Monday, November 30, 2009

pictures in the country

Some pictures of stuff around the parental land. We go for walks in the afternoons.

The latch on an old outbuilding.

A late Fall sunset through the tree branches.

Another sunset, this time looking over the horizon. The land always looks like the English Cotswolds to me.

Lavender sky.

Friday, November 27, 2009


My mom has a tendency to rearrange the first letters of a series of words, to new effect.

TJ Maxx become MeJay Taxx. Banana Republic becomes Ranana Bepublic. WalMart is MalWart.


I think she might have reached her highest point today, with dinner. Tonight we are having Turkey Schnitzels. Or, as she says in her slight German accent, Schnurkey Titzels.

Try to say schnurkey titzels and not smile. I dare you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

whoremart on Thanksgiving.

Mom and I consider Walmart to be a whore.

Cheap, open all night, and there when you need it. The town tramp, and a successful one at that. You all know she's there, and you can't avoid her. She's the only game in town. Everybody goes to her.

However, when, say, your mom's 20 year old toaster oven self destructs messily by falling apart mid-green bean casserole, and you need a new one because the regular oven is full and it is THANKSGIVING and you MUST HAVE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE OR IT IS NOT THANKSGIVING, the large slutty Walmart is right there, open and ready, tempting you with shiny new toaster ovens at low low prices. How can you not fall in to the trap? You MUST have that toaster oven.


Leaving the Whore, I noticed another trick, er, customer, leaving who had two toilet seats and a plastic plant in his basket. Now, honestly. ON Thanksgiving. You go to WhoreMart to buy two toilet seats and a plastic plant? What on earth would be the emergency that would necessitate a complete toilet seat replacement and a plastic plant on a day like today? The mind boggles.

That being said, I am thankful for my family and friends and that I don't have to buy two toilet seats and a plastic plant today. Happy Thanksgiving y'all. And to my friends outside the US: May you be warm and sated.

Excess baggage

Excess baggage, originally uploaded by karlakp.

The 2cv on the trailer. Not traveling light. (see below) (are we there NOW?)

230am, somewhere near Little Rock

On I-30. Left Houston at 630. Have 4 hours left. My brother is driving his giant Ford diesel truck. In the back is a fourwheeler offroader for Dad. Towed on a trailer behind is my 2cv, to be stored by Dad, filled with our luggage. I bought a car to carry suitcases in? I should rethink my baggage situation! Are we there yet?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

reality smacks me in the face

After my evening at the Mean Eyed Cat, I drove back to the hotel (last night in the Lovely Bed) and seemed to be surrounded by blues music. Everywhere I went, it streamed out from bars, cars, shops, and my car radio. It was awesome. I do love blues music, though I don't own any cd's of it or anything. For me, it's a serendipitous music, you have to happen upon it preferably in a dive bar with other folks around. It doesn't have the same magic for me if I just play it on a stereo. So that last few moments, driving on my last night in Austin, surrounded by blues....precious.

Damn. I hate to leave.

Oh Lord it was hard to leave Austin. I had the most PERFECT time there. I was flying. So, of course, on the last day, I hit the reality runway hard, no wheels down and belly scraping the concrete.

Morning came and I got some bad news from work (nothing too major, just upsetting for me), and I felt the very inkling of a cold coming on, and I had to pack up the car and leave, and I had to go to the bank and meet the insurance guy. Oh shit. Life. I treated myself to a last breakfast tacos plate at Red River Cafe (yes, Lee, I said RED RIVER) and then followed Airport Rd (hitting EVERY GODDAMNED RED LIGHT EVER MADE) out to Highway 71 and thence through La Grange to Houston. I snuffled sad little tears, driving in my little convertible with a tissue shoved under my sunglasses every few seconds. I looked a right idiot.

Houston. Place of my birth. It's so big and harsh, the roads so wide and concrete-y. The shopping and food are quite excellent, however, and some of the older neighborhoods have the Southern charm one would hope for in a town that is almost on the same level as New Orleans. I had a wonderful meet up last night with my high school friends Anne and Forreste. It's like going back to being 17 again except with better jewelry and more ass. (Well, not more ass for Forreste or Anne, but definitely for me.) We had a great time. Funny how the people you meet when you are young remain basically who you met, even with the change of life's experiences. Ladies, here's to you!

Tonight I do the 12 hour drive to my parent's house with my brother and sister in law. It's gonna be a long night. (Oh and I do, definitely, have a cold. Shit.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mean Eyed Cat

Mean Eyed Cat, originally uploaded by karlakp.

My fave bar.

Evening view from hotel

Evening view from hotel, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Not bad for a cell phone camera!


Smorgasbord, originally uploaded by karlakp.



Minions, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A woman running around Town Lake trailed by her chihuahua Evil League of Evil. Adorable and funny.

Old Austin meets new Austin

Old Austin meets new Austin, originally uploaded by karlakp.

SRV and a horrible new condo building.

The elves came

The elves came, originally uploaded by karlakp.

They put up Christmas at the hotel!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My week: drinks, food, naps, shopping, fun

It's hard being me right now.

I'm back at the hotel resting up from an afternoon gathering, in preparation for the evening gathering. Life, she is a hard taskmaster.

I must mention the dinner I had last night. You see the photo below. It does not do justice to the meal.

Nantucket Bay scallops (apparently only in season three weeks a year!) on risotto with brown butter, truffles and arugula (rocket to us Euro types). Oh. My. So rich and deep in flavor. You know when you taste something and it just explodes in your mouth with flavor and texture? Mmmmmmm. It was savory, but tasted of the sea, with a dark edge of butter and the depth and earthiness of the truffles. I had it with a mild Cotes du Rhone lovely. I was the envy of the table. (I did allow some bites.)

For a starter I had a drink called a French 77 which was a mix of St Germain, a Swiss floral liquor, champagne and lemon juice. I like my drinks on the sweet side (unlike my beer) so this hit all the right notes. Then after dinner I had a lemoncello, something I have developed a definite fondness for.

I did not have a hangover today, so I guess the high quality alcohol was worth the rather punishing cost. (Still cheap by Norwegian standards. I am so screwed as to the relative costs of things now. Things I think are cheap, other people are like, WTF?)

We chatted with some guys who were here from Kansas for the football game, but when one of them turned out to be a total "Woo guy", I was so outta there. (You know what a "woo guy" is, don't you? One of those annoying yutzes who runs around when he's dunk, high fiving everyone and yelling "WOOOO!!!" at the top of his lungs. I tend to run when I meet woo guys. Quickly.)

Oh and another thing: I have never been into football. Ever. I never went to a UT football game. I just never saw the point of the football obsession. (Rugby however, I am a fan of. Oh those muscles and heaving thighs. But I have mentioned that before.) It seems there is a game in Austin this weekend because the hotel is overrun with people in burnt orange t shirts and funny longhorn hats all drinking and corralling their children. It is a very different place in feeling from last weekend, which was Wedding Central.

Let's hope UT wins, because then everyone will be in a good mood.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Wow, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Nantucket bay scallops with truffles and brown butter on risotto. Cannot describe the yum.

I won't nap...just yet.

A rainy day here in Austin. I suppose I could go off and do things. Important things. Detaily, niggly things. Things that I must do before I go back to Norway. Things that are on My List Of Things To Do. Things which involve leaving the hotel and driving around in the world.

Or I could take a nap. Which is foremost in my mind at the moment.

But first, must blog.

So. I met Julia for lunch today, at the Roaring Fork. (Sorry, but how can you NOT think of it as the Roaring Fuck, which would make it a much more interesting sort of place, in my opinion.) Anyhow, we both ordered 'Half Ass' burger, which was huge. They also have a 'Big Ass' burger, which, if I can judge by the size of the Half Ass, one damn huge assed burger. I am very full and very sleepy now.

Yesterday was a day of wearing myself out. I went and got some exercise around Town Lake, and overdid it a bit (ow thighs, ow ass, ow arms) and then got a wild hair and went out to the outlets in San Marcos. Spent a half hour out there, realized there was nothing I wanted or needed, so hotfooted it back to Austin.

Met Karla May (check side bar) for dinner and got loopy on a few margaritas. I love spending time with that woman, I wish I had met her earlier in life so I could have had more time with her.

After dinner I went back to the bar at the hotel to cadge the free internet and fell into talking with Austin Powers.

No really.

Austin Powers is in Texas right now and bought me a beer. Groovy baby!

Turns out Austin Powers is a rather fabulous Englishman with a penchant for the good life. He has a Very Important Job, though honestly, I am not sure what it is, but it involves neuro-something or other. (She twists her hair around her finger and acts blonde.) We had a rousing round of Bar Philosophy, which is one of my favorite sort of discussions. You know, where you idly chat with someone, usually somewhere liquor is served, and you start to discuss...everything. I have been lucky enough to have a few such discussions at bars in many countries (one of the reasons I enjoy traveling alone, when I must, because I usually find a good chat somewhere, my long time readers may remember the Yorkshiremen rugby team I fell in with in London?). I think between him and me, we have solved life's biggest problems and established a world view that could be a very good ideology as well. Too bad I had one too many beers and can't really remember the exact details with which to build my New World Order.

Because it would totally kick ass.

Julia eats the small burger

Julia eats the small burger, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Wonder what the large is like?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Soul, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Fried chicken and sides (and an RC Cola!) at Hoovers after a morning of exercise.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A - Texas

A - Texas, originally uploaded by karlakp.

luckiest bitch on earth


So much to tell.

No energy to do it.

I checked on our house today. It needs a new roof. It's just a freaking awesome little house, every time i get near it I just love it more. I can't help it. It's small and funky and built in 1950 and has a great vibe to it. The tenants are actually taking care of things and I feel very good about it.

I think insurance will cover the roof, as it has a lot of hail damage from a storm last March. There have been a few hailstorms the past couple of years, The roof has taken a beating.

I've been driving around in my brother's VW Wolfsburg Cabrio (a 1997 or so?) and it has been so much fun. So nice to be in the sun and the weather is so damned fine. Like summer in Norway, but with more sun and more warmth behind the light.

I met my friend Gail for lunch today and it was so nice to reconnect to someone I have always admired for her style, grace and strength. She just reminded me that life is what you get out of it, and what you make of it. Something I always have believed in, but so good to see it in practice. She's always been a bit of a goddess in my eyes.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night. I should be out partying, but it feels so good to just sleep and luxuriate. I look at this trip as my time to re-group and recharge.

I'm at the hotel bar now, drinking cosmos, and in a few minutes i will wander down to...somewhere...and get something for dinner. I don't know what. Yet. But it will be good.

Or maybe I'll go to bed. I don't know.

But I can do whatever i want right now and the luxury of that is awesome.

Tomorrow I will drive...somewhere. Not sure yet. Will see where the mood takes me. San Marcos? Fredericksburg? Lake Travis? I dunno. But my time is mine to do with as I will and I am going to wander at will.

How many people right now can say that? Damn I'm lucky.

Little Austin home

Little Austin home, originally uploaded by karlakp.

How I miss this little place!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ok. Fine. You want it? You got it.

Here's me singing Ozzy. Watch and listen at your own peril.


Faves, originally uploaded by karlakp.

My favorite pasta, a glass of wine and a cupcake. Dinner!


New, originally uploaded by karlakp.

This sure ain't the Austin I started out with!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bar Blogging Austin Style

While I love the hotel I'm staying at, the only downside is that they charge for internet. I don't pay for internet.

The upside is that wireless is free in the bar.

Hello beer, bar and internet!

SO I am in the bar at the hotel, having a lovely Fireman's 4 Austin local beer, and writing this on the spanking new Macbook I bought today. The old mac is starting to die a slow, sad death. Also, 40 gigs of hard drive just ain't enough. Hello new 250 gig wonder computer with a really nice keyboard and bells and whistles and stuff and things!

So yes, I am still in Austin. Whenever I come back I wonder why the HELL I ever left. Yes I like Norway, yes I like my job and our apartment, and of course our friends, but this is home and that will never ever never change. Odd things happen here and I like that. I understand Austin. I fit in here. They like oddballs like me. Mainly because it is a town of oddballs. Like me!

Like, Saturday. A 40th Birthday party for my friend Margaret (Mags over there on the sidebar, I believe.) She hired a band, Karaoke Apocalypse (hard to spell with beer) to play at the Carousel Lounge, this awesome divey place just east of I35. Karaoke Apocalyose (shit) is a totally 100% professional band who can play any damn song you throw at them and you get to be the lead singer. They are patient with drunk ass forty year olds singing in front of them. They guide you. They support you. They help you along. All the while you get to play out your rock star fantasies by vocally butchering any song they competently and brilliantly play. All I can say is, I tossed back 4 Fireman 4's before I got onstage (I called them "Fear beers") and then I went on stage and I sang the FUCK out of Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, and then I did a particularly raunchy version of Joan Jett's "Do You Wanna Touch" that brought down the house.

And then I saw the videos.

Drunk people think things are much better than they are. They think they are AWESOME.

The level of suck I achieved is going to go down in history. I sucked so bad there is never going to be a suck to match it. I am so tuneless, a dying cat sounds better than me. I am very loud, however. What I lack in tunefulness I make up for in....loud. AND....I look very, very angry when I sing. What is UP with that? I look like I am wanting to KILL people. But Saturday? I thought I KILLED IT.

I was going to post the videos here, but now...not so sure. Do I really want to embarrass myself quite that much?

But oh yes I am happy to be here. Why? The warm weather, the cushy hotel that I booked via Priceline. The funky little VW cabrio my brother lent me that is a bit scruffy on the inside, but drives like a dream and when the top is down I am 17 again. The sunburn I achieved while driving it. The bed at the hotel that I never want to get out of yet I pop up at 8 am ready to hit the town and get going to explore my beloved Austin. The shopping. The girl at the Allen's Boots who speaks Swedish and majored in Scandinavian Studies (I did not know there was such a thing.) The incredible vintage stingray (shagreen) boots I bought for $89. The $20 silk dress I got at Last Call. The lunch at Matt's El Rancho, the dinner at Flying Saucer, the dinner tonight at my favorite steak place in the WORLD, Austin Land And Cattle.

The list goes on.

This computer is NICE.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rock out with yer cock out

Rock out with yer cock out, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Drunk karaoke

Drunk karaoke, originally uploaded by karlakp.

We were drunk by 3pm. Funnest. 40th. Birthday ever.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The texan sings

The texan sings, originally uploaded by karlakp.


Huge fried shrimp

Huge fried shrimp, originally uploaded by karlakp.


Room in Austin

Room in Austin, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Nice big room in downtown A-Tex!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

so good to be here!

My flight landed early yesterday, and after some stupid crap from immigrations (they always ask WHY I live out of the country, as if I am being unpatriotic or unAmerican or something), and the customs guy making me list everything I brought in (Moulton and Brown shower gels, Christmas decorations from holland and a GUN TO SHOOT HIM WITH**) I made it out into the pick up area, where my brother waited for me. Big brother hugs are the BEST. He drove me to his house in his very fast and racy Mustang. Cops probably give him tickets when he is parked, just because they know that he will go very fast at some point very soon.  I could hear the gas getting sucked through the engine. Such an American sensation, getting forced back into your seat from sudden engine acceleration and brute noise!

God does the air here feel good or what? It's so SOFT and carressing. The Norwegian air pokes and bites and tries to get into your uncovered parts to nip you. Any skin you show in winter will get needled. Here? Just a warm soft southern hug. I know it sounds strange to describe AIR as soft, but it is! It's soft! Oh lovely.

And so warm but not too warm, it's just right. You could have a jacket or not, it's up to you. You don't have to wear socks or boots or even leggings. But you could if you wanted to, you know, for fashion. Oh I am so happy to be home in Texas. I'm wearing sandals today. Because I CAN.

I crashed at 8:30 last night, and slept until 8:30 this morning. I slept HARD.

Today is outlet shopping with my sister in law. And tonight she is taking me to a wine tasting. Cuz she is a wine steward.

Life? Not sucking right now.

Tomorrow, AUSTIN.

**(Note to self, need to write Obama to tell him to fix the awful airport situation while he's off fixing everything else Bush messed up.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lonely seat

Lonely seat, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Here's my seat for the long haul fight to Houston. Alone in economy extra splendor. If only it reclined all the way!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

long week away

Sorry for my absence of late. I really thought I'd be able to post at some point, but had to rely on use of cell phone photo uploads only.

I went to a project management course, an intensive one, for people in my company. Experience ranged from absolutely no clue to many years of experience. Me, I'm in the early part of that scale. Not clueless, but not all that experienced either.

Anyhow, long story short: it was exhausting. The teacher was Tigger...bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy fun fun fun fun fun....and it got annoying. I mean, wow, he had a big job, keeping us entertained for a week, while we were deprived of sleep, put through an intensive 'project simulation' where NONE of us had a fucking CLUE what was going on (and of which I was 'voted' (forced) to be leader of our team) and trying to learn a lifetime's worth of project management techniques.
But I got tired of him taking my much loved sleep from me, and being in complete control of my schedule, even down to when I ate. And then I had to lead a team, which was not easy, not easy at all, especially with some strong personalities on it. (Leading people is the hardest part of any management job.) Did I do a good job? I don't think I did, to be honest.

I never saw Aberdeen. Not even a bit. I was in class at 8am and working until after midnight. All I wanted was bed. You could have had Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hugh Jackman and Jeff Goldblum in my room, oiled up, naked and panting for me, and I would have wanly waved at them before flopping into bed and passing out.**Really. (Though if they wanted to have their way with me while I slept, that could be negotiated. I'm sure something would get through into my dreams, right?)

The internet didn't work....well, it was supposed to, but it was crap, so I was completely shut off from my world and the workings of it for a week. Felt like prison. I managed to get outside for about 5 minutes a day. Standing at the entry of the hotel. It lashed down rain the whole time.

And now I am completely behind in life, in planning for my trip home on WEDNESDAY and with work. I've given up even thinking about trying to catch up with work; whatever needs to be done will either go away or wait for me in December.

Last week? Not an especially good week. Did I learn a lot? Yes. Mostly I learned that I have a lot more to learn. I don't mind that....just let me get some sleep while I do it, ok?

**I would have taken a cell phone picture or two, though, before I passed out. I'm not insane!

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Home, originally uploaded by karlakp.

In front of our first fire here. It works great!

Friday, November 06, 2009


Reward, originally uploaded by karlakp.


Suggested reading

Suggested reading, originally uploaded by karlakp.

At aberdeen airport bookshop.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Continuing view of Aberdeen

Continuing view of Aberdeen, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Class yesterday from 8am to 1am. I can't tell I'm in Scotland except for the occasional burr. Hotel internet won't work!

Monday, November 02, 2009


Aberdeen, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Or what I see of it. Dudes I'm TIRED. I won't get out of this hotel. I havent been outside since Saturday.