Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

some pictures

                                                Getting instructions before the activities.

                                                                    Jesus that's high!

                                                         Climbing the pole (the first time).

                                                                   karla on a wire!

                                  This is not me but you get a sense of how high that pole was.

Jumping from the pole to the swing. (The ropes were for support, they didn't have anything to do with my forcing myself to jump except knowing that I wouldn't die (i hoped).

                                         This was the hardest part, trying to stand on the pole.

                               Coming down after the jump. that harness was kind of tight. Ow.

                                      Me and my team after the climbing. Feeling well chuffed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I did at work today

Well today was an interesting day.

I need to preface this by saying that this week is a hard week workwise for me, I'm deeply enmeshed in these semi-annual week-long meetings that not only do I have to plan, organize and manage but that I then must attend. I also plan and attend all pre-and post meeting activities, such as dinners, team builds, etc. It makes for very long days, lots of hard work and a really exhausting schedule.

This isn't made easier by the fact that when we have the post-meeting dinners, we do tend to drink a bit because, let's face it, it's been a really long day. So last night we had our kick-off dinner at a lovely koselig restaurant in Oslo, a place called Engebret Cafe, and the wine and conversation all flowed easily and fast. It was a really good evening after a long long day.

Cut to today.

Guess who had a hangover.

So I go in to work, 4 hours of meeting and then it's time for the team build! Oh yippee!

There were a few things about this whole enterprise I wasn't too keen on.

  1. I think team builds are cheesy. So having to plan one, when I don't like them, was certainly an exercise in WTF? (Like, one of the proposed activities from the event planner was something called "Funballz". I was definitely NOT going to suggest doing something called 'funballz' with my all male team.)
  2. The team build I did end up choosing was an outdoorsy thing, something with climbing and ropes, I wasn't too sure of the details, but she said it was fun, and it was out in a muddy field, on a forecast rainy day.
  3. I don't mind outdoorsy, but doing it in mud, on a rainy day, possibly a cold rainy day, meant that I had to wear woolie long johns and plastic rain pants, which I HATE. If you even know me a little, you will know I am not a plastic sport pants kind of person. I'll go to a gym, I'll ski, whatever but I really have never liked sports clothes. I am just not a sporty clothes kind of girl.
  4. Did I mention the hangover? And the possibility of hanging upside down? The hurl quotient is very high on that one. Very high indeed. 
Ok, so that was where I was at this morning. 4 hour meeting, hungover,  plastic pants, outdoorsy/muddy/rainy, possibility of vomit and something involving ropes and heights. (I am not particularly afraid of heights, by the way, thank God.)

A bus picked us up at 1pm and took us to the site. It wasn't too cold, maybe 50F, so that was ok, and it threatened rain but it seemed to be holding off. Good so far. There was a lot of mud. And, it seemed, a lot of very tall poles with wires running between them. Wires and poles and a wooden suspension bridge that a swing? Up there, 35 feet up in the air? 

What the.....?

Oh holy hell. I didn't anticipate THIS. THIS is 10 metre high 'activities' involving climbing up a pole and then doing something very pointless, wobbly and unnecessary way high up in the air, all while attached to safety ropes that wrap around your groin, ass and hips. (I was actually pretty glad to not be a guy right about then, because those safety harnesses really emphasize and squeeze the male anatomy just so, in such a way that cannot be comfortable but is kind of fun for the girls to observe, ifyouknowwhatImean.)

The guys were PSYCHED. You would have thought I'd presented them with naked women covered in beer and potato chips or something. They were eager to climb and happy to fall. Me? I was just pretty sure I was gonna hurl. 

What followed was two hours of hard climbing, wobbly tight rope walking, balance beams, wooden suspension bridges (with no damned handrails!) and other such uncomfortable things, oh so high up in the air, some of which I did well on, and others not so much. (I didn't make it onto the suspension bridge. I got hung up at the top of the pole and couldn't fathom how to get from HERE to THERE without a lot of botheration and bruising, so I just told the safety guy (aka the guy holding the rope keeping me alive) to let me fall.) I honestly can't remember the last time my heart beat that fast, that I breathed that heavy, that I concentrated that hard. 

The last thing on the list was what they called the "Bunny Hop". Not that a bunny would ever be stupid enough to do this, but there you go, the Bunny Hop.  I wasn't going to do it. I didn't want to do it. (I did it.) So one by one we climbed up yet another pole, which you then had to stand up on top of (this is much harder than it would seem, getting from the side of the pole to the top of the pole with no hand holds or anything to pull yourself up with, the pole is the circumference of a dinner plate). Once you manage that, after, in my case, a substantial amount of cursing, you then are required to 'bunny hop' from the pole to a circus swing located maybe 5 or 6 feet away but from 35 feet up, standing on a pole, looking across at it and the yawning gap that is down, on an increasingly windy day, looks to be a mile away. This time you are double harnessed with ropes on your back, held below by a very strong guy and the help of a simple yet brilliant system of clips, pulleys and what looks like a log fence that creates friction. 

So, top of pole, doing your best Mr Miyagi, He tells you he is going to count to 2 and then you hop. I was all, "Can't I at least have 3?" but in Norway, I guess, they only go to two. And when he says hop, you need to hop because he is catching you with the rope and it takes coordination. 

(heart pounding so hard I thought it might escape, legs getting shaky, that damned circus swing zooming farther and farther away....)
"Oone!...... Twoo!....HOP!"
"SHIIIIT!" (I hopped. I grabbed the bar, it was wet, my hands slipped off and I was deftly caught by the ropes and left swinging in the air.)

I'll have pictures tomorrow. 

I'm still buzzed, I really am. And that hangover? It's GONE. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Semi annual switcheroo

IMG-20120422-01275.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20120422-01275.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Wardrobe switchout, winter to summer. This is part one, dresses and skirts. More pants and tops to come later. Argh. My summer wardrobe is substantially larger than my winter one, as I am a creature of warmth.

Edit: Well, I found some of my pants but none, and I mean NONE of them fit anymore. It's rather comical how large they all are. I am going to have to find a seamstress to take them in, and that is going to be an expensive proposition here in Norway. Might be cheaper to just buy new pants. More humorous to go entirely without, though, eh?

Friday, April 20, 2012

ah, balls

Balls is my new favorite curse word. It's in regular rotation in my vocabulary now. It's just so...round. And satisfying. BALLS. Since I work with men, it's especially satisfying, as I'm surrounded by the damned owners of the things all the time.

Anyhow, balls. Blogger changed their, well, everything. I am writing a post just so I can figure out how the hell to make a post. Isn't it bad enough that Facebook keeps going and changing stuff on me, now Blogger has to go and do it too? Dang newfangled fancy pants web developers.

Get offa mah lawn!

Things are poppin' all around me, it always gets busy in spring, somehow. So I am tired from everything that has been happening lately and next week I have my semi-annual round of meetings that lasts ALL WEEK and with social events EVERY night. And a busy weekend to follow as well.

Our apartment is now completely covered in scaffolding and there is a layer of green netting over it. The light that comes in has a distinct green tinge and it's not exactly enlivening. I makes me just want to stay in bed.

Which is what I might do all weekend, I am extraordinarily tired.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

son of a bitch

It seems that everywhere we live in Norway is somehow doomed to be worked on, remodeled, reconstructed, or be in a construction zone.

Our first place, where we lived for three years, overlooked a giant construction site where they basically took out half a mountain to build a big shopping complex. There were huge klieg lights on at all hours, so in winter at night we had orange artifical light streaming in the windows constantly (never remember seeing the moon) and the dynamiting of the rock was so loud that I had to push glassware back onto the shelves or it would start to vibrate off.

From there we moved to another place, a new, modern, brand new apartment in a posh building. Which apparently wasn't built right and was in imminent danger of falling down. (That building and the debacle of its construction made the front cover of the Norwegian engineering magazine and when we gave our address, people would say, "Oh, you live in THAT building?" Nice.) Those of you who have read my blog for a while might remember that we had to move out for a month and a half so that they could basically tear down our walls and ceilings and bolt the apartment back together properly. That was a total and utter pain in the ass, that was.

We lived there four years. We finally moved out when they needed to come in AGAIN and do more tearing down to fix the stuff they didn't fix the first time.

So now. We've been in our Oslo flat for almost three years. For the past year or more there has been scaffolding at the back, in the courtyard, over the kitchen window, which meant my morning coffee making was interrupted by workmen going up and down the ladder while I stood there in my underwear and a tank top. (I really need to wear more clothes when I am at home, I finally have gotten a few robes to cover with.) There was constant drilling and hammering and banging and noise. Doors were constantly left unlocked by the careless construction workers so that strangers could get in the back stairs and into our storage and steal stuff. Dust and mess everywhere. They finally took that scaffolding down about a month ago, and it was so nice to have the light coming in the window again.


Now they are putting scaffolding all over the FRONT of the building, which is WAY worse than anything that has happened in all our previous places. It means the following:

  • Having to keep the curtains drawn 24/7;

  • No light in summer (summer light is CRUCIAL if you live in Norway, it's the only reason you survive the winter because you get that summer reward);

  • Have to keep the windows closed for security and dust, meaning no AIR and we don't have air conditioning;

  • The balcony will be unuseable for sunbathing or sitting and enjoying morning coffee as it will be covered;

  • The feeling that someone could look in on you in your own house at any time, like living in a fishbowl;

  • They usually then hang a great huge banner across the building, about midway up, advertising the scaffolding or construction company doing the work, and blocking any possible view from the windows. Guess whose apartment is midway up the building?
Getting dressed this morning was an exercise in duck and cover, as I hadn't closed the curtains in my dressing room and that is where I keep my clothes. And I didn't have much on to be decent enough to close the curtains, and they were right outside building the fucking scaffolding. I hope they enjoyed the fucking view, and judging by the 'hello' I got as I left for work this morning, they did.

I'm so upset about this. I really am. I hate this, I hate it I hate it. I get claustrophobic if I have to close curtains, if I can't wake up to immediately see light and see the sky. I have never used blackout curtains for that reason, I can't stand being out of touch with the passage of the sun, it freaks me out. I honestly don't know how I will survive a summer with closed curtains and being shut in, my stomach is tense and slightly nauseous at the mere thought.

I think I will do a lot of traveling this summer. I can't bear to be shut into my own house like that. I can't bear it.

The man in the hoodie outside my dining room this morning. Like an image from a nightmare.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oslo at night

IMG-20120417-01267.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20120417-01267.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Midnight. Oslo tube station

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Today made up for yesterday

After yesterday's suck, and last night's suck remedy (getting plastered) I figured today would be Suck Day 2: Electric Boogaloo.

But it turned out fucking awesome.

I woke up with an impending hangover, and was a bit leery of getting out of bed. Luckily last night I had the presence of mind to do the following before hitting the sack: I drank a good quantity of water, took two milk thistle capsules, swallowed a Benadryl and took vitamin B. (Apparently antihistamines are a good hangover preventative as they ward off the immune response that causes the hangover).

So this morning I was a bit squishy, but all in all, not too bad, considering what I deserved.

I had to go to work to take care of some stuff that has looming deadlines, that for one reason or another I couldn't finish. Things that have really been stressing me out. Surprise! A hangover gives you a definite attitude of 'who the fuck cares' so I kind of breezed through what I needed to do with a minimum of fuss and bother. That devil-may-care attitude is something I need to remember in future.

My traditional breakfast food would be a breakfast taco, but as that is not available here, instead I had a big piece of chocolate cake from a bakery en route to the office. Really good hangover food, is cake. Nom nom.

After work I trundled over to Bogstadveien (Oslo's shopping street) to check out the latest H&M collections. And discovered by accident that today was the big Bogstadveien Outdoor Shopping Festival! SCORE! So not only did I get some pretty awesome stuff at H&M, but I found the sale from hell at Høyer and got a black leather and linen strapless sheath dress (By Malene Birger) for 400 nok, (down from 3500), a white muslin dress from Ralph Lauren for 400 (down from 1500) and a really sweet 50's style knee length pleated circle skirt (oh so mad men) for 250 nok, (down from 2800)!!!!! I decided that my luck was too good at that point and walked home, a nice walk through some posh streets with grand fin de siecle apartments, and happened by another shop where I scored the PERFECT pair of Katherine Hepburn style wide legged pleated pants for 75% off.

I am so psyched, because my weight loss and working out is paying off in SPADES in just being able to buy these clothes alone. I couldn't have fit a size 40 sheath dress last year. This year? Like butter. Wow does that dress fit nice.

Cherry on the's a gorgeous day. A cute boy smiled and said hi to me, for no reason. That has never happened to me in Norway, ever. Must've been my goofy grin.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Worst day ever today.

No details, but culminated in my getting on a tram that then ended up running into a pizza delivery van. I actually started laughing as the idea of the tram hitting a pizza delivery van on this particular day at this particular time was so cliche, it tickled my funny bone something fierce. Even when I am REALLY pissed off, I still see the funny side. I mean, REALLY? A fucking pizza van? What, was it driven by an old lady with a zimmer frame and a baby carriage?

I then changed transport mode, walked to the nearest train station, caught a train which thankfully did NOT derail, and ended up with freinds at my old hangout pub where I managed to get nicely hammered. There are very innapropriate (why can I not spell that word right now? Oh, yeah, drunk) photos of me floating around on many a phone right now. I just wish I could remember what phones and what was so funny that we needed to photo it. I think there were some 'tightest abs' competitions, or something. Did I win? I don't know. I didn't flash anything pink or nsfw, I think. Don't really care. Gonna hurt tomorrow......

Around 9pm someone pointed out that it is Friday the 13th. At this point, I just feel lucky to be alive.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It's no surprise to anyone who reads this that my musical tastes run a little darker than most. When it comes to music I have a definite Goth side. I like music with a deep, rythmic beat, something that gets my hips moving without my conscious knowledge. I also like heavy guitar and I usually prefer male singers over female.

Today's shuffle, a selection:

Closer, NIN (a perennial and forever favorite. This song IS sex.)
Bad Things, Jace Everett (yeah, that song from True Blood, but c'mon, it's awesome)
Angry Chair, Alice in Chains
Fresh Blood, Eels
How Soon is Now, Smiths (what is it about that song that brings out the angsty teen in me?)
Skinflowers, Young Gods
Special Secret Song, Red Hot chili Peppers (aka the pussy song)(don't know it? find it, best groove (no pun intended) ever)
You Speak My Language, Morphine (I still miss Mark Sandman)
Monkey, Band of Joy (Robert Plant, oh GOD)

Notice a heavy leaning towards 90's and 80's? Some newer stuff, too, though, a bit.
I listen to my ipod at work but have to keep it way lower than music such as this wants to be played. However, your average office neighbor does not want to hear Alice in Chains or jane's Addiction coming to them through the walls, nor my somewhat tuneless but semi-powerful belting of such songs.

Wish I were ocean sized.....

(I just noticed that I am into my 9th year of blogging. Really? Nine years? That can't be right. But yes, there are nine years listed on that side bar. Jesus, I'm like the Samuel Pepys (except, you know, not as insightful or prolific or writerly or uncensored or anything like, really) of the blog set. Wish I were more Anais Nin. I need to find a way to print this shit out and have it for posterity, to hand down as a time capsule of an early turn of the 21st century woman and....Texpatriate.)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

More pics if you feel like it

I've uploaded a bunch of pictures to flickr if you feel like seeing more of our holiday in Turkey. Not too exhaustive, but gives a flavor.

(There might be one of me in a bikini if you are so inclined.)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Turkey for Easter

So in case you haven't noticed, we are back from a week long trip to Turkey as of very early this morning.

We left last Saturday for Antalya, where we had booked an all-inclusive resort deal online. The price was really good, the dates were just right for the Norwegian Easter holidays and the hotel was 5 star, so it seemed a good thing.

And it was, mostly. The first day POURED rain and was really dreary, plus they stuck us in this little dark room that had no view, no sun and a balcony so small you couldn't fit two people on it standing. NOT what we expected. The pool AND the beach were closed. Between that and the all-inclusive food fight (see below) and the feeling we were stuck out there with no escape, I was just about ready to go home and call it a day.
We managed to get a new room after a couple days by getting the front desk to understand we weren't asking for a free upgrade, that we would pay, but we definitely wanted a better room. They ended up giving us a much better room with a big terrace, so we could wake up, stagger straight outside and get some sun. Much better. Things picked up from there.

Things I wish I had known:
  • I had never been on an all-inclusive vacation before. All inclusive is a cool idea (it means all your food and drink are included) but it also means that you will probably be fighting hordes of really large, hungry and extremely pushy Russians and Germans to get at the food on offer. This isn't too much of a problem, as I am 5'10", half German and not that pushable myself, but I can't abide rudeness and I swear a few times I actually had to tell some folks to step off me. I mean, is getting that potato wedge THAT urgent?
  • The hotel wasn't IN Antalya, it was about a 40 minute drive outside of it.
  • The hotel offered no excursions, shuttles or ways to get around AT ALL.
  • Neither did our booking company.
  • So we were kind of stuck.
  • Ways to get about were thus very expensive taxis or the local option, the dolmus.
  • Dolmus are very efficient, very indirect, very noisy and very cheap.
  • Think of the NightBus on Harry Potter and you have an idea.
  • Taxis are a lot more expensive and much more direct.
  • It took us a couple days to figure out the transport, how to get around, what were the best options and where to go. My dad had lived in Antalya in the early 60's, so told me some places I had to see, but the getting there was an issue as they were all on opposite sides of Antalya and there was no way we could do them all. We settled for seeing Phaselis (an ancient port town), Perge (a bigger city) and Aspendos (home of the world's best preserved Roman amphitheatre).
  • We took the dolmus to Phaselis, which took FOREVER and involved a change in the town of Kemer.
  • Phaselis was amazing though, with a lovely and completely secluded beach.
  • For Perge and Aspendos we splurged and negotiated for a taxi. We got a decent deal as they are in the same area, on the opposite side of Antalya from where we stayed.
  • We made it into Antalya once, had a nice wander and had a beautiful sunset meal overlooking the harbor. Bit of a pain in the ass getting there, as it took a dolmus, a taxi and then the lovely and quaint tram to get into the Caleichi, or the old city.
Stuff I didn't buy.
  • For those of you who know me well, prepare to be shocked: I did NO shopping. There was no time and no chance. I managed to buy a nice silver ring from a really nice jewelry guy who actually stopped me to talk about the necklace I was wearing which I had gotten in Jordan. He wanted to see exactly how much silver it contained (a lot) and offered to buy it from me. I said no, of course, but then bought a ring from him, so win win for him. That ring was my sole purchase.
  • Yesterday, the last day, was picture perfect temperature and full on sun. I went straight out to the now-open beach, grabbed a chair and did not move for about 6 hours, except to flip to roast the other side. Surprisingly, for someone as almost blue-white as I was, I didn't burn (much, only a very little in a few spots) and I now am sporting a rather nice, even, glowy tan.
  • After another dark Norwegian winter, that sun felt impossibly good.
  • I felt quite the goddess out there, in my bikini, surrounded by all those large, oversized, all-inclusive buffet experts.
  • Ladies, if you ever want to feel good about yourself, get thee to an all-inclusive resort, wear your tiniest bikini, and see how you compare. You will definitely win out.
  • This holiday was quite possibly our cheapest vacation EVER.
Also, Turkish rose is very, VERY good. We drank quite a bit of it.

Apropos of nothing, this might be the best picture of me ever taken.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


IMG-20120405-01223.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20120405-01223.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Aspendos. Tomorrow I am so gonna do nothing but lay in the sun.

Next day, ed: Done, achieved and tan gotten.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


IMG-20120404-01218.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20120404-01218.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


IMG-20120403-01215.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20120403-01215.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

For Dad. Along the harbor in Antalya.

Monday, April 02, 2012

hotel room upgrade

IMG-20120402-01203.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20120402-01203.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Well interesting. Got to our holiday destination to be put into a dark room with no view, depressing as hell. A bit of a wait, a little money and we are finally in a room with a view and a much better layout. Now let the holiday begin!