Monday, March 25, 2013

Hair of dog. Maybe the tail too.

IMG-20130325-00292.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20130325-00292.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.
Some hair of the dog at London Heathrow BA lounge. After last night, I might need the entire dog.

My little Winchester hideaway

IMG-20130324-00285.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20130324-00285.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.
Where I stayed in Winchester. The window under the peaked roof was my bathroom, and the window to the left of it was the bedroom. Can highly recomend the Wykeham Arms if you ever go to Winchester. Really, could find no fault. They even gave you free Fuller's London Pride in the fridge!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


IMG-20130323-00278.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20130323-00278.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.
Freezing cold yet so incredibly green. At St Cross Hospital almshouse. 14th century.

Friday, March 22, 2013

breakfast room

IMG-20130322-00266.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20130322-00266.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.
This is the breakfast room at my hotel. C'mon, seriously? How lucky am I?


IMG-20130322-00272.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20130322-00272.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.
Winchester Cathedral is my route to my hotel.

A quickie from Winchester.

I'm in Winchester, England for Hannah's funeral. It being my family, though, we are told not to wear black, bright colors only, so I think the array of loud colors will be astonishing. I for one am wearing a neon green cashmere J Crew sweater with floral jeans. (And a coat and umbrella, the weather has been shockingly bad except for a brief respite this morning, snow warnings all over England.)

Winchester is an utterly gorgeous town, so Olde Worlde it's almost cliche. To add to it, I am staying at a pub hotel, a rather nice one, as it turns out, and rarely have I stayed somewhere so perfect. The pub is around behind Winchester Cathedral, through an ancient stone archway and along a walled road. The room is gorgeous, the curtains are an embroidered floral that is so pretty I really want to steal them. The bathroom is huge, the bathtub gushes lashings of ass-boilingly hot water. My bath last night was like making Karla soup, I just stewed myself into a lather and came out sweaty and pink. I slept SO WELL last night. Almost no jet lag today. The hotel has free wifi, free Fuller's London Pride in the mini fridge, and the (award winning gastro) pub is directly across the skinny medieval road. The pub even has an original Thomas Crapper toilet in the loo, of COURSE not only did I take pictures, but when I used it, I tweeted from the Crapper. (Seemed to be something I must do. A pee tweet. Check my twitter feed to the left for tweets and pics. (er, not of me peeing, btw.)) Breakfast (included) was the best french toast ('eggy bread', as my cousin corrected me) that I have ever had. I am enjoying my stay here so much that I feel guilty, actually, as the reason I am here is so heart breakingly sad.

This morning we met to plant a tree in Hannah's honor. To say my cousin, my beautiful, heartbroken, destroyed cousin is showing the strain is an understatement. He is a gorgeous man, but right now his eyes look faraway and even when he smiles his big goofy smile, I see the pain and confusion lurking. Hannah's best friend (also named) Hannah is here, and poor girl, she can't stop shaking. She is so distraught, her body shows the stress even if she tries to act like she's got it under control.  It was at her house that Hannah fell down the stairs. I can't imagine, just CANNOT imagine the pain she feels as well as Edward. I don't know how she is going to bear up, life has given her some incredibly harsh blows the past few years, I don't think one person should have to go through all she has gone through lately.  All I can do is hug her and give her a xanax if needed. That is really all that CAN be done right now, sometimes you just need the chemical help. The tree planting felt like a burial. The sun came out briefly, and against forecast. I joked it was because I had a huge umbrella with me and no sunglasses. If I had not had an umbrella, it would have poured. Remember from past posts, I do have this power over the weather. The moment I went and bought cheap sunglasses, the sun went away.

I did a bit of shopping on the high street, bought a cute white crochet'ed dress and a wicked cool black tight peplum dress. Seems I am now a size 10 UK. And of course I hit the lingerie at Marks and Spencers. I do like shopping here. (Who am  Ikidding, I like shopping pretty much everywhere....)

At 2:30 we meet to go to the crematorium for the 'colorful' ceremony, where we are supposed to not cry. I don't know how THAT will be possible, but I have decided I am going to bring as much levity to the proceedings as possible and give Edward the laughs that I can. I bought a stupid, insanely dumb toy, a yodeling pickle, that I found in Houston, and gave it to him last night, along with the 'widower's' package of a nice bottle of Jack Daniel's, a carton of Camels, a shot glass and some salsa. If I were in his shoes, I'd only want to smoke, drink and eat random spicy things, so that's why I brought that.

So here I sit, alive and in luxurious circumstances, while my dear cousin's life has fallen apart in moments, and dammit I wish I could do more than I am. He says he'll come visit in Houston. I hope he does. The warmth and hot sun, and the general friendliness of the people, would be good for him.

So, now I will go change for the next part of this sad, beautiful day. Waterproof mascara needed.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The girl in the mask

IMG-20130316-00236.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20130316-00236.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.
There were masks.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ft Worth, cowtown

IMG-20130315-00205.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20130315-00205.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.
Ft Worth, Texas. Downtown.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


I didn't realize, living in Norway without a car for 7 years, how much I had missed driving. But now that I am back in a car, I see, oh, I see, how I have missed it indeed.

 I was in high school when Dad gave me my first car, my 1967 Corvair, a convertible with two carburetors and an automatic transmission that had two gears (first and everything else). I suddenly saw the freedom a car could give me, especially in a town like Houston. That car became my identity, my refuge. When I was angry, when I was sad, or when i was happy, I'd retreat to the car and go for a drive to think, to rage, to celebrate. It was my private space, my escape. I drove hard and I drove lustfully.

Those habits, those intrinsic built in motivations that I developed when I was 16, have not changed.

There is, for me, something sensual about driving. The Corvair wasn't terribly fast off the mark, being a rear engine vehicle and an automatic, but once you got it going, once it shifted clunkily out of that first gear and into the long huge 2nd gear, it just got faster and faster until that big old gas guzzling engine screamed and roared as I pushed it onwards. It was a temperamental bitch, but when it went, oh how it soared. I never found the top speed of that car, though damned if i didn't try.

My second car, another old convertible given to me by Dad, was a 1964 Renault Caravelle, a happy litte cast-iron rear-engined car with the cutest fins flaring out the back,  that ran and ran and hummed along with the best of intentions, even if it didn't have the braw power of the Corvair. I remember Mom driving me and my brother around in it when we were very little. I will never forget that car, how it felt so solid and wobbly all at once, how the engine gave me its all, how the steering wheel would start to vibrate in my hands at exactly 54mph and stop vibrating at 60mph, how i learned how to drive a stick shift in it, when I had to get from Houston to Austin, and I had no other option but to learn on the fly.  I remember that with the Renault I had a mechanic in Austin named Jonathan, who was a well renowned Citroen/Renault expert, and I talked about him like most women talked about their hairdressers, and i brought him cookies and treats whenever he had to fix something on the Renault. Something always went wrong with it, but Jonathan fixed it cheaply and thoroughly and I trusted him implicitly. (Apparently that little Caravelle, named Clarabelle, is still going, still on the road, somewhere in Seattle.)

And forward to now, having in the interim had the 1990 Honda Civic (4 wheels and 4 gears) and the 1997 Subaru Outback Sport, which I brought to Norway when we moved there and sold at a massive profit even though the car was 8 years old when I sold it. Each of my cars has had its own personality, I've loved each of them for their own strengths and weaknesses, rather like one does a lover. Now i have the WRX, which, for me, was the dream car, the car I always wanted. I don't know why it's the one I always wanted, when there are so many other sleeker, nastier, more elegant and faster rides, but for me, right now, the WRX is what makes me happy. I don't question it. To question my choice of car would be to question who I am, and right now, I just don't fucking care or have the energy to do that.

So tonight being in the maelstrom of emotion and angst that I have lately been going through, I found myself reverting back to my old teenaged, pre-Norway self. I needed to escape. So, I drove. I drove fast, and I drove hard, and I had the music loud (NIN Closer being an all time favorite) and I sang and cried and thought and shifted and sped and roared. Driving, for me, is therapeutic. It's sexy as fuck. It's me and the road and that shifter in my hand and my feet on the pedals,  and it's the possibility of death, and it's nihilism, and it's fast reaction and quick decisions and it is life, my life, maybe your life,  in my hands, entirely in my thrall, split seconds of excitement and daring and power.

It is me, totally and completely in control, utterly one with a fine tuned machine that can cause destruction or joy, can induce spine tingling, intense pleasure mixed with a sense of being God.

Maybe that's it. When I drive, I am God. I am testing God, I am saying fuck you, I can do anything I want, at that moment  I literally have my life in my hands and I can do with it what I wish. Like the NIN song, it brings me Closer to God. That turns me on. Driving turns me on.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Rest in peace, Hannah

The past week has been heart rending in so many ways. Closing out my life in Norway, saying goodbye to so many good friends, to Oslo, to the apartment, to a way of life,  and finishing my life in Europe. 

But nothing, and I mean, nothing, could possibly be as heart breaking as the news I got on Saturday morning, that my dear cousin, Hannah (my cousin Edward's wife) had an accident while out with friends and was terribly injured.   From what I understand, she fell and hit her head and the damage was too great. She was taken off life support and died two days later, in Edward's arms. 

Hannah and Edward were that couple everyone wants to have around, fun, sparky, funny, adventurous. they loved each other totally, had a gorgeous little house in Winchester, good careers, and were well set for a long life together. Hannah's sudden death is such a tragedy, such a young life taken for no reason at all. 

We are a close family, Edward and his brother Carl are my Mom's youngest sister's boys, and they are the cousins I know best, that I would visit in Germany or in England, and Edward and I have had a fair few drinking nights in London. I've known them since they were little, they are 10 years younger. They are my closest relatives outside my parents and brother. This is such devastation for us all.

Oh, Hannah, you beautiful sparky girl. as the song from Morphine goes, "Do not go quietly unto your grave". A life motto of mine, and one that I think you followed to the fullest. We will all miss you, and we will take care of Edward. We promise. 

Carl, Hannah with a big beer, and Edward at Munich Starkbierfest in 2010. 

Grabbing ass. (That's Rich's ass.) 

Hannah and Edward, this is how they always were. Laughing together. 

Saturday, March 02, 2013


IMG-20130302-02625.jpg by karlakp
IMG-20130302-02625.jpg, a photo by karlakp on Flickr.

Empty. Alone. I sit and think. This week has been a game changer in my life. And, as it turns out, in more lives than just my own.