Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Big Girl Panties

My sister in law Stev has an expression: "Just put on your big girl panties and deal with it".

I love that expression. First time I ever heard it I bust out laughing and I still giggle at the mental picture I get whenever I hear it. WAY better than pulling yourself up by your bootstraps!

Anyhow, today I did indeed put on my big girl panties and deal with it.

I, all by my mine own self, fixed my start up disk on my Mac. Yep, me, all by myself, I booted from the install disc and everything! Disk Utilities, First Aid, the whole shebang. Me did it!

I've been nervous about fixing it, my Mac told me it need "minor repairs to the Macintosh HD" or some such blah blah and to restart from the install disc. But I, never having "booted" from any disc or sandaled from a frisbee or high heeled from a plate or any such thing, was distinctly nervous about it, especially after my Dad's late saga of erasing EVERY FUCKING THING from his Mac on the not so complete advice of his Mac guru. (Nobody, apparently told Dad that he MUST BACK UP before reinstalling his operating system. Dad's a literal kinda guy and needs ALL the instructions, he's been known to hand his cell phone to strangers at gas stations and say "Can you make this work?")

I did need to find some more specific instructions as to HOW one goes about booting from start up discs, but thanks be to the Mac website for explaining to me that I need to restart the computer with the install cd in it whilst holding down the "c" key. Some digital gymnastics and a few "wow, that's a wierd noise"-s later, and voila! fixed disk!

I have to say, the Mac website is really great for finding anything I need when I have questions about my Mac, in a clear, concise and easy to find manner. Kudos to them. Cuz, for real, the iBook G4 booklet that came with the computer is USELESS.

These big girl panties are a comfortable fit.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Proust Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being in a beautiful place on a beautiful day, with a beautiful meal ahead of me and no pressure to be anywhere else. (Gettin' laid is also nice.)

What is your greatest fear?

I'm actually quite superstitious and writing my worst fear could make it happen. I don't like to leave myself open for that sort of karmic interference....

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Diana Vreeland (ok so she's not exactly a "historical" figure), Queen Elizabeth I, Edith Wharton.

Which living person do you most admire?
Dalai Lama. Hirsi Ali. Jimmy Carter.
(Dad, don't scream).

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Impatience and intolerance.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Lack of initiative. disloyalty.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Pretty clothes.

What is your favorite journey?
I've been on many journeys of late, so I am honestly going to say my journey of discovery over the past 5 years.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

On what occasion do you lie?
Whenever I am confronted with authority or bureaucracy.

What do you dislike about your appearance?
I'm a bit annoyed with my new belly. It is going to go away. After that I can go back to complaining about my ass.

Which living person do you most despise?
Our current president. Now that Jerry Falwell is dead, that certainly helps shorten my list.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Fuck. also, "Rich where is my......?"

What is your greatest regret?
I don't really have any regrets, as I think of regrets as something you have when you did something actively you would like to take back. I have some "what if's" and I do wish I had not miscarried in Jan 2004, but how can you regret something that you did not initiate?

Who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband, of course. Duh.

When and where were you happiest?
When I went to Oxford the summer of 1989 and studied there, I remember being in a haze of such happiness I thought it would never end. That will always be the absolute best time of my life. Sometimes my heart would race I was so happy. I still get that occasionally, but not for such an extent of time as then. That is the happy place I go whenever I need to rekindle that certain excitement.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd like to be a bigger risk taker. I'd also like a 36" inseam and legs and bum like Giselle Bundchen.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Becoming an inveterate traveler. Realizing that life comes one day at a time and letting go of some unnecessary stresses.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
Minor yet very wealthy royalty somewhere in Europe. Either that or a redwood.

What is your most treasured possession?
My Luccese boots, my bug ring and my glasses.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being cold and wet.

Where would you like to live?
I'd love to live in London. But ultimately I will always want to go home to Austin.

What is your favorite occupation?
My favorite job was doing visual merchandising for stores. I loved creating store windows and making style statements. If I could I'd be a fashion editor.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My sense of humor. It won't be contained.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Humor, initiative, tall, with a way of making me feel safe. I also like a hairy (not TOO hairy, think Pierce Brosnan) chest.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Independence and strength. Humor and a certain quirkiness as well.

What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty, acceptance and humor.

Who are your favorite writers?
Diana Gabaldon, Bill Bryson, Terry Pratchett, Alexander Dumas, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Antonia Fraser.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Pick a Musketeer.....I also love Lady De Winter, even though she's not a hero.

What is it that you most dislike?
"Compassionate conservatism". "Faith Based Initiatives". Red, green or yellow peppers. Rude people.

How would you like to die?

In my sleep. Or very quickly and painlessly.

What is your motto?

Try it once...if you don't like it you don't have to do it again.

With thanks to Jaye, from whom I snatched this. She, of course, snatched from others.....

Monday, May 28, 2007

A great article from the New York Times that I am posting in its entirety.

Published: May 27, 2007

EVERY summer, people all over the world become acquainted again with a deep truth spoken by the philosopher-tourist Steve Martin.

He was speaking for tourists everywhere, not just to France, when he said: “Boy, those French, they have a different word for everything!”

That people from different countries observe different customs — not only of speaking, but of eating, sleeping, gesturing, counting change, observing boundaries of personal space, tipping cab drivers, standing in lines, avoiding certain topics of conversation at dinnertime as unbearably disgusting — is a truism one probably can never be reminded of too often.

Especially this year, which according to statistics compiled by New York City, is likely to be a very big year for foreign tourists around here. The dollar is cheap. The shopping is endless. And about seven million foreign visitors are expected in the city — the highest number since before 9/11 — mainly from Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Germany.

This is good news for New York, of course. Foreigners who vacation in the United States spend about four times as much as American tourists do.

But it is bad news only in those isolated cases (which you hear about if you talk to cabbies, tour guides and certain sarcastic individuals in sales) where the awe of Mr. Martin’s revelation is supplanted by the ugly reality of a culture clash — a tip denied, a personal boundary violated, or a long line at a drug store counter jumped by a family of Italian-speaking people, who forever thereafter shall be remembered by the offended party present (an acquaintance of mine) as those “ugly Europeans.”

Let it be said that no group holds a monopoly on the title of “ugly.” Tip-stiffing, line-jumping, excessive price-haggling, sidewalk-blocking-when-stopping-suddenly-to-take-pictures-of-a-person-playing-the-steel-drums — none of these are unique to any national group.

Expedia, the online travel service, conducted a survey of tourist boards around the world that rated British tourists as the most obnoxious. Some people in the tourism world claim that the Chinese, the newest wave of world travelers, are even more so.

Whatever. Is it time, at least, for retiring the term “ugly American” from the dictionary of foreign phrases?

The answer, according to experts in the rarified field of tourism anthropology, is a possible yes.

“Ugly” behavior in tourists is almost always in the eye of the people being toured; and Americans are no longer the only, or even the dominant group of tourists out in the world. We are now as often toured as tour-ing.

And New Yorkers, it turns out, are just as likely to be exasperated being toured by tourists unfamiliar with their local mores about tipping or standing in check-out lines, say, as the Achuar tribesmen of Ecuador are to be offended by tourists who sit on certain sacred rocks.

“The Achuars have actually developed a list of rules for tourists,” said Sharon Gmelch, an anthropology professor at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. “If you are a man, you are not to look directly at a woman, for example. You are not to sit in certain sacred places, or touch anyone’s person. You’re not to take pictures without asking permission. Some of these rules might work in New York, too, I would imagine.”

Nelson H. H. Graburn, a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, said one of his graduate students recently asked tour guides in China to rate the tourists from various Western countries.

“They told her that Israeli, French and American tourists could be the most difficult,” Professor Graburn said, “but that what distinguished Americans was that they could be loud and demanding, and then would invariably apologize and give them big tips.”

To be an ugly tourist is to miss the fundamental truth in Mr. Martin’s statement. “It is to have an overall lack of understanding that there is such a thing as cultural difference,” wrote Prof. Inga Treitler, the secretary for the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology, in an e-mail message.

Valene Smith, an anthropology professor at California State University at Chico who pioneered the academic study of tourism and travel in the 1970s, said that the tourists most likely to be deplored by their hosts these days are not the euro-rich Europeans or the British or the standard ugly Americans but the Chinese.

“They have only been traveling widely in the last five years or so, but they are touring in numbers no one has seen before — by the thousands,” she said. “They behave as they would at home — there is a lot of pushing and shoving. Very few speak languages other than Chinese.”

Last summer, in an incident widely discussed among travel experts, she said, 40,000 Chinese tourists descended on the small German city of Trier to visit the birthplace of Karl Marx.

“It was quite a mess,” Professor Smith said. “No one was prepared ahead of time. The Germans were quite upset.”

And so, my fellow Americans, this summer let us host and be hosted as travelers in a world in which we are no longer alone; a world where we can venture forth with the unschooled of other nations, and join hand in hand in ignorance of all the different words those French have for everything!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Adventures in mowing

I thought this was an interesting article.

It's about the small renaissance of reel mowers, like the one they used to use on the Brady Bunch on the Astroturf backyard? Those non-powered ones that you just pushed and they whirred around and scythed the grass off?

I remember being fascinated with them when I was a kid, a lawn mower that was not gas powered and you just push it casually (and quietly) around and it mowed the lawn. Seemed fun. Like playing. My father has always been a bit of a power guy, so our lawn mowers were always big and loud. (Hell, all our household and lawn appliances were big and loud. Dad likes power, alot. Cars, mowers, go carts, anything that has wheels, and at one point, a small experimental hovercraft. We learned Hovercrafts are VERY hard to steer and you might not want to take them on busy streets for fear of the cops showing up.) They scared me, mowers did, and I refused to ever mow the lawn. I always wished we had a Brady mower.

Cut forward to the mid 90's, when I got my own house. Rich traveled alot and I got stuck with the yard work. So, to indulge my retro-yard urges (and to match our house which is solid and original 1950's and has a fairly small yard) I found a little reel mower. I was so excited with it...I thought, Wow, I can be a Brady too! How retro! I could mow at night if I wanted, it was that quiet. Cool!

It was kind of hard work, though. My arms got really tired. And the blades got kind of dull over time and if you went over a really long patch it would sort of yank the grass instead of mowing it, so you had to go over it multiple times. And sometimes you had to use a weedeater anyhow. Rich refused to use it and bought a power mower. I think maybe he thought my little reel mower was too sissy.

But it was still better than those noisy horrid gas movers, in my opinion.

My parents moved away from where I grew up, and now have a very large yard on their land, and so they have moved up to riding mowers. They have to mow 5-10 acres at a time. (Dad's mower even has a cup holder on it, for Chrissakes.) Once or twice Mom has roped me in to help, and I gotta say, I don't really like riding mowers, either.
Mom would plunk a giant brimmed sun hat on my head, kindly protecting me from sunburn but also severely limiting my eyeline above my forehead. I couldn't see anything higher than about 4 feet off the ground with out tilting my head way back and peering out from under the ridiculous hat. So, one time I was riding around near the house, where some of the bigger trees are, whizzing in between the trees and around them, trying to get the hang of the forward, reverse, and the turning radius of the mower. I thought the tree branches were pretty high, I ran right into a low tree branch with my hat-covered forehead, never even saw it coming, and just went ass over applecorn off the mower and landed on my back behind it, legs in the air and the breath knocked out of me. Luckily the hat and the hardness of my head somehow helped me avoid any untoward injury. The mower, I learned, has an automatic stop so if its rider gets knocked off in a cartoonish accident, it just turns right off. Which was nice, as I didn't think I was up for chasing it out of Mom's flower garden, which was right ahead of me. They haven't asked me to mow again. that's probably more for worrying about the welfare of the trees than anything else.

When we moved to Norway the first place we lived in had an electric mower. It was sort of a cross between a vacuum cleaner and a lawn mower. I thought it was cool. Rich didn't like it much, I seem to remember. Now we have no lawn at all, which I like 90% of the time but sometimes on sunny warm days I just want to lay down in my own grass (I know what's been there as opposed to in the park when God only knows what may have pissed, pooped or whatever'd there).

When we move back home (whenever that may be) I will campaign for another reel mower. I really liked playing Brady, and I liked what the mower did for my shoulders and biceps. But if Rich kicks up a fuss and wants power, maybe he will be willing to compromise on an electric one? We'll have to see.

Anyhow, this long treatise on mowers is my convoluted and very wordy way of saying Happy Memorial Day! (I seem to remember everyone always mowing on this weekend....)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Random Friday

  • Train: On the train to work today, I was listening to music on my iPod (one particularly evocative song being Gary Numan's Metal) and realized that listening to music on a train, any train, is nothing less than a holistic, full body experience. It never fails, somehow, the rhythm of the train will always match the rhythm of the music and they blend in a very harmonious way. Then, as you watch the scenery pass by outside, you suddenly feel as if you are the center of your own 3d light and sound and sensation video. The cabin rocks in motion to your music, the world flashes by, you feel the 'gedunk a dunk de DUNK a dunk' of the train on the rails and you feel like a secret stealth rock star god who controls the motions of the world. Or is that just me? Anyhow, I freaking LOVE listening to music on trains.
  • Food: Today at lunch we had tacos and waffles. As a combination it sounds strange, but load that taco up with some rich Norwegian sour cream (have I mentioned my absolute adoration of Norwegian dairy products?) and salad fixins' and you have a yummy, practically homestyle Texas Taco Salad. Then for dessert you get waffles, that you spread with sour cream and raspberry jam in a fairly thick layer and I tell you what, that is the best tasting damned thing in the world . Trust me on this one. Sour Cream. Jam. Waffle. Eat. Moan.
  • Weeds. I am watching the first season of the Showtime show Weeds. Holy crap what a great show, and at times it is laugh out loud ribaldly funny. And yet very true to life. Elizabeth Perkins is a revelation in that series, she is amazing. I have always loved her, she seems very real in whatever she does. Thanks to Grant for bringing it back from the US for me, and I certainly enjoyed texting you about you getting me my weed..... (However, a big "fuck you" to Showtime for blocking me from their website because I am from outside the US. I really, truly HATE that shit.....)
  • Summer and feet: Summer is a tease. It showed up briefly a few weeks ago, then retreated back to southern Europe somewhere and has not come back. It's grey, rainy and really chilly. It is seriously messing with my plan to wear a Dress A Day for the summer. I think I could manage to wear a different dress or skirt combination every day for the whole of the summer, if it would just freaking warm up. As it is, I have to pull out the tired old sweaters and jackets and not the cute linens, cottons, voiles and chiffons I have loved my whole life. But, and I don't care HOW cold and wet it is out there, I am wearing my sandals and that is THAT. Cold feet be damned. Honestly, my feet are always cold anyhow, so wearing sandals when it's 55 degrees just gives me an excuse as to why they are cold, as opposed to my usual answer which is, "They are long and bony and no blood gets to the ends". (Which is also true. I have the BONIEST damned feet . I never understood how I could have such bony hands and feet and then have this ass and these boobs. Makes no sense.)
  • Work: We have yet ANOTHER holiday next week, on Monday. We have had May Day (May 1), May 17 and now this Monday off from work. I'm feeling a bit guilty about it, to be honest. I have not worked a 5 day week this month. Rich and I are NOT going anywhere this weekend, I am traveled out and want to stay home and go for walks in the balmy (chilly) sunny (overcast) beautiful (beautiful) hills.
  • Play: But first, I am going to the pub this evening. And with the new cell phone (did I mention I dropped mine last week and it exploded and I had to get a new one? and so I got once again the cheapest Nokia, because I am SO not a phone snob and I have bad luck with cell phones as a rule? But this new phone compared to my crappy old one, is like a computer to a typewriter? Wow...) (and how's that for a lengthy digression.... where were we...oh!) I think I can take pics and send them to my Flickr check it out later. Pictures of drunk people...woo!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Some images from Lithuania

These are some of the pictures that Richard took in Lithuania. I haven't downloaded mine yet.

Trakai Castle, about 30 km outside of Vilnius. It's been restored, sometime in the 50's, but it's still really lovely and evocative. It helped that we had a really great tour guide. This trip to Trakai was actually one of the best tours I have ever taken, due almost solely to our very pleasant and knowledgeable tour guide, Eve. The town of Trakai is also really interesting. It is the last remaining home of some cultures that are dying out. Only 200 Karaim remain. I also did not know that there are still Tartars in Lithuania. Cool.

Rich put me in the box for bad behavior. We were the first ones to do this, using the box, then after we did it people lined up to get in after us. People are such sheep. Note my freakishly long hands.

He also put me in the stocks. It is as uncomfortable as it looks, not least because I could not move my head and it was 90 degrees in the shade. Of course, with an attitude like mine, perhaps I belong there after all. (I think Rich wishes we had one in our house.) I ended up being a photo op for laughing Russians.

Cool shot of women cleaning up a church after a service. There are like 50 churches in a one or two square mile area in Old Town Vilnius. They all are very baroque and look alot like wedding cakes. One we went into was covered in little statues of naked babies (putti) , and reminded me of a King Cake from Mardi Gras. Fat pink naked flying babies everywhere. And we came across at least three churches that were being vigorously scrubbed by very serious ladies. I can verify the cleanliness of the churches there. They all smell like Pine Sol. The churches are all very much in use, which is refreshing after so many places where they tend to be more monuments to history than living breathing centers of culture and gathering.

This church is cool because it hasn't been restored yet. We happened upon it during a wedding; the lights going up the aisle are all little votive candles. The church was huge, airy, decrepit and yet somehow spiritually uplifting, maybe because it wasn't so covered in ornate crap. It felt well used and authentic. I really like things that haven't been restored and fixed up. I like to see the bones and the guts of a place and then put my imagination on it from there. This place really felt good. The Soviets used it for storage when Lithuania was under Soviet rule. Many beautiful churches met that fate.

Speaking of Soviet, when I download my pictures, I'll post some of a visit we made to a KGB prison/museum. THAT was freaky, and sad too. I've always been fascinated with the cloak and dagger KGB era. and to see a prison in situ was a treat, if also a bit of a brutal and eye opening experience. So many lives ruined for a failed political experiment.

I really will.....

I really am gonna post about our trip to Vilnius. I promise. It's just things have been a bit hectic upon re-arrival back home and I am struggling to catch up.

That, and I KNOW I put my camera down around here somewhere, I am just not sure downloading pictures from the trip is a bit tough without it.

In the meantime, check out this out. Trakai Castle. It was a gorgeous day and very warm when we saw it.....

Right now I gotta get going on cooking dinner.....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A meme because I'm lame, and a correction, also because I'm lame.

My prior post may make it sound like I went to Vilnius and got some new boobs. Um, that would be WRONG. I went to Vilnius and got some new bras, and found out that my boobs have gotten bigger all on their very own. Sorry for the confusion. (I did have a very nice and inexpensive facial, though. I would assume a boob job there would be cheap as well.))

If I was an hour of the day... I'd be 3pm.
If I was a planet... I'd be the sun. Because Earth revolves around me.
If I was a direction... I'd be Southwest, baby.
If I was a piece of furniture... I'd be a bed.
If I was a liquid... I'd be .a really nice amarone wine.
If I was a sin... I'd be Lust. Totally, Lust.
If I was a rock... I'd be quartz, because it can be many things.
If I was a tree... I'd be a live oak.
If I was a fruit... I'd be a raspberry.
If I was a flower... I'd be a gladiolus.
If I was a climate... I'd be an mountains near water.
If I was a musical instrument... I'd be a bass guitar.
If I was an element... I'd be fire.
If I was a color... I'd be red.
If I was an animal... I'd be a white leopard. Or a bird.
If I was a sound... I'd be a laugh or a moan. YOU know what kind of moan.
If I was music... I'd be tribal drums a la Dead Can Dance..
If I was a music style... I'd be Technoindustrialworld.
If I was a feeling... I'd be eagerness.
If I was a book... I'd be The Three Musketeers.
If I was a food... I'd be a Shrimp Tostadas at Matt's El Rancho.
If I was a place... I'd be London.
If I was a flavour... I'd be raspberries.
If I was a scent... I'd be something woodsy and sexy...vetiver or sandalwood.
If I was a word... I'd be "fuck".
If I was a verb... I'd be "bugger". (that word cracks me up)
If I was an object... I'd be Stonehenge.
If I was a part of the body... I'd be the brain.
If I was a facial expression... I'd be a raised eyebrow.
If I was a cartoon character... I'd be The Roadrunner.
If I was a movie... I'd be Auntie Mame.
If I was a shape... I'd be an hourglass.
If I was a number... I'd be 8.
If I was a season... I'd be Summer.
If I was a sentence... I'd be "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Back from Vilnius, New with Bigger Boobs!

We're back from Vilnius, Lithuania.

While there, I bought some new bras, because hello, prices there are cheap for almost everything. The place is rife with lingerie stores. It seems women there only wear lingerie, shoes, amber and makeup because there were TONS of those shops and not so many actual clothes shops. So I bought bras, because the varieties were just amazing. And I got a little sizing surprise.

Introducing the new Double D Karla! (Ok, so I am still not up there with Badger's freakishly large E's, but hey, a double D push up bra is somethin' to see!) Now in shades of black, white, hot pink, bright yellow and a poppy flower print. The only problem is they are sort of the Hummer of bras (as opposed to my former Subarus) and they don't fit in the "garage" (bra drawer) very well, so I might have to do some rearranging.

More later...I gotta go to work. Or should I say, more about Vilnius later. We are done discussing my upsized chesticles.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy 17 May!

Hey Norway, you got a nice country goin' here. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.....

Wave your flag, wear your bunader and be proud! Just maybe you could warn me next time before you shoot off cannons at 7am in honor of the national holiday? Cuz, seriously, that scared the crap out of me this morning.....

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A brief moment of wiki glory

Thanks to Lee for that one.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Mottos

I realized I never really ever wrote out (to myself or to anyone else) the rather hard and fast rules I have assigned myself as life guides. Some of these I have always followed, some are things I have learned from people wiser than me along the way. Whatever, if you want to understand me, these are the rules I live by.
  • Try everything once. You always have the option of not liking it, in which case you don't have to do it again. But at the very least give it a try.
  • Every so often you have to force yourself to do that scary thing. It may not be so bad. (Except for touching bugs!)
  • It's always a "no" unless you ask. You'd be amazed how much you can make happen if you just ask. I've gotten to do so many cool things just by asking if I could.
  • People are basically good. Trust that and use it.
  • A smile is always the right response. (Except maybe to a mugger.)
  • Don't play stupid. Don't hide your smarts. Don't be afraid to say "huh?"
  • Be generous with yourself, your friendship and your resources. Karma will always repay you more than you expect.
  • An emotion is never wrong, it just is what it is. You feel it for a reason. If you are embarrassed about what you are feeling, evaluate and try to figure out why you are responding in a way you are not happy with.
  • Do your damnedest to not force your opinions onto others. Do your damnedest to not let others force their opinions onto you. Try to keep an open mind without letting it be trampled.
  • Girls should always always be nice to other girls. We are all sisters in this life and should support each other whenever and wherever we can. I can't stand women who treat other women badly.
  • Men are just big boys. They are an awful lot of fun to talk to and hang out with. They appreciate a girl who can talk cars, appreciate other girls' boobs (hey, I worked at Victoria's Secret, I know a good boob when I see one) and who likes beer. In many ways I am an honorary guy.
  • Time is useful. Use it to step back from a worrisome situation, allow a painful experience to heal, or prevent you from murdering someone who really pisses you off. Realize that what seems tragic now may not be so bad in a year, or may just be a different, more manageable sort of tragic.
  • Always have an outfit that makes you feel really sexy.
  • Don't be late. Being late is just rude. If you are going to be late, let whoever you are meeting know.
  • Absence does not make the heart grow fonder.
  • You can rest when you are dead. Enjoy the health and days you have and realize that life is not about goals, it's about the journey. Cuz we all end up in the same place.
Most importantly......that advice about clean underwear? I follow that one religiously. Nothing worse than getting stuck in a strange place without your luggage and with no clean undies.

Monday, May 14, 2007

slowly but surely taking over the world

create your own visited country map

I'm slowly crawling eastward.

We've got a trip to Vilnius coming up. I pre-added Lithuania because well, if you've got the flight already booked you are as good as there.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Aftermath of Decadence

Me as a naughty schoolgirl a la Eurovision contestant Tatu.

I am so hungover I can hardly move. I have lipstick prints on my neck and bite marks on my thigh. Candy necklaces, in the hands (or more aptly, on the necks and thighs) of drunk adults, become a force for evil and lasciviousness. Woo! I highly recommend them as a party dessert from now on.

I got up at noon today, walked into the kitchen, smelled the leftover wine and had to run back to bed before I hurled. I stayed there until 2pm. Rich, sweet man that he is, cleaned up everything. I think we might have a party routine figured out: I do the preparations and he does the aftermath. I also think that vodka is very bad for me now, and I might have to avoid it. Though I also had wine and maybe mixing all that was not such a great idea.

Urg. I guess you want pictures don't you?

Some of the Eurovision party gang. Goths, Rock Stars, Pop Stars and an Irishwoman. (She couldn't decide what her costume was, and she's Irish, so hence her costume became Irishwoman.)

Proof that Vampires exist. This picture reminds me of that movie "The Hunger". Hanna is so totally photogenic. Who knew?

Me and Hanna, we are Up To No Good. (Woo glowsticks!)

Reechard as zee Judge Francaise.

A good time was had by all. And one of the best things about having a party is you find lots of unopened beer and wine in your fridge. Not, of course, that I could even think of having any now....yaarrgg.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

drunk eurovision blogging

Ok so we are in mid Eurovision party.

I'm drunk.

so is everyone else.


My Tatu costume worked out well, if I do say so myself. I make a good naughty school girl. We also had many people in shiny foil wigs, some goths, and one fabulous costume where Will dressed as a girl. Not sure what he was trying to portray, but who cares, with legs like that, he can go far.
The only bummer is that Terry Wogan was not the MC, as BBC did not do a live send to Norway, Fuckers.

Right now they are judging. I am for Russia and Bulgaria. Bulgaria did some sort of gypsy Goth drum thing and Russia did a naughty school girl gone growed up routine that totally matched my costume.

Now is the interminable time where they give us entertainment while the judges tabulate the votes. This time it involves goth acrobats dancing with light sabers.

yes, I know it sounds like I am not making sense. But that is so very Eurovision.

the US is so missing out on this.

Wish y'all could be here.

We are having candy necklaces for dessert. You can have your sweetie off the neck of whoever you choose. Europeans like that sort of thing.

eurovision tonight!

I am still having problems with Haloscan, so I apologize if the comments won't work or if yours doesn't show up even if you DO manage to leave one. I really don't know what's up, and I can't figure out how to fix it, so I might end up doing the unthinkable and switching to (gasp) Blogger commenting. That is last resort, however.

As a way to assuage my pain, I am gonna get SO drunk tonight, for it is Eurovision Song Contest, and we are having a party. A Fancy Dress party. As in, come dressed a la Eurovision past, present or imagined.

I won't tell you what we are dressing up as, but will surprise you with it after the fact.

The semi finals were on Thursday night, and both my favorite choices were eliminated. I liked Denmark, and Switzerland. It seems that the Eastern Europeans (eg., the newer entries to the EU) came out in force on the phone voting and voted out all the western European countries (eg., the EU 'old guard'.) Eurovision is VERY political, believe it or not. And after last year's win by Lordi, I am sure we will get alot of Monster Bands this year. It seems to be a trend that the previous years' winning style is always copied.

Hence Switzerland's entry: a song called "Vampires Are Alive". Monster themed indeed. Here's a sample of the lyrics.

Vampires are alive
The legends have to survive
We'll never come undone
And we will be forever young

I am a vampire I'm a slave
A slave to the daylight, hence my grave
In the darkness, in the shadows
Here I am
I want you to be be forever mine
Together until the end of time
Like a nightmare, neverending
Let me change your world

What I liked about it was even though the song is all about vampires, there was a definite Broadway or even Disney on Ice feel about the whole thing. No dark Apoptygma Berzerk or Sisters of Mercy vibe, but sort of shiny and bright and poppy. Like if Buffy went glam and did a Broadway show, but forgot the funny and insightful Joss Whedon lyrics.
They didn't make the finals.

Oh and then there was Denmark. A giant drag queen in a feathered headdress. I loved it, not the least because she had boys with feathers dancing around her. She actually had a great voice, however, and hit high notes way better than I ever could. (Not that that means much. I don't do high notes well at all.) But they are out too.

As always Britain will be represented. They are automatically in the finals, and this year, we get....SCOOCH!

They look just like RyanAir flight attendants. Naughty flight the part where she does the explanations of the exits and how to fasten your seatbelt. Comic Gold, people, Comic Gold.

Now you see why I get wasted for Eurovision, right? You kind of have to to be able to listen to music like this.

Friday, May 11, 2007

trying again with the five fave restaurants meme

Geeky Tai Tai, I don't know, but I think you might be evil. Every time I try to do this meme you tagged me for, something goes horribly wrong and I end up having to delve deep into my template to fix things. This time, when I attempted to add you to my links? I accidentally deleted ALL my other links and had to find my old template and restore them, but I think some names are missing and dammit I can't remember exactly who. If you are reading this and used to be in my links and you notice your name is now missing, it's NOT because I don't love you, I just am an idiot.

I know Dave, Kjersti and I are evil, but GTT, you might have the most evil mojo of them all.....the UNKNOWN TO YOURSELF EVIL BLOG MOJO. Hmm......I bow to your will.

Ok, so now for that meme. Let's hope it works this time, or I am gonna be really hosed. I don't know if the template can take any more tweaking!


I'm supposed to list the other people who have done this meme, add my name to the bottom of the list, then tag five people so that they do the same. So here's the list of previous players:
Now for the five favorite places. Since it's really expensive to eat out in Norway, we rarely go out. considering a pizza delivered is over $50, you can see how going out is just not much of an option. that being said, we do have a few places we go when we get the funds to do so.

1) The Pub. The Friday night regular pub. They give us a discount on beers for being regulars with jobs. The food is comforting, plentiful and quite well presented. They use lots of bearnaise sauce, and I don't know about you, but any sauce made with mostly butter is way ok with me. You can get a "dagens rett" (day special, day food) for 115 nok, which is a GREAT deal. But I am NOT telling you where it is as then you would all go there and see me drinking. So there.

2) Haveli, they have a few locations. Good Pakistani food. Well presented, tasty. Quite expensive but eh, that's life. I took Lee and Mags and Brett there when they came to visit and they both LOVED it. Even though they nearly fainted at the wine prices.

3) Hard Rock Cafe. Cuz, you know, NACHOS. They import the cheese and chips. Seriously. Closest thing to home I am gonna get.

4) This funky little place called Tullins Cafe. I used to go there on "dates" with my friend Julia, before she up and left me for the States. Good food, good prices, great studenty atmosphere, small but satisfying wine list. Somehow wine there just always tasted better. Maybe it was Julia....I dunno. Dude I miss you!

5) This is not a restaurant, but I love my friend Mary's cooking. She's Indian and that girl can COOK. I don't care what she makes, it's yummy. Even things I don't normally like (fish!) I like when she cooks it. So, even though it's not a restaurant, I nominate Mary's House as a top five place to eat locally.

I swore off tagging a while ago, but I am supposed to do it for this, so here goes. Don't hate me. I'll tag the more foodie people I know. (I'm letting Dave off the hook because he's traveling and I bet he got hit already. See how NICE I can be?) :

, Austin.
DoctaWife, Houston
Jaye, Austin
Vivi, France
Sognatrice, Italy

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In which technology continually bitch slaps me into oblivion

Good lord, people, can someone please give me a website or machine that just works like it is supposed to? No surprises or anything? GAH. I'm tired of being bitchslapped by electronics.

First there was/is the horrible snafu that has been Haloscan. I don't know WHAT is up, but it just craps out on me and disappears. Why why why???? It's there now, but I really don't trust it. It's like a wayward puppy or something. I need to leash it to the blog and not let it escape again.

Then my iPod continues its wierdness. Monday was HornDog day, Tuesday was Rap Attack and yesterday was Goth Industrial Wonderland. Today's shuffley goodness was mostly spoken word/comedy and some of my lamer music, you know, the stuff you fast forward past? You know you have it on there for a reason, but right now that reason escapes you?

Then at work I've been dealing with Outlook for some projects I am planning and oh holy crap I hate Outlook. Nastier software I've never encountered. Yech. It makes me look like an idiot. (Ok, so on Outlook I AM an idiot, but I am not an idiot on other, normal, BETTER software.)

Then, today, I've been trying to book some train tickets for a little jaunt out to Bergen and somehow whenever I try to get the lower prices the website freezes. then it says the tickets aren't available. Then I go back to the beginning and it says they ARE available, and the whole rigmarole of rejection starts again.
I tried buying the tickets at the train station, but they said in order to get the good price I had to buy through the ticket machine outside or incur a higher charge for having someone assist me. So I tried using the machine outside, but it froze, and so the girl working the counter closed her window and came out to help me....which sort of defeats the whole purpose of me using the machine to avoid having to use the services of staff. Doesn't it? anyhow, it still didn't work and the cheap prices just mysteriously went away. Bait and switch! Bait and switch!

Every day this week, right about the time I get home from work, I've heard singing. This girl comes out onto the balcony of a building next to ours, sets up a sound system with BIG speakers, and starts warbling. It's kind of sweet, but also strange and a bit dismaying. Her voice is ok, but very high and thin, so it sounds like Marni Nixon singing through a tin can. She sings old songs, nothing new. Maybe they are hymns? Why is she singing? Why is she singing to random strangers on a busy plaza? Why is she doing it every day at 5pm? Why doesn't she have any music to back her up? Why is she on a balcony and not down amongst the masses? Why does she sing at such a high pitch when I can tell her voice is not suited for it? Take it down a notch and I bet it would be much stronger.

And, last but not least....we need a new bed, but bad. So I've been scouting around, and can I just say WOW. Beds here are damned expensive. I don't want another cheap one that wears out and causes pain after 10 years like we have now, I want a good one. No Ikea, dammit! So I've been checking out some stores on co-worker's and other's recommendations and I think I might need to ask for a raise, if this is what my co-workers have for beds!
I don't know about you, but $13,000 for a bed (yes, over 100,000 nok) is a bit out of range. I nearly DIED when I saw the price list. The cheapest bed was almost $9000. (50,000nok). The sales lady was all, "But it's all organic and made with the finest materials. It will last a lifetime".
I don't care if it's stuffed with all the granola goodness Mother Earth has to offer, topped with angel clouds and wrapped one thread at a time with gold silk pulled from rare worm's asses, $13,000 is a shitload of money. For $13000 I can buy a new bed, like the one we had that lasted 10 years, once a year for 26 years. It makes the bed that I thought was too expensive at $6000 seem cheap!

All I want is a good bed that will stop me waking up feeling like a bent over old hag. Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

big fucking problem that I can't figure out

My haloscan comments have disappeared.


I don't know why. I don't know how. I don't know WHERE.

But the commenting is gone.

Can any of you see it?

SHIT! If you can't, you can't tell me can you?
I tried fixing it through haloscan but blogger won't accept the html template changes.

Dammit. This is REALLY pissing me off.

tagged and screwed

Well, I was tagged for a blog meme thingy and spent about an hour doing it, and then something went wonky and my post disappeared and right now I am too pissed off to do it again. Plus I am hungry. Cuz I just spent the past hour thinking about restaurants. And I can smell the restaurant downstairs cooking. And I am hungry.

So, Geeky Tai Tai! I did try, and will come back to it, but not now. Now I have to jump up and down, flail my fists and curse alot.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm all for fashion but COME ON already

I've always been a fan of fashion. Style, clothes, what's new, what's fun...I love it all. Though I take the trends with a grain of salt (skinny jeans? Uh, not for me, thanks) I do enjoy reading Vogue, Glamour, Bazaar and any fashion mag that comes my way.

It's just...sometimes the pretentiousness of it all gets to me.

Like, yesterday? I was reading Vogue and Vogue is obviously on the green wagon but good. Goody for them, nice for them to jump on the bandwagon! And so, along with an article on how to buy "green jeans" and how great (again) Edun is, they have this big article (like this one) cajoling everyone into not using paper or plastic grocery bags but instead to start using their own reusable bags bought from some uber-fashionable boutique or whatever.

The suggestions include a "reusable" bag from Marni that runs $843. Another from Hermes that is just under $1000. And another, leather one, by some other designer that is made to resemble a paper bag, that costs around $1500.

I don't know about you, but if I buy a bag to carry my groceries in that costs over $800, it better damned well be reusable for about 50 years! And honestly, it should also make my groceries weigh alot less, and perform rather like Mary Poppin's bag, so that I can fit, like, a whole kitchen in there and not notice the weight. Like, pull a whole turkey out of there, with all sides, and still be able to fit your six of beer and your little brother in there as well. I would expect ALOT from an $800 grocery bag.

Here in Norway they charge us for bags at grocery stores. That pisses me off, so whenever I travel I keep an eye out for what I call "attitude bags" that I use as grocery bags. These are just small cheap canvas or muslin bags found at tourist shops that have a saying or logo on them that amuses me.

My favorite bag, that I use alot, is one that says, "Meine Leute waren am Rhein und alles was sie mitgebracht haben ist diese Scheiss Taschen". Translated, it means "My peeps went to the Rhein River and all they brought back was this shit bag".
Then I also have a bag from Harvey's Sussex Brewery in Lewes, UK. I use that one as a quiet protest against the extortionate beer prices here. It hurts a bit to carry crappy expensive beer in a bag that advertises really good traditional beer, but at least I can remember the taste of the good beer.
And I also have a bag I got in Tallin that has Viking ships on it. I just like carrying it in the land of Vikings.
None of those bags cost me more than $10. And they all make me giggle, don't tear when I fill them up, are comfortable to carry and get my groceries home in relatively good condition. And, if I did lose one? No big. It's not like it cost a grand or anything.

I'm all for fashion? It just has to make sense. Thousand dollar carrier bags do NOT make sense. If you can afford a grand for a grocery tote, why not just hire a guy to carry it for you instead.

Monday, May 07, 2007

In which my iPod proves itself to be an evil, evil little bastard*

My general custom is to bring my iPod to work, and after listening to the news and stuff, put it on shuffle songs and just let it play.

Today, apparently was 'Play Songs That Make Karla Horny" day because the little bastard would not stop playing all the naughty songs it had, and ONLY the naughty songs.

I swear, it was like some cosmic joke, all it played were either songs that you wanna do "it" to or things that make you think about 'it". **

Robert Plant's "I'm in the Mood" (though Robert Plant crooning anything in my ear gets me going, he is Svengali to me). Prince's whole nasty Purple Rain (Darlin' Nikki, anyone?) oeuvre, plus "Black Sweat" and "Gett Off". Depeche Mode's "A Question of Lust". Love and Rocket's "My Delicious Ocean". NIN's "Closer" (twice, I might accidentally have hit replay on that one). Madonna's "Justify My Love". "Sledgehammer", Peter Gabriel.


All day long I was working on spreadsheets and dammit, you can't work on spreadsheets while nasty chair dancing in an office with a window onto a busy hallway. You really...can't. People look at you funny. Then they point and laugh. and b ring their friends to join in the fun. (Just kidding, that didn't happen.)
Evil bastard iPod. Even if I switched it off and restarted it, it played different, but just as naughty as before, songs.

I finally had to turn the damned thing off on the train ride home when I realized all I could do was think about "it" and that was possibly a very bad thing on a packed train full of rather handsome men, many of whom were wearing tight jeans.

I think I need a refreshingly chilly shower.

*My iPod is black, and it belongs to me, so I guess it was destined to be evil. But I didn't expect it to get a mind of its own....and then not obey me when I tell it to behave.

**Admittedly, 90% of my music has a nasty factor in it. What can I say? I like to boogy!

*** Even now, my iTunes has caught on and is playing Prince's song "Head". GAH!!!!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007


It's quiet around here. Things are routine. Well, as routine as things get for us. Cuz, you know, my life is not exactly NORMAL. At least, not the sort of normal I expected to have. You know, growing up. Pretty much the minute I heard we were gonna move to Norway, my idea of a "normal" life sort of went right out the window.

So when things do get "normal" (relatively) where I am not traveling, or falling over in snow or having strange things happen, I really don't have much to write about.

We went to the pub on Friday. Nice time. Saucy conversations, too much beer, raucous laughter at stories of past experiences traveling and working. I fell so far off my diet with that creamy pasta carbonara it's not even funny. Damn it was good, though. Even better if someone lets you share their french fries and you can dip them in the creamy pasta sauce...double fat double good, with beer chasers!
I've been on a Buffy-rewatching binge. Spent Saturday finishing Season 6 while nursing my hangover and having Day Two. Rich is working on his Flickr pictures.
It's a bit overcast and cool today, but we went for a walk nevertheless. (One wierd thing...we see our friend Martin almost every time we step foot out of the house. He's at the grocery store or the shops or the pub or out and about. We always see him. Dude, Martin? What's up with that? Are you stalking us or are we stalking you? This time we saw Martin at the nearby open-Sundays grocery store, we bought pomegranates, he got strawberries. My aren't we fruity.)

We're discussing the next travel plans. Poland is high on the list. Cheap flights there on Norwegian. Then again, we could take the train to Stockholm, or possibly just go up to Trondheim, never been there. And it's been 6 months since I have been home and I am feeling the need for some Mom and Dad and Brother hugs, some time with friends and a little bit o' Texas twang. Not sure if that will happen this summer as ohmygod have you seen the prices of flights this summer? But I'll try. See what happens. Check it out.

Next on today's agenda: nap. Perhaps a bath.



Friday, May 04, 2007

Things I learn in life

Some things I have learned in life were patently brought home to me last night. Problem was, I ignored the lessons already learned and thus subjected myself to something that, while not actually death causing, was certainly two hours of my life that I will never get back.

Me and a few girlfriends decided it would be a hoot to go see a show that it currently on its run in Oslo: A Tribute to Dirty Dancing. I mean, hey, light entertainment, some songs, and they promised some kick ass dancing, so why the hell not, right?

First mistake: I am not all that fond of the movie upon which this "tribute" is based. I mean, it's fine and all, but I tend to fast forward through alot of the song bits. The story is decent and so I watch for that.

Second mistake: I forgot that I really don't like the music. So why I thought that going to a musical based on the music was a good idea, I'm

FUCK. Back to this later. The building fire alarm just went off....gotta go evacuate.

10 minutes later.....I'm back. This building we live in is very new and loaded with bells and whistles, and apparently sometimes the bells and whistles like to have loud parties where they invite to whole building to listen to them ring and shout. Ugh....that was loud. At least now I know what I would run out of the house with if it ever caught Mac, my passport, my glasses, my favorite ring. Rich wasn't here, but I'd grab him, too, if for some reason he couldn't grab himself.

Back to pre-empted story.

Um...right, lessee....Ok, so don't like music of Dirty Dancing either. At least, not the 80's stuff. the 60's stuff is ok.

Third mistake, I totally forgot that anything labeled "A Tribute To..." SUCKS. I have albums that are tributes to bands, I've seen movies that were tributes to..whatever, and they always SUCK. "A Tribute To..." means nothing more than "We are not imaginative to come up with our own stuff, so we are going to rehash something someone ELSE did and pretend like we are honoring them, when all we really doing are using that name to draw you suckers in so that we can cash in on the other, more famous thing".

Anyhow, what can I say? The show was really bad. It felt like all the losers from"American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance" came together and started their own show called A Tribute To Dirty Dancing. It was amateur, badly choreographed, and way WAY too long. There was no soul, no humor and no chemistry. Everyone wanted to be a rock star, but none of them were good enough or charismatic enough to be rock stars.
The singing was ok, but the dancing? Oh the dancing was just kind of bad. Like, you could see them counting out the steps bad. The dancers didn't smile, they grimaced bad. The one girl who would get lifted and stuff would visibly stop and prepare herself before each "trick" and you could totally see her getting ready for whatever came next. AND SHE NEVER SMILED.
One guy who came out to sing and dance had some mic issues, so he actually told us to "watch him shake his bottom" as some sort of interim filler while he got the mic sorted. Whatthefuck?

I ended up laughing though most of it. As did the ladies sitting next to me.

I felt bad, for a bit, like maybe I was too jaded or I just wasn't into the spirit of the thing, but then I realized I have seen many, many good things and enjoyed the hell out of them, so this was really just bad and I shouldn't feel guilty for making fun of it.

Don't get me wrong, on one or two songs they did well, and the band was good. The show itself, though, really, really needs a huge reworking, way better dancing, and a shortening by 30 minutes.

When it was over, I was ready to leap out of my chair and go home, and then, guess what? They did an ENCORE. And the encore? A fucking 20 minute long medley of all the songs they ALREADY DID. Kill me, please. Just kill me.

I was like, "Ok, so why didn't they do this medley at the beginning of the show, and then skip the show itself.....that way I could have been out of here hours ago?"

Oh well, we had fun just as a group of gals out on the town. Dinner was good, we ate at Hazrd Rock. The nachos still rock.

Lesson learned: next time skip the show and just eat the nachos.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

You won't like me after you click on the link

Ok, so the story goes like this:

At work today, I got an email titled "Tiden går - silikon består?" , which in Norwegian means, basically, Time Goes, Silicon Remains. And in that email was a picture.

Now I am a pretty nice person, generally, so I think I will just link to the image instead of blasting it across the page for your eyeballs to explode upon, as did mine today. AT WORK. Took me ages to clean eyeball goo off the screens, let me tell you.

You know when you see something and it's really light and then you close your eyes and that image is imprinted on your retinas and you see it for a long time afterwards? Well, that is this picture on my brain.

Before I link to it, let me just say this is absolute proof that fake breasts, too much tanning and being thin are all completely, totally and reprehensibly over rated. I might be a big assed white glow in the dark Kraut, but my tits are natural and I will never look like this.

Ok, enough prevarication.

Go here.

My brother the race car driver

Did I ever mention that my brother races cars?

Well, he does, and he's awesome.

Here's some bits from an email he sent today:

I went to Dallas and did the VW Ride and Drive. Autocrossed GTI's, Passats, EOS's Jetta's Beetles and did a faux off road course in the Touareg. In four driving competitions I got first place in three. I lost the team competition because I had some LOOOOZERS on my team. Two old guys got lost on the most basic course, and two chicks were just really slow. I made up more than half the time on my run, but it wasn't enough. GRRRRR.

They had pro racers giving the event. At the timed autocross the pro (NASCAR West Coast driver) went out and laid down a benchmark time and said "Lets see if any of you can come close." He just chummed the waters for me. I played it very cool. Everybody was driving the 3.2 EOS, since it was the fastest car. I chose the 2.0t Passat that everbody else was ignoring. It was a rainy and gravely course. I did my run with the traction control on, kept it quick and clean. I didn't think it was a good run at all. Twenty minutes later they were calling my name. They said I had the fastest time and had beaten the PRO by about half a second!! SWEEET!! I won the award for the Driver of the Event. I won the DSG launching competition which involved a curve and precision stop. And the reverse slalom course in a Beetle. That was hard, but fun.

My brother is a scarily good driver. I've never met anyone who can control a car like him. (Though I am not bad, for a girl, he says.) He really should be pro.

I'm so proud!

summer arrived Tuesday

I am fairly sure summer got to Norway on Tuesday.

Seasons here happen like that. One day, spring, the next, summer. Last year fall happened on a Thursday.

I really freaking love summer in Norway.