Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Friday, July 30, 2010

Savory Sightseeing

When I began planning my trip to Norway, I scoured the travel books, explored the internet and drilled my Norwegian acquaintances about the many things we would see and do while Peggy and I traveled the countryside. Other than telling myself that I would try whatever was placed on my plate, I didn't think too much about what I would be eating while I was on my vacation. Well, I was delighted by the culinary treats I had on my trip.

I will share with you my Palatable Photos.
Monkfish & Potatoes at Smia

We sat at the table by the window.

Please note the time of evening we are leaving and that it is still light out.
The next day we went to "The Smallest Cafe in the World" where I met Dunna who spoke to on Facebook before I came. I love meeting people in real life. She makes these wonderful waffles with apples and cinnamon in the batter topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

That night we met some new friends and enjoyed Chicken Tikka Masala.

The next day we went to Bergen where they had an amazing open air fish market. There were so many fresh fish dishes to choose from but I had to have myself some Fish & Chips. Yum. (Sorry no pic of that - I was too hungry.) We then wandered around the vendors in the rain and came across a cafe called Illy Coffee Bar.
I had to have a dessert...Chocolate filled croissants and apple juice.

Every hotel we stayed in had amazing breakfast buffets, too magnificent to describe.
More than the usual American breads and pastries...pate, caviar, sundried tomatoes, meats, cheeses, eggs, beans, potatoes, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, yogurts, whole grain breads and rolls, etc. This was just one out of 4 or 5 counters.

The next day we drove up the mountain to Flåm. We stayed at the Fretheim, but we had dinner at the Flåmsbrygge compliments of Peggy. It was another great buffet of fresh food.

Peggy's attempt at food art. LOL

Our last night in Karmøy we met some American relatives of our Norwegian host and enjoyed a meal of prawns and crab with some wine. We left the next day to stay in Oslo for three days.

There we enjoyed more good food including kebab - once again too hungry to remember the camera.

The last night in Oslo Peggy and I went to Tullins Cafe where we shared chicken ciabatta sandwiches and stir fry beef. It was great way to end our trip.

Despite eating a variety of foods and never feeling hungry, I lost at least 8 pounds on this trip from all the walking we did. More about that in another post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just Had to Squeeze One More In

This is referring to not only blog posts before my long awaited vacation, but also to day trips with Peggy and socks in my suitcase and songs on my playlist. (Turn up the volume if you are on mute like I am most of the time.)

Monday, Peggy & I decided to go for a nature hike out behind the local dam at Belton Lake. I had been there before with some teachers and a second time with our students, but this trip was the farthest I have explored this area. It was a perfect day complete with dragonflies, butterflies, mushrooms and frogs. See below:

Yes, I picked up this frog on my own with out prodding. I almost stepped on it and had to pick it up.

Today we board the airplane on our very long journey to Oslo, a trip that usually will take about 14 hours, but due to someone leaving the rookie to make the travel arrangements we leave at night, have to be at the next airport at 4 a.m. and will get a little tour of New York before actually leaving for Norway and arriving the next day. Yes, you heard it folks, we will take three days (not 72 hours, but still) to get to Oslo. Upon arrival we will meet up with a girl I met randomly on a blog so many years ago. We are very excited.

Well, it is late (early) and I have some sleeping to get done. I am packed and ready to go. Woo Hoo!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

And So It Continues

Well, hasn't this been a busy week? Well, I guess you wouldn't really know since I have been quiet on the blogging front, so let's share a little about what we have been doing.

(Warning: This post is filled with descriptions of the many meals I have prepared this week, evidence for future generations that I do know how to cook.)

Monday began with a trip to Temple for a Mary Kay meeting with my director, the lovely Georgia. She got to meet Peggy, and Peggy got to learn about my business. The meeting was followed with a tasty lunch at BJ's Brewhouse. Mom accompanied us so the conversation was quite lively.

Tuesday was a long day. We left town around 9:15 and made our way through the winding country roads dotted with windmills, goats, cattle and oil pumps. Our destination, Abilene, for some more lunch. This time we got to meet our bloggy friend, Carrie who drove just as far as we did but from the opposite direction. Before lunch at Abuelo's, Peggy got to see my alma mater, McMurry University. Lunch was filled with good food and good conversation. We all snapped photos of each other, hugged our goodbyes and went in our merry way. I did take one little detour before heading home. We stopped at my long time, Dr. Harvey at Abilene Eye Care. We had to wait for her to finish an eye exam, but then we got the grand tour of the office. I hadn't seen it even once since she opened six years ago. (Shame on me.) We drove home, had a tasty dinner of chicken breasts and bean salad (kidney, black and garbanzo beans with peeled/seeded/diced cucumbers, green peppers and red onions marinated in an oil & vinegar salad dressing.)

Wednesday Peggy and I met my friend Tynia who is here on her R&R as she transfers from teaching in Korea to her new station in Naples, Italy. (Is anyone thinking - new vacation spot?) I introduced Peggy to Tynia's and my favorite burger and fries in the world, Mel's Burgers. It is a quaint joint with walls decked with license plates and other ephemera. They opened in 2000 and are still going strong even in a struggling economy. It was more great conversations filled with laughter and talks of travel. Dinner was simple, but fun with sandwiches on wheat rolls complete with various lunch meats, cheeses, green leaf lettuce and vine ripe tomatoes, more bean salad and the requisite nacho cheese Doritos.

Thursday was to be Beach Day, but it was very rainy. Instead, we went grocery shopping, came home and rested and then went bowling. We were all very rusty. When we came home, we had home made chicken noodle soup and biscuits - quick and easy but very delicious.

Friday, I had to drive my aunt to a doctor about an hour away. The night before I had made chicken salad with diced apples, sliced grapes, celery and red onion. I didn't want to have to worry about what we would have for supper when we got home. My plan was to stop at Le Madeleine's for they croissants. They are top notch. The appointment took longer than we expected, so I was happy that I had planned ahead. Peggy stayed home with Caitlin and explored our "little" town. Caitlin forgot her way to the shopping center, but it was all serendipitous because it led to a pet shop where they met a macaw. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to get the pictures from Cait's camera phone, so you will just have to believe them. As soon as I got home, I threw together a broccoli pasta salad (broccoli, bell pepper, red onion, shell pasta and Paul Newman's vinaigrette salad dressing) and invited my aunt over for dinner. Yet another fine day.

Today's plans went off without a hitch. We got up at a decent time, hit the road for a secret destination, stopped for fresh baked pretzels at the German bakery, and arrived at our destination only one hour later. We were at Longhorn Caverns in Burnet, Texas. Yes, my international friends, we have caverns here. We paid our entrance fee, waited for about 30 minutes because we arrived late for the first tour, and took photos in the wooded area out back. The actual cave tour was entertaining. Our guide was informative, but funny and everyone had a good time. This morning I had the where with all to remember to pack lunches for everyone, so went across the parking lot to the picnic area for a lunch of sandwiches, chicken salad, pasta salad, chips and various fruits - a bona fide bonanza. I think we are all still drowsy from all we ate.

The next two days will be spent in preparation for the long awaited trip to Norway. I have much packing to do. Still have some shopping to do, too. In the meantime

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Adventure Begins

The definition of a true friend? You won't find this one in Webster's, but in this case, it is someone who flies 1/2 way around the globe, lands at 10:15 at night, chats with your excited son until 11:30 and still gets up to be "dragged" 30 miles away at 8:30 in the morning to see one of the Top 10 Fourth of July Parades in the Country.

No, Saturday was NOT the Fourth of July, but the City of Belton must have had the wrong calendar out when planning their annual parade. For this reason Peggy had to use her recovery day to see the parade. She was a super trooper, though.

On the way back, my son spotted Longhorn cattle, so we had to make a U-turn just to take a couple of shots.Good fences make good neighbors.

After a nice nap and supper of hamburgers and cheeseburgers, it came to venture out into the neighborhood.

On the outset of our tour

Half-way through, still going strong.

And then...It started raining, but that didn't dampen our spirits.

"We're Singing In the Rain."

Overall it was a 2.7km walk, but with Peggy it was like a walk in the park.

Stay tuned for more on our Adventure.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Have You Seen This Woman?

Well, I have. At this moment she is asleep in my "guest room." (Read as my son's room that he has been displaced from.)

Last night I drove to the local airport to meet Miruspeg whose flight was to land at 9:30 p.m. The entire morning and two days prior were spent prepping my house for her arrival. Yes, if I were a regular housekeeping person, I wouldn't have to do that much. So sue me for being a carefree spirit. At least that is what I will continue to tell me self. But I digress. So I dressed my son in jammies so we wouldn't have to worry about it when we got back and hopped in the car in my usual down to the minute manner, stopped for gasoline and winded my way to the airport. We arrived at exactly 9:30 p.m., and I was only slightly worried that Peg would be waiting at the baggage carousel for me. This is, after all, Small Town USA Airport. The people who take the tickets are often the same people who help bring in the planes. Tonight was no different.

This time, however, after a crowd of people descended the escalator, I noticed it was absent one Aussie. I wandered over to the ticket counter in hopes that a clerk would be there, but no such luck. Now, I began to get a little concerned. There was another man waiting for a woman he had never met that was supposed to be on the same flight. It got my mind to spinning. Who was this woman? Why did he not know what she looked like exactly? He was from over an hour away. What would he do if she didn't come soon? Would his car get towed from the tow away zone, or would he heed my advice and park the car? It's only a dollar for goodness sake!

Meanwhile, my son is jumping all over the airport, looking at the wall of water, going to the restroom, rolling his cars on the floor, wondering when Peg was to be here. I had no answer and apparently no one else did until I found two men dressed in airport work clothes. When I inquired, they said that her flight had been delayed and would be here shortly.

Surely enough, ten minutes later, I saw a new crowd of people coming down the escalator. This time we were not disappointed. This crowd contained my dear bloggy friend.

It has taken two years, but she is here and I can't wait to see what trouble the two of us can get into.
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