Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New blog

I started another blog, specifically about big rigs.

Odd? Perhaps. But that’s me.

So if I’m not here… I’m probably over there :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

11 Years and 1 Day!

11 years ago today, I woke up and I realized that I had abandoned single life. The previous evening, in the romantic chapel at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas, I had stepped in to the world of marriage with a man that I had met only a month and a half ago, although I had known him for almost 3 years.

I met my husband via a chat program called IRC. I was in college at the time, and I used IRC to stay in touch with friends from home. I frequented a chat room called #Norway and so did he. Initially I was happy to chat with him because he was American. A few years back, I had spent a year as an exchange student in Seattle and had fallen in love with all things American.
(Seriously….no matter what you think or how many of you want to move to Canada every time there are some challenges to overcome here in the US, we really are living in the greatest country in the world…)

It probably doesn’t sound very romantic when I say that we fell in love due to American politics. I had a class in college on American politics and I was writing a paper on political campaign ads. I found my best resources for this paper to be the Americans themselves, so I consulted the ones I knew, including him. We started discussing other aspects of American politics, and I realized that the teacher I had was leaning towards a certain end of the political spectrum and our education in politics has been very one-sided.

Of course, it wasn’t the American politics subject itself that drew us closer together. It was more the fact that we were able to discuss a topic like politics with each other on an intelligent level. I had already concluded from my experience with past relationships, that if I were to enter a lasting relationship, it had to be with someone who was of the same or higher intellect as myself otherwise I’d get bored.

American politics eventually led to discussing other topics, topics which gradually became more intimate until there was no denying that we were more than friends.
After awhile we started planning for me to come out here once I was done with college, and on January 15th 1998, I landed on American soil. Once we met in person, there was really no question that this was it for us.
February 14th that year I accepted his proposal and February 23rd we eloped to Las Vegas and got married. This wedding was to be followed by 2 more weddings later that year; one in Norway for my Norwegian family and friends and one official wedding in California for his family and friends.

A lot of people ask us how we did it. How did we manage to find the right person via chat and how have we managed to stay so happy for 11 years. I think our answer, to put it bluntly, is “No Bullshit!”
It’s easy to pretend that you are somebody else when you chat with people online. You can make yourself prettier, smarter and seemingly more perfect because chances are you’ll never meet the person. That was never the case with us. We were always up front about who we were, we would even openly discuss bad habits and traits that we possessed.
A great thing about chatting “monitor to monitor” is that you cover topics that it’ll take years for some people to approach if they are talking face to face. Since we were honest & upfront about who we were – aka no bullshit – we knew each other inside and out by the time we met. Also, we never even exchanged photos until we had been chatting for at least a year or so, simply because we didn’t really care what the other person looked like. We fell in love with each other’s minds & personalities, by the time we exchanged photos, there was very little that could have scared us off.

We’ve continued practicing the “no bullshit” routine in real life. We are who we are. First of all, there was no bullshit to uncover once we met. Everything about me was what I had told him already and vice versa. There were no ugly surprises. There were surprises, but they’ve all been positive :) Another big thing in our relationship is communication. There are no secrets (except for the nice ones, like Christmas presents….hee hee….). And I guess the most important thing is, there is so much more to our relationship than just love.

I’m not a believer in love at first sight. I believe in attraction at first sight. I also believe in the possibility of love at first sight. But to truly fall in love with a person, you have to know that person first and then you decide whether or not you can love him, bad qualities and all. That instant puppy love we feel when we fall in love, it will eventually fade away some. In its place is another form of love, a love that will help us overcome the obstacles we’ll encounter throughout our relationship.

Love is important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing a relationship is based on. Included in a relationship there should be a certain level of commonalities, there should be friendship, there should be and understanding that we’re not perfect. Life has its ups and its downs, but as long as all the things you love about a person exceeds this person’s bad habits, we’ll be OK.

A perfect romance is what happens on big screens and in Harlequin romance novels. The rest of us have to work at a relationship to make it perfect. When the priest says “for better or for worse”, it really means exactly that. But I guess the point is that the relationship you have with the person you marry needs to be important enough to make you want to stay and fight when things get “worse”.

So… no secrets. Just be yourself. That’s all you can be and when you meet that special someone, that’s all he will want you to be as well.

No bullshit.

Monday, February 23, 2009

5 reasons why I love big rigs...

.... apart from the obvious parallel to a strong and virile man pulling a cart full of bricks, his muscles bulging and a sheen of sweat covering his lean body as he faithfully pulls the bricks along towards their destination. Yummy. Yes?

Those that are observant will notice only 2 types of trucks in these photos... simply my favorites...

The above pictures were found on the web, I will have to take my own camera for a spin for some photos of my own :-)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bret Michaels

A couple of months ago, I completely revamped my iPod. I wiped it clean of all the music I had loaded on to it. Every song I no longer wished to listen to were left behind on my computer and I loaded all the songs I still hadn’t grown tired off on to my iPod, along with some new music. Once I took a glance at my new iPod, I realized how much my taste in music actually said about who I was and who I had become.

I’m going to dedicate this blog to my relationship with Bret Michaels. It’s a relationship that exists only in my head, and one that he most likely wouldn’t be very interested in, seeing as it would only involve talking.

To quote him from one of his songs: “I am good at one thing and believe me it ain’t talk!” (from “Look but You Can’t Touch”)

Growing up, my taste in music was pretty much influenced by three things: My parents, my peers and the radio.

In my family, my dad was mainly the one listening to music, so I grew up listening to his country music. I’d say my parents’ taste in music accounted for a 50% influence on my own taste in music.
As I grew older, my peers’ taste in music became a factor. I think however, that when I analyze the way I was back then, my peers’ taste in music only accounted for about 20% of my musical influence. Sure I may have pretended to like their music so I wouldn’t seem like such a country-music loving geek. I was a teenager after all and had no desire to stand out. I did enjoy a lot of that music though (hey I grew up in the 80s…what’s not to like...) but at the end of the day, when it came time for me and me alone to pick a tape to listen to (this was before CDs), I went back to country.
A third factor that I guess by logical math would account for about 30% of my taste in music would be the radio. The top hits, whatever was played over and over and over again on the radio, stuck to the brain until you couldn’t stop yourself from whistling these tunes or singing them in the shower because you just couldn’t clear them from your memory.
These songs were the very same ones that were played at school dances and fun functions I attended as a teen, so naturally a lot of fond (and some not so fond) memories became linked with the tunes so I cherish these songs for many reasons.

11 years ago, I moved from Norway to the United States and it opened up a whole new array of bands and musical talents that I had never listened to, or even heard of. Until then, I was familiar with the most popular hit songs which had made their way across the pond and had been played on the Norwegian radio, but there was a lot of music that never made it that far.
Luckily for me, I discovered that it is never too late to catch up.

My first real insight into the world of Bret Michaels happened when he appeared on Nashville Star as a judge one season. As a fan of country music, the world of rock was fairly unexplored by me, so Bret Michaels had a clean slate with me. I knew very little about him, about his “bad boy” past or about his being as a whole, but by the end of the season, I had become thoroughly fascinated by the man. Despite knowing nothing about him, I learned a lot just by listening to his comments & watching his general appearance on the show. From stories I’ve heard and articles I’ve read after the fact, I know that I got a fairly accurate perception of him.
One of the qualities that really made me like him was his uncanny ability to just be himself! It doesn’t seem like this is something that should require a lot of effort, but the truth is, it’s a quality that is sorely lacking in a lot of people. Bret stood out because he had this attitude of “Hey, this is who I am, take it or leave it.” Well, I took it.
During the course of the show, he also performed a few of his songs and I really liked what I heard. He wasn’t performing as Poison that time, he was singing songs from his solo albums.

Well, the show ended and Bret & I parted ways for a while. I had gotten to know him and I liked him but musically, I was still stuck in the past.

Then I discovered this addicting game called “Guitar Hero III” and I immediately fell in love with the song “Talk Dirty to Me”, even before I realized who was behind that song. Once I found out it was a Poison song, it was as if everything came full circle and I was hooked, not just on the song, but to Poison and to Bret Michaels. I started rifling through my husband’s CD collection to retrieve his old Poison CDs, and I quickly became a Poison addict, constantly craving more and more of their songs until I was in possession of them all. (I’m sure there may be some out there that I haven’t heard….)
Of course, I was already familiar with the biggest Poison hits, such as “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Something to Believe In” because they did make it across the pond, but as I started listening to more of Poison’s albums, I discovered all these musical gems that had never been recorded on a “Greatest Hits” album. Most of these songs were written by Bret Michaels, some in cooperation with the rest of the band members.

As I started wandering through the world of rock, I discovered other great bands along the way, such as Motley Crue and Skid Row. Although their songs were catchy and really good, I found myself getting bored with their songs after listening to them a few times. To me, they lacked a depth and a lyrical diversity that I seemed to have found in Poison’s music. (I'm sure some people will disagree with me, and I would expect nothing else... Music is like tattoos, they mean something different to every single person.)

And yes, I know there are some tunes in the Poison discography that aren’t that great, but the blunders are few, the diamonds are many.
(Note: I’ve had the same Poison CD on “shuffle” in my car stereo for over a year now… It doesn’t get old.)

Once I had familiarized myself with Poison, I started delving into Bret’s solo work and found it to be just as good as his Poison work, maybe better. The man’s still got it, not just physically (because let’s face it, he’s sexy as hell), but also as an artist.
I find that Bret is a true bard in a modern sense of the word. He is a word smith, a lyricist and a musician and his solo songs are amazing. It seems like his current songs are more a part of him, they are more personal and it gives a greater insight as to who he is as an individual, where he came from and who his musical influences have been.

A couple of his songs brings up his bout with diabetes. Bret was just a child when they found out about his disease, and I can’t even imagine how heartbreaking and difficult and depressing that must have been. I knew a couple of kids from my childhood who had diabetes and it was no picnic for them (literally…). Back then, the only sugar free soda was Tab (Come on, all at once: Ewwwwwwww!) and sugar free cakes & candy were non-existent. Well, that’s not true. They had a couple of sugar free treats that tasted just as good as that pink-labeled black-colored watery drink they named Tab. For birthday parties and picnics, these kids could pretty much just sit and watch everyone stuff themselves with cake and soda. That has to be so tough on a kid. (Heck most adults would find that difficult….).

During this entire time though, throughout sex, drugs & rock’n roll, Bret has somehow managed to keep himself healthy & keep the disease at bay. Who knows, the diabetes may have been a factor as to why he’s still such a great artist and so talented, because no matter what he has done throughout his career as a rocker, the disease may have been lingering vaguely in the back of his mind throughout the journey.

However, as I said before, what I do admire the most about Bret Michaels is his bluntness and his ability to just be himself. He has no qualms about airing his dirty laundry for everyone to see. I remember this one article from an interview with a “Rock of Love” reject where they gossiped that his long hair is not his, they are hair extensions. Bret’s response was simply “Yes they are, I get the finest European hair that money can buy!” I just loved it. I mean…who cares? If I earned millions of dollars, I’d probably get the finest extensions money could buy too. And as for Bret’s bad-boy past, sure I know about it, I know it’s real but heck, he has never denied it. There are people out there who have done far worse things in life and who sit high and mighty upon their pedestals, their images are squeaky clean but their souls are not.

Despite being a Bret Michaels fan, I’m not a fan of “Rock of Love”. I’ve watched a couple of episodes, but it’s not my thing.
From what I can tell, “Rock of Love” has served as an advertising campaign for Bret Michaels. He has been able promote himself as a solo artist, so that people will look at him and think “Bret” instead of looking at him and thinking “Poison”. As far as I can tell, he has pulled this off. It’s a really brilliant business plan and Bret is an amazing salesman. And contrary to what he stated in the song I quoted above, I believe that he must be very good at talking because otherwise he wouldn’t have made is this far in his career.


Gone from my iPod are all my country songs. (Well, I take that back. Bret has a few country songs that are very good, and they are still on there.) It’s kind of sad. It is as if I’ve said goodbye to a part of me that has kept me company most of my life. But then again, while the songs are gone, the memories are still there and they always will be.
I’ve just moved on is all. It feels as if I’ve finally found myself and the music taste I’ve developed is one that I have developed on my own, without caring about anybody’s input or influence.
The music I publically say that I love and the music I play when I’m on my own is finally the one and the same! That must be a good sign?

As far as Bret Michaels goes, I’m probably the only woman in the world who, if stranded on a deserted island with Bret, would spend the time talking with him. (I think I can hear him praying out loud right now….). Perhaps someday, I will write a biography.

Maybe someday, I too can find the courage to be myself. Perhaps the next time I waver between being true to who I am and being someone who other people want me to be, I should simply ask myself….


All photos in this blog was taken by me during a Poison concert
at the Universal Amphitheater in LA.

All I can say is.... Bret's still got IT! (They rocked!!)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

To Error is to Learn....

I play the tuba. I’ve played the tuba since I was 13 years old and I’ve been in band for just as long. In Norway, playing in band is a much bigger hobby than it is here in the US. I’m not talking about rock bands, I’m talking about concert/marching/brass bands. In every city across Norway, there is at least 1 such band (usually more if you count the junior bands, school bands etc), and in the larger cities you find multiple adult bands as well as the ones for younger musicians.

People who aren’t familiar with bands tend to think that we only play once a year, which is on May 17th. May 17th is Norway’s equivalent of July 4th, all the marching bands play in parades across the country, big parades, small parades, it’s really a sight to be seen.
We do, however, perform a lot more than once a year. In between Christmas concerts and May 17th parades, a large portion of our time goes to rehearse and compete in regional as well as national band competitions. The big competition is the Norwegian Championship, where stakes are high, our nerves are on edge and we’ve practiced our pieces so much, we basically know them by heart.

I’m bringing up my background in band because after my accidental deletion of my blogs yesterday, I have been reminded of a very clever statement that one of my music conductors once told us prior to a competition.
It’s a statement I’ve carried with me ever since and that has been useful in so many situations, not only in music, but in life.
He said something along these lines:
“If you play a wrong note or make a mistake, don’t dwell on it! The mistake has already been made, it can’t be fixed, just think forward and concentrate on playing the rest of the piece.”

And he is right. What can you do? You can’t go back in time and fix it. And if your mind is stuck on that error you made, then the rest of your performance will also be a disaster. Instead of beating yourself up over the mistake you made, try learning from it.
You won’t move forward if you keep looking back.

Let’s say you’re visiting a friend who lives in an area you are unfamiliar with.
You miss the freeway exit that leads to your friend’s place. If you keep staring back at the freeway ramp you were supposed to be exiting, thinking of nothing but how you missed your exit, you will most likely end up in a car accident because you are unfocused and not looking ahead. Most likely, you will also pass the following freeway exit and maybe even the one after it, constantly moving further away from your intended destination and making things a lot worse than they could have been.

Instead of this chaos, you could stop thinking about the exit that has already passed and start looking ahead to the next one. In the process, you will familiarize yourself with a new geographical area that reaches beyond your intended destination. If this is the first time you’ve ever missed a freeway exit, it most likely will not be your last, so you are now learning how to handle that situation should it arise in the future. Once you focus forward, several possibilities to remedy the situation will appear before you. Will you drive on to the freeway leading in the opposite direction to catch the right exit? Will you try to parallel the freeway through side streets to find your way back? Either way, your mistake can be nothing but beneficial to you and in the end, I’m sure you’ll still manage to find your friend’s house. (Also, you’ll probably never miss that exit again!)

Over the past 24 hours or so, I’ve remembered several great blogs that I wrote & that were lost due to yesterday’s moment of blondness (I can say that, because I’m actually blonde….lol)
When I think of these posts, I groan and sigh and tear my hair out for awhile. But why do I go back there? It’s done! I’m in this situation right now, there’s no going back.
Can I rewrite the blogs that I remember the topic of? Sure! And who knows, they may even turn out better the second time around. And many of those blogs may not be worth rewriting, in which case they probably not have been posted in the first place.

When all is said and done, I blog because I love to write. Now I’ve created an opportunity for myself to start from scratch. That may not be a bad thing.

So why do I bring up freeway exits, band competitions and clever words of wisdom? I needed to attach a positive connotation to blogging, as opposed to the negative one that was currently overshadowing everything else. Several times today I’ve been staring at a blank page with a blank mind because all I could think of when the word “blog” came to mind was all the blogs that are gone and that’s not the way I wanted to proceed.

Now I’m back on the fabled horse. It’ll probably try to buck me off again, but the fall should be a lot softer next time.

And although I’ve vowed not to look back, there’s one back I definitely should be focusing on moving forward… and that would be the backup.

(Cheezy? I thought so…. ;-) )

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


As you can see, my last 7 posts are dated 2/18/09… It didn’t always use to be that way.
Also, as you can see, there are no posts dated prior to this date... Again, it didn’t always use to be that way.

I mean, can’t you even get a popup that says something like “Are you sure you want to delete ALL (I repeat…ALL!!) your posts?” before they’re gone for real? I’m really frustrated right now.

I went to delete a label. A freakin’, stupid, insignificant to most, label.
And oh boy did I do a thorough job.

I clicked “check all” posts because I was removing this label from all my posts, and then I clicked “delete”, thinking it would delete the label. Wrong! Well, actually, that was correct…the label IS indeed gone…. Along with every blog I ever posted.

Luckily, my “Back” button still worked and the cache still showed my last 7 posts or so, so I was able to copy those over into a word document and repost them all. However, this blog used to be a lot longer than 7 posts :(

I’m so mad at myself right now and very frustrated, but what can I do. They’re all lost & gone forever. All I can do is create new ones and never touch that delete button ever again.
If I stick a stupid label on something, then by George, it gets to stay there!!!

No more lip gloss for today.

A Lip Gloss Kind of Day .....

It was a bittersweet experience to wake up today, much due to the absence of rain pounding against my window.

I love the sound of rain. It’s a cozy sound. It reminds me of all the things I love about rain.I cherish the trail of cool kisses it leaves across my skin. I love how it completely justifies a need to be lazy because we can say:
“Oh well, it’s raining outside, I guess I can’t go for a jog or work in the garden when it rains…I may as well put on a good movie & stay in bed”. (We should take time to do this anyway by the way, even without the rain telling us to do so…)
I love plowing through big puddles of water with my truck, sending the water rocketing into the air like a huge tidal wave washing over my car, and I love how fresh and clean the air is after being cleansed by the rain.

What I hate about the sound of rain pounding on my window is first of all the fact that I have to leave my bed when all I want to do is roll over and pull the covers up to my ears and sleep some more. Secondly, I hate traffic on rainy days. If I wake up and I hear rain, I know that traffic is without a doubt going to be terrible because some people refuse to believe that wet asphalt can be dangerous.

I also have a dog. I know that when it rains, we have two options. She’ll either go outside to do her business in the rain, which means coming back inside with muddy paws and soaked fur, not to mention that muggy scent of wet dog which has the power to override the scent of any air freshener. Alternatively she won’t go outside in the rain at all. Instead she will save up all her urine until she can save it no more and let it go all over my kitchen floors. Either way, the end result is the same: Floor mopping!


My mixed feelings about the absence of rain quickly vanished once I walked outside and opened the garage door. A beautiful shade of blue graced the sky and there was a healthy chill in the air. A refreshing chill in fact, the kind that nips at your skin and wakes up the senses. I rolled down the windows on my truck because I wanted to feel the fresh breeze blowing through as I drove down the street. Once I reach the freeway however, open windows at XX mph (and by that, I am naturally referring to a nice & legal speed of 65mph…) is no picnic, so that’s where the fresh air ends. Literally. The air is no longer fresh once you reach the freeway.By that time however, I was nice and awake and in a great mood, so in lieu of open windows, I cranked up my Motley Crue CD & thoroughly kick started my heart for the day ahead (pun intended, for any Motley Crue fans that comes across this…).

I arrived at work, nice and refreshed, and my cheerful mood even prompted me to put on some lip gloss before I walked in the door. I rarely wear makeup, so it was indeed a rare occasion.

I’m eating my lunch at my desk today because I have a date with a vampire who I intend to spend my entire lunch hour with, outside in the sunshine. There’s a chill in the air and most California natives are not going to be sitting outside, so it’ll be nice, quiet & peaceful. Just me, my vampire, the blue skies above and an occasional hummingbird fluttering about, seeking nectar from the trees. I know I will truly appreciate my hour of tranquility in the midst of something that has so far proven to be a busy workday and perhaps it will inspire another layer of lip gloss.

The Purpose of Food

I love food.

If I’m having a bad day, there’s nothing like going home and eating a really tasty dinner to make up for all the crap a person has to put up with throughout the day. It just makes everything better! It calms the nerves, soothes the beast, enchants my world with pretty colors and happy thoughts.Ironically, I also reach for food when I’m already happy. Why is that? After all, I’m already happy, so do I really need to be happier than happy?Sometimes the happy comes from good news, and that’s an occasion to celebrate. Good food is involved. Sometimes I’m happy because of something I accomplished and good food is my reward. Sometimes I’m just happy because I can relax and do whatever I want, and of course, what’s a better companion to relax with than… you got it… good food. Or maybe a bag of chips or some oreo cookies… Boy oh boy.

I’ve been overweight my whole life. Now, I’m a naturally big person through genes, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be unhealthy & fat my whole life. I’ve come to realize that I need to rethink the way I view food.

I’ve always wondered if cooks need to like all food. I’m an avid fan of “Top Chef” and “Hell’s Kitchen” and the bottom line in all those shows is that they all need to taste foods, taste what’s in food, taste veggies and know what they taste like before they drop them into whatever creation they are cooking. They have to taste fish, steaks, poultry…shellfish… do they really like it all, or is it simply that they have a different view of food than I do?I often cringe when I see them taste the foods because personally, I’m a very picky eater. I don’t like most fish, I don’t like tomato, don’t like crab, don’t like lobster (I know… please take that look of horror off your face, I’ve seen it before… I’m not a criminal guys, I just don’t like lobster….). So I’m always thinking “I could never be a cook because I wouldn’t be able to taste all that food to decide how to make it”. To a chef, is food simply an ingredient? Is it just a part or a component that they need in order to compose a dish? Could it be that they don’t actually like everything they taste, but they are able to calculate from the way it tastes, whether or not it fits into a dish? Are food ingredients to a chef the same as computer parts for an IT person?

Anyway, it makes me think that I too have to review the way I look at food. It’s obvious that I use food as reward when I do something good, as an anti-depressant for those days I’m down and as a remedy for boredom when I’ve got nothing to do.I guess the trick would be to reframe the image I have of food and try to stop thinking of food as a reward and start thinking of it ass a pure nutritional need. I should start thinking of food merely as a way to fuel and energize my body. I should think about it in a logical way as opposed to tying all these rewarding connotations to the activity of eating food.Why do we have to eat? To stay alive. That should be the only reason we eat. (At least if we’re trying to lose weight). Granted, I still have trouble eating foods I don’t like, even if they are good for my body. I’m not sure how I can get over that threshold, to start liking foods because they’re good for my body, not necessarily because they are good for my palate.

Food = Nutrition

I guess that means I have to seek out other ways of rewarding myself and comfort myself and retrain my brain to automatically reach out for some other type of reward or comfort when I need it.

Sounds easy in theory. Sounds easy right now, because I’m full from lunch.
But it’s far from easy in real life.

I guess analyzing and coming to this conclusion is a good step in the right direction. Who knows, maybe blogging will turn out to be good for my physical health as well as mentally. At least I see what I need to do. Now I just need to put it into practice.

Food should be better for the body than for the mind.

Tattoo Journey - Part 4 - Finally! The right choice!

Ok. I’ve changed my mind for the last time. It finally came to me.

There was this cat who lived on my grandparents’ farm. Her name was Gurimalla. Gurimalla lived to be around 25 years old or so. I’m not exaggerating. She kept going & going & going, much like the energizer bunny, and every year up to the very last few, she produced litters upon litters of kittens. She was a true farm cat, hunting mice and having multiple litters of kittens every summer, litters that usually would stay with her until she chased them out of their nest, at which point they either ran off to other farms to start their own families or they stayed at my grandfather’s farm. (There were a LOT of cats running around my grandfather’s farm….)

Suffice to say, most cats running around in that area today are related to this cat.

Gurimalla was a survivor. I believe the story is that she came from a litter that was abandoned by the cat mother, the rest of the kittens died but she fought to stay alive and alive she stayed for years & years to come. This cat always knew what she wanted & how she wanted it. She knew who she liked and she knew who she didn’t like and she let everybody know her thoughts. It wasn’t unheard of that she’d take a swipe at someone she didn’t like and scratch them up a bit. Thus, she gained everybody’s respect. Nobody touched her kittens unless she allowed them to do so, nobody petted her unless she was in a loving mood (which she often was… after all was said and done, she was a friendly cat... she just knew what she wanted and there's nothing wrong with that :)). She was a really smart cat, she was the Queen of the farm for all those years, up to the day when she drew her very last breath.

Gurimalla is at the core of every memory I have from my grandmother and my grandfather and the summers & vacations that we spent on their farm. In a way she is a great parallel to my grandmother. Her strength and endurance, the way she is still around, even though she has been physically gone for years. I think that once I remembered this cat, I knew for sure she would be a natural choice for my tattoo. She represents so much of my childhood, so much of my grandparents and happy memories, and she doesn't just represent my memories that involve the cat itself, but she was the soul & the foundation of the farm for so many years, it’s hard to think about the farm without remembering her.

So now I need photos. I’ve sent out emails to every family member to see if anybody has pictures of this cat so I can get an accurate portrait of her. It’s weird actually, it’s like she is bringing the past back to us at this very moment. If anyone is to find a photo of her, they will have to dig back quite a few years through the photo albums & I’m sure many memories will spring up during this time. Since the cat was around for so long, I hope that I’ll get a few photos that I can look at & that a tattoo artist can see & help create a nice picture of her on my shoulder.

The more I think about it, the more right this feels. I'm really glad that I've taken so long in deciding on this... and I guess if anybody reads this who are thinking about getting their first tattoo, it's a good insight as to how things can change on a dime and as to why it's so important to think this through before going under the needle.

It's really important to me that if I am to do this, the tattoo needs to have a lot of meaning and significance attached to it. I'm not getting a tattoo just because I want to tarnish my body. If that was the case, I'd walk into a tattoo parlor and just pick something from their wall.In fact, like I've stated in a previous blog, I had even discarded the idea of a tattoo until something very significant happened in my life, which was the passing of my grandmother. It spawned the desire to somehow eternalize her and the thought of a tattoo was once again brought to life.

So… forget the horse shoe, the birch and the rune alphabet, which were all good ideas. In fact, I still may add the Berkana rune into the mix. It would be a nice way to incorporate my own name & heritage into the tattoo, that way it would represent both the maternal and the paternal side of my heritage.

So… Gurimalla’s spirit spirit will never die, her offspring will rule the entire region for years and years to come and her face will eventually be carved into my back…

I’m sure I can think of her claws once that needle starts etching my skin ;-)

Tattoo Journey - Part 3 - Pain & Tarnish

Ok so now that I’m getting into thinking about a tattoo, I’m constantly reminded of two things:

1. It’s permanent
2. It hurts

Yesterday I was standing in the mirror, looking at my shoulder, which currently is pale & smooth with no marks or scarring of any kind. I was trying to picture a tattoo there and was thinking: “Is that what I want to see every time I look in the mirror?”(We’ve got mirror on 2 bathroom walls so you always see your back in a mirror somewhere….)

I figure the tattoo will be a part of me and not some strange, fictional element like it is to me right now. Once I decide on a design, I’ll have it drawn on or something first to make sure I want to tamper with my skin that way, but I think that if I pick the right tattoo, looking at it will remind me of the memories I want that tattoo to represent for me. It’ll be a visual statement to thoughts & memories that are important to me.

So about the pain… I think my pain tolerance is fairly high. I’ve had my eyebrows & eyeliner done through permanent makeup and it was no picnic but I put up with it. It was worth it in the end. And it’s true what they say…. You won’t die!

I looked up options regarding taking Tylenol before going under the needle or even the numbing creams but have decided not to use any of that. From everything I have read, it could lead to unnecessary complications with a tattoo (healing process etc), so I’ll just bring someone whose hand I can squeeze really hard & who can distract me a little.

I’ve never actually had a problem with needles, any shots & blood work I’ve been through over the years have never been a problem, so I figure if I just go in & try to relax, it shouldn’t be too bad.

Still … it’s a daunting task to voluntarily go in for something that’s going to hurt.

It’ll no doubt be the biggest obstacle for me, once I’ve decided what to get.

Tattoo Journey - Part 2 - Birch

The second part of my tattoo …


Haven’t yet decided whether it should be the leaves, a branch or perhaps the Norse rune Berkana, which has the meaning of the tree Birch embedded into it, along with other symbolism. Seeing as I love Norse mythology and I am Norwegian, this rune may be a good choice for me. Also, it may be cheaper and turn out nicer than a birch leaf would. The leaves may look nice on a photo, but be too intricate and too detailed to come out nice on a tattoo.

Something to think about…Heres the Berkana rune:
Also called Beorc

Letter: Bold

Norse name: Bjarkan

Ancient Norse word for birch (which is my last name).

Essentially, Berkana is a female rune. It indicates Goddess force, female fertility, and the relationship between a mother and her child, especially the relationship between a mother and her infant. Maternal influence/nurturing is key when Berkana shows in a reading. In readings concerning business or some other non-mother/child situation, it still carries the connotation of nurturing, such as the nurturing one would give a business project in its early stages.Generally though, Berkana is indicative of the domestic situation. When Berkana is reversed, it often indicates problems or frictions between mother and child, especially between mothers and daughters. Unless it is paired with highly negative runes, however, these problems are usually temporary. Think of the frictions of a child becoming more independent versus the mother who is unable to let go of the child, and that is what Berkana reversed is indicating

Tattoo Journey - Part 1 - The horse shoe

Ok. So I’ve decided that to tattoo or not to tattoo is no longer the question.

The real question is: What to tattoo.

I’ve wanted a tattoo for at least 5-6 years. Wait, let me rephrase that. I've been seriously considering a tattoo for about 5-6 years. I've probably wanted one even longer than that.In fact, I've probably wanted it for even longer than that.

I've always loved looking at tattoos on people. I remember once as a kid, I saw this man with a boat tattooed on his arm. I believe it was a schooner, with a huge sails and everything. I told my mother I thought his tattoo looked really nice but she frowned upon the tattoo, so naturally I discarded the idea of ever getting one myself. She told me all the reasons why a tattoo was a bad idea, and sure, I saw her points, but I was still fascinated with them. I’m glad she told me all the reasons why she didn’t like tattoos, because it has kept me real about them. I know it’s permanent, I’ve figured out which places on my body wouldn’t be a great choice for a tattoo… all because I’ve taken her opinion into consideration. I’m also glad I didn’t run out and get a tattoo in rebellion, first chance I got.

A tattoo to me is a big deal. I realize that I will be branded for life with whatever design I choose.

Once I went with a friend to a tattoo parlor and I almost got one. At that time however I was uncertain of what I wanted for a tattoo so I changed my mind about doing it that day. I wanted more time. I’m really happy that I’ve taken my time because what I had in mind for a tattoo back then is not what I have in mind today. I once considered tattooing a tiger on my shoulder because I really love tigers. But now, it seems like such a cliché to choose a tiger. In the past I also considered tattooing something in reference to favorite artists or favorite sports teams (I will definitely be a faithful Anaheim Angels fan till the end, so the Angels logo wouldn’t be too bad…), but it somehow seems too simple for my personal tattoo.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually learned a lot by taking so long to decide. I’ve learned a lot about myself in that course of time and I’ve learned a lot about tattoos. I’ve learned what I want a tattoo to mean to me, since I’m the one who is stuck with it for life.

I even put the thought of a tattoo to rest for awhile, but when my grandmother passed away in January, it reawakened the urge for a tattoo. Even though I will always remember her, I felt an urge to revisit my thoughts on a tattoo and have something done that will physically make her a part of me. I realized then that a tattoo wouldn’t just represent me on a superficial level, but it should mean something more than that.And please be aware that I’m not bagging on anybody who chooses their favorite artist, band or sports team for a tattoo. I know that a tattoo is a personal experience and such a personal decision and that a tattoo means something different to each and every individual who goes under the needle.

Me, I’m a writer. That means I’m a thinker and I probably think too much, so a tattoo to me, personally, has to have a deeper meaning than the color of the ink or the shape of the design on my back. (By the way, I have decided on a shoulder tattoo, I’ve gotten that far…).

The death of my grandmother brought back every memory about everything I loved about her and how much me and my brother loved spending our vacations with her and my grandfather, on their farm, helping them out or causing them head aches…. (not sure which one we did more…) Because of her, I’m looking back to my roots for a tattoo. And I don’t mean my roots as a Norwegian or as an American or anything like that. I mean I’m looking back to my roots… as me.

I have made progress. I want a horse shoe. I want a rusty colored horse shoe, a worn horse shoe. I don’t want the horse shoe for good luck, I want it because it resembles me and says a lot about me and my past. Once I decide for sure, I’ll let you all know the significance of the horse shoe, but so far I’m still thinking about what I can pair with the horse shoe to make it truly mine.

I will be blogging my decisions and everything regarding my future tattoo for everyone to read.

This blog could possibly go on for another 10-20 years without me going under the needle, but I am not in a rush. More likely though, it’ll be a year or two. Who knows, maybe it will be sooner? There are a lot of cool tattoo expos going on in my area from time to time, so maybe I’ll visit one of those & get it done by one of the artists there.

Finally, anybody who has any kind of tattoo experience, feel free to chime in here and leave me comments. I’d love to hear from people who have been under the needle, people who are thinking about going under the needle but haven’t yet….people who thought about it but decided not to in the end… I want to know all your thoughts!

For now, I’m going back to my thinking cap…

Jury Duty

Today was the first time in the 4 years I've been a US citizen that I actually had to show up for jury duty. I was pretty excited. I know most people view jury duty as a drag, a hassle, something that keeps them from their job and if they can think up an excuse for dismisssal, they will use it.

To me, jury duty is a privilege. It's an honor to be able to help out the community and contribute to our country in any way I can, including jury duty. I worked hard to become a US citizen, so a jury duty summons to me is a confirmation that I am a citizen of the greatest country in the world. There are plenty of countries whose citizens have no right to a fair trial, and even less of a right to contribute and voice their opinion regarding the legal system.

I thought people would dress up for court. At the very least, I thought business casual would be proper attire, even if it is for jury duty. I even wore heels! I never wear heels!However, as I looked around at my fellow jurors, a lot of them wore jeans, t-shirts & sneakers.Personally, I feel a need to dress up when I enter the court building, no matter what my purpose for being there is. I have the deepest respect for our judicial system, I respect our court and I feel that replacing my jeans and sneakers with skirt & high heels was appropriate for the occasion.

Like many of my fellow authors (don't try denying it), I am a voyeur. I love watching people. And let me tell a voyeur like myself, jury duty is fascinating. My book & my iPod lay untouched in my purse while my baby blues scouted the jury assembly room.Now let me be clear, I'm not a creepy kind of voyeur in any way. I just like watching people, seeing people interact, noticing how they interact with their fellow citizens. It provides for a lot of good material for my writing because I can find a literary character in each and every person I meet. Within this jury assembly room, I saw people from all walks of life, and while I was watching them, it made me realize the point and the importance of jury duty.I thought to myself, "If 12 people from this room, with all their differences in career, finances, life experiences or social status, can reach an agreement about a case, that has to be fair..." The gentleman next to me was studying for an exam in truck driving. The business woman across from me was calling everyone in her office, letting them know everything that needed to be done for the day. A couple of students had their noses buried in their school books. We were all different and if we had been picked to sit on a jury, no matter how different we were as individuals, by the end of the day, all of us would have come together and agreed on a verdict. It's fascinating, isn't it?

The video they showed us made me want to be on a jury. Unfortunately my job doesn't pay for jury duty and my husband is currently out of work, so financially it wouldn't be a suitable time for it. I was still disappointed to be excused so fast. But there will be more opportunities I'm sure, and I'll be more than happy to grab them. It's a privilege, not a duty.