Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Worth Rehab

I would like to intro-seduce the world to the greatest drink ever. My "brother-in-law" (boyfriends brother sounds a bit too high school for me) first made it for me and it was love at first sip. It's like Sprite - with booze! It involves 2 crucial ingredients:

1. Cointreau
2. Tonic water
3. Lemon slice (optional)
4. Ice cubes (optional)

I don't have any lemons (or other citrus) on hand right now, nor do I have access to ice cubes in my spacious 1 square foot freezer. But I am thoroughly enjoying this drink right now, thanks to the Duty Free shop at the airport. Only $31 USD for a bottle of Cointreau! How much would this size cost in the U.S., anyone?

Also, what's the difference between Indian tonic water and regular 'ol tonic water? I could Wikipedia that information but I am far too lazy.

Try this drink! If it lands you in rehab it will so be worth it. Trust me.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Memory Lane Monday #1

Being the nerd that I am (who kind of gets off on routine and responsibility) I am starting a weekly ritual, which I will call Memory Lane Monday. I think you'll enjoy it. Lord knows I will.

I will wisk myself and anybody brave enough to read this little gong show of a blog back in time via the greatest hits of the 70's, 80's, 90's and today. Thankfully we have YouTube to guide us along our journey. So let's begin!

"Two Sparrows In a Hurricane" by Tanya Tucker

Listen, relax, relive. I dare you to hear this song start to finish and not tear up. It's not physically possible. Sorry about the crappy image quality but you can blame the early 1990's for that, along with your seriously fug Zuba pants that I know you would murder to have back.

I'll come up with a good variety of songs on MLM, so we can all take a happy little trip to the past on the crappiest day of the week. I know most of my Norwegian (and probably non-Midwestern) peeps have probably never even heard of Tanya Tucker. I have 2 words for you suckers: Your Loss. Old school country kicks ass.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Krakow, Poland - Favorite Pic

This is my favorite picture taken during our trip to Krakow, Poland. It's dark and eery, and the German language (which naturally creeps me out) adds to the doom of the barbed wire.

There literally aren't words to describe Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau, and I do mean literally. My little brain can't wrap around the numbers and statistics of horror that happened there. It just doesn't compute. A defense mechanism, perhaps?

On a brighter note, I'd like to give a shout out to the airline Norwegian, who got us to Poland, for several reasons:

1) Their airport Moss Lufthavn Rygge (MLR) services both Østfold (equated to a county, I think) and Oslo
2) Their check-in process involves scanning a barcode which is emailed to you, making it a super simple and quick process
3) They don't weigh your hand luggage, so it's easier to avoid checking in baggage
4) Their flight attendants are pretty good looking, not swamp donkeys
5) Their selection of destinations is good at MLR and even better at Oslo Gardermoen airport (OSL)
6) Their website is very easy to navigate and fiddle with dates/prices, and comes in tons of languages
7) Great prices!

Each ticket cost us 835 NOK (about $120) roundtrip. They have been late more often than not when we have flown them but if you know that's a possibility going into it you can deal. It's no frills (meaning no food, no entertainment) but it's relatively spacious onboard and you don't feel like you're in an East German post office circa 1986 during the flight. If you're traveling in Norway, or even Europe, do not book with RyanAir until you have checked out Norwegian (www.norwegian.no). You will not regret it!

American Work Ethic

Strange name for a blog, eh? Well no, not if you live in Norway and know what I'm talking about. It's not that (in my humble opinion) Norwegians don't work, or work hard, it's just that they don't (have to) work as hard as we Americans. Not. Even. Close. A few examples:

Vacation time
Norway: 5 weeks per year
America: 2 weeks per year

Maternity leaveNorway: 9 months at 100% pay, or 12 months at 80% pay
America: 6 weeks if and only if your company has 50 or more employees

Note: The above is government mandated only, nowhere near set for everybody. These statistics might do nothing to illustrate my point (I'm so pompous, my point being: we work harder than you) but they do show that Americans have a more can-do, pull-yourself-up-by-the-boot-straps-and-figure-it-out-for-yourself attitude. The attitude of my mother, basically. I will call it The Poop in a Scoop Attitude (apologies; only graduates of Walhalla High will know what that means).

Norway as a whole has somehow figured out the Socialism thing without descending into a country of lazy, incompetent moochers. People get free healthcare! People can get their drugs paid for by the government (seriously, people)! Yet people still work! Personally I think this was all made possible by a little thing I like to call a shit load of cash windfall. Norway is a great rags-to-riches story and my hat is off to whoever managed the influx of bazillions of kroner when oil was discovered here in the 60's and 70's. They've truly turned it into a Utopian society for the average schmuck.

The Repubs (Republicans, you might as well commit that term to mind because they'll come up again) fear now that Obama is in office America will go Socialist, too. But they also fear everyone will go gay and go godless and whatever other nonsense I can't even wrap my brain around right now. My American friends, imagine actually having legal recourse if you are ill and you can't be fired from your job. Imagine a world where losing your job doesn't equal losing your health insurance (which can quickly and effortlessly lead to bankrupting you). Oh the horrors!
Bottom line: both countries make it work. If I lived in the U.S. would I have less vacation time? Yes, probably. But would I toil endlessly around the clock, with no breaks or vacations, as the Socialist world sees America? No. Here in Norway do I show up to work if and when I feel like it, do a half-assed job while swimming in pools of your money, the way America sees the Socialist world? Again, no. But could I? I most certainly could, but I won't because I have an American work ethic in Norway.

P.S. I didn't mean for this to turn into wild social commentary, and it won't always be. Expect a good mix of rants, raves, complaints, musings, bragging, worries, hopes, fears, in the many blogs to comes!