Monday, June 30, 2008

sun and water

Djerba Tunisia, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I couldn't resist this picture of a very relaxed Richard.

Yes he has big feet! But aren't they cute?

I've posted some pictures to my Flickr (click on the pic to go there) if you want to see more sites in Tunisia. I'll post more as the days progress (free broadband, yeeay!)


(Blogger log in menu was all in Arabic...I think I accidentally just flagged my blog as obscene. Took forever to figure out which link to hit to log in! Dammit, Blogger, quit trying to make things convenient and changing languages on me every time I travel!)

Marhaban. I'm told that's Arabic for hello.


We are in Tunisia. We arrived at night and my first impression of the coast was that it looked like a cross between the Texas Gulf Coast and Santa Fe. All low trees, marshes, beaches and low slung houses.

The hotel is huge. Huge, posh and really gorgeous. Especially at night. Whoever designed the place is a master of lighting and has done some gorgeous light effects all over the halls, foyers, lounging areas (of which there are many, you can lounge for hours here and never twice in the same spot!) and rooms.

Yesterday we got up and hung out by the pool. I managed to avoid sunburn on my upper half, while my calves (famous last words "Oh my calves NEVER sunburn!") are red and sunburned as hell. Oops. So now I have to figure out how to even it all out. I suppose I will reverse the lounge technique of yesterday, this time with legs in shade and upper body in sun.

Oh and seriously, word of advice? If you come to a place where lots of Europeans come for sun and holiday (I think we are one of maybe two American couples here) don't be shocked when you see every manner of topless woman lounging about. And, boys, simmer down, because most of them? NOT pretty. Like the ones you might enjoy seeing keep 'em covered, but the droopy ones, the mosquito bites and the INCREDIBLY LARGE SCARY ONES are all just hanging every which way and then some. I mean, holy crap, if those things are gonna hang to your waist, maybe you should stop trying to tan them. They just leave white marks on the belly where the sun didn't hit!

By 2 pm I had burned myself so we went in to the nearest town, Houmt Souk, to check out the weekly market (not so good) and the souks (better). The town is lovely, at least in the older area, all white buildings with brilliant blue window surrounds and doors.
Note the traditional Tunisian birdcages hanging on the right side.

On the right is a Catholic church.

Me in a doorway. Isn't the blue gorgeous?

Our hotel is wickedly over-priced so we bought some shower gels and sunburn creams at about 1/4 what they charge here. Seriously, I was gonna buy some shower gel here (granted a maybe semi schmancy kind from the Thalasso Spa on the premises) but when they told me at check out the price was 64 Tunisian Dirham (about 58 US) I had a heart attack and fled the place. We also got some bottles of water at 1/10th the hotel price.

We had a very nice dinner at a local fish restaurant. Two bottles of rose wine, I can highly recommend Tunisian wines. I also had a traditional Tunisian Salad, which was oh so yummy. I took a picture.


OK, time for my 11:30 water aerobics class! Then more lounging. This vacation is hard work!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Brief Rant

Ok, so I KNOW I have to pack and whatever, but dammit I am so riled up right now.

My favorite cousin (ok, so my favorite cousin in England, I also have some favorite cousins in Germany as well as a favorite brother in Houston) is getting married in England in August and I needed to get the flights booked before we go to Tunisia, or it would hang over my head.

So I went over to BA to book the flights, I like their very simple booking process and flight choice matrix. Found a flight, decent price, good times, etc etc. All good.

Then it comes time to pay. Which is where it all goes pear shaped.

Have you ever come across something called "verified by visa" when you buy something online? It's this 'extra security' thing where you have to register with your bank and go through an extra step with passwords and such, the theory being it prevents other people from using your card.

The problem is, it pretty much only keeps ME from using my card. I'd say that for every time I have had a successful usage of this FUCKING 'verified by visa program', I have had three failures. Either the java fails, or a firewall issue comes up, or the bank is down, or the bank won't recognize me as a user of their stupid service, OR my card is not tied to the information that verified by FUCKING visa has. This causes me to lose my whole flight booking and have to start over from scratch.

But, what really chaps my ass, is that this FUCKING 'verified by visa' thing is not used by all websites, only those being 'extra safe' and, if you remember, I recently had my card number stolen and used on a spending spree in Spain that I am certain the merchants of Madrid will remember for a long long time. So, honestly, all 'verified by visa' does is keep ME from using MY card. ANYONE else can use it, but ME!

Does this seem irretrievably stupid or is it just me? GAH! What should have been a 15 minute process turned into a 1 hour wrestle with pin codes and security cards (a Norwegian thing where you have to use this little calculator looking thing that gives you a temporary pin code every time you use the card or access your bank account, I hate it as it means you have to carry the bloody thing around if you ever want to access your account online, which means yet one more thing to keep track of) and Java and passwords.

I am now all stressed out on a day I should be just looking forward to our holiday in Tunisia. Sigh.

Friday, June 27, 2008

yeah, well, rats

blog readability test

OK, so like, whatEVER.

Junior high school? Like I don't use big enough words or something? As if!

We are off to Tunisia tomorrow. As it is rainy and cold here right now, I can honestly say I can't FUCKING WAIT! A week of sun and.....sun!

And, yeah, fuck? SO not a junior high school word. I didn't use that 'til high school, people. At least, not, you know, regularly.

Actually, there's an irony here. In junior high school I always tested at a college level. Now? Graduated from college? Back to junior high. Rock on!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Circus 3

Circus 3, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Break dancing paint splattered clowns! Jackson Pollock gone circus! Aaaaiiiyyyeeee! (Please note scary break dancing clown's face.....EEEEK!)

Circus 2

Circus 2, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Well..... "tigers" is a bit of an overstatement!


My two worst fears: Monkey and clowns. ARGH!

Fear, originally uploaded by karlakp.

15 years

15 years, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Monday, June 23, 2008

one leads to the other

That previous post? With the gorgeous strawberries and chocolate and ice cream on a freshly made giant crepe/pancake? (Which, fyi, I did NOT make but indulged upon at a Dutch pancake house in a historic area of suburban Oslo called Baerums Verk.) Yeah, that would be why I had the problems I had today.

Namely: I had to buy a swimsuit and it was NOT fun. Here are reasons why swimsuit shopping sucked.
  1. There are about 4 one piece swim suits in all of Norway. (Europeans generally do NOT wear them if they are under 50, it seems.) As I am tall, with a very long torso, a one piece suit that fits is pretty much a miracle of the seamstress art. They can only stretch so far! So, as I always have, I tend to go for bikinis.
  2. It was late in the season and so, even if you found a bottom that fit, there was no TOP to go with it.
  3. The chances of finding a bottom that fit were about 1 in 100, so when I couldn't find a top to match a bottom I was ok with, it was extra heart breaking.
  4. While my general curviness remains as it always have, I will say that things are sort of rearranging themselves as I get older and so the flatness of stomach I have come to count on is, erm, uh, a little more rounded. Must do something about that. (Like not have chocolate strawberry ice cream crepes.)
  5. A bikini top sized 'large' will generally be large around the back but maybe not so large in the actual cup area. (So let's say it fits a 38 to 40B to C.) My size would apparently be 'medium with extra boobage' (36 D to double D). Some of the tops I found just sort of floated around my body without actually offering any coverage, but if I went down a size there wasn't any top to actually cover, well, you know.
  6. Those little 'hygiene strip' in the crotch of the suits are a conspiracy. They don't stick to the suit AT ALL, but remove themselves forthwith from the suit the minute they come near a human and attach themselves to skin like a little plastic adhesive leech, and suddenly become stickier than duct tape and it HURTS to get them off! Like, holy crap. They'd probably be great for waxing. Thank God I had underwear on. (Seriously, does anyone try on swimsuits without underwear? I mean, that's too gross to contemplate!)
  7. A large in Norway ain't a like a large in the States. Asses here just don't have the largesse of a good home grown American butt. I miss home. God Bless 'Murca!
  8. I would hate to be the person who has to put those damned suits back on the hangers. I mean, I tend to try on as many as possible at once to get it over with, and they are miracles of complex hanging, so getting them back on a hanger is akin to figuring out the law of gravity. Getting them OFF the hanger is hard enough. We should tip the girls at the swimsuit stores.
Anyhow, three hours, some tears, some cursing and a post-shopping large glass (or two) of wine later, I ended up with two cheap ass bikinis (one black and one red) that are for general hard use, one quite nice (expensive) bikini in a lovely blue peacock print that will be my "by the pool" suit, and one kinda-slutty, what the hell it's way on sale, black crocheted one piece that I am still not sure about but can't return.

God, I'd rather go to the dentist than buy a swimsuit. At least there you get novacaine and the good pain pills so you don't notice the agony!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday treat

Sunday treat, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Had planned to go on a hike with Kristin but it rained. What to do what to do?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Norwegian advertising

I've written a few times before about funny advertising here, and how they can do things that an American advertiser wouldn't DREAM of. (Like the ad for a yeast infection cream in which real live women are actually ITCHING themselves in what they think is private and then getting caught by some guy who is rather confused by the active scratching she performs. In the States yeast infection cream ads are always some woman walking dejectedly down a gritty city street, dirty bitch that she is, then next frame she is running happily though a field in a frenzy of non-itchiness all due to the wonders of the Monistat cream, though the ad never mentions the term 'yeast infection'.)

Witness these two very short and very hilarious ads for a store called Kondomeriet, a shop that sells things of a "self pleasuring" nature.

The tag line on that one was "all vibrators 20% off".

And here is part two:

I nearly fell over laughing when I saw that first ad. So cleverly done, and so funny. In fact, I am gonna check out the sale. (Teehee.) Not to mention that when I go on my walks around the Semsvannet, I will certainly pay more attention to the cattle grids I have to cross over. Maybe I'll buy a bike?

Then today I saw this sign advertising the fact that you can buy your train tickets online.

Norwegian advertising, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I call it the "Clit Express". I don't think they meant it to look like that, but seriously....trains, tunnels, that particular mouse looking like THAT....there are so many subliminables here, I can't even begin to think how many Freudian psychologists are just falling over themselves to deconstruct THAT one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Whorehouse blooms and a surprise blogiversary

Whorehouse blooms, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Look at these lilies! Aren't they gorgeous? Our whole flat smells like a French whorehouse!

Speaking of flowers and things of beauty, or for that matter, whores, Happy Blogiversary to me. I totally just found out today that today is the fourth birthday of this here blog, and I only figured THAT out because I was all, like, "Hmm, my blogiversary is around here somewhere, better check...oh holy crap it's today? TODAY!!!?" And me without even a new outfit! Oh well, I have wine. That should be good enough.

Special shout out to Dave2, my Blog God. Dude, without you, I don't think I would have kept this up as long as I have. You're my inspiration. Thanks.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Let's face it you ARE your parents.

Today I wore this dress that I got from H&M. It's a BIG black and white floral print (like one flower covers my whole ass, so we are talking BIG flowers here!) wrap dress in a slinky jersey knit fabric. The dress is knee length.

I loves me the wrap dresses. They just work for me, you know? They hug the curves and hide the squidgy bits. And it's like wearing a bath robe, it's that comfortable. (If you don't have one, GO GET ONE, yes, even if you are a man!)

Anyhow, about mid way through the morning, I was wondering why I was jonesing so hard on this dress, when it made me realize, oh. yeah. This dress, this simple silky knit knee length wrap dress, is pretty much what my mom wore throughout the 70's. Same exact style.

She told me once she wore them because my dad liked them. And here I am, wearing it because *I* like it. Must be genetic.

My parents circa 1966(?) before I was born. (FYI I apparently was conceived (mistakenly) after a night of drinking at a party. This explains alot about me.)Dad's hair is greyer but they pretty much look exactly the same.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bullet Point Sunday

  • Rich's birthday was nice.
  • I 'stealth baked' a strawberry shortcake for his birthday work party, which his coworker Eileen took to work with her.
  • This not only entailed baking the damn cake so that he didn't know I was baking it, (I sort of organized a pub evening so he wouldn't be around) but also getting her the cake and all accoutrements the morning of the party without him noticing.
  • Which is why I was all "Um, honey, what time are you going to work today?"
  • His coworker Elaina planned the whole thing, sweet thing that she is. It was a joint party for Grant (post to your blog damn you!) and Rich, who have birthdays within 3 days of each other.
  • Oh and Happy Birthday Karen as well!
  • Luckily it went off without a hitch. His boss even chipped in by planning a meeting with him that was actually subterfuge for a cake eating fest with him and all his coworkers. She even baked him a cake too!
  • I don't think Europeans get American strawberry shortcake. Most of it came home with Rich from work. I think they thought it was too dry. They missed the point that you pour the cut up sugared strawberries over the shortcake and let the juices soak in, then serve with the melty ice cream.
  • Oh well, more for us!
  • The baby birdies went down in number from 7 to 4 to three (natural selection is a bitch) and now they have flown away.
  • It rained all morning and I think they literally flew the coop because it really wasn't the best place for a nest. I didn't really get any decent shots.
  • I was awakened this morning by the trumpeting of elephants.
  • The circus is in town! Right across the street!
  • We hear the music and see the tent through the trees!
  • I am SO going to the circus this week.
  • Tonight's dinner is fajitas!
  • Time to eat!
  • yum.

Friday, June 13, 2008

01062008806.jpg, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Happy Birthday Richard! I love you!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

baby birdies

I've been following One Tired Mom's story of her baby birds so imagine my surprise when Rich pointed out to me that we have our own family of birds on our deck.

A family of Wheatears (I've never heard of them, but they are well knwn for 'running ahead of you and showing you their white behinds') (I'm not much of a bird watcher, but Rich comes from a birdwatching family) has settled in a groove on our balcony deck. This groove is sort of under the decking, along the side, in a drainage area. There are about 7 very hungry and busy baby birds and some very tired and active parents flitting to and fro feeding them.

I tried to take a picture but they are hidden in the groove. I can't get too close as the parents are pretty protective. But will try to get a picture as soon as I can. They are SO CUTE. Little furry grey bundles of fuzz

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Random picture of the day part 2

My own Engrish photo. This was from Thailand in 2006. We went to Railay Beach. Stayed in a gorgeous hotel with individual cottages. God it was gorgeous.

This was the instruction sheet for the mosquito repellant thingy in our room. I never did figure it out. Mosquitoes did not seem to be a problem at that time, though.

random picture of the day part 1

This is me in the remnants of the old City Hall in Krakow, Poland. Sometime in 2007 though I have had some wine and so can't remember. Obviously warm enough for me to wear summer clothes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We went to the Hard Rock for a birthday dinner for my friend Grant.


Them nachos are good.



Oops, sorry.

Not much to report; back at work, trying to get caught up and back in the swing of things. Looking forward to our trip to Tunisia soon. It's been warm here but it's cooling off.

I'm all unpacked from London and now trying to find places to put everything. Remind me to get the hanger when I buy a dress, I have no hangers anymore. Lots of dresses, no hangers.

(brrrrrp faart)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

back in Norway

I'm back in Norway. There's a heat wave happening, ongoing from the whole time I was in London. By hot, I mean, hot. Up in the 90's every day. Without air conditioning. Luckily it's not too humid, but it's still hard to get the air flowing.

Coming back from a trip like the one I was on is always a bit jarring. Especially when I got to England. I just FIT there. I understand the mentality, the humor, the history, the way things work. I feel so comfortable there. And, even though I've lived here 6 years and I guess it's as home as it will ever be, just one week in London feels more familiar to me than a year here. Not that I am NOT comfortable here, but I've basically spent my whole life studying English culture and history and it shows when I am in the country.

It's good to be back in my own bed, of course, but I have alot of niggling details left from last week that need to be taken care of and that all come back to hit me in the face at once. Have to get the rest of the Bank Nightmare stuff straightened (making sure passwords and pin codes and accounts all sync, that we got the right amount of money back and that the bloody cards WORK!). There's laundry and unpacking and catching up on email and blogs and regular mail. And catching up with work because my bloody fucking work computer just didn't want to do the remote connection and kept crashing every time I tried to open a file. (Not to mention I haven't even seen my own blog in over a week because my work computer blocks me from it! i have no idea how the photos look on the page!)
And joy of the next week or so I get to go to the American Embassy, because I have to have something notarized. I can't really think of anything that sucks more than having to go to the American Embassy. Last time I had something notarized there they quibbled over my name, that there was a slight discrepancy over the name on the paperwork and the name on my passport. They were going to refuse to notarize it. I finally had to show photo proof that the two names applied to me. Luckily I had that. Then there was the finger wagging and the 'naughty naughty girl you should officially change your name' crap. What, change my name to fit a piece of paper? When it's a mere matter of a hyphen? I think not.

But that's for the future.

Right now I am drinking coffee, looking at a beautiful sunny day and about to have a shower in the amazing Norwegian water. I missed the Norwegian water. London water gives me bad hair days. I looked like a frizzy drowned terrier all week.

Friday, June 06, 2008

King's Cross St Pancras

King's Cross St Pancras, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I went and checked out the refurbished King's Cross St Pancras train station yesterday. They've done a really good job of preserving the Victorian drama while adding modern conveniences. Notice the guy with hat, carpet bag and umbrella. You never see that anymore yet there he was! Classic English style!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Dinner, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Joining a pub crawl. This meal has the 4 food groups: beer, grease, salt and potato!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

UK tv

UK tv, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Tonight there was a tv show on called 'The British Body'. Nekkid people everywhere. I feel pretty good about me now!


Card, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I got this yesterday. All my fave words on 1 greeting card!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Well Deserved Dinner.

Well Deserved Dinner., originally uploaded by karlakp.

After a long day of larnin'...ahhh.

fastest blogpost ever

this will be the fastest blog post ever. I have 5 mins break between classes and I gotta pee as well. Obviously won't do both at same time.


Today is raining and dreary so good day to be in a class. The class (a project management course) is very intense and my poor little brain struggles to apply terms like 'stakeholder', 'end user', 'project implementation document' etc., to my work. I do think the class will be worth the travel and money, however.


So far this trip has been a mixture of work and sight seeing, mixed in with a healthy amount of frustration at my work computer which is just not working with the hotel's wireless and three, count em', three moves in the hotel itself due to room issues. The hotel was taken over by a new company which has raised prices ALOT and lessened services, so I guess I will have to find a new favorite hotel AGAIN in London. Seems like every time i like a hotel someone takes it over and raises prices. I guess I have an aptitude for up and comers?


I'll post a picture or two from yesterday later. Sorry if I am slow to post your comments but my work computer is just not working well and it takes about a minute to load a page, so I get a bit frustrated and just shut the whole damn thing down. I'm also out of the loop on everyone else's blogs, so have no idea what is up with everyone! I'm in a blog free zone right now!



Sunday, June 01, 2008

St Paul's at Night

St Paul's at Night, originally uploaded by karlakp.

The Millenium Bridge is one of my favorite spots in the world. I love it in every season and in every weather. Here it is at night with a vaguely scary Rich haunting the view of St Paul's from the Tate end of the bridge. This was after dinner and after our Thames beachcombing adventure,which is one of the most enjoyable things I have done in ages. I am going to make a necklace out of the 18th century pipe stems I found.


Thames, originally uploaded by karlakp.

We went beachcombing! On the Thames! It was cool! I found artifacts! Just call me Indy!


London, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Yesterday. Trafalgar Square. In the way background you can just see the Houses of Parliament at Westminster.