Sunday, November 30, 2008

Worst home decor ever

Worst home decor ever, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A lighted white plastic moose head. Complete with antlers. Spotted at high end design shop. WTF?

Hello, my name is Karla and I will be your Dumbass for today

I wonder about myself sometimes. Like, seriously? I am my own worst enemy. I'm ALWAYS hurting myself, doing stupid shit, getting in trouble. Now? My latest "aw shit" activity?

A black eye.

OK, pick one of these possible explanations as to how I got my black eye:
1) I was at a metal show and got kicked in the face in the mosh pit.
2) I was trying on clothes and my necklace flew up and hit me in the eye.
3) I popped myself in the eye with the earpiece of my glasses in a badly aimed attempt at putting them on.
4) I got a little overexcited during a facial and scrubbed too hard when removing my eye makeup.
5) I don't actually know how it happened.

The answer? 5. I don't frigging know HOW I got this black eye. But I'm telling everyone at work 1, because it is less dorky than the rest. (2-4 are all possibilities.)

My trip to Bergen was interesting. It was definitely helpful from a work perspective, I learned alot. So that was good.
There was not much choice in hotels as I booked pretty late, so I stayed at a place called the Clarion Hotel Havnekontoret, right along the Bryggen in Bergen. I can say, I highly recommend the hotel. Great breakfast (with a little grill for cook your own eggs and bacon...sweet!). Waffles in the afternoon as a snack. A "light dinner" in the evening, enoughto fill you up, though I was still full from the waffle so passed on dinner. (Weight Watcher's, you know. Can't have a waffle AND dinner, it was a kind of substantial waffle.) They had a little library where you could borrow DVD's for free, so I watched Gosford Park and have to admit it was just as boring the second time. There is this cool tower you can get a key to access, and you get gorgeous views of Bergen. (Well they would have been gorgeous views had it been daylight and not raining like crazy.) The staff was even really really friendly, which is unusual in Norway. Even in some of the best hotels I have found the staff to be very offhand and brusque, so it was nice to have "American" style service.

Plus I got treated to an aural (that means SOUND, people) sex show as the people in the next room were obviously getting to know each other in really interesting ways. At first I thought some dude next door was watching porn, but then, when the wall behind my bed started shaking, I knew it was live. My my my, the sounds they made. (The hotel might want to think about soundproofing the walls a bit more...) Maybe I got my black eye from them having sex? Maybe they rattled the wall so hard it injured me. Maybe it was more fun on the other side of the wall, now that I think about it.

The train trip back from Bergen was great, very beautiful it snowed the whole way. At one station, Finse, people skied right up to the train, and skied right off it. They skied along right next to the train on the platform. That was cool to see.
I sat with a very nice Norwegian lady who told me about growing up in Norway in the 50's, and across the way were a very VERY posh older English couple who sounded like the Queen and Prince Charles. They talked the whole way about very erudite and esoteric topics. I think he was a Lord of some sort. His gardener was mentioned offhandedly as were many discussions of travels of yore. They'd break into perfect French and Spanish occasionally, she also spoke perfect Norwegian and I could swear they threw in some Latin for good measure.
He was rather fascinated by the books I had brought with me , which I didn't realize until too late were titled "Vice" and "Wicked Pleasures". I can only imagine how I looked to him, this Texan with wild red hair, biker boots and jeans, a black eye, a tattoo on her lower back and two books with such titles. At the end of the trip, I put my book away in my back pack, and he said something along the lines of "Ah, the American has put her Vice away", to which I replied (finally a bon mot at the right time!), "Ah yes but a lady always keeps her vices well hidden."

I would have paid money to accompany them for a while to learn their stories.

Have lost 3 lbs on WW so far. Seems like alot of work (and a black eye!) for a small payoff, but I am sticking with it goshdarnit, and see whare I end up.

In my last little bit of news, I am starting to get REALLY worried about our trip to Thailand. I fear we are screwed. If they don't get this solved in two weeks, we might not have a holiday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bergen Bryggen

Bergen Brygge, originally uploaded by karlakp.

The famous Bergen Bryggen, a collection of 17th and 18th century wooden houses from the time Bergen was part of the Hanseatic League. Does it look cold today? Because it totally is!

Mickey D's

Mickey D's, originally uploaded by karlakp.

The McDonald's in Bergen. Also, the smallest loo in the universe is to be found at The Dubliner in Bergen.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fascinating NYT article about the myth of the Naughty Scandinavian

All you boys who want to come over here to Scandinavia to meet gorgeous randy blondes who go topless at beaches and spout anthems of Swedish Free Love and wholesome naughty fun, should read this New York Times article.
It perfectly encapsulates the Norwegian view of nudity/sexuality/views of women.
And it’s not what you expect.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love and jealousy

My favorite thing about my family's Thanksgiving is turkey and gravy sandwiches the next day.

Mom makes them on honey wheatberry bread, using a nice slathering of warm gravy instead of mayo and white turkey meat. She cuts the sandwiches in half cross wise, then piles the sandwiches (things of beauty) up on this ancient wooden plate that I remember from my earliest days. Oh sloppy warm turkey laden goodness. I ADORE them. I can eat three sandwiches (6 halves) without even thinking about it. LOVE them. Below, Mom is making a sandwich.

So last year, when I couldn't be in the States, my family, with what I am sure was nothing but love and caring concern in their hearts, sent me pictures of the post-Thanksgiving turkey-gravy sandwich eating extravaganza. Here, below, is my brother with a plate of sandwiches and a loving look on his face, look at his concern and how much he misses his sister.

Here's my brother and his wife Kathy eating their sandwiches, in a show of Thanksgiving solidarity at my sadness that I could not join them. I am quite sure they were forced to eat the sandwiches, they seem so reluctant.

Here's a picture of Kit holding a plate with a sandwich with a bite out of it, apparently a bite that he took in honor of me. I am quite sure that is NOT a shit eating grin on his face, that he was not saying "Nyah nyah I'm having sandwiches and you are not!". No, my brother loves me too much to be that mean and cruel.

Ah Thanksgiving. A time to show family love and closeness. (koff)(koff)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you all have a great day.

To my brother: The next day? Enjoy your sandwiches, BEYOTCH!!

of course

Over Christmas our travel plans include visits to Thailand (Bangkok and Krabi), Indonesia, Bali, Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur.


Let’s look at the latest news, shall we?


Bangkok airport mobbed by protesters and now they are reporting ‘blasts’.


Earthquakes in Indonesia.


Travel warnings to Bali.  


Border conflict Thailand and Cambodia.


So far looks like things are quiet in KL. I think I am most worried about the airport situation in Thailand. It looks like it is getting out of hand. The rest I’m not too bothered with.


I’m going to Bergen early early (oh so early) Friday for work, and am treating myself to a ride home on the train the next day (cheaper than a flight, so why not?). I booked the train trip for daylight hours so I can see the icy winter mountain views. Seems like a nice day, me and a book and phenomenal views of Norwegian winterscapes.


I’m trying to save some WW points for then, so I can have a nice meal in Bergen Friday night,  but I am SO DAMNED HUNGRY these past couple of days, I really don’t know how well I am going to do. Is 1200 calories a day really enough? I mean, I know I need to work on portion control, but I’m craving protein and all the protein-y things I rely on are really high on points. And there are only so many hard boiled eggs I am willing to eat. I am eating a lot more fruits and veggies lately, so I guess that is good. Pomegranates being my favorite snack, they satisfy both the crunch-lust and the need for sweet red things. My biggest problem seems to be that if I go out in the evening, I pretty much have to choose between alcohol or food, and so I end up tipsy and hungry at the end of the night. And then I wake up hungry and am hungry all day.


What I really want is a big plate of Hard Rock Café nachos with chicken and beans and CHEESE and sour cream and oh so many chips. And a margarita as big as my head. Alcohol WITH food, what a decadent notion.


Monday, November 24, 2008

The bane of my existence or, infuriating piece of shit.

Where I work they use this web censoring software called Websense. I FUCKING HATE IT. I can understand not wanting your employees to use porn sites or Facebook or MySpace, and I can understand using it at schools, but it continually blocks me from stuff I ACTUALLY NEED FOR WORK as well.
Basic stuff, like, "search engines and portals".
It blocks me from industry sites I need to access.
It blocks me from looking up restaurants or stuff that I might want to book for company events.
And today, it blocked me from my email. This I cannot forgive. And I can't get around it, not by using another proxy or anything. I really hate being treated like I am not smart enough to use my own judgement when online. Believe me, I am not going to look at porn or play games, so can't you just trust me to do what I need to do and be a grown up about it?

So, in honor of fucking websense, I googled the term 'fuck websense', and here, for your enjoyment, are some links to what I found:

urban dictionary's opinion on websense.

Some guy's blog got blocked by websense for the wrong reasons.

This one's entertaining not for the article but for the MANY comments.

Arg, it's so frustrating to have a computer program telling you what you can and can't look at online. There's no way you can fight it. Nothing you can do but fester in your own steam and fury.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

interesting article in NYT about Beaujolais Nouveau

Wine snobs ALWAYS hate the stuff, but I think it's just fine.

Read this.

Coq au vin was mentioned in the article, I think I will make that for dinner tonight. I'm sure it's Weight Watcher's friendly, right?

Norwegians will think this is funny, too.


You can buy them in cans at any grocery store in Norway. Poor fish.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ok, so far not so good

So tonight I drankeded a bottle + of wine. Without any food.

So I was so hungry that I came home (at 12:30am) and ate some leftover meatloaf and taters. (Granted a small portion.) Tasted great second go round.

I don't think this is what Weight Watchers meant with the points system.

In other news: Don't get me drunk and dare me to do stuff, because I SO WILL take the dare. That being said, Grant? I apologize for busting in on you in the men's room as you, er, relieved yourself. Elaina dared me. (She was right behind me.) I promise I didn't see anything (or did I?)

Recipe(s) for disaster?

So I joined Weight Watcher's online today.

I'm not so sure about this. Really not sure.

To whit: You can drink a WHOLE BOTTLE OF RED WINE and it costs only 9 points (out of my whopping 23 I am assigned per day, oy vey I'm gonna starve!) yet my tiny little cheese sandwich at lunch (two small slices cheese, 2 thin ham slices on wheat bread toasted on a panini toaster) is 10 points. Out of 23. And I really wanted two.

23 points? What is this madness? I am a grown woman! 23 fucking points is NOTHING. I am gonna starve I tell you STARVE!

I ate almost all my 23 points by noon today in one sandwich, a coffee, a bolle and another coffee. I gotta start drinking tea. Looks like my daily food will now be one sandwich and one bottle of wine a day. I have 4 points left for tonight and it's pub night.

After all this time of being brain washed into CARBS ARE BAD CARBS ARE BAD Weight Watchers is saying, CARBS ARE GOOD. So out with the cheese and the cashews and the chili and in with the veggies and the bread and the wine. And all in teeny tiny portions. Except the wine. The wine I can slosh around in pint glasses for all they care.

Which I think I will start

My Weight Watcher's plan looks like it will have to involve a stomach bug caught whilst in Thailand over Christmas. I'll have to lick toilets or something to get the proper bug. The right one might clear me of 10 pounds or so, and I can have extra points if I lose 10 pounds in 3 days, right?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In which my Domestic Goddess status is announced*, as well as my nostalgia for plonk

So here I sit on a freezing Norwegian winter's night. (Yeah yeah it's technically still fall, but fuckin' A it's cold and windy out there, so for all intents and purposes, let's just call it winter and be done with it, hmm?)

I am drinking Georges DeBouf Beaujolais Nouveau (thank you spell check) and have a meatloaf in the oven. Yeah, I'm making meatloaf. I've never made meatloaf, but Rich keeps talking about meatloaf, so I am making meatloaf. **

It needed 3 tablespoons of wine, so of course I had to open one of the bottles I got today at the Vinmonopolet, and once that bottle is open it seems a waste to not drink any, doesn't it?

I love Beaujolais Nouveau. Not because it's like the best wine in the world or anything, but because it comes out around Thanksgiving and I like Thanksgiving. I discovered the Georges DeBouf one year at Rich's sister's house, it being her year (one of many enjoyable ones) for the hosting of the FoodFrenzy that is Thanksgiving. So we drank a shitload of plonk (it being a bit classier because it's a special yearly event instead of just Cheap Grocery Store Wine) and ate and talked and an instant tradition was born in my little brain.

And then we moved to Norway and I didn't have Beaujolais Nouveau (is that a pain in the ass to type or is it just me?) for 6 years. Why? I didn't know I could get it. (Once again, proof of my life motto, "it's always a no unless you ask.")

So imagine my happiness when, last week, on a whim, I asked if they might have it and they were like "Zoot alors! But of course we will have zee Beaujolais Nouveau! Would you like zee cheep sheet or zee good stuff? You can peek it up next Thorsday mon petit Viking!***" I opted for the cheep sheet, it being my nostalgic pal Georges, reserved 4 bottles, and so here I sit, drinking a fresh and fruity little red with a nice plummy/vanilla/oaky finish for such a cheap ass bottle of zee plonk.

With the meatloaf (Grandma's recipe, and no, I don't know WHO'S Grandma's recipe as I pulled it off the web somewhere, but it's got all the hallmarks of classic meatloafiness such as ketchup, worcestershire, an egg, Lipton onion soup and, in a New Agey twist, oats instead of bread crumbs) happily baking in the oven, my fruity glass of red and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me nattering away on my iPod speakers****, I feel relatively content right now. We'll see how long that lasts, once the meatloaf is done.

Hey, look, my glass is empty, I should rectify that sitch! 35 more minutes until the meatloaf is ready. I'm going Total Trad and making mashed potatoes to go with it (from flakes, I'm a Domestic Goddess, but I work, too, so there is only so much time.)

*Hey, I like to cook, ok? This qualifies me as a Domestic Goddess, in my book. (I am not, however, a particularly tidy or housecleaney sort of DM, though. Eh, we all have our quirks.)
**I made it once before but it fell apart. It was not so much a Loaf as a Pile. Meatpile....doesn't sound all that great, does it?
***OK, so they didn't speak French, they snakkered Norsk, but we were talking about French wine and I never said this was a non-fiction blog, did I? I can imagine at will. Deal wid it.
****Tom Brokaw is talking about nipples. Is it strange that it made me a little hot?

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm one of only 315, so far.

I've been given an award! Thanks Christina! (There's some rules, though, which are copied and pasted below. Seems like alot of work, but I think I've got it all done.)

*Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

*Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

* Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

* Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post (same one as linked above) and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

*Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

(Whew! Right now maybe I am thinking it's just a way for the Superior Scribbler creator to get as many links as possible to their blog. Because I am cynical like that.)

So, for my 5 Superior Scribblers, I hereby attack:

For her amazing writing skills and thought provoking posts. I love her more than I can ever say.

Karla May
For frequently making me snort milk out my nose. Which is less painful than vodka, granted, but still messes up he keyboard on my Mac.

He's a poet. (Ha! Ha! No pun intended! Maybe he's more of a Po. It?) Always has been.

The bitch can write! And I like her. And I miss going to the gym with her and falling off the step in Step Class.

Because he's one of my oldest internet friends and I want to make him follow these Byzantine rules just to annoy him.

And in other news:

Yesterday after my walk I got Cake Obsessed. This happens to me every so often. I go without cake for a long time, then have a piece, and it's like the floodgates are opened and I. Must. Have. Cake. I am, you see, a total Cake Whore. My favorite cake is chocolate with white icing. My second favorite is yellow with chocolate icing. (And then there was the cake Bookhart gave me once with the caramel icing that she brought me back from Jackson Mississippi, that was so fugging good I still dream about it, but I can't put that on the list in good conscience because, honestly, lightning? Doesn't strike twice. Cake that good can't be had more than once or twice in a lifetime.)

I'm also a whore for carrot cake with cream cheese icing and Red Velvet cake. Mmm.....are we sensing a pattern here? That it's mostly about the icing?

So anyhow, I got my Cake Obsession after the walk yesterday and baked a chocolate cake. Just a big 13x9 inch pan one, nothing fancy. I thought we had a bucket o' Pillsbury icing, but it turned out we didn't, and it was Sunday and stores are closed, so I was forced to make my own buttercream icing. (Luckily I had all the ingredients, but seriously, any kitchen that doesn't have butter, sugar and vanilla is a very sad kitchen indeed, in my book. Some things are just basics, you know? )


I am never buying bucket icing again. Buttercream icing is THE SHIT and is so damned easy to make. And it kicks the ass of bucket icing, like, by a factor of 1000.

I can't keep my fingers out of that cake. There's a gutter around the edge of the whole thing where I run my fingers, you know, to 'smooth' out the icing so it looks even.

I'm going to have to go for another walk. Very very soon. I have to work off the cake.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Today's walk

Today's walk, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Went for a good walk today, up to an old farm that served coffee and pastries. It's a blustery cold day, everyone had pink cheeks and blown hair. I felt like I deserved my chocolate cake when I got to the top of the hill!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Comme des Garcons at H&M

Yep, I got some.

For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, here's the scoop.

I got the jacket pictured in the middle which fits really nicely and is very comfortable and flattering. It's made of boiled wool, so it's a bit linty, but the sleeves are fully lined as is the back so it is easy to wear. I also got a couple white shirts, one with ruffly bits at the bottom (3/4 down) of the sleeve, and another which I can only describe as a dead ringer for Seinfeld's Puffy shirt, minus the ruffles on the body. I managed to snag a polka dotted cardigan as well, as seen on the models and on Katie Holmes (joy of joys, not). I wanted the scarf but those were snatched up before I could get one, as was the "showpiece dress", seen on the right. Apparently each H&M store only got about 5 of those dresses, so unless you were first in line and made a beeline straight for it, you are so not gonna get one. As with Cavalli, I was early in line but just as I got to touch the dresses they were swept off by grabby bitches. (I'm not too disappointed, though, as the dress was cool, but it was shorter in the back than in the front, and if you got a booty at all, you know that you never wear things that are shorter in back because it just looks like yo' ass is too big and taking up all the fabric. It is beautifully made, though, almost more a work of art than anything else.)

Honestly, though, this time it was not near as crowded as the Cavalli collection, it was almost civil. The collection is simple, now quite as avant guarde as I was expecting, though I think the bottoms were disappointing. The jackets and tops, great, but the deconstructed bottoms will only fit skinny people. The one pleated skirt was cute, but the one side of it was 'deconstructed' and it just made my hips look finny. I would have liked to have the wide legged pants but never saw a pair, I wonder if they even got those in Norway or what? Wide legged pants are very refreshing in this world of skinny jeans, I am really starting to hate skinny jeans with a fiery passion. The saggy bottomed Hammer pants, are, apparently, the Next Big Thing for next season, but hello? Been there did that. I have decided that I won't wear Hammer pants or bubble skirts again, no matter HOW popular they ever get, I am so past that now. (Even though hammer pants are surprisingly comfortable, the only problem being they do tend to restrict your legs movements a bit.)

I also got a kick ass hat, not quite a fedora but shaped like one, smaller brim. I think it's water proof, it shook off really nicely the Coke I accidentally spilled on it earlier today.

All in all I enjoyed the collection, I like the quality of what I got, with an unexpected bonus of comfort and ease of wear. It's a little bit edgy (I think the real edginess comes in the bottoms in the collection, of which I bought none) but no more edgy than the stuff I wear already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vietnamese Snot with Pork

I had a craving for Vietnamese food tonight. Vietnamese food is my favorite Asian style food. It beats out Thai, Chinese Japanese, Korean, and whatever else that is Asian. I could eat it every day and never get tired of it. (Rather like the Vietnamese, I guess.)

My favorite Vietnamese dish is Bun, vermicelli with roasted pork and fish sauce. Unlike Pho, it's not a soup, it's more like a noodle salad. I can't find any good Vietnamese food anywhere in Oslo, so I learned how to make Bun myself. (My favorite Bun is with roasted pork and eggrolls, but I can't get a decent pre-made eggroll to save my life here so have given up the eggroll part and just go with the pork. I miss the freezers at Central Market where I could get pot stickers and egg rolls and all sorts of nummy bits that tasted just like at the restaurants.)

So, anyhow, I ran home from work and stopped by the grocery store to get a small pork loin. I broiled it with a hoisin glaze and let that rest while I made the Nuoc Cham sauce (fish sauce, lime, sugar and chile) and cut up all the little veggie bits to go with the pork and noodles. Then I made the noodles. The directions said to bring water to boil, drop in noodles, immediately remove from heat and let sit for three minutes. Then rinse in cold water.

Which I did.

And the noodles? Had the exact texture of snot, or possibly a jelly fish. Slimy, clear and sort of disturbing. (Hmm, I thought, this isn't right. I've made this before and I never got snot!)

I really didn't have anything else to substitute. I could have made rice but didn't want to wait the 20 minutes that would take. And I didn't really have enough pork to make it a main dish. Rich is pretty big so I have to think about portions sized enough to fill up a 2 meter tall guy.

So I ended up putting the pork and the vegetables on the snot, as planned, ladled over the Nuoc Cham sauce, and we had a very tasty pork and veggie on snot salad. If you didn't think about snot, it was really good. Tasted just right. And it was filling, too. But next time I will try a different brand of noodle. The Non Snot brand.

I've been in a class all week at work, a safety class, QHSE being a big deal where I work, so haven't had much time to blog. Sorry about that. I promise to do better. (Later). I am very safe now, however, so that is good. I practiced safe cooking tonight and didn't do stupid tricks with the Snot Noodles or anything. So it is possible to learn as you get older. I am proof.

In another completely different direction, here is a book recommendation. I think she is me. I think I wrote this book but nobody told me I did it. Seriously. She even cusses like me AND she's from Austin. She started off as a blogger, and now she has a book AND there's a movie coming out based on her book, so maybe there is hope for me someday. Maybe. Any editors out there wanna take a chance on a Texpat? I cook, blog, cuss, and eat snot noodles (safely). I'm a book waiting to happen!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I am becoming my mother, example 12

It started a few months ago. I noticed that if I wanted to look at something close up, it helped if I removed my glasses. I started looking over them, in that way particular to 'people over 40', peering over the lenses as if I was in deep thought when in fact, I only was trying to see the needle I was threading. Threading a needle was something I never had a problem with before, in fact I was always proud of my needle threading skills. 1,2,3.....Good hand-eye coordination, sharp sight (through the glasses, I mean) and grab that needle and that thread, shove it through and poof, needle threaded. No thought no fussing involved. Just, done in a second.

Now? To thread a needle? Many steps.

1. Turn on punishingly bright light. Place light 1.5 feet from my head, light in line with job at hand.
2. Find needle with EXTRA BIG hole.
3. Make sure thread is neatly cut, no fuzzy bits or anything to interfere with the delicate operation ahead.
4. Remove glasses. (Place glasses where I can find them later.)
5. Hold up needle and thread approximately 3 inches from eyes.
6. Move needle and thread back and forth from face trying to find that little place where I can see them clearly. Do this for 10 minutes.
7. Tongue automatically goes into place in corner of mouth slightly outside lips, in classic "I'm concentrating really hard here" fashion.
8. Squint.
9. Stab thread at needle approximately 15 times before thread goes through extra large needle hole.
10. Tie knots in end off thread with same intense concentration.
11. Sew item (usually buttons).

I used to laugh at my mom when she would thread a needle. The concentration involved, the bright lights, the many failed attempts before success. What really always made me laugh was the expression on her face, the head down, frown, eyes up look that is instantly familiar if you have ever spent even a little while with someone over 40.

And now I am doing it. *I* am looking over my glasses with that bemused, 'I can't see you but don't I look smart and thoughtful' expression. *I* am having the problems putting on the mascara, as I no longer know where is the best place to hold the mirror...too close I can't see but too far is not good either. The mirror goes back and forth as I gamely attempt to focus on the efforts of my right hand to gouge out the eyeballs in my face, all in the name of beauty. (Major shout out here to Dior Show mascara. it has a brush so large you just wave it in the vicinity of your eyes and it hits something you want hit. A blind girl's best friend.)

I almost can't see close up at all in my contact lenses. I have to stand about 3 feet from the mirror to see my face then, and that, my friends, is dangerous when you are dealing with liquid eyeliner. Dangerous indeed.

I find myself, when reading, moving the book back and forth from my face in a pendulum of desperation, to find that place where both eyes will focus on the words I want to see, just wanting to hold still and see the damned page like I used to.


Give me back my simple nearsightedness. I was cool with that. I knew how to deal with that. This change in my sight, this transition zone between youth and whatever the hell I am now, is freaking me out big time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

grrr rackin' frackin' farga' rarga...(think Yosemite Sam)

You know how Yosemite Sam would get mad and just mumble these nonsensical muttery angry noises?

That's been me all day.

It's just been a day where the little things WON'T GO MY WAY. (And after such a wonderful, BIG PICTURE Wednesday, it is so frustrating to come down to Earth only to be bedeviled by crass stupid day to day things, you know? Put me back on that cloud!)

I've been having intense problems with my Yahoo email, and then my computer at work had to be completely wiped out and restored because it basically became a brick that froze everytime I tried to do something. The weather sucks, and in the midst of all the rain and yuckiness, I have spent the past THREE DAYS updating passwords and computer shit and networking crap just to make the computer at work usable again and try to make my rackin' frackin' yahoo email work again (still no luck.)

I am SO SICK of passwords. I need about 10 (I've lost count) different ones at work for a variety of softwares and tracking systems, and then I come home to have Yahoo not accept my passwords and all this other shit and I am PASSWORDED OUT! How many fugging passwords can one person have to deal with on a day? Is this just me, or is this a common thing, this password overload. I mean, passwords to log in to my computer and to log in to the network and to log in to the internet and to log in to the invoicing system and then more log ins for work tracking and data tracking and databases and my Outlook email at work and the security system (VPN means Vicious Pernicious aNnoyance) and the contacts database and the work home page and the web based informations system and so on and on and on. I've given up trying to remember the work log ins. I file them all in a safe place (password protected, natch) and look them up as needed. I wish they would give me one master password for everything, but no, that is not 'safe'.

And then once you get home and log in to get onto the freaking internet there's passwords for the NYT and the Austin American Statesman and Google and Yahoo (and that one is not working so I am stuck in a 'looping login' which means it wants me to enter my password only to send me right back to the log in page again!) and Amazon and my bank and the Norwegian bank and the credit cards and the web email and blah blah blah blah FUCKING BLAH.

I never write down passwords, just seems like an exercise in stupidity, but seriously, my brain is getting overwhelmed and I'm having problems remembering and I just don't know what to do anymore. There's security and then there is insanity.

I am definitely on the road to the latter. Rackin' frackin' schnag' ragga' varmints.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I spent the whole day thinking it was Wednesday, and didn't realize until about 3:30 (pretty much end of a Norwegian work day) that it was actually Thursday today. Which means tomorrow is Friday. And I can sleep late Saturday! Which is right after Friday! Which is tomorrow!

That's pretty much it for today. Me looking forward to naps and laziness. This "morketid" (dark time) in Fall/Winter always gets to me.

Dark by 4.

I want a nap.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Weight Lifted

I'm probably not going to express this right, so try to read through the words into the meaning.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off me.

For the past 6 1/2 years (yes, six and a half) I have been doing my damnedest to hide my Americaness. When I travel, when I'm at work, when I'm out and about in Oslo....I was never proud of where I came from. (OK, I love being a Texan, but an American? Not so much.) A few times I faked being Norwegian or German or Canadian, just to avoid the questions of "Why is your country the way it is?"

And now, today? I'm actually wearing a US flag pin and I am proud of it (and getting a bit teary eyed writing this.)

I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. Like I can go places and have people be happy for me, be glad that our country has smartened up and shrugged off the dark times of the Bush administration, that the rest of the world can now appreciate me as a symbol of a good country and not the backwards, hawkish, indecipherable mystery that America has been of late.

Maybe, just maybe, I can be the good guy again. People can smile and say "You're American? Great!" and not "Oh.... you're American?....(pause)"

Maybe I don't have to be embarrassed to be American anymore. I can be a Texan AND an American and feel a part of the world again, not a sideliner.

This is good. this is a very good feeling.
Woo hoo!!!!!!!!


I can now once again say "I'm American" when I am traveling and not have to cringe when I say it.


Don't fuck it up Obama. We've put alot of trust in you and I don't think we can take mere political disappointment.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Today could have been far.

Went to get our new work permits put into our passports this morning. We have to reapply every year. It's pretty much a formality, but they sure like to draw it out. this year we reapplied in June, and just now got the letter saying we've been 'approved' and to come get the stamps.

So we go to the horrible early 70's era office (think, every bureaucratic office you've ever been to) and wait....and wait.....and wait....wait....wait....wait. Our number gets called, she takes our new passport photos that we just took (no glasses, no smile, we both look like slightly startled serial killers in them) and our passports and disappears....for almost an hour.

And we wait.

A seriously smelly man walks in. We didn't notice how funky he was til he removed his jacket and then all hell broke loose, olfactory wise. Everyone sitting next to him moved to another part of the room. His miasma filled the entire waiting area. It was RANK. How could he NOT notice the smell? The people almost running to get away from him? The women covering their noses, sitting in far corners of the room, almost gagging? Wow.

And we wait....holding our breath.

Finally get called back up to the counter to retrieve our passports, only to be told "Oops, I didn't put the right note on your permit, you are here as a specialist and that needs to be noted."

And more waiting. Found out that my permit was ok, that it was just Rich's that needed redoing, so I got the hell out of there and left Rich to his fate.

By now it's noon. All told it was over two hours of waiting at that office. I called my boss and told him, look, day's half gone I'm gonna take a personal day and get some shit taken care of. He was cool with it.

Took care of my stuff, came home, decided to go for a walk to relieve myself of stress after dealing with unwashed masses and to run off some energy before I hunker down in front of CNN, not to move until 2am.

Walk was a bit of a mistake, as that black ice is slippery and I fell twice. Cars can drive on it, but feet will definitely have you sliding around like Bambi on ice. No more walks for me til spring. My knee is banged up but good.

Now I'm home, about to pop some popcorn, switching between CNN and BBC to watch whatever comes in on the election, while simultaneously checking Google News, MSNBC, Zogby, the coverage at the Austin Chronicle and whatever else I can get on my browser. I'm nervous. Everyone who has heard me speak (instantly knowing I am American) has asked me about the election and if I am nervous and what I think. The WHOLE WORLD is nervous and awaiting the results. Americans, this ain't just about you, you know. This is the WHOLE WORLD waiting to see if Americans have smartened up and are ready to change some stuff around. I hope we give them what they need to like us again. Or at least tolerate us.

Has Obama won yet? Go ahead, make my day (better).

(Here's an entertaining article from the Austin American Statesman by John Kelso, resident Austin crank, calling bullshit on this poll that says that 23% of Texans think Obama is a Muslim. Of all the stupid crap.....who took that poll anyhow? did they pull them out from under their trailers?)

Monday, November 03, 2008

quiet weekend nervous week ahead

One of the best things about when it snows in our little part of Norway is how quiet it gets. It's not only the silence of the snow, the way it muffles the sound of cars and tires on the road, sends everybody scurrying inside all warm and toasty by the fire.
I like the snow because it scares away the teenagers. (OK, everybody say it with me like Grandpa Simpson: "GET OFFA MY LAWN!")
 The screaming, skateboarding, scooter-with-no-muffler driving, bottle-tossing asshole teenagers. The teenagers who hang out right down under our flat at the plaza below.  The worst are the scooter drivers. I could handle the skate boarders and the nocturnal hollerings (and moanings) and occasional bottle breakage if only the SCOOTER FUCKERS would go away. One of my biggest confusions with Norway is why on earth do they let teenagers under the age of 18 drive these scooters around where they take off the mufflers. It doesn't matter how big or small the engine, remove the muffler and these things get LOUD, you can hear them for miles in any direction. I HATE them. I call the scooter drivers the 'little fuckers' and many of the Norwegians I know do too (maybe not those exact words but very similar.) WHY do the parents let them ride them? Don't they know how rude it is? Don't the kids have any feeling of social angst as they drive around in residential areas at 2am with their 180 decibel mufflers making a noise like a hive of angry bees that you can hear all the way to the next town? It's truly unbelievable that there seem to be no controls on offends me that kids (and by association, the parents) could be that rude and uncaring of the people that live around them.
It makes me happy when the snow comes because I know the scooter fuckers (and skate boarders) have to put their noisy toys away until spring, as they can't drive on the snow and ice. Ah...peace.
In other news....pins and needles as I await the election tomorrow (ok Wednesday, dammit, I'm 7 hours different from Central US.) . I know my little vote won't do much, but if everyone bands together and does what they say they are gonna do, oh I do have a quiet hope for some change. But I'm knockin' wood and throwing salt over my shoulder, don't want to jinx anything. Go Obama! On Wednesday I'm either calling in drunk from happiness...or dead, as I will have killed myself as I just can't face 4 years of Sarah Palin. NO MORE NYEWKYEWLAR!   How I will call in dead, I am not sure, but I'll find a way.

Sunday, November 02, 2008