Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

We love Halloween.  And this year, we didn't really have a chance to miss home on Halloween, since our friends in Oslo rock.  

They showed up at our party in outstanding costumes, and we all had a great time. Thanks everyone, for getting into the spirit!

Ken as Albin, the albino moose who lived in the Norwegian forest until a few weeks ago. When a Danish hunter decided to claim him.  True story.

Angry birds, and a happy pig.

Fireman and Legoman.

Foxy foxes.

The Flintstones, and their adorable little lion.

The Addams family.  Brilliant.

Warrior babe, Batman, skeleton, viking, and Spanish dancer/cat :)

Care Bears!  These outfits were handmade, and thus the winners of Most Improved Attitude Toward Halloween and Best Costume.

Norway loves hot dogs.  And Miss America made an appearance for the evening.

The ladies.

The gents.

Enjoying the festivities.

This creature is from Norwegian folklore, and this particular costume was actually worn by a dancer in the opening ceremonies of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.  We were honored that such a costume could join us for the evening.  (It also appeared to be extremely unbreathable.)

They should have worn these to the office today.

Scandalous nun, and the Pope.

A geisha and the Black Swan.

Friends, you thoroughly impressed us with your costume skillz.  If anyone wants to visit Portland for Halloween next year, you are definitely ready for the big leagues in the U.S.  Thanks for making our favorite holiday amazing!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ken the Marathoner

Sometime in early August, Ken decided he wanted to run the Oslo Marathon, which was September 25th.  He's always been a great runner, and he keeps it up regularly.  Thus, he went for the abbreviated training schedule, and total rocked the marathon, finishing in 3:50:55!

Taking off at the starting line.

The table of fans along the course.  These troopers sat here for almost three and half hours - thanks everyone!  (Please note that Silje is wearing a festive Team Ken shirt, despite her distaste for homemade t-shirts.)

The official Team Ken shirt.

Looking good at the finish line.  I was so proud of his hard work!

The sweet taste of victory.

The runners.  Congrats, guys!  It's worth the sore legs for a week, eh?

Moment of Zen for the week...

Ken:  Finishing a marathon, with an awesome time to boot.
Cari:  Not running a marathon.  But cheering on Ken while he ran his.

Final Round in P-town

I spent the last week of my U.S. trip back in Portland, finishing up errands and seeing peeps.  

Somehow, I didn't take any photos of said people during this round of the visit - mostly food again (obsessed, much?)  Regardless, I want to give a shout out to some friends that I didn't photograph, since they made my trip home feel so much like home.  So, I'm using a couple of photos from the past.

I love this pic of Kate and Ken from our going away party last year.  Kate's been one of my best girlfriends for the past few years now, and she's opened up her home to me on both of my visits to the U.S.  I can't thank her enough for not only being an awesome, fun friend, but also offering up a fabulous guest room and car rides.  Thanks Kate!

Josh and Laura are also awesome, fun friends, and have offered up a place to sleep and car rides multiple times during both of my visits home, and Ken's visit home in June.  They also met up with me as much as possible while I was home.  And they have two adorable pups that I love to pet.  Thanks Josh and Laura!

Now, the last week of the trip, in photos...

A little day trip to Cannon Beach for a run along the coast, a walk on the beach, and Dungeness crab cakes.  The Oregon Coast will always be one of my favorite places in the world.

Happy Hour!!  I could write an entire post singing the praises of Portland's amazing happy hours.  They pretty much got me through five years of accounting jobs, as meeting up with friends after work always brightened the days.  So, I hit up happy hour with Ian and Karen at clarklewis.  It was delish as always, and so great to catch up with Ian and Karen, two very kind-hearted and fun people.

Dots at my favorite cupcake shop, Saint Cupcake.  Here we have a red velvet and a pumpkin, with a free side of bonbonbunbun.  Love their new downtown shop.

Stopping for an Oregon brew at Clyde Common between errands one afternoon.  In case you haven't noticed, I don't really mention beer on here.  I've never been much of a beer girl, which seems like such a shame, living in Portland and all.  However, being home and surrounded by affordable, good beer made me want to advantage of it (it's around $11 in Norway for a bad beer).  This was an Upright Wheat - pretty tasty.  For beer :)

Pierre, our British gentleman friend in Oslo, recently introduced us to the Pimm's Cup.  When I saw one on the menu at Secret Society I ordered one up to see how close they were to what Pierre made us.  Pretty close!

Quite possibly the best cocktail I've ever had (this is saying a lot, people).  Gin, red pepper, mint, and lime at Toro Bravo.  I typed it into my phone immediately after taking a drink, so I'd remember it.

I hit up the Portland Farmers Market at PSU with Josh and Laura.  Had to get the old standby, Salvador Molly's tasty tamales.  Didn't even have to wait the usual 15 minutes in line, since it was raining.

Josh, Laura, and I were mesmerized by the pepper roasting at the farmers market.  It smelled like heaven.

Mini cookies from Two Tarts at the farmers market.  Their version of the Oreo is amazing.

Oh look, humans!  This is actually from the first round of P-town, but I just found it.  Fire on the Mountain with Sam, Jakesta, Joe, and Joel.  These guys are gentlemen, and scholars.

From the good ol' Whole Foods deli - turkey and brie sandwich with a side of smoked mozzarella pasta salad.

The good eats adventure came to an end with my departure from PDX.  But not before I grabbed one last sandwich at Elephants, and these pretzels from the Made in Oregon store for the long flight back.  These babies are incredible (and maybe not the most considerate thing you can do for your fellow passengers on a nine-hour flight, with the lingering taste of garlic they leave behind...)

The Moment of Zen for this last round was an an easy choice...

The Toro Bravo red pepper cocktail (can't remember the name).  Loved.  Tried to replicate it when I got back to Oslo, and got sort of close.  Don't worry, I'll keep trying...

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Middle

When I moved to Portland five years ago, a friend of mine referred to the area of the U.S. from whence I originally came as "The Middle."  I thoroughly enjoy this nickname, as it reflects the way the coastal residents of the U.S. probably think of the vast expanse of land between coasts.

One of the main purposes of my trip home this time was for a very important event happening in The Middle: my older brother's wedding.  So, after a few days in Portland, I began the journey toward the Great Plains of Oklahoma, making a stop in the beautiful Rockies in Colorado on the way.  

I have the loveliest group of girlfriends from college, and we make it a point to meet up for a reunion once a year.  Since we live in four different states (and now a different country), the reunions take a little planning and effort.  We reunited for weddings the past three years.  However, without a wedding this year, we chose a destination in the middle of everyone, which happened to be a very beautiful place - Boulder, Colorado.  This worked out perfectly, since it was on my way from Portland to Tulsa, and a short flight for the rest of the girls as well.

(Bonus: Mexican is one of my favorite genres of food, and Colorado is known for its delish Mexican food.)

So, we all flew to Denver, and stayed one night there before heading to Boulder the next day.
What do you know?  The Taste of Colorado food festival just happened to be going on in Denver that weekend (no, we did not plan this fortunate coincidence).  Here we are, taking a break between samples.  I'll take a moment to introduce you to all of these lovely ladies...from left:  Denise, Jamie, Mica, and Joan.  

Pearl Street Mall in Boulder.

A walk along the Boulder Creek trail.

The Boulder County Farmers Market - so wonderful!

Incredible tamales at the Farmers Market.

The Flatirons.

I love Celestial Seasonings tea, and luckily I can get it here in Oslo.  The factory is in Boulder, so we got to take a tour and drink free tea on the last day of the trip.  We also had to wear hairnets in the factory...the picture of that is actually frightening, so it won't be shared here.

I really love these girls.  Even with the distance between us, and the fact that we all have pretty different personalities, our reunions always feel like we haven't missed a beat.  Joan made a good point this trip when she said that it's almost like a sisterhood of sorts.  I suppose that's bound to happen when you live together in college, away from home, and spend so much time together before you start your adult lives.  Thanks for such a fun trip, girls!

After Colorado, I headed to T-town to spend time with my family before the wedding.  I also went down to Dallas for a day to see Ken and his parents.  (Ken traveled to Dallas to see his family for a bit before coming up to Tulsa for the wedding.)  I got to see a few good T-town friends as well, between everything. 

With Mom at the wedding.  The venue was indoor/outdoor, and the weather was perfect.

Ken and Dad.

My fun cousin, Steph, and my big bro, Chad.

Rhonda and Chad - hitched!

Visiting Ken's parents in Dallas - we had a really fun night out.

Ken and the ever-enthusiastic Andy at a BBQ at Sean and Heidi's house (thanks for having us, Sean and Heidi!).  Fun fact: Ken is actually modeling a pair of skinny jeans that Expert Snowboarder mailed to Sean.  The bottom half of this pic was disturbing, so it was cropped.

The good ol' Golden Driller and a pretty Okie sunset on my last evening in Tulsa.

The Middle definitely treated me well, and I'd like to thank my awesome family and friends from down yonder for a great time! 

Moments of Zen:

1.  The absolutely amazing weather in Colorado and Oklahoma that week and a half.  It was perfection.
2.  Crab and shrimp enchiladas at The Denver Rio...mmm.