Tuesday, December 25, 2007

no time but much to say

Howdy. Merry Christmas!!!!! This is the first time I have been on a computer in 5 days. Sorry for the lapse in posting.

We are in Pennsylvania now, having been there and done that in NYC. We had a GREAT time. The flight over from Norway was packed, but we managed to score exit row seats, which was a nice bonus as the plane is small and Rich is tall. It took us all of 40 minutes to get through Newark, from start to finish including customs, immigration and luggage. I really think that was a new record. We were in NYC by 3:30, the flight having landed at just after 2!!!!!! We splurged on a cab, cheap by Norwegian standards and no having to hump the luggage up and down stairs at train stations.

Ok, so the scoop on what we did, where we ate, etc.

Short version if you don't have much time:
New Yorkers are very friendly
There is no such thing as bad food.
Lots of foreigners there.
Things in the US ARE cheap compared to Europe.
Stay at the Park South Hotel.
The toilets are very low as compared to the ones in Norway and it freaked me out constantly, I kept thinking I was falling.

Long version, if you have time:
Friday night we ate at a Mexican place (well, sort of nouveau mex) called Dos Caminos, on Park Ave and like, 26th or so. They made the guacamole at the table and it was the best I ever had. The main dish was ok, I had chicken tacos al carbon with oranges and guac and Rich had a yummy quesadilla with shrimp. Mine was kind of cold, and I softly mentioned it to the waitress, (thinking maybe it was more like a salad?), who apologized and seconds later came the manager, who apologized and then gave me a goodie bag with all sorts of stuff including their gorgeous new cookbook! The service there was OUTSTANDING. I'd definitely go back. Great margaritas and they apparently have the largest selection of tequila in NYC.

Saturday we gopt up really early, found a good diner and had a HUGE breakfast, with everything breakfasty you can think of. Rich then went to the Brooklyn Museum and I hared off to the stores on 5th Ave and around. I scored at BCBG (grey boots finally!) and Anthropologie (cute dress and sweater on sale) and Sephora, oh my, and then did a spin through Lord and Taylor and Barney's etc etc. I didn't buy much but what I bought I love. We met back up later and then went to Smith and Wollensky for dinner.

Our reservations were for 7:15 but we didn't get a table until closer to 8. The place was PACKED to the gills, standing room only in the bar. Jolly crowd, all very nice and all ages. We finally got seated at the tiniest table ever known to mankind, Rich looked like he was sitting at a kiddie table and I had some guy's shoulder hitting my left ear. This was not gonna work, so we let the maitre 'd know and he brought us back out into the waiting area with a promise of a better table (and he gave me a beer!)(we love him) . Another 20 minutes and we got a much better table.

We had calamari for a starter, which was excellent. We were served by a very competent, if somewhat brusque waiter, but he was one of those guys who warmed up to you quickly if you talked to him a bit and showed him you weren't an idiot. We both had the NY strip, Rich had bone-in and mine without. I have to say, the steaks were not the best we've ever had. His was fatty, mine was better and very nicely cooked, but compared to Austin Land and Cattle, which is the measure of all things Steak in my world, I give them a 4 out of 10. They were basically just large hunks of flesh, no finesse or anything special about them (except the Flintstone-like proportions). The baked potato toppings were many and generous, however, which was a very nice addition. I would go back to Smith and Wollensky, I liked the vibe, the atmosphere and the very friendly and efficient service, but I would order a smaller steak and make sure it was no bone. We were too full to do anything but go back to the hotel afterwards.

Oh! The Hotel! Great! I can highly recommend the Park South Hotel at Park and 28th for your stay in NYC. We got upgraded to a king sized bed from the queen we reserved and the room was a good size, nicely decorated, and quiet for NYC. Nice bathroom, great maid service, and breakfast included. We will definitely go back there.

We decided to stay an extra night, so on Sunday went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art but it was too packed, so we wandered down to Soho and Tribeca. We had excellent Vietnamese for lunch at Pho Bang and I checked out Prada (wow) and we had a great time at the Pearl River Emporium, a Chinese Department store, where I got the most gorgeous brocade coat. Rich got tin toys. It rained like mad and was pretty terrible weather, so we ended up in a pub called Puck Fair which was beautifully decorated for Christmas, and had some Guinesses. Back to the hotel for a rest and then we saw "Enchanted" which was cute. Skipped dinner. Still full from lunch.

My only regret is that we did not eat at Les Halles which was RIGHT around the corner from our hotel. They serve breakfast too. But we never managed to get there. Next time we will.

Yesterday we got up did some last minute shopping and then got a car from the hotel to take us to pick up our rent car at Newark. Easy peasy, and a couple hours later and no traffic, we made it to Pennsylvania. It's cold but no snow, and we have so far had a lovely Christmas day.

So now I finish this and say Merry Christmas!!!!!!! Hope yours is wonderful.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

cold random babbling

It's so cold outside it's redefined my definition of cold. It's not that it's merely cold, it's also that it is sustained cold, cold where the frost never goes away, and indeed has built up to the point where the frost is now resembling snow. Cold, Arctic cold, to where I realized I REALLY don't have warm enough clothes, even counting my duvet coat, my old heavy grey wool military coat and my shearling lined suede coat. No matter what I wear, the cold creeps in somewhere. Who knew wrists and the back of your neck where your scarf slips can get so damned cold? I'm from Texas dammit, I am not born with the knowledge of how dress a la Michelin Man. For me a long sleeved t shirt is considered winter wear!

And I find it ain't gonna be any warmer in New Fookin' Yawk or Pennsylvania either. And to think we had planned on Egypt for Christmas! Even Rich (him of the sun avoidance and hell-no-to-the-beach) is telling me that in spring we will go somewhere warm and beachy for a week. Yesterday I realized IT'S NOT EVEN WINTER YET......it's still Fall, and I really, really, really don't think I will make it through this winter if I am going to be this cold, lame and miserable. And it's strange, because it's been like this other years, so why am I not handling it well THIS year?

All the train stations are plastered with an ad for underwear featuring a very hot, very scantily clad man. This guy is HOT, and I don't really even like blondes all that much. His hotness is only increased by the fact that everyone in the world is covered eyes to toes in wool, fur and fuzz, so there is NO skin to be seen anywhere. And here, on this back lit advertisement, in the frost and cold, is a picture of this dude, all buff and tan and glowingly man warm with a slightly hairy chest (we know Karla likes her a hairy chest) and NAKED except for his little titey whiteys...and I get sort of turned on by this ad. SKIN! In the COLD! HOT MAN SKIN! For once it's not woman skin! NAKED MAN SKIN! I stare at that ad like a moth to flame every time I see it, and by its ubiquity, that is alot. I'm pretty sure, at my age, this makes me a Horny Old Broad.

OK, I had other stuff to say....man skin man skin warm golden man skin...um...wha? Oh, oh yeah.

So, in New York. What we are going to do. Yes, that was the other thing I was going to discuss.

Thank you everyone for the suggestions and input. Special thanks to Desertwind for keeping me up to date on my Project Runway (seriously ,the highlight of my sad, humdrum weeks!)

So it looks like we are going to eat at Smith and Wollensky for our Steak Extravaganza. (Dave we considered McD's for a split second before both laughing uproariously.) We looked at EVERY steakhouse in NYC, menus included, and hubs liked Smith and Wollensky because of the lobster and the crabs as sides. (Peter Luger is number one pick, but no go on rezzies.) We'll see how it goes. We can have a drink at the Tudor Hotel before or after, would be nice to spot Uma Fucking Thurman as did Bookhart that time!
We also looked at Les Halles, as big fans of Anthony Bourdain, but as we can get to Paris relatively easy from Norway, AND I ate at a very similar place in London earlier this year, we decided to go for the Big American Style beef instead of the French Experience.
On the night we arrive we will hit Chinatown and eat there. (Big Wong sounds great, I might try to hit that on my own.) McSorley's is definitely on the list, this girl ain't missin' no good pubs (Bonoxious there is NOT a place called Burp Castle, is there?)(holy crap there IS!). I think Rich and I will try to have an Individual Day where he goes to museums and I shop until I puke. Ray's Pizza sounds like a must do for my shopping day, though will try to hit that post puke.....perhaps McSorley's might be the right place for pre puke? Though Burp Castle, which one reviewer said 'smelled like a warm beer fart', might be more optimal for pukage.

Shopping.....Ah shopping. I'm going to wear comfortable (yet chic) shoes, carry an extra collapsible bag for my goodies, and I am hittin the stores HARD! I've also extracted a promise from Rich that we will go to Woodbury Commons outlets. They gots EVERYTHING there. I hear tell there might even be some nature thereabouts, but honestly, screw nature. I'm in it for the material goods and the rush of the hunt!

I'm still laughing about Burp Castle. Omigod I hope they have t shirts.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Need your advice!

Ok people. I need your help.

I have two days in NYC coming up. I've been a few times before, so am ready for ideas beyond the basics, you know? As it's only two days, things in central Manhattan are most appreciated.

I need your advice on:
  • Where to eat (note: hubby ain't much for posh-poofty restaurants so no "tiny food" places.)(Any good Vietnamese joints? Good diners? Good ol' 'murcan food?)
  • Shopping tips (I've been to century 21 and have previously hit all the usual shopping landmarks, wouldn't mind some new ideas. Quirky is good, as is any place with great deals. Any markets? Is Loehman's still around?) Everything in the US is cheap when you are coming from Norway, so I gots kroners to spend and strong arms to carry my purchases with!
  • Funky bars, especially of a cozy/old/historical/good beer selection nature. Nowhere that Paris or Lindsay would go, no velvet ropes, please!
  • Ok ok..... and cultural stuff too. The Met is already on the list.
A visit to Woodbury Commons outlets is already on the "hell yes" list.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

cold like I've never experienced

Ok so the weather outside right now? InSANEly cold. Cold in a way I've never experienced.

How to describe. Well, it's misty outside, and from far away it looks like fog. But close up, and when the sun (which is trying to break through the mist) shines you can see that the fog is not FOG but teeny tiny little shiny glittery ice crystals floating in the air all over. (If you've see "The Golden Compass" it is EXACTLY like Dust.) In other words, it is so cold outside that the mist is freezing into ice and then floating about aimlessly. So if you go outside you will be breathing ice. It's gorgeous in a furiously cold and painful way. Anywhere the sun shines there is a glittering rainbow made of ice particles and sun on a milky misty background.

Our thermometer outside registers 12 degrees fahrenheit. The one inside is 64. It's too cold to get the house any warmer than that. I can feel the cold pouring slowly from the baseboards of the wall.

In other news: Last night I had a Norwegian microbrew beer that cost 125 kroner for one half liter bottle.
Nøgne ø, Jul øl, (see bottle above.) At current exchange rates, that half liter of beer cost $22.50. Was it good? Yes, very. A very dark beer, a porter style, with a complex finish and a strong yet even mix of malt and hops. 8% alcohol content! It finished with notes of coffee and vanilla. I think it could have done with a year or so of sitting and aging, to take the edge off, there was a slight harshness at the very end. The one I had was at the very early end of its freshness date, which ended in 2012. But when that smooths out that will be one HELLUVA beer. At that price, it better be. Luckily it was for a work party and so I didn't pay it. Can you imagine 4 beers that cost a hundred bucks? Still, after so many years of really crap beer it was incredibly heartening to find a Norwegian beer that harks back to what I think the beer was like when beer was a common household staple, made with pride by every housewife.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

effin' cold

It is COLD outside. COLD. Like, your breath catches in your throat COLD.

Thing about this is......

If you have been a semi-regular reader of my verbal meanderings (Beer! Beer makes me semantically gifted!) you know that I am a girl who will always choose wearing a skirt over pants of any sort. Skirts are easy, comfortable and they don't squeeze your yum yums.


Which means my ass was COLD TODAY. Even under a long suede skirt and boots and a slip and a long coat. That air just crawls RIGHT up there.


I'm going to have to wear tights for a while, my ass is too cold.

Rich made us a reservation for a hotel in New Effin' York for a few days over the Christmas holidays. Shopping? I think so. Since I'll be there and all, might as well.

great joke I got from my sister in law


Last night, my friend and I were sitting in the living room and I said to
her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine
and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug".

She got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.


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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Friday yet?

It's not Friday yet is it?  Just Tuesday? Damn.
Not much to report. Al Gore is in town to recieve his Nobel Prize. The ceremony was last night. Usually I go and watch the torchlight processions and such, but this year was just too tired. I seem to be tired alot lately. Gore has been in the news non stop here, everyone LOVES him. Especially impressive to the Norwegian frame of mind was his insistence on taking the Airport Train (Flytoget) into central Oslo instead of being carted by limo. Granted the Flytoget is faster than driving and it is a really nice and incredibly quiet train, so it was not too much of a sacrifice. Still, it shows his willingness to be part of the world and do his share to integrate, and we folks living in Norway like that. It really is a shame Gore got screwed out of the White House. A real shame.
We've gotten two Christmas cards so far this year: One from Jan Mayen Island and one from Bangkok. I rather like the juxtapostion of locations, so far north and so far south. My friend Kristen is working on Jan Mayen for 6 months at a weather station there. Her stories of life on an Arctic Island are priceless. (Check out the website, the webcam is cool.)
Of course, we've seen our Christmas card reception drop dramatically over the years, for one main reason: We never get around to sending any! I think we did sent them a few times, but it usually comes around to being the week before Christmas, which is too late to send cards internationally, and we are all "Oh shit! We need to send cards! D'oh! It's too late! Crap!"
Yes we suck. Saturday we even tried to go to some Christmas markets but a) they were lame and b) there were pubs very nearby, so we ended up drinking beer with Grant instead. None of us were feeling the Christmas spirit much, and honestly, shouldn't there be things to buy at a Christmas market? Because there wasn't much of anything to buy at the ones we went to. Beer seemed a much better use of our time and money. There is a nice Irish pub in Oslo, who knew?
Hey...is that the sun I see? Wow....I forgot what that felt like.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007


hallejulah, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Man Rain.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's raining men...no, I really mean it. IT'S RAINING MEN

Sometimes life just hands you things, exactly when you need them.

Today for example. I was on what I can only call an Angst Walk. This is when, as lately, things get to be a Bit Too Much and so I grab my iPod and go for a walk, playing very loud very angry music, sometimes wandering into the woods where I can cry and rage and sniffle whilst Trent screams dire things in my ears. Catharsis, Karla Style. I am an angry girl lately. Watch me rage.

So, there I am, in the woods, hauling ass down the path that cuts through My Favorite Meadow, raging and pissed off, when a man fell out of the sky. I tell you what, there's nothing that will stop you crying quicker than a dude falling out of the sky right over your head. You're all "WAAAAAAA!...aaaaa......um...huh?.......(snifff)?????"

Then another dude floated down, and another. All these tall gorgeous blonde men falling from the sky, hanging from big poofy parachute thingies. It was like Christmas and New Year's and my birthday all in one. Only thing that would have made it better is if a) they were naked and b) I had my camera.

Then a helicopter landed next to them. There was all this noise and air and men in tight suits and macho hugging and high fiving (all in Norwegian, but hey, international language of "DUDE THAT SO KICKED ASS" is pretty easy to understand). And then they got in the helicopter, it lifted off, after first doing some very extreme show-offy helicopter acrobatics (who knew they did that, I didn't) and then up they went for another man rain shower.

It rained men four times.


I killed a man just to watch him die

Ok, ok so I lie. But I DID get really HUFFY.

Basically (and girls, this one is for you) if you go to a place where there is dancing and there is a handsy little bastard who keeps dancing on you and you tell him DO NOT DO THAT and he does it again and you tell him DO NOT GRAB ME and then he does it again and you push him away and say again DO NOT GRAB ME I'M SERIOUS and then he rubs his bony little ass up against you and you say STOP THAT I AM NOT KIDDING and then he says "Hey we're just having fun so DANCE WITH ME BITCH!"......what would you do?

Considering that this is a dude who grabs or insinuates himself in an offensive manner every damned time I see him (and he does it to every other woman as well, and honestly, any warm body on the dance floor) and he doesn't SEEM like a stupid guy? I mean, he has a JOB that apparently SMART people are supposed to do?

How much NO can you put in NO before this person understands NO? I will TALK to you but I will NOT tolerate you putting you hands on me in that insinuating way. Just because I am a woman does NOT mean you can grab me. (And believe me, I am VERY tolerant of the flirtation, nudge-nudge-wink-wink and general drunken abandonment that happens on a typical night at the pub/club. I mean, VERY tolerant, even, at times, enthusiastic. ) I do have a nice curvy figure, yes, but I also have a HEAD and BRAINS and you do not get to DISREGARD those and aim straight for the yum yums, as if that was ALL I AM.

So what did I do, you wonder.

I killed the little slimy bollocked bugger.

Ok, ok I lie again. After he said "Dance with me bitch", I stopped dancing, flashed green lasers out of my eyes, turned around and stalked off the dance floor. I mean I STALKED. I FLOUNCED. I think I even STOMPED.

I wish I had slapped. (One of the highlights of my collegiate career was the time Bookhart and I were at a bar and a guy was sort of rude to us and Bookhart ever so elegantly threw her drink in his face. Seriously, the ballsiest move EVER and another reason why she rules. If I had a drink in my hand last night I would have thrown it in his face, but I only thought of it now and seriously, drinks are sort of expensive to just go throwing them in slimy bollock's faces?) But when I flounce, man, you KNOW it's serious. If I ever flounce in your vicinity, you want to tread lightly with me from then on......

I've tried being pleasant to this person, I mean I AM Southern and we Southerners always try to be nice to everyone, but he is off my list and there is no getting back on my list once you are off. I've flounced and that is IT.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Good riddance to a shit week.

I'm going to take a two day nap now.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

what I did tonight

Christmas cookie family, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I went to a Christmas cookie slash wine drinking party tonight. This is my "Xmas family in Thailand". She's wearing a teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini. Full disclosure, I did not decorate the one in the middle. The other two are mine.

exploding heart cookie

exploding heart cookie, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A Goth Christmas cookie moment. I went to a wine drinking/cookie decorating party tonight.

they were just lucky I didn't get around to teaching them how to make the Naughty Christmas cookies, in choice of 3Dor 2D.

Christmas cookie with candle

Christmas cookie with candle, originally uploaded by karlakp.

My standard artistic cookie effort, the candle decoration. Done with toothpicks dragging the icing around.

and the suckage continues

Have you ever had a day where NOTHING went right?
Nothing I have attempted today has gone smoothly or to plan. Even removing a tag from my shirt resulted in a giant hole in the seam.
At work? I can't even punch HOLES correctly...have to redo them ALL for the project I am working on, and believe me it ain't a small project. Who reset the frigging hole puncher???? DAMMIT!
I feel like a monkey pretending to be a person. The simplest thing is beyond my ken. I should just sit on a tree branch somewhere, scratching my ass and throwing shit on unsuspecting passers by. That's about the limit of my intelligence and capabilities today.
I must have done something karmically very bad in my sleep to deserve this.
The only thing keeping my spirits somewhat up (like so I don't kill anyone or crawl under my desk and weep) is having my iPod on FULL VOLUME with all the danciest music I can find. I'll worry about ear damage later. Besides, of course, only one ear bud really works anyhow. So I'll only go deaf in one ear. Small comfort.


Routines are alright, I guess. I just don't want them every day.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I think i had a bad day today..but I am not sure

Have you ever had it where you had a really bad thing and a really good thing happen in one day? And so you aren't sure what to think?

That happened to me today.

I'm confused. But right now the bad is winning out in my mood, mostly because the bad can overcome the good if things don't work out as I would hope. (The bad and good are sort of all tied up in one package. Sorry to be vague, it's all work related, but just trust me, it's a good news bad news scenario.)

It could all go horribly pear shaped.

(Thought...why is something going pear shaped bad? I like pears...and have an affinity for the shape, sort of having that shape myself.)

Screw the pears, I want pepperkake.

success and abject failure, and some music too

Last night I threw together dinner, with a vague notion that I wanted shrimp with a cilantro (coriander) flavor, but not sure how I was going to achieve it. So I made something up out of the blue. It turned out SO good, I was surprised. So here it is. Try it and let me know what you think.
I got some nice raw shrimp and peeled them and tossed them in a bit of vodka. (Vodka removes fishy taste from shrimp and enhances the sweetness.) Poured off the vodka and dusted them with cornstarch (to help dry them out and thicken the sauce later) and let them sit.
In a big skillet I melted some butter and sauteed a small chopped onion. When the onion turned sort of clear I added the shrimp, tossed them around and added a good amount of garlic, some black pepper and a bit of salt. I squeezed a lime over it. When it was almost finished (the shrimp are firm and pink) I added a good handful of fresh chopped cilantro and a bit of cream. Stirred it all around so that it all stuck together in a creamy sort of sauce. Served with more fresh cilantro on top. It had a yummy sort of Caribbean flavor to it. So that was the success of the day.
The failure? I totally fucked up the rice. Not sure what i did but it was terrible. First time I have done that in a while. So instead of shrimp with rice we had....shrimp. I prefer to think of it as an appetizer with no main course then a main course without a side...but that's semantics.
And music. NIN has a new album, and what a doozy of a name....Y34RZ3r0r3mix3d. I hope I got that right. (Damn name reminds me of one of those annoying Blogger word verification thingies.) Anyhow, the album is a remix by various bands and dj's of NIN's latest album. As a NIN fan it's a must. If you aren't a NIN fan...there's alot of great stuff on it. Judgement call I guess. I also downbloaded some Gary Numan and some dance stuff that hopefully will be good. I dunno, I just wanted something to shake me up a bit.
So I've gotten this reputation at work of being an ass kicker and a bit of a task-mistress. It cracks me up because people totally get stuff done for me. This is very unlike my real life, I must admit, where it seems procrastination happens all around me no matter what I do or say (me? SO not a procrastinator, my thinking being what you put off actually hurts you more later than if you just freaking face it head on.) It's nice to feel a bit more in control at work and like I can make shit happen. Of course, my penchant for tall black boots with pointy toes does not hurt my efforts....people are worried the boot will end up in their backside, and I haven't done anything to disabuse them of that notion. I'm considering bringing a whip to work to hang on the wall and naming it "The Enforcer".

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Reason has left the building

THIS is the STUPIDEST thing I have EVER heard.

For real.

I-35 mentioned in the Bible? Highway of Holiness?

For fuck's sake. Have they ever DRIVEN on it?

Monday, December 03, 2007


Yeah, so December is No More Diet Month.

As exampled by:

Dinner, last night: Cookies.

Dinner, tonight: Red wine, pasta carbonara, and cookies.

Fuck it, and fuck the diet. I lost, like, two pounds anyhow. Though, I will say, I've changed my diet habits a little in that everything carb-ish in our house is now whole grain, which is good. Who knew I liked brown rice?

I am oddly bereft, as I heartily enjoyed NoMoBloMe or whatever the fuck November is, where everyone was blogging? Because all my best friends who don't normally blog all that often blogged ALL THE TIME and I LOVED it. And now they have stopped and I feel like my favorite source of information, news and happenings is GONE and I am SAD.

Well, also a little drunkish as I had WINE for dinner. And COOKIES. Pillsbury cookies, that I had saved in the freezer. The weather was so bad this weekend it merited cookies. Cookies and movies.

And now it's Monday again....damn.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

window with Christmas balls

window with Christmas balls, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Christmas season has started......

Friday, November 30, 2007

Why has reason been abandoned?

Am I the only one who just can't compute all this?

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Thursday, November 29, 2007


Dark time.

It's the Dark Time in Norway.

The days are short and dreary and gloomy. It's cold. It's wet. There's mud.

It's almost impossible to get out of bed in the mornings. I mean, seriously hard. It feels like 5 am and it's actually 9am and there's no sun and and it's raining because the snow won't quite stick and ARGH!!!!!! I drag ass out of bed like an old lady with arthritis. This is the hardest part of the year for me, by far. I can handle the cold, I can even handle the snow (ice is a bit tricky) but the dark kicks my ass EVERY year. It's when I get homesick, when I miss Austin and warmth and sun and having a beer on my back deck in 60 degree weather and telling everyone how cold it is and ohmigod I might need a sweater.

However, and I always have to remind myself of this, the darkest day is December 22, and from then on the days get longer. Light WILL come again. And it happens fast, just as fast as the dark comes. And then we gain three minutes of light a day. That's 30 minutes in a week and a half.

Just let me make it through the next 3 weeks.....and sorry if I am not awake in the mornings. I'm hibernating.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Best cartoon EVER

Seriously, the best cartoon ever. Click on it to make it bigger.

Just as an fyi, something like 85% of Norwegians are members of the Church of Norway, which is the national church, but that's only because they are sort of registered at birth and have to make the effort to resign their memberships, which most don't bother. Most Norwegians don't go to church regularly, though Confirmation seems a popular teenage rite of passage.

...on the upside.....

I have two of these to look forward to. One for Rich's company and one for mine. They are always fun.

What to wear, what to wear.....

...AND I'm spent

Back home now. The flight from Gatwick was a bit late leaving and I was sweating BULLETS when we got back to Oslo, as if I didn't catch the last train I was in for one helluvan expensive taxi ride to get home. (Like, REALLY expensive.) Luckily I managed to catch the exact last Flytoget (The Airport Train) and was home by 2am. Tired. Oh so tired.

Fell asleep and was awakened in the afternoon by the fire alarms going off in the building. Hotfooted (coldfooted, actually, as I neglected shoes or coat) it into the lobby where a bunch of very good looking, tall guys in uniform took one look at me (pillow lines running from forehead to neck, hair on end, makeup not where it was originally applied and pajamas a mishmash of whatever was closest to grab when I got home) and told me to relax, it was just a test, go back to bed. Me? Vain? Nah. Then I realized I was up too late to even call in sick to work, I mean, calling in at 1pm seems a bit too late, so I just went back to bed and figured I would deal with it tomorrow.

I'll tell you what, I feel OLD today. OLD and UGLY. I am at a low ebb. Day Two. Headache, tired body, tired soul. Plum tuckered out. I had a nice time in London, I really did, but I also felt out of sorts and like I was searching for something, but what that something was I am not sure.

I thought I wanted an "It" bag, and I checked out all the usual stores where one would go for such a thing. But, I just can't allow myself to spend that much on something that really is only meant to hang on your arm and announce its price. I would, (and could!) I guess, if there was one I REALLY liked, but they all are too MUCH, too many pockets and buckles and furry bits and shiny bits and I just don't need my bag to announce how valuable I am to the world. It's like the feminine equivalent of the man who buys the Ferrari, and I really just don't feel like I have that much to prove. I appreciate good quality and will pay for it, but I don't need some designer's name stamped all over the place to prove I can appreciate it. I instead got a really nice olive green leather hobo bag at the Gap for 55 pounds. I just like nice soft leather and a good shape, you know? So no "It" bag for Karla.

I had a nice meal or two, saw my exhibit at the V&A, wandered about and saw my favorite things, but sort of felt restless and stressed, like I was meant to be doing more than I was. I certainly wasn't sleeping. I wasn't really finding anything in the shops I wanted. (I returned the velvet skirt I bought, I just didn't need it. Never fear, though, as I got a pair of ROCKIN' velvet trousers at Cos instead. Much more practical, and black, and WASHABLE.) I might, actually, be shopped out. I might, actually, have been there and done that AND bought the t shirt. So....now what?

I think I miss my husband, also. Damn that large lump of man. would have been nice to go to a pub or three with him. He's back from his work trip tomorrow. It'll be good to see him. Until, that is, he asks, "What's for dinner?'

Sunday, November 25, 2007

rats x 3

Rat 1) Saw "Ratatouille" tonight. ADORED it. That was the BEST movie. Gorgeous to look at what with the views of Paris and all, cute story, and the characters...Oh, I am in love with that little rat. His little pink nose...he was SO cute. I've always thought mice and rats weren't as nasty as other people do (granted don't want them in the walls of my house as they can be destructive) so that movie sort of reinforced my not quite hatred of them. Brad Bird can do no wrong in my eyes, what with him doing Edna Mode (my favoritest cartoon character of all time) in The Incredibles, which he also directed, and now this.

Rat 2) Saw a little rat running along the rails at Holborn Tube station after the movie. He was the same grey as the floor. Looked just like Remy. Then a train came and ran over him (didn't squish him, just ran OVER him) and I thought of Remy running under a car in the same way. EEEEEK!!!!!!!!!

Rat 3) My father is rat three. He sent me a bunch of pictures of everyone back home eating turkey and gravy sandwiches. MY turkey and gravy sandwiches. Mostly my brother eating MY turkey and gravy sandwiches. Kit, get ready for lesson number 313....it's gonna hurt.

two days in London


Got up and headed over to the V&A to book my tickets for the Couture show. The place was packed so decided to book ahead for the next day and then get the hell out of there. got tickets for 10:15 Sunday.

Left the V&A and walked over to High Street Kensington. Ate lunch at Wagamama. Mama is right, the place was packed with posh mums and dads with their very loud children. Thanks God I wasn't hung over, I would not have survived the noise. I had a very spicy ramen soup and gyoza. Finished there as fast as I could as did not enjoy the screams of the children and parents, and wandered about the area, stopping to check out the new Whole Foods. It's a bit confusing, and the layout is guaranteed to frustrate you as you try to get around the prams, carts, baskets and people. Plus the checkout was on a different floor from the majority of the food, which was wierd. And it's really expensive, one off the displays was "free range natural hen's eggs" at a price of 35p EACH. That's about $20 a dozen! I mostly went there for some of my usual good smellies and some vitamins I can't get in Norway. (Vitamins are ridiculously expensive in Norway and not much variety.) Anyhow, loaded up on some stuff there and got talked into buying a shower gel from a line that "Madonna uses when she travels". If it's good enough for her it's good enough for me, I say!

I also went to Waterstone's and got some books and Jigsaw where I got a GORGEOUS velvet skirt. By 5 pm I was tired, my back was killing me and I was carrying about 35 lbs of books and stuff, so legged it back to the Tube and went back to the hotel to rest for a bit. The Tube, by the way, this whole weekend, has been a NIGHTMARE, so crowded and horrible. First time I have been here where I really have been hating it. I'm pretty much walking everywhere if I can.

After a bit of a rest, caught up with a London Walks pub walk through Fitzrovia, an area I am not that familiar with. It's right above Oxford Street and west of Bloomsbury. Interesting area, lots of good restaurants and stuff. The tour guide (David, he's the guy that writes the very florid London Walks brochures)(seriously, he uses words like "thanatophobe") regaled us with perfectly enunciated and very actorly stories of his misspent youth working in that area. In between his vignettes I had nice chats with a woman on the tour, an American who works for United, and we discussed (and solved) all the world's problems over some half pints of wheat beer. (Samuel Adams makes a very nice wheat beer.) She was cool.

Came back to the hotel, crashed hard.


Woke up a bit late, so had to hurry to get to my appointed time for the V&A exhibit. It was gorgeous, but I will say it was a bit "Couture for Beginners". I've had a passion for fashion history since I was a little kid, so there wasn't a whole lot there I hadn't read about, seen or heard about, but it was nice to see quite a few very nice Balenciagas close up. That man knew how to make clothes. The tailoring and precision that went into it, there really is no equal. The show was pretty packed and it annoys the FUCK out of me when people stand in the way of an exhibit description when they are looking at something else, it's like MOVE already, let someone ELSE in now! ARGH! There was also an exhibit on the life and photography of Lee Miller, of whom I knew very little, and she is a FASCINATING figure. I bought her biography and am completely engrossed in it. What I love about the V&A is you learn something every time you go, even if you think you might not.

After the museum trip I ate hummus and "the chicken" at Maroush, which was as jaw-achingly good as I remember. Satisfied, I pushed through the crowds at Harrods and wandered up Sloane Street, peeking in at Prada where I fell in LOVE desperate LOVE with her new "resort wear" skirts and dresses. Oh so very 50's New Look, giant full skirts in unabashedly feminine florals. Oh so gorgeous, and only 2800 pounds! I didn't buy one. Dammit.

As I wandered on up Sloane Street towards King's Road I saw a Supermodel. She was walking right towards me and passed me and I thought, Hmm, cute girl, nothing out of the ordinary, though strangely familiar, then thought about it and realized I'd seen her face plastered freaking EVERYWHERE for the past few years. She was about my height, skinny, of course, and wearing a leopardy spotted coat and high tops or some such. Pretty much the de riguer eclectic model uniform. The women behind me noticed her too.

King's Road was its usual crowded self. (Just heard on the news a Porsche jumped off the road yesterday and killed someone on the sidewalk, I always wondered when that would happen as people drive WAY too fast on that street!) Lots of new shops and things there. Marks and Sparks is having some nice stuff right now, got a couple of skirts there. They did not cost 2800 pounds.

(Rant time! Now for a pet peeve of mine: Why is is that when they line a skirt, the lining is too narrow for the outside of the skirt and so, even though the skirt fits, the lining ends up being too tight and ruins the look of the skirt? This happens ALL THE TIME now, like the designers cheap out on the inner materials, and so you have this lovely full skirt with a shitty cheap narrow lining inside and it doesn't fit! If the skirt is a size 12, make the damned lining a size 12 as well! Don't take away my fun with wearing a full skirt by ruining it with a narrow lining!!!! Please! My second pet peeve: Lining a stretchy skirt or pants with a lining that does NOT stretch, thus negating the purpose of having a skirt or pants that can stretch! GAH!)

I also had a laugh when I saw a Vietnamese Restaurant named "Phat Phuc". Teehee. That was down King's Road.

Caught the Tube back to the hotel from Sloane Street and am resting my sore feet. Will catch a showing of Ratatouille at 8, have wanted to see that for AGES, but I Norway they mostly dub it in Norwegian at the theatres near me, so am catching it here. Might have a beer before, or possibly after.

Tomorrow more running around before I catch my flight. This weekend went fast.

Friday, November 23, 2007

My kinda town

Well, so far so good. London, as always, rocks. This town makes me happy. I get a smile just being here.

I checked into my hotel room yesterday night and discovered they had upgraded me to an "Executive Room". It's all newly refurbished, with a huge bed and all the usual business hotel amenities. Not much of a view, it just looks down into a drab Victorian courtyard but I generally don't find many hotels with views in London. After all the kerfuffle with downgrading my choice of hotel (this one is much cheaper than my first choice), it's very nice to know that this hotel did not disappoint. The room is very big by London standards. I'll probably stay here from now on, unless, of course, they hike the prices, which is what will probably happen. Free wireless, too, though I had to have them reset it as it did not work last night. The little wireless strength meter on my computer screen ebbs to the very lowest level...I hope this post does not disappear.

I got up late this morning and headed over to Covent Garden. It's within walking distance of the hotel. Today was quite cold, but clear and even sunny at times. Checked out my favorite haunts, all the shops I like, etc. Popped in to Kirk Originals and had my glasses tightened and had a nice long chat with Seamus, the guy who works there. The glasses there are SO cool. Went, also, to my favorite travel book store and got my uncle a birthday present.

Hotfooted it back to the hotel, dropped off my loot, and then went around the corner to Cosmo Place (yes this is a real lane) and had a WONDERFUL lunch at a little Italian place. Great calamari, some penne with pancetta and onions, and a couple glasses of red wine. It felt like Italy. A couple came in, husband and wife, and she obviously had MS in its later stages. It was so sad and yet also sweet to see the husband take care of his wife, picking her up out of her wheel chair, getting her situated just right, making sure she could eat her food properly. His love and care for her was almost heartbreaking.

I was fairly tipsy after lunch. I was due in Regent Street to meet my aunt for coffee and shopping. We planned to meet outside the Wedgwood store. God people are annoying. It is so hard to walk with so many people around, and then some bonehead has to stop right in front of you or blow smoke on you or bang into you. Walking down a crowded sidewalk can be way worse than being stuck in traffic. At least in traffic all the cars are headed in the same direction. Anyhow, Tante Tine was sporting a very cool new pair of glasses and looked in fine form. I dragged her to Uniqlo which has some AWESOME cashmere at great prices and then went to COS, which is a shop by H&M that offers a higher level of quality and design than the usual H&M, where I found some incredible velvet wide legged pants (oops, sorry, TROUSERS). After a while we met up with my Uncle Peter and cousin Edward and went for a couple beers at a pub, thence to a very cool yet VERY cramped Moroccan restaurant. The food was excellent, but the place is so small and cramped with tiny rooms through hobbit-sized doorways, it became a running joke with everyone there about fitting all the people into the tiny spaces....like clowns in a VW Bug. The food made up for the somewhat uncomfortable seating. I don't think I could take Rich there, though. He's too tall for the place.

Anyhow, it's now just past 10 and I am too fat and full to go to a pub, which is what i had planned to do. Instead I am going to hang out here in the room, digest and watch the BBC. Yes, I am old. (Burp.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

One of the biggest bummers of being an expat is the non-event that is Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so it always makes me a little sad to miss it. I like it because it's not about presents or cards or buying stuff, it's about gathering together, stuffing you faces, and then lying around and chatting or napping, whichever you can manage. I've managed to get home for Turkey Day a few times, had a few in London, and experienced one truly horrible one here in Norway where my car was broken into and I did not discover it until I was getting in to it to go buy the turkey. That might have been my lowest ebb here in Norway.

Well, you live and you learn and so one thing I do is to treat myself to a little something to replace the something I am missing.

Hello London!

And hello everyone back home. Eat some white meat for me, douse it in gravy, go nuts! (Mom, you KNOW I am jealous that I won't get turkey and gravy sandwiches tomorrow! Don't let Kit eat them all!) I hope you all in the US take the time to enjoy the day, relax, stuff your faces and whatever you do...DON'T go shopping! There's plenty of time for that later.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I had a brain, once.

Yesterday was a full long day of meetings at work. LOOONG day. It was followed by a dinner where we were all assigned seats randomly so as to foster everyone in the company getting to know each other. I noticed, with a giggle, that there were very few women as compared to the number of men (the line of work I'm in is overwhelmingly staffed by men) , so women were rationed out at one per table. That really didn't suck, at least from the girl perspective.

As with any properly done Norwegian dinner party, the alcohol flowed VERY freely. We started with pre dinner drinks in the bar, then dinner was served with white wine for the first course (salmon, natch, it's ALWAYS salmon) and then a really nice Italian ripasso with the main course (steak...hello, it's all MEN!). After the multiple refills of white and red wines, they then brought out cognac after dessert and, "for the ladies" an bonus of Bailey's (which I gave to one of the guys).

Then it was back to the bar for beer and champagne.

The good news is my coworkers now know that I am fun to drink with. The bad news is that I am not as much fun the next day. The demeanor at the meetings today was decidedly subdued, one guy sitting next to me nodded off mid-discussion. I'm pretty sure everyone had a hangover. I know I have been hurting but bad today. Not helped by the neighbors on the other side of us banging and building and hammering starting at 8:30 am. What the FUCK is going on that everyone has to make so much noise?

I was going to pack for London tonight but I think that can wait until tomorrow. Right now is a bath and a light dinner. And more ibuprofen.

Monday, November 19, 2007

things never really improved

Today was just crapnacious. Like, I was almost in tears over a variety of frustrations and NONE of them really worked themselves out. Work sucked, life sucked, the day sucked. And amazing how you can make plans one day and the next day they not only change, but they are ripped twisted and frayed in a matter of seconds. Mondays SUCK.

Tomorrow I have a VERY long day at work. Luckily, and for the sake of my sanity, beer will be involved in the very latest part of the day.

Tonight wine was had. Within five minutes of opening the front door to home, the wine bottle was open as well. It was a bottle I had been saving, a Riesling I bought in Prague. (Who knew Czech wines were so good?)

If those fucking jackhammers are pounding on our living room wall again tomorrow I might well go ballistic. (This, by the way, had been written about in the post that got destroyed by my email, but yes, we were awakened by JACKHAMMERS pounding away on the outside of our living room wall this morning at 7:50 am. As we live on the fifth floor, this was quite a surprise. You might well surmise that starting a day in such a manner does not bode well for the remaining 18 hours.)


I am having a DAY. And I blogged ALL about it and then the fucking email I use decided that, just as I hit send, it would make me relog in, thus completely eliminating my post and making me start agin.
And I really don't want to do that right now, but I am just going to say that this is Triple Whammy Monday and I was well and truly fucked before I even got going this morning.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

post script to previous post...

On the way back from the gym (yes! The gym! where I worked out! a lot!) I saw a little pirate.

Seriously, this young girl came floating out of the fog on the sidewalk and first thing I thought was, "Pirate? Here? Wha?"

She wore fleece lined cuffed boots that she didn't lace up so they sort of flopped around her legs. Around her waist she had tied a fringed scarf that hung down to meet the tops of her boots. It floated out behind her when she walked. With her long wavy blonde hair, short solid stature, swaggering walk (created by her waddling just a bit so her boots didn't trip her up), leather jacket and the scarf around her hips, she just looked like a pirate and that is that. I don't think she MEANT to look like pirate, but the poor swaggering victim of teenaged fashion certainly achieved the essence of the look perfectly.

Yar me hearties! Thar's pirates here in Vikingland!

food (ish)

The Jaeger Schnitzel at the pub SUCKED. A Jaeger Schnitzel, at least I know it, is a weinershnitzel (breaded pork cutlet) with a rich brown mushroom sauce. Heaven with beer. Whatever they served at the pub was meat patties (though I know not what kind) with a sweet/sour tomato pepper sauce. It was sort of like bad Chinese food, though I am fairly certain it was not meant to be. this is the first time the food at the pub has seriously let me down. Thank god I order fries with it and not boiled potatoes or I would have been hosed. The only boiled food I like are eggs. Seriously, do not boil my veggies for I will not eat them. And, really, what a waste of a perfectly good food, to boil it until it loses flavor? I never understand that.

I wasn't really feeling terribly sociable on Friday I must admit. I just didn't feel the mojo. Conversations went past me and I could not keep up with anything. Ever have that? Someone asked if my grandmother died or something. (Yeah, but four years ago!) Anyhow, I left by about 8pm. Was in bed by 10 and didn't get up til 11 the next morning.

As a sort of reward for my failed Friday Eat-a-thon, I am making my last tube of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast. I had brought some back from the US in September, but two of the three tubes popped in my luggage (they were wrapped well, of course, so no leakage) and this is the sole intact survivor. They are set to expire soon, and low carb diet be damned, I will NOT miss out on those.

Not that low carb is working.

I'm going to have to go to Plan B. Smaller portions, and working out. Gym here I come. Bleagh.

If I can FIND the gym that is. It is SO foggy out there. It came in yesterday and it's been a real Pea Souper (slight pop culture reference, anyone anyone?) ever since.

The cinnamon rolls are ready and iced. I am gonna stop writing now as I don't want to get gooey super sweet icing on the key board. Jealous, fellow US expats? Oh are they GOOD. YUM. (grin)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Still cold but I have other stuff to say right now

FUCKING cold out there. I had to break out the old grey military coat. It's vintage and heavy HEAVY wool and it weighs about 15 lbs. It fits me perfectly, as if it was tailored just for me, and it cost me $15 at the City Wide Garage Sale in Austin sometime in the mid 90's. I never wore it in Austin because it was too warm, but it certainly works great here. Snuggly warm and deep pockets. What else do I need? (Well, one in black would be nice...)

OK, so what was I going to say?

Oh, yeah.

I love NaNoBloMe month. Everyone whose blog I read is being posted on all the time, which gives me a great evening of blog reading. And, as it's mostly good friends whose blogs I read, it is very refreshing to see what's up on a more frequent schedule. So, ladies and you know who you are, keep up the good posting work! I may not always comment on your blogs or email but I am keeping up with you!

My reputation as "Your Cruise Director" has made itself known at work. (I always seem to be the one who organizes parties for my circle of friends.) I was tasked to arrange a Christmas "Piss Up" for our team. Yes, those were the words used. (Which, honestly, how much do I love my job? It's not a "Holiday Party" or a "Team Gathering", aw hell NO it's Piss Up, a Knees Up and believe me I can understand those terms well!) As we are a small team, and it's all guys (I am an honorary boy on these occasions).....well, steak and beer sound good to me, hmm? (My first choice would be a brew pub evening, but to my GREAT annoyance there are no brew pubs in all of Oslo that also serve food! I asked around. How can this be? I mean, what the fuck?How lame is that?) So in December we are going to a steak house and then to a beer place across the way, or possibly a beer place and then a steak house, but whatever order, how cool is it that one of my tasks for today was to organize an evening where we all can get drunk? And ,even better, I got complimented on my "initiative" for doing so. I'll obviously have to plan more drinking excursions, maybe they will make me president of the company based on my "initiative".

I brought some plants to work for my office and to my great joy they have not yet died.

That is all the news for today. I think. At the pub tonight they are serving Jaegerschnitzel, so, yeay.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

cold. freaking cold.

Winter has arrived. Brrrr, it's friggin' FREEZING out there.

This morning it was minus 7 Celsius. I'm never really sure how cold that is in Fahrenheit, but judging by all the Norwegians at my office saying how cold it is, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say pretty cold. You know it's cold outside when I see everyone in their big poofy parkas. I know I put off wearing mine until it's so cold I just have to wear it, and i bet they do the same. (Parkas/puffy coats just aren't THAT attractive when you actually need to wear them EVERY day for warmth, no matter WHAT the latest trendsetters from Vogue say.) It's parka/duvet coat weather. No lie.

For some reason the cold is REALLY bothering me this year. The past few years it sort of bounced off me, but this year I just can't warm up. I'm cold ALL the time, even in bed. Usually I get really hot when I go to sleep, and end up tossing off the covers, but now I burrow under the covers and don't even stick out my arms. I'm just a little tuft of hair peeking out of the duvet. And, with the dark mornings, there is really NO incentive to come out. It's like the whole Earth is telling me to take a nap, all day every day. And I really, REALLY want to. Right now I kind of wish I was a bear and could just hibernate. Hibernate all fat and furry in a cave and come out skinny, hungry and ready to kick some ass in the spring. Sounds kind of good, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

some after thoughts on yesterday's post.

You know, I did some thinking on yesterday's post about that research about how curvy women are smarter, and it's kind of pissing me off.
I mean, do they ever do surveys about MEN'S bodily attributes affecting their intelligence? Like, have they ever done a survey saying men with big shoulders are smarter, or men with tight asses are smarter, or men with no chest hair are stupid, or men with huge dicks are...well, we won't go there.
I guess it's just kind of annoying that women can't just be HUMANS with a mix of intelligence, size and personality that is just random and scattered. Why does our intelligence have to be correlated to our attractiveness? Why do they think it matters how big our waists/hips are for any reason other than health or making the perfect pair of jeans? Why do they constantly have to study us for our outside attributes as opposed to just being a part of the human race? Have they studied men in regards to this hip/waist/brain ratio, or whatever ratio it is that makes men attractive? Seriously, who CARES what makes a woman smarter. Maybe it's just genes, study, hard work and a healthy loving family when you are a kid.
Next month they are going to say that women with curvy shapes increase glabal warming and cause cancer.
Seriously, this is a load of shit. I am so tired of these studies. One day eggs are bad for you, the next they are the perfect food. Take vitamin d, don't take vitamin d. Fat is bad, fat is good. God, no wonder we are all scared and confused and don't know what to eat anymore!
Researchers, you can take your studies and shove them up the curvy ass of your choice.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What I've known all along

Well, the latest research says that curvy women are not only sexy, but also smarter and have smarter babies. Something about storing Omega 3 fats in our asses, and some drivel about waist to hip ratio (the direct reason why I can't find any damned pants to fit me)(So why is it that I have the perfect hip to waist ration and yet no pants fit me?Hmm? Why? I blame you gay boy designers who try to make us all look like tiny hipped flat chested boys and not the hot curvy babes we are. OK, I digress, back to topic. Damn you.)   Honestly, it all sounds like a load of crap to me, but willya look at that picture of Nigella? Damn, where can I get that dress? She and I are pretty damned similar in build, I could wear the HELL outta that dress.
Rich of course sent me this article first thing this morning with the note "See why I picked you?"
Ah, but you see...that's how I *am* smart. I just let him THINK he picked me........
In other news, my back seems better today, something must have shifted back into place some during the night. It's still sore and feels like it can go out of joint again any second, but at least it's IN place.
And in other OTHER news, I'm not as ticked off anymore about staying at a cheaper hotel as I was. Mainly due to the fact that Rich knows me a bit too well and pointed out, in a last desperate argument for fiscal restraint,  "Just think of the purse, shoes or dress you could get with the money you are spending on that hotel room", at which point that little part of my brain that processes all things shopping related twigged and said "Hmm.....good point." (And why didn't he just start OUT with that argument instead of pissing me off with grumblings about 'restraint' which is really just guaranteed to make me cranky? Honey, learn how to argue!)  And, honestly, I have stayed at the hotel I booked in to before, and it was just fine, even spacious, in fact. A good solid traditional British hotel.
Now, what purse will I get......?

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Rich took pity on me and made me a steak with mushrooms and beans tonight. It was good. The red wine didn't suck either.

I feel better. Thank you honey.

crank o rama

I'm cranky today. I threw out my lower back, I think by the mere act of sitting, and I am not happy about it. I'm walking around like a bent over old lady. Every turn of my back is agony. This happened to me once before and I ended up laying flat on my back in the living room in front of the tv, my legs up on the sofa, and I just slept there, too, because I couldn't get up to make it into the bed. I'm hoping it won't be that bad this time.

I've changed my hotel room choice for my upcoming trip to London. Prices are so absurd anyhow (I mean, you are in for minimum $150 a night anywhere that's not a rat hole) that I thought it was a fair compromise between value and price, but Rich wigged the fuck out when he saw what I had booked in dollars (in pounds it's a steal!), so I compromised and booked a less nice room elsewhere.

The thing is, for the price, the place I was going to stay was actually a good deal for London, but as I have mentioned before, the husband is STILL thinking in dollars and he just can't wrap his head around the change in value of the dollar to the rest of the world. He still thinks a dollar is worth a buck!

My back hurts! I want my mom! It's Monday and I am already having a bad week! Where's that cherry vodka dammit!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I've booked myself a trip to London end of the month. Rich will be traveling for work and I have been wanting to get back to London (there are a bunch of exhibits I want to see, most notably one at the V&A) and so I took the plunge and booked me a trip. As a treat to myself I booked myself a room at a very small posh hotel off Sloane Street. A single room is tiny and expensive, but I might as well get a really nice room in a great area for not much more than a crappy room is costing at other places. (Besides they give you tea and cookies at 4 pm, champagne at 6 pm and hot cocoa before going to bed. That's worth a few extra quid in my book!) I'm looking forward to hanging out on King's Road again, even if the Chelsea Kitchen is closed.

London is absurdly expensive for hotels now, especially with the dollar being in the shithole and some of my fallback hotels (notably one called the Southwark Rose, I like that one) aren't available. Ironically I used to stay off Sloane Street/Cadogan Square when I visited Colleen and Karen, and now I see how much money I saved by visiting them...so thanks guys for letting me crash at your posh pads! I'm thinking fondly of you now that I am ponying up the big bucks!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Auntie Em Auntie Em it's a twister!

DAYUM we had a windstorm last night. It totally blew over one of our heavy deck chairs and scooted everything else around on the deck. I thought the building was gonna blow over, and I definitely heard glass breaking somewhere near us.

Today was a bit windy but not as bad as last night. It wasn't too cold today either. You learn that when it's windy that means it won't be as cold as if it was still outside. Wierd, the wind sort of scrubs up warmth or something. Doesn't mean that the wind doesn't sort of FEEL colder, though, because it can be pretty cutting.

In other news, I tried on the Cavalli blouse I got yesterday and I have to say, that thing is the BOMB. It fits PERFECTLY. In fact I think maybe they cut things for taller people this go round, because the sleeves are long enough, the waist is where my ACTUAL waist is (and not that damned Empire shit) and the shoulders are in the right place as well. I am very pleased. I trolled around looking for this one dress that i liked, but it is all sold out online and in the stores, except for the leopard print jeans....and sorry, this ass ain't wearing tight leopard print, that is FOR SURE.

I got energetic today and reorganized "my" room. It's the way-too-small bedroom that is my office cum dressing room cum closet. (heh heh she said cum.) I got rid of something like 25 t shirts. I have way too many t shirts. I must say, I feel much better now that I have things in a relative form of order, I've been feeling overwhelmed lately with stuff, all stuff, and really want to reorganize, regenerate and basically rearrange all our things so that I can feel a little more in control. Rich won't be happy when I have him moving around furniture this weekend.......

Tonight's pub night. I am liquoring up ahead of time with a snootful of cherry vodka. Cuz, you know, I am on a diet and all that beer is FATTENING.

I think I'll wear the new blouse.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

absolute shopping mayhem

I would like to point out that there are four things I really can't stand:

pushy people
tight spaces
fashion people

So imagine my chagrin when I got them ALL AT ONCE this morning when I went to check out the Cavalli stuff at H&M.

I knew I was in trouble when I showed up at OsloCity mall and there was a largish group of women (all blonde, tall and skinny) standing outside the door. I think I have mentioned that Norwegians aren't much for queueing or for saying excuse me, so you can imagine the horrendousness that occurred when the doors open and 100 crazed blondes in stilettos rushed the joint. The clothes were in a small space right in front of the doors, and the budget fashionistas all grabbed, like, 10 dresses willy nilly and then ran to the cash registers. The dresses went FAST. (They always do in these collections.) The slower of us all sort of milled about in a space not bigger than my bathroom, bouncing off each other and empty clothes racks (those things HURT when you get one jabbing you in the arm or the back!) in a frenzied grab for whatever was left after the faster blonde robots grabbed the highlighted items from the collection.

I left after 5 minutes, I just couldn't take it. I've had enough dealing with Fashion People in my life that I knew it was pointless to try and fight them. (And my Southern politeness is just plain offended by grabby crowds. I say sorry too much and try to be polite and in doing so I miss the good stuff. I'm not very kill or be killed, I am afraid.)

I then went to another H&M just up the road. It was busy but not as insane as the one at OsloCity (not so much 'see and be seen', more just people who really wanted to check out what was there and and see what they might find to suit them) so I managed to score a pretty sweet silk blouse and the necklace and ring that I had wanted in the first place, so go me! That H&M is sort of my 'secret' one, as I have found good stuff there before because I think people forget that store has the upper level lines as well.

As a precaution I then hightailed it to the H&M on Karl Johansgate, which was my 2nd mistake. That place was insanity squared, with the added benefit of the media filming everywhere and every two bit D level celebrity you can think of prancing about. There was this skinny blonde fake tanned chick all tarted up, standing RIGHT in the middle of the VERY busy entry way, posing and preening for the photographers with about 8 bags of the Cavalli stuff in her arms, as well as a tiny litte nerfy dog. (I'd probably drop the dog in one of those bags if I were her.) She annoyed the fuck out of me because i could not get around her. So what if you are famous, if you were THAT famous you could afford the REAL deal and not the Budget Cavalli at H&M!

Anyhow, I never managed to get my hands on the dress I was after (it looked like it might even have space for my boobs, so I am a bit bummed I didn't even get close enough to touch it), but in all honesty it does not matter because I already HAVE a Cavalli, and a real one, not one from H&M. I got it in Austin at Last Call. And it's fabulous. (I have a coat as well, also from Last Call.)

Still, I might go back tomorrow to see what has been returned and if there is anything interesting after the crows have picked over it. I am very pleased I got the necklace I wanted, so all in all it was a good experience. Much as it was frenzied here....imagine what it's like in London or New York! Thank God I am here in Oslo!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

invasion of the suits

Norway has a very casual dress code for work. The general idea is that work environments have a flat hierarchy, everyone is more or less equal in importance, so no need to dress up for work. (Everyone dresses up a bit more to go out in the evenings, though. Which is nice.) Anyhow, for work it's pretty much all jeans and t shirts, though I dress up a bit more because, hello?.... clothes hound!

So, after a while of seeing only laid back outfits, it's always a bit jarring to see someone in a suit at your office. Because, if you see a suit, you know it's one of a very few things:

  • someone in on a job interview.
  • lawyers come a-callin'.
  • bigwigs visiting.

Today, it was bigwigs visiting, and we had an invasion of the suits of a very entertaining proportion. They all looked very nice, and very out of place. Ironically, our office lawyers were NOT in suits, which I thought was a nice change of pace. (Actually they normally don't wear them in to work.)

I wore a suit-esque sort of outfit today, as I knew the suit-dudes would be congregating in the meeting room on my floor, and did not want to be seen as a slacker. Though there was a lot of joking about us all who work on the floor wearing NIN t's, ripped jeans, smeared eye makeup, hangovers and combat boots today.

We didn't.

dollar tanking even more; calling in fashion!

Regarding my post from yesterday: The dollar is now down to 5.29, while oil is up to 99 dollars a barrel. Better start looking a bit more seriously at those Priuses, people! At this point might as well use oil for money and the dollar as kindling for fires. I bet the Canadian dollar will be worth more than the US dollar within a few months...and THEN we know hell hath frozen over. I'll take pictures when the monkeys fly out of my butt.
Tomorrow I am going to be at work late, I am 'calling in fashion' (a variation on calling in sick, except I am not sick I am obsessed.) . Roberto Cavalli is having a collection at H&M and I am SO there.
I mean SO there. Even if I don't buy anything, I have to be there for the buzz and the mayhem. And seriously, the clothes look GORGEOUS. My problem with Cavalli's clothes (I do have a few pieces of his)  has always been with room for the girls, he just doesn't design for girls with tata's. But I am hoping that maybe he created some extra boob room with this collection. We'll see.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the cost of things

One thing you learn, as an American expat living in Norway, is that, unless you want to drive yourself crazy, you CANNOT think of the cost of things here, in the most expensive place in the world, in dollars. Not, especially, since the dollar has fallen into the crapper but HARD.

When we came to Norway in 2002, the exchange rate was 7.8 Norwegian Kroner to the dollar.

The exchange rate now, in 2007, is 5.34 kroner to the dollar.

Let's look at this for a moment. Here's a list of things I have bought (except the car!) over the past few days, and I've translated them into their dollar rates for 2002 (first dollar number) and 2007 (second dollar number). (Columns won't work so I am not sure how this will look.)

Item.....................Norway cost...........$2002..........$2007

1.5kg chicken breasts .....170nok..... $21.79....... $31.83

20 candles from IKEA..... 240nok.... $30.76 .......$44.94

My morning coffee...... 34nok............ $4.35.......... $6.36

Skirt from H&M....... 349nok ............$44.74 ........$65.35

Whopper at Burger King... 70nok..... $8.97......... $13,10

*A Cheap Car ......240,000.nok .......$30,769. .......$44,943.

**1 litre milk .............11nok .............$1.40.............. $2.06

Movie ticket................. 80nok ........$10.25 .......$14.98

***Norway Minimum Wage...... 120nok ....$15.38 .........$22.47

As you can see, the cost of living, if you think in dollars, has gone WAY the hell up. (So have salaries , though, if you want to go there.) I don't blame Norway for this, obviously, as their prices haven't really changed. I blame the US government for letting the dollar get that low.

So yesterday, I came home from an expedition to Smart Club and Ikea, stocking up on stuff like chicken and candles for the long dark days ahead (and not having a car, when I do get a ride with someone who has one, I stock up!). Rich saw the receipts and freaked the fuck OUT, hollering that I spent too much and yadda yadda. It really pissed me off for two reasons: 1) He was thinking in dollars (AND making the exchange rate like 5 to the dollar, which is horrendous anyhow) and 2) He wasn't thinking like a Norwegian. The cost of things here hasn't changed, but he was tying to think American and he is wigging out about it. And yelling at me!

A nice dinner out (but not THAT nice) can easily top 1200 kroner. The "blue plate special" at the pub on a Friday night is 119 nok, which is over 20 bucks. And we are thrilled to have a meal for that cheap. The lowest paper money amount is 50nok (just under ten bucks) and that MIGHT get you a kebab or a slice of pizza if you are lucky. (I equate it with a five dollar bill in the US for buying power.) It costs 49 kroner for a train ride into Oslo from the suburbs. A coke from the machine is 20 nok ($3.75). (20 nok is pocket change, like a quarter. Valuable, yes, but not an amount you really worry about, you know?)

Basically, 1200 nok ($225.) isn't ALL that much here. That's the cost of a nice dress, maybe, or a largish shopping trip at the grocery store. It's the cost of my monthly rail pass to get to work. 99kroner ($18.50) is, like, bargain basement for a t shirt or a tank top. The other day I got a skirt and two tops for 597 nok ($112.)(all of it half price) and counted myself ecstatically lucky.

So, since moving to Norway, my whole idea of what is expensive and not has skewed horribly. Because, if I thought of what things cost here in dollars, I would crawl under my bed and hide as I watched the dollars tick away minute by minute. So, I think in kroners and suddenly a sweater on sale for 299nok is a good deal and aren't I a lucky girl to have found that?

Next time I am sending Rich shopping and HE can buy stuff and then I can yell at him for spending too much. See how easy it is for HIM!

* A used car can routinely cost that or more. Cars are EXPENSIVE here, mostly because of high taxes.
**So a gallon of milk, right now, is about 8 bucks. Gas is around 10. Just fyi. See why I sold the car?
** Norway doesn't have a legal minimum wage, this is just a guideline I found on the web.

I am not the sharpest tool in the shed

Why yes that IS me wearing the unlined linen pants today. And yes it IS 3 degrees Celcius. (about 39 for you Fahrenheiters).

Why am I wearing unlined linen pants? Because we have BigWigs coming to our office today and I have to Suit Up. And this is my most comfortable yet stylish suit, and the linen actually looks more like tweed, so I am just going with it.

My ass might freeze off, and that can only be a good thing. If you find one in the road, please return to The Texpatriate. Thanks.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Things that happened Friday

A bullet post.

  • I did not get the flu
  • I celebrated by having a few pints last night.
  • I am now fiercely hungover
  • I think I felt up an Irish girl last night.
  • She has very nice boobs.
  • I'm ok with saying that as I didn't enjoy it, really, it was more of a comparison feel, if you know what I mean?
  • Mine are as nice as hers.
  • Though perhaps not as big.
  • Yes, I *am* fun to be around when I am drunk.
  • Though if you are a girl you run the risk of me feeling you up.
  • Yesterday was waffle day at work.
  • I like waffle day.
  • It's better than Pretzel Day on "The Office"
  • Mostly because it happens more often.
  • My work buddies tease me about how joyous I am on waffle day.
  • I loves me the waffles.
  • I had two.
  • It was my day off from the diet, so it was ok.
  • There's a sign in front of them saying "One per person".
  • We all ignore it.
  • Rich and I went for a long walk today.
  • It's beautiful sunny and not cold.
  • Unseasonably warm for Norway in Fall.
  • I didn't even need a jacket!
  • On our walk we saw the changing of the guard for the royal country palace.
  • Pomp and circumstance in the 'burbs.
  • I'm going to see "Becoming Jane" tonight.
  • I've been wanting to see it for AGES.
  • Our local cinema (Kino) is having 1/2 price movie night tonight.
  • Rich refuses to go, calling the movie a chick flick.
  • He's right, but I go see anything Jane Austen related.
  • Before the movie I am going to make a Hungarian Chicken Paprika for dinner
  • I'm making it in my Schlemmertopf, or clay roasting pot.
  • I better get started now so that I can eat before the movie.
  • Bye.
I had meant to do NaNoBloMe or whatever the fuck it's called, but just do it without telling anyone I was doing it. But as I missed November 2, which is the second day of the thing, I guess I've already messed up that plan.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'm not I'm not I'm NOT

I'm not getting the flu. I am not getting the flu. I am NOT getting the flu.

It's going around my office and I haven't had it in ten years* and I am NOT feeling glassy and getting little chills and having a headache. I am NOT.

*Early in '97, when I worked at a trendy import store in Austin, I was on my way to work (running a tiny bit late, but not that much, GAIL!) when this dude in a big "dually" truck changed lanes right as I came up next to him and I ran into him. Or, should I say, my front left fender ran into his tire. My car was toast and his tire had a red paint mark on it. (He got the ticket.) As it turned out, he was going home sick with the flu. Which, in the course of events of exchanging insurance info, etc., he gave to me. I got to work late, to which my boss (who I loved then and still love now) just said "Well, if you hadn't been running late you would not have gotten hit!" which was really annoying but true.
The next day I was sicker than a dog with a fucked up car and no energy to even attempt to get out of bed. Rich was traveling, so couldn't take care of me, but I was so sick I just wanted to sweat and moan anyhow.

So, no I am NOT getting the flu. Check back with me tomorrow, when I DON'T have the flu.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Things that happened before noon today

  • When I took my shower I accidentally used my facial exfoliating scrub as conditioner and my conditioner as my face scrub, thus making my hair gritty and my face tangle free. Damn these dark Nordic mornings.*
  • There were two weird explosion type things that shook the whole building we live in. I'm not sure what happened….but nobody seemed worried. I was a bit freaked.
  • It snowed a very little bit. ¨
  • This wierd dude at the train station stood in front of me and STARED at me. He would not fuck off. I finally walked away and he turned and watched me wherever I went. Luckily I was talking on my cell phone so he couldn't talk to me, which I am fairly certain he wanted to do. He gave me the ickies.
  • I tucked my skirt into my tights by mistake and walked about a foot out of the bathroom at work before I felt a breeze where there should not be one and quickly rectified the situation. Luckily no one saw but it could have been bad.
  • I'm wearing a newish black dress that is a little low cut, as I am going out to dinner directly after work today. I didn't realize until I got to work that the 'girls' don't want to stay IN the dress (a problem I did discover until too late with this dress) and keep trying to escape so they can see what's going on in the big wide world. I have resorted to a strategically placed paperclip and a scarf. I don't care what the girls do when I go out to dinner, but they don't get to come out to visit at work!
  • There was a special lunch today of which I could eat none, as it consisted of tortillas with rice and corn. There was also some beef, but excavating the meat from the rest would have been an exercise in frustrating futility. I had ham on knekkebrod and water instead. I'm hungry.
  • But, and this is the disappointing bit, I weighted myself this morning and my weight has not changed appreciatively. I'm frustrated and annoyed. I should not have to give up everything I like and NOT GET ANY RESULTS! I'm going to have to work out harder.

*Yes we have lights but I like to wake up to natural light. Unfortunately this time of year, that could mean me not getting up until 10:30, which is not work friendly.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Emasculation of a tiny dog

Yesterday I was out running an errand and this woman walked past me with this teeny tiny little dog on a leash. I mean, if this dog weighed more than two pounds I would be surprised. It was an adorable little thing, not a chihuahua but some sort of miniature terrier or something. For every one step she took it had to take about 30, so it was trotting along at a good pace. The little dog literally stopped traffic, everyone who saw it pointed and oohed and aahed at its insanely stupid cuteness. It was like a real dog overbred and reduced to a living walking stuffed animal.

It was on one of those leashes that has some give on it, you know the hand held ones that release and retract as you need them to. The dog was so small and light weight that the lady holding the leash probably never felt when the dog paused, which certainly could be problematic for the poor little mite.

Especially when it wanted to take a piss on a lamp post. So the little dog paused, as boy dogs are wont to do, lifted its leg and began pissing on the very bottom of a lamp post. (I man, a dog this small got maybe two inches from the ground.) The lady kept walking, not noticing that little Spike (or whatever) was marking his territory, and Spike was yanked, mid-piss, away from the lamppost, leg still up in the air, pee whizzing away from the target, and the other three legs dragging, desperately trying to finish his instinctual markings. His whole tiny little body practically quivered with frustration and he let out an angry "MEEF!" of a bark, which did no good. The lady didn't even pause. Spike resignedly put his leg down and resumed his rapid trot after his harsh mistress.

In between my giggles at the absurd little scene, I couldn't help but think how hard it must be for the little tyke, just trying to go about his manly business, pissing on stuff and being a boy, yet at the same time being constantly emasculated because of his cuteness and tiny size. Poor little dude can't even piss in peace without being whisked along by his leash. I mean, a cat could kick this dog's ass with one swipe of its paw. The dog doesn't know it's a toy, it just thinks it's a boy dog, meant to piss on things and hump ankles. Poor sad little freaky dog.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

swans, river, bridge

swans, river, bridge, originally uploaded by karlakp.

in Prague

Thursday, October 25, 2007

a particularly cruel kind of torture

I think it is a particularly cruel and nasty form of torture to read an article like this and NOT be able to get the food being written about so lovingly and descriptively.
I mean, really, I've been known to fly home almost purely for a nice tostada plate at Matt's, so to read an article like this just isn't fair when I have no plans for returning anytime very soon AND am on this friggin' low carb diet thingy. (Which seems successful thus far and I feel pretty good all told.)
I am sure the UN bans this sort of torture. In fact, I am fairly certain they used it at Guantanamo and it was stopped as unnecessarily cruel way of destroying spirits. I need to look up the legalities and then I might have to send the NYT a nasty gram regarding teasing poor Texpats like me with such an inflamatory and lust inducing article.
Can anyone send me some Monterrrey Jack, Mexican rice and a nice jar of good salsa? Hell, just send me a shrimp tostada plate from Matt's, I don't care if it arrives a little cold.