Sunday, December 30, 2012


IMG-20121229-02557.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20121229-02557.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Yesterday in Pompeii. The weather was gorgeous, breezy, cool, crisp. Clear views of the mountains all around. (Vesuvius not in this picture, it's to the left of this view.) Pompeii is huge and impressive, even if a lot of the villas and sites are closed off (at least half!) Which is a bit disappointing. Still you feel the 2000 year old city's heartbeat.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ancient art, because I'm classy (2000 year old porn!)

IMG-20121228-02532.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20121228-02532.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Because I am ALL about the fine ancient art. I'm classy like that.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chariot ruts in Pompeii

IMG-20121227-02521.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20121227-02521.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Note chariot wheel ruts in road. That stone is very hard, so those ruts took a long time to make!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Memento Mori

IMG-20121226-02511.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20121226-02511.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Memento mori.

Christmas in Rome

IMG-20121226-02503.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20121226-02503.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

The churches in Rome are so huge, elaborate, baroque. I find myself drawn to the simple, quiet spaces where light and form, symmetry and peace, prevail. I have seen a lot of churches this week.

Merry Christmas one and all from Rome!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lutefisk burger (not)

IMG-20121222-02460.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20121222-02460.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

A humorous Burger King advertisement on the street outside our flat. Made me giggle. I will miss that quiet sense that Norwegians make fun of themselves, too, just in more subtle ways than we do in the US.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


People keep coming by my office to say bye and they all hug me and then we cry.

This leaving thing ain't for sissies. I have boys AND girls crying at me.

I should've said my last day was Monday and then just not come in....

Damn I am gonna miss these folks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

They sang to me, at my leaving party

Half the office sang to me, to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. 15 or 20 people, all standing in a circle, singing, to me. (I blubbed). (And laughed) (and then I had to give a speech, which I hate doing, and saying goodbye also is painful, so it was a blub fest all around).

The song:

Karla the big haired Texan

There’ve been Germans and British, a wig fan from Sweden

Canucks and some Russians you’d best be believin’

But who will we recall as the most memorable import of all…

Karla the big haired Texan

Has some fancy sittin’ shoes

And if you ever tried them

Your toes would be all black and blue

For all of her  bosses

She’s always done her job with flair

Though while she works her magic

Her swearing might just curl your hair!

Now so near to Christmas Eve, we’ve all come to say

Karla with your hair so high

Let’s raise a glass before you fly

Though times are now a changin’

And you’re off for the new company

Karla the big haired Texan

Good luck from your office family!

I am going to miss these people, oh so much.

Monday, December 17, 2012

also, ew

Someone found my blog by googling 'dental bdsm'.


Last Monday

It was wierd getting up this morning to realize it was my last Monday to come into the office here in Norway. That knowledge, unfortunately, did not make it easier to get up. In fact, it might have made it harder. I mean, the weather is CRAP, the snow is all slushy because it started raining on Sunday, turning all that lovely white snow into slush and mud and ice. Walking is treacherous. (To add to the 'things I won't miss about Norway' list.) It's dark and grey and has felt like twilight all day. Right now, I am looking forward to a little sweat in Texas. Sweat and the possibility of not falling on my ass at every turn.

I also had another thought last night, one of many as I tossed and turned and tried to not fret. (Obviously I failed in that one.)

I am going to be staying in a temporary apartment for a few months in Houston. Rich will be finalizing things here. I will be learning the new job and relearning how to live in Texas. It will also be the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE that I have lived alone. (BTW, stalkers, it's a controlled entry apartment and no I am not telling where it is.) But seriously, my entire life has been a series of living with someone. Either my parents, or college roommates, or Rich.

I've never lived alone. Not once.

It will be so strange (and maybe also, exciting?) to actually move into a space that is all mine, mine alone, to set up and mess up as I please, answerable to no one. I can clean it or not, cook for just me, throw my shoes in every corner, slob out if I want, and have it be a space that is only mine. The remote control will remain in my hand and my hand only. I get ALLLLL the closet space! I've never had that!

Course I also guess that means no one to talk to, no one to reach that high thing on the shelf, no one to fight over the morning paper with, and no one to scrub my back while I am in the tub.

I wonder if I will like it or hate it? I honestly don't know. Seems wierd to think I have never lived alone. Feels very..old fashioned, somehow. I met Rich when I was very young and went straight from having a college roommate to living with him.

Hmm. Interesting. Well there's a gym and a pool at the complex so I can use my lonely time to work out instead of cook big dinner meals. Though I suspect I will be putting in some long hours, so I don't think there will be much cooking.

SUSHI time!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Duvet day

I decided that today I deserved a duvet day. My schedule has been mayhem, and there are about a million things I should be doing that I didn't get time to do this week, but, instead, I am still in my jammies (still being a tease as it's 7:30 pm and 'still' suggests that I may yet change out of them, which we all know I won't), in bed, watching Season 2 of Mad Men (having finished Season 1) and eating chocolates. I did a load of laundry today but have yet to hang it up to dry. Hello, my name is Sloth, the laziest of sins.

It snowed very heavily yesterday and today. When I woke up this morning, even before my eyes were fully open or I had my glasses on, I could tell it was snowing by the quality of the light. It was brighter but suffuse light, kind of soft. Hard to explain to those who don't live in a place that snows (as I soon won't). The snow reflects and lightens even if the day is grey. That is why Norwegians prefer the snow, it offers a respite from the dark. I always feel like it muffles excess noise, lightens the air, somehow cleanses. Cleanses the air and the soul. I also like snow days because if they happen on a weekend, it gives you a very good excuse to not go out into it. I guess in Texas you need a good thunderstorm or a hurricane for that.

As I lazed around today, messing about on Twitter and Facebook and briefly but sadly glancing at the horrible news coming out of the States, I realized this is my last Norwegian duvet day, and one of only three Saturdays I have left as a resident in Norway, in this apartment.  In exactly three weeks I will be en route to Houston.

Part of me felt like maybe I should be more active, bustle and hustle and do busy things. But the part of me that wanted to enjoy the lazy won. I have enough time to worry later. But today is my only snowy day left in bed in God knows how long, if ever again. I think after all this hard lazing about, I might go put myself into a hot tub of fragrant bubbles and pretend like I am doing something productive. (It IS cleaning, of a sort, right?)

So let's chalk that to a thing I will miss about Norway: lazy snowy duvet days.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


This article in the New York Times needs to become my new mantra.

I need to read it every day. Stress. Anxiety. Anxiety is nothing more than worrying about the future. Focus on the here, focus on the now.

This one Twitter dude I follow posted something the other day that really kind of helped me rethink some stuff. (Ok, ok, don't be giving me shit about finding philosophical help on Twitter, help comes in many forms.)

Anyhow, he posted:

If you're depressed, you're living in the past. If you're anxious, you're living in the future. If you're at peace, you're living in the now.

That totally has helped me. I mean, I AM depressed because I am thinking of the past and so many things I will miss and the changes I am dealing with. And I am anxious thinking forward to Houston and the new job and leaving Rich behind for so long and all that. So if I just focus on what I can do now, the future will be easier, the past, well that's done so just fucking move on already, and now is now and use it!

So thank you Twitter guy, named, humorously, @Arrogant_Twat. You actually helped out a stressed Texan!

Hey, just had another good thought about moving to Houston: Newspapers! I can get the weekend Chronicle and maybe even the NYT and have those lazy Sunday paper and coffee mornings I used to love so much. (Yeay Target Sunday circular!)

In other, random, news, I posted a bunch of furniture and stuff on the office Buy/Sell intranet page and not only did it all sell, it actually started minor bidding wars. Woo! So that is a worry lifted.

One day at a time. One minute at a time. Each moving forward and all will be well. And if it's not perfect, it's still gonna be ok.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Gussied up

IMG-20121208-02408.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20121208-02408.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Me all gussied up for the big company formal party. My last in Norway so I went full glam.... You can see the back here.  (Note, largely backless, teehee).

I'm not even too hungover today, go me!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Apartment for rent, starting March 2013

I told my landlord I'd help find a new tenant for this fucking awesome 200 sqm apartment we are in. SERIOUS PEOPLE ONLY. Rent is below market, it includes heat, and is in a great location. It's a historical old place and wants someone who respects it as such. If you are truly interested, and have a firmaguaranti and a good tenancy record, contact me via a comment and leave your email.

More pics at the link. It is truly a great place. I hate to give it up.


I have to get out of this funk. I am having the worst problem with second guessing myself on everything to do with this move. It's making me sad, and stressed and worried and at times, even in a group of people whose company I enjoy, I just kind of mentally check out and sit there sighing. (At book club last night someone mentioned I seemed drawn and sad. Shit. It's showing.)


One of the worst things about this, to be honest, is there is a very subtle double standard going on. I am not usually so outspoken about stuff like this, but I feel it. I feel like somehow I am an evil bitch for wanting to shake stuff up and try something new. When we moved here and I followed Rich, it was just understood that I, the wife, would follow and it would be ok. It is not near so simple when it's me doing the moving and the husband has to follow. We have a very comfortable, cozy, kind of boring existence in Norway at the moment. Financially we are ok, we have a lovely apartment (it's up for rent available in March btw, at below market rent, to the right responsible person and it's a doozy of a sweet pad) that I really hate to give up, nice friends, and a simple non-threatening existence. Rich seems fairly settled and secure in his job. Mine in Norway is up in the air, what with the takeover of the company, but Norwegian employment safety net laws would support me and give me certain rights with regard to any layoffs and so on. (Though we could not afford to stay here if I was not working as well.) So why the HELL am I shaking it all up?

I am actually asking myself that every minute. I mean, I know the reasons behind it. Our evenings are getting boring, our asses hit the sofa and the computers get opened and that is the evening. I am TIRED of that, to be honest. I don't want to spend another 10 years on the sofa watching Big Bang Theory reruns and going to bed early because it's dark by 4pm and I have winter SAD and I feel lonely and cut off from the world.  Norway was never going to be our permanent home, we were only to be here for 3 years, and now it's been 10, and shouldn't we cut and run while we are still kind of young and can re-establish back home? We don't have any real ties here, though the roots are deepening with friends. The job seems a good career move, there is much to learn, much to grow into, and the offer was really good, too. I know there are risks, but there are rewards too.

Fuck, I know all those reasons but it is not lessening the panic I feel about leaving. What if I get to the US and the job doesn't work out? I am left with no money, no insurance, no safety net? (I have become very Norwegian in that respect, I am literally panicking that if I lose my job or get sick I will be homeless within months like so many people I hear about on the news. AMERICA NEEDS TO GET THE HEALTH CARE THING SORTED.) What if I can't handle Houston? What if I feel so foreign I just want to run away? What if I don't like the job? What if I am there for months on my own while Rich is here trying to figure out HIS job situation? What if he doesn't have as good a job in Houston and then my guilt increases because of what he has given up for me?

And then I found this WSJ article about repatriating and the issues involved, which really rather nicely describes what I am feeling. I am sad. I am grieving. This is HARD. I am also NOT CRAZY. I am in mourning.... I can't stay here, but part of me will be left here no matter what. I just worry, which part?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A thing I will miss about Norway: LONDON!

One of the things I am struggling with on this move back to the US is that I won't be living in Europe anymore. That I won't be a 2 hour flight from any of many world heritage historical sites, places of interest, food meccas or places where the beer is heavenly. I am half German, was raised with a European mindset in many ways, and I can't escape this feeling that by going back to Texas (and the US) I will be 'stuck' away from a culture that I understand and feel comfortable in. I am trying to remind myself of the stuff I don't like (as in right now, we are having a 'sprengkulden'- cold snap and it is SO goddamned cold) such as the rude people on public transport, crappy grocery stores, cramped spaces everywhere, and the tiresomely expensive nature of everything.
But it isn't working well, as I keep thinking I will be TRAPPED and can NEVER LEAVE Houston again. I KNOW that's not the case, but right now I just keep mourning what I am leaving as opposed to what I hope I will be gaining. Second guessing myself, worrying did I make the right decision, am I making a mistake? ARGH.

And pictures of my recent trip to the UK aren't helping. I am so going to miss being so close to London. I really, truly am. That may have been the best part of my entire 10 years in Norway, has been the opportunity to go to London so frequently and get to know the city as well as, possibly, a native. This time around I was entirely sans map and got around without any problems at all.

Panoramic interior shot  (click to embigen) of St. Bartholomew the Great.   An ancient church by Smithfield in London. You have to seek it out, it's a bit hidden, and it is well worth the visit. When I went last week it was smoky with incense from the just-finished Sunday afternoon service. Fragrant and evocative of time.

St Paul's from the Millenium Bridge. I love this entire area, have walked here literally hundreds of times, and I never ever never get tired of it.

A view of the upper floors of buildings in a street near St Paul's. In London, as in new York, it is very worthwhile to look up. There's an interesting street scene literally everywhere you look.

A panoramic shot from the Millenium Bridge. St Paul's would be around and to your left. On the right at the end of the bridge is the Tate and ahead is the new building they call the Shard. You can just pick out the Globe Theatre on the right hand bank. (Might I mention I love my Panasonic Lumix camera? It does panoramic shots with no effort on my part whatsoever but to move the camera to the right a little bit. LOVE.)

The bar at the Zetter. Such a cozy place to hang out, with a newspaper or your computer, a nice drink, a fire in the grate, and feel safe and secure while it rains outside. maybe I will someday open a bar like this in Austin. Or, screw that, I'd take the money I'd need to open the bar and just get a flat in London and go to the Zetter all the time!

I swear to myself, when I get older, if I have enough money, I *will* buy a tiny flat in London and spend part of every year there. I will. That is my life goal. And, if you know anything about me, I usually achieve my goals. (Mainly because I don't set goals that are all that high or unachievable!)