum Church, near our old house. That is a really neat area to walk around on a summer day as well.) The burial mounds lie in a field right off the road, and houses butt up right against them. Also in the field is a monument to Norwegian soldiers killed in WWII. All died between 1940-1945.

After that I wandered back into town via a circuitous route and got some groceries at the local "frukt and gront" stand. The town is perking up again after the summer holidays. Norway empties out in July and August, so it's nice to see kids playing on the plaza and hanging out. I'll be out every day trying to soak in the last days of good weather before it goes to cold and blah. I expect that to happen any minute now.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sending best wishes

This article brings back alot of memories.

In 1969 Hurricane Camille destroyed my grandparents' house. What they didn't lose was badly water damaged. I was one year old. My whole childhood, growing up, memories were always divided into BC and AC (before and after Camille). The name Camille was like an old friend, almost, a person that my Omi knew and had a long relationship with. She was always just "Camille".
In Long Beach, between Pass Christian and Gulfport, where my grandparents lived, you could see the evidence of the devastation even until today. The lots around my grandparents (they were right off the beach and the main road) were empty with evidence of house foundations and sometimes stairs to nowhere. It was a traditional part of a visit to my grandparents to see what houses might have been built to replace the old, and to note where the damage still remained. Even almost 20 years after. You'd sometimes still find things on the beach that had been washed up by the hurricane (old bloated cans of food, etc.) We have precious few pictures of my Dad and his brother when they were kids. All washed away.
My parents do have a picture of me as a very little kid, sitting in a toilet that had formerly been in the house, now in the backyard surrounded by downed trees and brush.

They say Katrina will do the same level of destruction as Camille, or more,, plus major "biblical proportion" damage to New Orleans. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities, as it is for many people.

All I can say is, I send my heart's best thoughts to all those in the path of the hurricane. I know what it's like.

After party recap

The dinner party went quite well. As I thought, the flat lends itself beautifully to celebration. Everyone comes in, walks down the very looong hall to spill out into the main room, where they then make a beeline for the patio, which overlooks the main town plaza. Here is our view:

We invited two couples (both of the men work with Rich) and our next door neighbors. Rich's work buddies are British. One of them, Will, is married to Mary, who is Indian. (They have two of the most gorgeous daughters you have ever seen.) Our next door neighbors are Norwegian (him) and Irish (her). So we had three Brits, an Indian, a Norwegian and an Irishwoman. (I swear, gatherings here always sound like the beginning of a joke. "Two Brits walk into a house..."). Mary came in and said she was caving a margarita, so I made margs for everyone. (Dangerous, that, as mine are STRONG.) After checking out the view, everyone hung out in the main room as it is already chilly in the evenings:

I had done most of my preparations ahead of time, so all I really had to do was bake the chicken and make the rice and steamed veggies. Of course, everyone migrates to the kitchen with offers of help. I don't know about you, but it's usually easier for me to do it myself than have help, as trying to describe where things are is always harder than just getting it on my own! (Plus, I'm still not 100% sure where stuff is, myself.) There's alot of kitchen for me to remember where it all goes:

God I love that kitchen. (Especially the lighting in there.) Plus, I have finally found a setting on the oven that just says "Conventional Baking" with which I can set the temp to my liking, so that makes me happy. This oven has so many preset options, it's scary, but of course, none of them are the ones I want!
The dinner turned out well. The chicken was really good, the broccoli a bit over steamed (still learning the cook top) and the rice was ok. I usually make really good rice, but whenever it's for guests, it's never as good as my usual. Not sure why that is. I like to think the slightly underdone bits added some crunch? But everyone ate it all up and there were NO leftovers.
The dessert kicked ass. Thanks, Tom Perini!
All in all it was a great evening. Got some folks drunk, fed them, everyone oohed and aahed over the flat, it was a fun time. I do feel like this flat is the coolest place I will EVER live, and I have a funny feeling I won't get to live here long. So I better live it up whilst I can. Livin' in the penthouse, dudes!
By the way, here is my office. I call it the Fashion Director's Office, for that is, to me, what it looks like.

I like my little office, packed to the rooftop with shoes and jewelry. Plus I don't know if you can see the calendar, but it cracks me up. It's a collection of photos of respectable looking British folk from the 50's, with insane captions. This month,it's of a guy looking smarmily over a woman's shoulder while she reads a large piece of paper, and the caption says, "Sam was mightily impressed that he'd been forced to use A-3 paper to photocopy his todger".

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Half an hour before the party

Tonight we are having a little dinner party. One thing I am determined to do in this new place is entertain more. I used to do it alot, in Austin, but since coming to Norway, in our old place, attempts at entertaining usually just ended in people getting pissed off as they got so lost trying to find our place. I gave up trying. Too hard to give directions and find parking.

But here? Oh yeah, it's MADE for entertaining. Good space in the flat, central, easy to find location, awesome views, and a really, really great kitchen. And we finally bought our first grown up, extendable dining table!

So, tonight is the first party. Full sit down dinner for 8.

Of course, parties are a little different here than they were in Austin. In Austin, I'd make a big ol' pot o' somethin', throw down some plates and yell "Come and get it!" Or we'd bbq. Everyone would bring some beer or some "meap" and we'd chow down on the back deck. Here in Europe, it's all proper place settings, wines, chicken cordon bleu and the after-dinner cheese plate. I have finally learned how to set the table correctly. I'm only 37, after all, I guess it was about time.

So, tonight, we are having: chicken cordon bleu, fresh steamed broccoli, saffron rice, a salad with the exotic "American ranch" dressing, and a bread pudding with whiskey sauce for dessert. (This dessert comes for the Perini Ranch cookbook, and it's so good that it makes me lick the plate. I can't keep my fingers out of the sauce when I cook it. Mmm.) I do all the prep ahead of time, so when it's time to cook the last little bits, I am good to go. I swear, I should be some sort of Army general, because man, one thing this girl can do is marshal forces, plan an attack and foresee eventualities.

Here's a pic of the dining room.

I'll let you know how it turns out. T-10 minutes to lift off. Gotta go light candles.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Nature can be wierder than anything else

Here's two pictures of a carrot that my parents grew in their very own garden. This is an ACTUAL carrot, with a front and a back. I died laughing when they showed me the pictures, and knew this was something worth posting.

This is the girl side of the carrot.

And here is the boy.

Is that crazy or what? Nature has more of a sense of humor than we like to give it credit for.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

All the cool kids are doin' it.

It seems lately that all my fave blogging pals are writing posts about books. Well, ok, Bookhart and Badger have. I'm a sucker for peer pressure. Well, that's good enough for me, so forthwith, I present:

Books in my bedside "To Be Read" basket. (Though I have already read some and have noted this where appropriate.)

Sea Room, Adam Nicolson-
This guy owns a whole island off the coast of Scotland. He writes about it, archeologically, geologically, historically, etc. Really interesting. (Finished)
Himalaya, Michael Palin- Yes, he of the Python fame. His travelogues ROCK. I read (and saw) Sahara, and Himalaya is in the same vein. (Halfway)
Five Sisters, James Fox- About the Langhorne Sisters of Virginia. I love stories about well-bred debutantes. One became an Astor, one became THE Gibson girl. they all did well in the marriage market s around the turn of the century. (Halfway)
Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser- Haven't gotten to it yet, I'm a bit nervous, as have been told it will turn me off all fast food and then what do I do when I am starving and there is nothing else about? (Not started)
Confederates in the Attic, Tony Horwitz- About folks who are in to Civil War re-enactments. (Finished)
The Moon's a Balloon; Bring On the Empty Horses, David Niven- Two of my all time favorite autobiographies. David Niven may well have been a better writer than an actor. If you haven't read his bios, run buy them and laugh your ass off. GREAT STUFF! (Re-reads)
Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes- This was recommended by my therapist, before I moved from Austin. I have yet to get around to it. It just sounds a bit overly New Age and sincere to me. Yeah, yeah, I am a strong woman, whatever. (Not
D.V.- Diana Vreeland- Diana Vreeland is my Goddess. This is her autobiography. If I could meet anyone in time, it would be her. (And QE the first.) (Re-Read) (Frequently)
The Kristin Lavransdatter Series, Sigrid Undset- I'm in Norway, I'm supposed to read them. Haven't, yet. Should get around to it.
Culture Shock! A Wife's Guide, Robin Pascoe- A book for the "trailing spouse". Yes, expat self-help. It's all about how not to kill your husband for dragging you to yet another goddamn country where you can't get monterrey jack cheese and you feel like a useless lump of shit. Oh did I say that? Me? Bitter? Nah. I read the book. I'm over it. Until next move. (Great book for expats, btw.)
Bill Bryson anything. Really, I don't care. If he writes it, I read it. I keep them by my bedside, whenever I need to laugh I read a chapter of anything.
The Bar Sinister, Linda Berdoll- VERY RACY sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I absolutely love how she explains exactly WHY Mr. Darcy is so quiet and uncommunicative (it's because of, um, an excess of masculinity) and her depiction of the unfortunate death of Mr. Collins. (finished, will re-read)
The Princess Bride, William Goldman- One of my all time favorite books as a kid, I just bought it and will re-read it.
Perdita, Sarah Gristwood- About a mistress of the Prince Regent of England. I am fascinated with the Regency period in England. She, Perdita, was an actress, mistress, and a writer. Died young, very modern thinker. (Halfway)
Guilty Pleasures, Laurell K. Hamilton- A mystery/action novel about Vampires. The first in the Anita Blake series. I just got turned on to it. Vampires. Sex. Blood. Neato!(Finished.) (Have more by her to read.)
Dance With the Devil, Sherrilyn Kenyon-More Vampires. Hey, I like Vampires, ok? So bite me.

Just so's ya know, my all time fave read is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. One of my tattoos is even in honor of that book. I am, indeed, a geek.

Yeah! Let Canada kick some ass! Finally!

This article kinda makes me laugh.

Can you imagine a teeny little war between Denmark and Canada? Two guys with little guns "Pfft pfft" shooting at each other and yelling really nasty things? (I didn't even know Canada had war ships.)

Would George W. Bush get involved? What if there was oil on the island? Would he then think it a matter of US national security and send American soldiers, making up some story about it being an Al Qaeda hang out?

Folks, I think we have our next big worry here. Screw North Korea or Iran, man. It's gonna be Canada and Denmark that nuke us all to oblivion. You heard it here first. You know what those South Park folks say...Blame Canada!

...and so I lasted a day

Hello? Mr. Weather Man? I have a bone to pick with you.

Why can't you pick a happy medium and stay with it? What is up with you and your weather? I mean, I get back to Norway and it's STILL AUGUST, and yet you have decided that it needs to be cold and dreary and rainy. Man, what did I ever do to you, huh? Get off your ass and give me Indian Summer, and give it to me NOW!

And my poor friends back in Texas are roasting in 100 degree heat. Seems a bit extreme.

Tell you what. Since it's 100 there and not even 60 here, why don't we split the diff and make it 80 in both places? The Norwegians will lose their minds over the "heat wave" and the Texans will go nuts over the "cool front".

That seems more fair to me. So whaddya say, Mr. Weather Man? Let's go for it! Make some folks happy! Let's use our evil for good!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

...and that was that

In reading the Norwegian weather forecast, I see I missed the last day of summer by a day. Yup. Summer ended on Sunday, from what I can tell. From here on out, it's cool and rainy. If it gets above 64, I'll be impressed.

It seems strange to be in a place where summer can end from one day to the next. Especially considering I just came from a place where everyone is complaining that it seems like summer never ends. I remember that feeling, in Austin, when you are in the middle to end of August and you just wish September would arrive so that it will cool off. And then, September does arrive...and it is still freaking hot.

I guess you can never be happy with the weather, wherever you live. It's either too hot, or too cold. Too wet, too dry.

I'm just glad I got to have my three weeks of hot, Texas summer. Reminds me of where I come from, what sweat is really like, and it will make me appreciate this Norwegian weather for at least a week. But after that, I get to complain again. Seems only fair.

(And yes, it's really 4:45 am. I have jet lag like a mother fucker.)

Ozarks Antics

This is what happens when you get 6 guys together who have been friends for many years, and take them out to the Ozarks for a good ol' time. The dog gets drunk and passes out.** The dog's name, by the way, is Teufel, which means Devil in German, so maybe it's appropriate.

He's in rehab now, and from all reports, in better shape. (He's now learning to drink GOOD beer. You'd think his German roots would teach him the difference.) It's a shame that a good farm dog developed such bad habits......

**No actual German Shepherds were harmed in the making of this photo. Teufel was sleep and i just sorta wedged the UNLIT cigarette into his lips. After a hard day of chasing squirrels, chicekns and the occasional human, he really didn't even wake up until after the cig was removed. Besides, quit yer bitchin', it was a Marlboro LIGHT, ok? Sheesh.

space time continuum has me confused

OK so let's figure this out.

I left Houston at 7 pm Sunday Houston time and it was 2am in Norway. The plane was not full and so I managed to get a row to myself where I could stretch out. I slept the majority of the flight. (Bad hair? You have never seen such bad hair as I was sporting on this flight. Woof.) Didn't even see a movie or anything. Cheap plane date, me.

Got to Amsterday at noon Norway time, so that's 5 am Houston time. Caught the flight to Oslo at 2pm. Kept nodding off and waking myself up by, in turns, my head jerking, snoring or drooling on my chin. NICE. The jetset life ain't all it's cracked up to be.

Arrived in Oslo, manhandled my luggage on to the train (the luggage allowance is 70 lbs per bag, of which you get two. Big Bertha, the seriously big suitcase I use to bring back "supplies" was weighing in at a healthy 69.5 pounds. No shit...) and was home by 5pm Monday. 5 pm Norway time is 10 am Houston time. I fell asleep at 8 pm and am rather shocked to find out it's 1 pm Tuesday now, as I arise from my slumber.

Here's your algebra question: Exactly how long did I stay up with no sleep, and how long will it take me to make up that sleep? Show your answer in integers. Alternatively, for extra credit, please show the physics involved in the miraculous, gravity defying stand up routine my hair is currently performing. If X is that part sticking straight off the side of my head, and Y is the bit that so flat it's like a matted carpet, then what is the relationship of Z (the tangle from hell) to A (the furry fuzzy bit at my temple.) Discuss.

I. Need. Coffee.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The birthday that I won't soon forget

I had all these plans for my birthday. Outdoors,spirit-chasing solitude and contemplation, cool water, calmness.

Instead I got panic, nausea, a trip to the post office and embarrassment. I also got pampering and a reminder of how great my friends truly are.

To break it down:

Post office: I went to the post office to mail some supplies to myself in Norway. Stuff I couldn't fit in my suitcase. I came out of that deal $100 poorer. I just mailed cereal and shit! My GOD!

Panic: After post office, I decided to treat myself to lunch, then go to Deep Eddy Pool for a dip. I wasn't feeling very active so decided against the Enchanted Rock experience, Aunt Flo coming for her visit on my birthday and I was kind of cranky, crampy and hot. So, on my way to Shady Grove Restaurant (where I was craving a fried chicken salad with honey mustard dressing) something, um, odd happened with the car. Did I mention I am driving an Audi my brother lent me? It's an older model, with a 225,000 miles on it, thought it runs great and has great power. Anyhow, as I drove down Lamar almost to Barton Springs road, acrid, acidic SMOKE came pouring out of the dashboard. Um,...whafuck? Eek! Fire fire fire!!!!!!!

I rather hurriedly pulled into a gas station (yeah, brain wave, that, pulling into a FLAMMABLE GAS STATION when your car could be ON FIRE!) and got my purse and anything I wanted to keep out of the car, and then stood next to the gas pump flapping my hands at the attendant (it was a full service station). He was finishing up with a customer and told me he'd be with me in a minute. I'm all like "Um, my car could be, um, on fire, and um, like, what should I do and do you have water or a fire extinguisher or something?" (flap hands , wave wrists helplessly, look really dumb) but I said this in a really stupid girly voice cuz, really, how do you deal with your car shooting smoke out of most of its major orifices?

He looked at me like "huh?" and then said "Well, we don't do that sort of thing here". And I'm all "Yeah? Like I do car fires regularly myself?" (And in my head I'm thinking "And it's my goddamn birthday and I want to be in the cool water even though I do have my damn period and I'm fat and bloated and my only swimsuit is a tiny black bikini and I WANT MY SALAD WITH THE CHICKEN AND THE HONEY MUSTARD AND MY GODDAMN CAR IS ON FIRE AND DID I MENTION ITS MY FUCKING BIRTHDAY GODDAMMIT?")

He sent me down the road to his buddy at G&A or T&A or some such initials garage. THAT was fun, driving on that busy road a quarter of a mile to a garage, with acrid smelly smoke just wafting everywhere and me thinking I was gonna have to do a dive duck and roll outta the car at any second when it exploded in a Hollywood burst of oily flame. And me also thinking, "Dammit it's my birthday I shouldn't have to do this, am I going to die?, I might be 37 now but that is still too young to die in a horrid car fire and dammit this birthday SUCKS!"

Turns out the A/C shorted a fuse and caught fire, but only in a small, though very smoky way. It melted some other stuff, but from what the very nice mechanic could tell, I'd be ok, just no a/c. I repeat: No A/C, in a black leather interior car, in a Texas August. But the car runs fine, otherwise. If you see me from here on out in Texas, expect sweat, ok? (My brother feels guilty that things always break whenever I get them. He tested the car for weeks before he lent it to me, and it was fine. I trust him, he has no reason for guilt. I am evil. You know how some people kill plants? I kill cars. It's my evil gift.)

I never made it to Deep Eddy. I did get the salad, but they didn't have Honey Mustard dressing, they had Jelly Mustard, which is JUST NOT THE SAME THING AND DID I MENTION IT'S MY BIRTHDAY AND I WANT HONEY MUSTARD YOU YUTZ? And no I don't want Pesto Ranch and what do you have against the classics anyhow?

Embarrassment: After lunch I went to visit my friend Gail who owns a very cool shop called Blackmail. She is very pregnant with twins (and very ready to be done with it) and we were chatting when in walks some guy who wanted to try on a suit. She said hi to him and introduced him to me. His name was Alejandro. Nice guy, all in denim with some kick ass silver and turquoise jewelry on. I, of course, was armpit sweat soaked, with VERY bad hair, a rather odiferous pall of car smoke floating about me, and, as I found out later, a large piece of SOMETHING stuck in my front teeth. You know, my usual glamour. It was Alejandro Escovedo, the very popular Austin musician. (He's been to Norway a few times. He told me he has a sister in law in Bergen.) Why is it that I always meet the rock stars when I am doing something incredibly dorky or looking like a wad of gum on the bottom of a very old pair of sneakers? WHY WHY? When I actually do look good, no one famous is EVER around. That seems unfair.

Nausea: It's been a wierd few days, and after the car panic, and some other stuff that is going on, I am a bit on edge. Julia and Heather got some gorgeous steaks for dinner, for a nice evening of grilling and chatting, and I was really looking forward to it. Then Bookhart came over and surprised me, which was WONDERFUL. I was feeling ready to chow down. But....Julia put that steak in front of me, and I could not even look at it. It was a gorgeous New York Strip, an inch and a half thick and cooked to perfection, and for some reason the smell of it made me want to hurl. I only ever avoid food when I am stressed, and for me to avoid steak? There is something seriously up. It was horrible. Nothing in the world could make me take a bite of the meat. I had to put it in the other room. It was the wierdest thing. That steak is still in the fridge, and it's calling out to me saying "EAT ME! Eat meeeee!!!" and I just can't. What is up with that?

Even though I could not eat the steak, it was so nice to just hang with Bookhart, Lulabelle and HeHe and feel the connections with home and friends. The day started out kinda crappy, but it ended great. Really, really great. The Xanax helped.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Today is my 37th birthday.

I know I know, I don't look a day over 36.

I'm just glad I'm here in Texas. A birthday just doesn't feel right unless I am sweating profusely.

Rich sent me some beautiful flowers, roses in all shades of red and pink and orange, they are gorgeous. He's in Prague right now on a small holiday, drinking Kozel beer. Yeah, I'm jealous, but I'm still glad I am here.

Today I will either go to Enchanted Rock for my little spiritual reassessment trip (I used to do it every year, nothing better than climbing a giant rock with views for miles to mke you think and contemplate) or go to Deep Eddy Pool after a nice walk around Town Lake.

I will also read a book and have a mocha. Yum. Tomorrow after my outdoorsy spirit chasing, Julia and Heather will cook me a steak and we will hang out on their back porch and just shoot the shit.

Tonight my friends Oliver and Lindsay invited me over to dinner. Karla May and I went and we hung out with all the kids (Oliver and Lindsay have two and Karla May has one) and ate shrimp. They also had a really scrumptious birthday cake for me. It was a great time in their beautiful house. The kids are all so cute, like little monkeys just crawling over everything. All blonde. It felt very Norwegian!

I spent the day with Bookhart, we had lunch and saw "Wedding Crashers" which rocked. We also did some shopping. It was really nice to have some girl time with her. I miss spending time with her, and it bugs me to feel like i have to fit so much quality time into one freaking day. I think it made us both feel a little awkward. But we are good enough friends that we can say, "Dude, does this feel wierd or what?"

37......37. that seems alot older than 36. 36 was close enough to 35 that I could fake it and say I was in my early 30's. 37? Nope. Too close to 40 to fake the early thirties any more. I am now older than my mom. She's been 29 for a long time. Soon I will become my mother's grandmother. Or maybe her wacky favorite auntie.

everything and nothing

Fellow bloggers, do you go about your day composing brilliant blog entries in your head, only to completely lose them when it comes down to actual blogging? I mean, damn, I come up with some really funny stuff, in my head, that cuts to the heart of our modern times with wit and brevity and then I get here to the computer and I'm all like, "Huh huh, BOOBS. Dirty words. Butts. Huh huh, you said ASS." I'm like Beavis, but lamer cuz I'm old.


So I had all sorts of ironic, hip and sarcastic shit to say, but right now I can only say that it is HOT in Austin. HOT HOT HOT and HUMID. And I have forgotten what that feels like. Part of me really, really digs it, and part of me is like "GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE AND BACK TO THAT DRY COOL PLACE I FLEW IN FROM!"

Why is it that the places where I can have good, frizz free, shiny hair, are never around the people I want to see me with such hair? In Norway, my hair is perfect, the hair I dreamed of when I was growing up, shiny and not frizzed and lush. They have great water and low humidity there, and my hair LOVES it. Here in Austin, it's been Frizz Fest 2005, with me as Your Fuzzy Host. Opal Divine's has this outdoor A/C system that consists of a very fine mist of water being sprayed all over the deck seating area. Do they have ANY idea what that does to a curly girl's hair? I call it the Hair Frizzer. Go get one if you want the frizzies, I guarantee you instant success. POOF!

Well, that was definitely NOT the blog I had planned in my head yesterday. I swear, I'm like the crazy old lady who talks to herself, except it's all in my head. So I'm out shopping or at a restaurant, and think really hard, and impress myself with my brainy wit, then laugh out loud or smile, all alone, and people are just looking at me like "Oooo-kay. We will just back slooowly away and maybe she won't see us. Maybe the Crazy Frizzy RedHeaded Lady will not hurt us if we just disapear. Ready kids? RUN!"

And you poor souls have no evidence of my inner wit, because it never makes it to this space. I'm like that damn frog on the Bugs Bunny cartoons that would only sing for the one guy, and just go "Ribbit" for anyone else.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Weddings, Boobs and Hangovers

Having an actual social life is taking a serious toll on my blogging. Sorry about that. It's just so nice to interact with real live people instead of words on a screen, you know?

After the fun of meeting Badger, Karla May and Bookhart the other night (they all blogged about it, too, and thank you, Badger, for your complimentary words. You makin' me all redfaced, honey!) I took a day off the circuit and had a very early Friday night. Lemonade was the strongest drink I had all day.

So when Saturday night rolled around, I was refreshed and raring to go to my friend Margaret's wedding. My dress worked out pretty well, though I was sporting some pretty impressive cleavage, and I was honestly a little nervous whether breasts are still legal in Texas. Like, maybe Homeland Security had deemed them a threat to National Security or something, you know? You never can tell how laws are gonna change. Luckily, I was not thrown in Breast Offender's Jail, so that seems ok. Other girls were showing some yum yums, too, so I felt better. I can tell you Miss Karla May, fellow blogger, has some nice ta tas.

Margaret, the bride, looked absolutely radiant. She is so pretty anyhow, but being a bride suits her very well. Gorgeous, elegant blonde that she is. The wedding was beautiful, as I knew it would be, and the reception was great fun, with many people I knew and some new ones to meet. Most interesting was a German (well, practically Dutch, really) woman that I met, who has been here for 10 years now, and has the heartiest, most healthy laugh I have ever heard. She enjoys life to the hilt, I can tell.

The open bar was very generous, the food excellent. AFterwards we went to the Four Seasons for drinks, which may have been a bit excessive. But it was still fun.

The wages of sin are catching up to me now. (Well, that and impending Old Fartdom.) My one remaining brain cell must be nourished and cherished. When I get back to Norway, I am going off the sauce for a while. Need to detox. Sunday was a BAD HANGOVER day. Holy crap, I wanted to die. The only cure was Mexican food, and even that did not wholy cure it. It took two naps, the Shrimp Tostadas at Matt's and about 8 ibuprofens to even get me close to feeling human again. ARg.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Austin and Slippin' Into Mosey

A favorite expression of mine, picked up from some Austin friends, is the phrase "slippin' into mosey". That's when you kind of wind down from the frenetic pace of life, and well, you just start to mosey. It usually suggests a party, a nice cold beer and a mellow gathering of pals. Austin is a great place for moseyin'. I have much of it planned.

The past few days have been spent reacquainting myself with my favorite city on Earth. Lots has changed, and some things have, happily, not. I got my hair cut on Wednesday at a salon owned by a friend of one of my Norwegian friends. I can highly recomend the salon, it's called Sage. I got a great haircut and the prices are fair. The owner, Maris Stella, used to run the salon at Saks, so she knows something about good hair and pampering. I love the cut I got. If you have curly hair ask for Vanessa. In continuation of the pampering, I went today for a facial, body scrub exfoliation (orange and vanilla, I smell like candy) and a pedicure at DAYA. I'm soft as a baby's butt. Then I had my eyebrows done (OUCH!). I feel like a car that's gotten a tune up. I'm refreshed and raring to go.

Last night I went to my favorite bar, the bar at the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel, downtown, where I met Bookhart, Karla May and Badger. I have known Karla May and Bookhart for years, but it was nice to finally meet Badger, who not only cracks my ass up every time I read her blog, but also has a really great writing style. She's totally kick ass in person, too, and she is a very talented palm reader. Her readings of our hands freaked us out, they were so right on. She's cool, I hope we can ge together more often when I come to town.
Imagine my happiness when I saw that Tiffany, my favorite bar waitress EVER is still working at the Stephen F. (I bet she pulls in some good money, that girl. She works at a law firm days.) She gives us the best service every time we go, and she's also just a really cool chick. I am so glad that she's still there, makes me feel like I still have a few of my insider tricks up my sleeve.

Tomorrow I am going to my friend Margaret's wedding, and I found a great dress at Last Call to wear to it that will cover the bruises on my legs. It's a Roberto Cavalli long full crinkle silk slip dress, in a red black and white pattern. I love it, it's floaty and gorgeous and very me. The bruises on my arms will still be evident, but I dare anyone to wear long sleeves in a Texas summer.

Today when I got home from the spas, I hung out with Julia on her back porch (I'm staying with her and Heather) and we just talked and watched a goofy squirrel sleeping on a branch, its legs splayed in total relaxation. I got a picture of it, the zoom on my new camera works pretty well. It's so great to just sit and chat with friends in the torpid Texas heat. No sweater required.

It's so nice to be back home. People I love, thunderstorms, hot weather, great shopping and food. You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of the girl.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Boys canoes and bruises

On Friday, Dad's birthday, we went on a family canoeing trip. By family, I mean, my brother and his five friends, me, Mom and Dad. We went for a 13 mile canoe ride on the Jack's Fork River. It was very long, and I, as the odd number in the group, got to ride in the boat with my parents. (Let me let you in on a little secret: I hate canoeing.

I'm like the world's biggest canoeing geek. No matter what canoe I am in, whether I am paddling, or, like yesterday, just sitting, I always end up getting tumped out and then bruised into an unrecognizable pulp. Yesterday was no different.

The boys, distributed into three canoes of two men each, had a great time splashing each other, dumping each other out of the boats, and generally causing mayhem all the way down the river. I, with my usual overly developed guilty complex, sat in the boat with my parents and felt like a dumbass that they were paddling me around. (Though I did try a brief failed experiment and tried tubing down the river on my own. That was a bad idea, as the tube was very slow and would have taken hours to get anywhere. I finally tried getting a tow from two of the guys in our group, and that just slowed THEM down, so I got back in the boat with the folks.) We still managed to get dumped about 4 times, the last one, at the very end, being kind of traumatic as we were all so tired that we really found that we were unable to get the boat aright and get out of the tangle of trees and rooots that we were stuck in. Luckily some nice bystanders (who had just been in the same trap themselves) came and helped my brother and his friend extricate us from the dilema. It was scary there for a while. By this time we had been paddling for 8 hours, and Mom was worn out. I finally took the paddle from her (risking my Dad's ire, as he is pretty authoritative when it comes to paddling and suffers no fools) and we continued on to what we hoped was the end. Luckily, the end was right there, and Mom was understandably (and humorously) miffed that she had paddled the whole way, only to see me get the glory of the finishing lap in the last five minutes.

I lost everything I brought with me on that trip, including my shirt, my sunglasses, and, oddly, the rubber band holding my hair back. I am glad I had the forethought to bring only the bare minimum, and to wear my contact lenses, as, if I had lost my glasses, I would have been seriously upset.

The boys had a great time, everyone had sore muscles the next day, and I have re-affirmed my determination not to indulge in water activities unless they include an inner tube and beer, a fully staffed sail boat, or a couple of floaties and some nice mellow waves. I might try a rowing machine again some day, but canoes are definttiely not in the cards for me anymore.

Tomorrrow I go to Ft. Worth to see some family, and thence to Austin on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My Mom's Kitchen

IF you like to cook, you probably know how frustrating it is to cook in someone else's kitchen. In your own kitchen, you know where everything is, you have your favorite pots, your favorite knives, and you have a smooth work routine all planned out. Here at my parents' house, I am constantly frustrated by Mom's kitchen, even though much of the stuff she has is what I grew up with. It's just, there is so much of it, and it's all packed in everywhere and it's just not what I am used to anymore, you know?

My Mom's kitchen is like a minefield for me. She has managed to fill every square inch of that kitchen with stuff, and I can't find a damn thing. Mom is one of those people who doesn't throw things away, and the fridge is completley packed. It's all stuff like heels of bread, leftover little bowls of salad, random sauces and jars and bottles and vegetables and it's all piled up so you have to take everything out just to get that one thing you need. I always dread having to find a place to put something in, or having to find something. Ever since I was a kid, the fridge has been full to the limit of fullness. It groans when you open the door. Ditto the freezer. Or shall I say, freezers. She has three full size freezers, and a spare fridge. And they are all packed. It never changes, and she grocery shops weekly, I guess to fill in the tiny litle gaps of light that appear in whatever storage container she is looking in. The shelves in her non-perishables pantry are bent and warped from the weight of cans bought in bulk. She has enough toilet paper to wipe the asses of an army. Seriously.

Basically, if ever the world goes to hell and it becomes one of those post apocalyptic scenarios, I am gonna get my ass to my parents' farm, because I can feed myself (and then wipe my butt) for years on just the stuff Mom has now.

I think it runs in the family, though. Just yesterday, over at my grandmother's house, I found a little can of mushrooms (pieces and stems) and the design on the label tells me those mushrooms are circa 1978. She bought them when she still lived in Mississippi, before my grandfather died in 1987 and she came to live with my folks. Those are some OLD mushrooms, practically a cultural relic. (I'm going to take a picture of it with my new digital camera, and see if I can post it.)(More on the camera in a later post, I'm still a little scared of it!)

I will admit that I have inherited some of that acquisitive nature. I feel nervous if I don't have a certain amount of chicken stored in the freezer, and for some reason, every time I go grocery shopping, I always buy a can of black beans and one of chopped tomatoes, resulting in a rather large collection of beans and 'maters in my own cabinets. I also have a thing for shampoos and hair products, which, as I see in my parents' bathroom, is also an inherited trait.

i'm no where near my Mom's level, yet, but I have a few years to catch up with her. Though I doubt I will ever find, as she did, a 20 year old jar of jam in the back of the fridge. Yes, when my parents moved from Houston to Missouri, Mom found 20 year old jam in the fridge. She left it behind for the new people, saying that it was tradition and came with the house. It may well be the only thing she did leave behind. The other day I found some Tylenol that expired in 1992. At least it was fresher than the jam.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Abominable Snow Karla

Gosh it's hot.

97 degrees in this little part of the Ozarks where I am. I feel like the Abominable Snowman, you know, the one that melted on the old Bugs Bunny cartoons? Gosh it's hot.

Good thing I remembered that it gets hot in the US in summer, and I packed nothing but sundresses and tank tops and skirts. One jacket, one measly jacket, and that is the only article of clothing that has long sleeves in my whole suitcase. Woohoo!!!!!! I remember what sweat feels like!

I got to take the Audi into Springfield today to pick up yet another of my brother's friends. We're importing boys for dad's birthday. Ok that sounds wrong. What I mean is, alot of my brother's freinds love hanging out with my dad, and so a few of them have come up here to celebrate the big birthday. Kit and Duy got here at 7:30 am, having driven all night! Mom's got them all packed into the other house, which was my grandmther's house. She died a couple of years ago, so now her house is the guest house. The testosterone is already pretty thick up there, good thing Mom has saved me a bedroom in the main house.

Anyhow, driving the Audi to Springfield was FUN. There is this one windy twisty road, that goes on for about 65 miles or so, nothing but twists and turns and glass smootth asphalt and fun. The curves are all perfectly banked, there are no potholes and I love to swing around the turns and careen up and down the hills like a race car driver. I dream about that road, sometimes. Missouri has the best country roads, they really keep them up well. So it was with alacrity and no small amount of glee that I volunteered to pick up Kit's friend Russell, who was flying into Springfield airport this morning. Any excuse to drive that road is ok with me. Russell, by the way, is my best friend Julia's "little" brother, whom I have known for 30 years now. Can you believe I am old enough to know ANYONE besides my parents for 30 years? But yeah, I've known Julia and her family since I was five. Eeek!

Mom and I refer to all Kit's friends as "the boys" but they are all in their mid 30's, with marriages and divorces and jobs and kids and yet, with all that, they are still my younger brother's dorky friends and that's just how they will remain, even when they are 70. The Boys. And I'll always be the big sister. Funny how that never changes.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Greetings from the US!

The past few weeks have been really tough. The move, the problems with the internet, and the fact that I was planning a trip to the US that I could not blog about because it was a secret.

Yes, I am an international spy.


My Dad's birthday is the 5th and Mom and I decided to have some fun and fly me in to surprise him. It worked. We surprised him. Teehee.

It's been DAMNED hard to not write about it on the blog, though. I've wanted to blab for weeks. ARG! But Dad reads the blog, so I could not mention the trip. But now I can, hooray! (And I am using Dad's rather sweet new Macintosh G5. It has a HUGE screen. Unfortunately, the folks still only have dial up, which is damned slow, but this is one cool computer. Mom has her own little Mac laptop and they have the house wired for connectivity. If only they had DSL. Macintosh has the corner on coool design on computers. I might look into one for my next computer. (Dave, stop howling with glee. Seriously, now, quit it.))

I flew in to Houston on Continental on Saturday. I gotta give Continental kudos for very comfortable planes. Even though the flight was packed (I mean, overbooked packed!) I was fairly comfortable because the legroom on the flight was at least enough where I could cross my legs without having to stick them out into the aisle to do it. The flight attendants are kind of wierd, (and yes, I will always spell wierd wierd so just deal with it, ok? One of my adorable quirks.) on Continental, though. All older, and kinda cranky. One or two are nice, the rest are just barely doing what they need to do to get by. It felt as though all my elementary school teachers had been hired to manage the flight, and all the passengers were nothing but an unruly bunch of kids who needed to be kept in line and fed ice cream every few hours or so. I've noticed this on every flight with them...the flight attendants are very authoritarian...,,hmm.

My brother met me in Houston on Saturday at 6pm. My luggage did not. It got to me at 1am on Sunday night, having been left behind in Amsterdam, which was annoying as i had planned to go to Ft Worth Sunday afternoon to see my sister and brother in law on the way to Missouri to surprise Dad. As it was, I had to wait around in Houston for my luggage to get to the US and then pass through Customs. And let me tell you, American Customs SUCKS ASS. When I called to find out where my luggage was, the folks on Continental said "Well, it landed at 5:30 on Sunday, but you might not get it till tomorrow". When I asked why, they said that Customs gloms onto it and won't let go for hours. I asked if maybe we could get them to expedite my luggage, as I didn't want to be TWO days late on my travel plans, and the lady on the phone snorted and said "Hurry Customs? If I ask them to hurry your luggage, they will actually go slower. Customs Sucks." Yes, she actually said that Customs Sucks. That made me laugh.

Anyhow, they managed to get my luggage to me at 1am (and I was NOT a pretty sight when it arrived, having been awakened from a deep sleep, I think I scared the delivery guy to death). I borrowed a car from my brother and drove to Missouri on Monday, a nice smooth trip in a very nice older Audi with lots of speed and room. There is nothing I like better than a road trip. It's one of the few times where I can just totally be myself, just me and a car and some good music. I love to drive, I'm quite good at it, and the lure of the open road and a fast car is something I just can't resist. I really do think that the best part of any trip is the getting there. I loves me the road trips.

Got to Missouri right around 8pm on Monday (about 11 hours on the road) and surprised the hell out of Dad, it was great.

I'l be here for a week and then to Austin for some hanging out, some Mexican food and a wedding on the 13th. I go back to Norway on the 21st.