Saturday, October 31, 2009

A benefit of travel

A benefit of travel, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Starbucks at Schiphol!


I have two favorite holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving.

These holidays aren't celebrated in Norway. So, for 7 years, I have missed out on my favorite holidays, unless I am in the US at that time.

Halloween has got a toe hold in Norway, but they honestly haven't got the hang of it yet. They sell a few costumes at Nille and the toy stores. If you are a girl you can be a witch or a princess. If you are a boy you can be Harry Potter or a vampire. When the movie Scream was big, those awful white masks were everywhere. But, basically, the tradition and the fun of Halloween, the creativity and the embrace of sides of yourself that you get to let out for a night, they haven't gotten there yet. There is still a wariness of Halloween here, that the Americans are forcing yet another American thing on the Norwegians, and isn't Halloween just an excuse for bad behavior, anyhow?

So, I am going to Aberdeen today for a one week intensive Project Management course. Happy Halloween!

Thanksgiving is my other favorite holiday. I like it because it's all about the food and the companionship. No big expectations for presents, no big plan for activities...just a meal and the recuperation after the meal. None of the stress of Christmas, but all the benefits. I do try to get back to the US for Thanksgiving every year. I didn't make it last year, as we had our big trip to Thailand to look forward too over Christmas, but I was there in 2007 and I will be there this year! Bring on the turkey and gravy sandwiches!

Christmas, you might have surmised, just stresses me out. Though I might put up a tree this year, first time in 7 years.....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


My cold got worse. I woke up feeling like shit on toast.

Grrr. Grumble. bad day.

I freaked myself out today when, desperate to get out of the house for a little bit, I ambled up the road for a coffee. I had been glued to my computer all day doing an online course as a precursor to the course I have to take next week. It's worked out ok, I mean, I felt too crappy to go to the office but had to do that course, which ended up being better to do on the sofa with tissues and a blanket than sitting on my desk at work. Got more done that way....chalk one up for deathbed efficiency!


I threw on some street clothes, went to get my coffee. Now, I am used to the level of non-service one generally receives in Oslo, but wow, what was up with today, I wondered. I mean, jeez, rude much? I mean, i'm not homeless or anything, and I don't smell....

Then I got home. Glanced in the mirror. Realized...I hadn't actually glanced in a mirror yet today. And realized why the service at the coffee place was just trying to get me the hell out the door.

I didn't know hair could DO that. I didn't know I could look quite that bad. I looked like a tired and cranky hedgehog pulled backwards out of a log.

I also didn't know I could be quite so unvain as to go out my apartment without even THINKING about how I looked, even a little.

Is this what happens when you get old?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

this is not my beautiful wife

I feel like that Talking Heads song....How did I get here?

People, I'm busy. So damned busy. It's funny how, for years I was all wanting a career and was so impressed by people who were busy and running around and on their cell phones all the time....I thought they looked so important. So productive. So focussed. So successful.

Now, I just think they are stressed. Like me. Stressed and overwhelmed and just trying to keep my head above water. It's not about being successful. It's just about trying to manage it all.

I will see my husband a total of 4 days in November. I, or he, will be traveling the rest of the time. I will see him November 7, 8 9 and 10th. That's it. Like the old days when he used to travel alot. Except, now? It's me traveling.

I'm not sure which is harder...being the one left behind or the one leaving.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Wow what a week this is turning out to be.

I popped over to London for just one night, a whirlwind 24 hour trip. Left Oslo Tuesday morning at 10:30 and left London the next morning at 10:30. that gave me about 4 hours to shop, a few hours in the evening to hang out with my uber cool cousin Edward and his delightful friend Hannah, and then up in the morning and back to the airport and home.

In that time I:
  • Bought three skirts, two sweaters and a cardigan at UniQlo
  • Bought a dress at COS
  • Checked out the H&M on Regent street, damn they get all the GOOD stuff, we get the crap stuff here in Oslo.
  • Got fitted for new bras at Rigby and Peller. 34E bitches! Karla got's some TATA's! Also, wow, the most expensive bras EVER.
  • Ran up and down Picadilly, Bond Street, Regent Street, went in circles in St James, and had no time to eat
  • Had 2 Starbucks mochas, for a little American moment
  • Met my cousin in the city and then ended up at a pub in Leadenhall market.
  • Had too many beers and not enough food
  • Crashed in me sweet hotel room in Half Moon street, where I was upgraded to an 'Executive Suite" that I only wish I had more time in.
  • Met the Prince of Norway.
OK, ok, so MEETING the prince of Norway is a bit of an overstatement, but he WAS on my flight back to Oslo the next morning. Unfortunately, they boarded our flight early (I was wondering why they were telling us to go to the gate an hour before take off), which really pissed me off as I lost a lot of my shopping at the airport time, and Terminal Three at Heathrow has great shopping. I had to run to get the plane and didn't manage to get any Pret sandwiches, or hit any of the stores except a quick run through Boots. I had no idea why I was on the plane and just sitting there, hot and sweaty after sprinting, when a car drove up to the plane and there was a bit of a hubbub, and then this very formally dressed military guy came on and stood at attention. I, and the rest of the plane, were all craning our necks to see what was what and then...there was Prince Haakon of Norway, getting on to my flight and taking seat 1A. Nice to know he takes public transport, even if it IS first class. He was smaller than I expected, but very sort of delicate, like, finely made.

Anyhow, it was a whirlwind adventure trip. It wasn't really enough time, I REALLY wanted fish and chips and to get to a Waitrose to get some sausages and stuff, and did not manage it. But it was great to get some shopping time in and to see my cousin and the lovely Hannah. London, is, I think, the best place to shop in the world. I am always a bit shocked, when I go there, when I realize the lack of shopping opportunities in Norway compared to other places. London just has it ALL.

Then today I had to do my first client presentation. It went fairly well, there are some things I'd like to change, but for a first effort (when they had WAY more technical knowledge than me and we all knew it AND I had never done a powerpoint presentation either) I held my own pretty well. I'm glad it's over and that hurdle is jumped. Now I can slip into mosey until my holiday starts in November.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Wow, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Calzone as big as my head.


Picadilly, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Courtyard in London. I'm here for about 18 hours.

Posh nosh

Posh nosh, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Enjoying a Starbucks in my unbearably posh London suite. Got upgraded!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday in the park

Sunday in the park, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Fall sun.

Friday, October 16, 2009

lonely in my guilded cage

OK, so I have to admit something.

I'm lonely.

I miss our previous home.

The other place was so very central. Smack dab in the middle of a small town, I had everything I needed within 100 meters. So damned convenient. Even the pub, center of most of our nightlife (even if we got tired of the same ol' same ol') was within that distance. A good staggering distance, you know? I was familiar with all the shops' stock and could suss out the good new stuff or the good sale stuff within seconds, swooping in for the retail kill.

Now? Work, home, tv. Work, home, tv. Workhometvwork. I'm a bit lonely.

Do I like this apartment? Sure, it's stunning. Walking through that extraordinary dining room, I still have to stop and pause and just...look. But. Going grocery shopping is SUCH a pain in the ass now, there's women with clicky heels, giant baby strollers and chihuahuas in my way all the damned time. I have to take a tram to a decent store, no more popping over for a quick shopping run. Prices for food here are quite a bit more than anywhere else. No quick dash to get a pizza (though I did get some decent sushi tonight). And why, why WHY do the busses have to bunch up and all come at once, three in a row, after a 20 minute wait, when they are supposed to be every 6 minutes?

Don't get me wrong, I know I am lucky, but most of the people I hung out with are still in the old place and I, me, lonely me, am here. Rich still goes there every day for work and so hangs out at the pub after for a drink or two, coming home late, and I get to hear the latest goings on but I don't get to BE there.

I'm lonely in my splendour. Lonely.

And there is nothing on the damned tv.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Fall, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Well, today I had visual proof of why they call it Fall. The trees were just dumping leaves in giant heaps. I was standing under one tree and I swear I heard it laughing when it dumped pretty much its whole leaf inventory on my head.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

And....I really don't have much to say (or maybe I do)

It's a rainy cold Sunday out there, it's a toss up as to whether the rain is rain or sleet.

Whatever, it's not making me want to go out into it.

Our apartment is very cozy, warm, snuggly. We have been doing those last little settling in things; hanging pictures, minor rearranging, little decorative bits here and there. Rich is a bit of an interior design fetishist, I think. He has definite ideas about what he wants, and he generally has good taste. Occasionally I suggest a better alignment of something, or perhaps a way to make a collection look stronger by focusing on color or something, but he is pretty good for a guy. He has an artist's heart. The main difference between our design outlooks is he likes things very evenly spaced and four square, while I practice asymmetry and varying heights. So there is a small war on where I do my angled off center thing and when I come into the room later it's all centered and square. It usually takes a few non verbal skirmishes before one of us lets it go, depending on the room and the importance to whoever did the arranging.

The new bed continues to delight. My back is very happy with it. Oh it's heavenly. I look forward to bed time even more than I did before, which I didn't think was possible. Going to bed seems almost decadent, now.

I suppose everyone has heard about Obama winning the Nobel. I think surprise was the first impression and emotion we all felt. Now it's settled in. Everyone at work has been asking me what I think, as the Token American. What I do think is that the world is just so happy to have Obama as President after Bush, that if they could make him the Pope they'd do that too. Honestly, I just hope that all this accolade and adoration doesn't burn him out too early, he has so much to achieve and accomplish, and I worry that he is trying to do too much too soon (though of course, we all are so EAGER to get it done already, and make up for 8 shitty years). I mean, I see the point, give him the Nobel based on his potential, but I still sort of think it might have waited a little so that time could shake it out and he could rest on his laurels instead having them already and now having to live up to them.

He's got a lot of work to do. I just don't want all this early adoration to result in backlash later when it's shown that he is NOT superhuman. He has so much to fight against, so many fools to get through, and they are going to make it as hard as they can for him to get anything done, because they know that the simplest failure will fall completely on him. It's a no brainer. You can't lift someone so high without having many, many jealous small people who will do their damndest to bring him down.

It's our job to make sure they don't succeed.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Taking down the posh a notch

Alternate Title: Why Karla thinks She's Funny.

A little break from all the apartment showing off, hmm?

On Sunday my friend Kristin came into Oslo with her puppy, Frida, and she, Elaina (a friend from the US), Nina (a friend of Kristin's) and I went to Frogner park to let Frida run around the dog park. Though, honestly, Frida is not much of a runner, so it was a slow walk while she sniffed every dog she encountered on the way. She's a very curious and sociable puppy.

Anyhow, we finally got to the dog park area and there was this mass of muddy, crazed dogs of every breed (though mostly pure breeds as people here just don't DO mutts) running crazy and being fairly sociable except for the occasional turf scuffle. Frida gamely joined the fray and instantly attracted this little pug over for a visit.

This pug, however, seems mostly interested in Frida's ass. Like, for half and hour, its little puggy nose was PLANTED in Frida's ass, which is pretty much pug nose sized. Wherever Frida went, that pug just had its face in her ass and it would NOT take it out. A few times Frida couldn't even put her back feet on the ground, the pug was firmly ensconced in her ass and as Frida walked forward, the pug followed, so Frida just used her front legs and the pug became her back legs, like a perverse chinese dragon or something. Frida was very patient with it, looking back curiously every so often, like "Why am I shitting a pug?"

This continued on to a point where it was becoming obscene. Like, you guys go get a room or something.

I couldn't help it, of course. It had to be said.

So I did: "Look! A Butt Pug!"

(Even some nearby Norwegians laughed at that one.)

Monday, October 05, 2009

My room 2

My room 2, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Here you can see the room within a room plan

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dining room

Dining room, originally uploaded by karlakp.

My room

My room, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Another room

Another room, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A room

A room, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

slipppin' in to mosey

That's a phrase from some of my Austin friends. Slippin' in to mosey, settling down, getting comfortable, ready to mosey.

I am starting that with the new flat. Getting settled in, establishing my routine and my mosey.

They turned on the heat last night, which is good as it was starting to get COLD up in here. They posted a sign on the front door notifying everyone, and it was a very happy event for me. It's already hitting the freezing point at night, and there are some drafty windows in this place, even if they are double hung. I was getting really chilly. Part of me was worried this would be a cold old place in winter, it's big and it's brick and it's old, but I also know Norwegians, and one thing they do NOT stand for is a cold interior, no matter where. Just like Texans with their A/C in summer, places in Norway, whether buses, trains, offices or houses, are always VERY warm in winter. You can wear a t shirt easily in most places with no worried about cold. They just don't stand for being cold indoors. Not tolerated at all.

And so it is in here. Warm and cozy. AND, happiest of all, included in the rent, so we can be warm and not have to pay the outlandish heating costs you find in some places.

Thank you landlords, you rock. We heart you.

I walked home through the park today. It is a pretty big detour from the usual route, longer by about 15 minutes, but it's nice. I walk past some historic old houses and along a rushing stream and it's a glorious sound. I won't do it at night, though, as the paths would be a bit scary. But in summer, I will wend my leisurely way though the 'pahk' and enjoy the beauty.

And now: I've had a few people ask me about the haunt we think we have in the place.

The ghost: It's just a VIBE. The dining room, though it has windows, has a darkness to it. It's a big, important room, very grandiose and authoritative. Not a room to fuck around in. There is a sense of things having happened there that are still hanging in the air. Maybe not bad, but of importance. Rich feels it too. It just feels very previously occupied. I find myself sort of going faster when I go through there at night. Like I'm interrupting someone's space. The room swallows light. But I think it will be GORGEOUS in candlelight and I hope to have many nice dinners with friends in there, to add our lightness and fun to it and so maybe leave our own history there too.

I am so relieved it is not cold in here. This apartment rocks.