Thursday, February 28

The Most Pitiful Thing. EVER.

So, as chihuahuas often do, our little Elly went for a teeth cleaning at the vet on Tuesday. I took her to the vet and it was pouring down rain. We walked in and two HUGE dogs were in a shouting match and my little Elly was shaking like a leaf. What had started as an unusual and rare morning walk, had ended up at the vet, and I could sense her suspicion. She probably thought I just brought her with me to buy some more dried pig ears. I think she remembered she had just been here a few days earlier. So, the technician came to take her away and THOSE EYES! She was looking at me like: 'Whoa! What is going on here?? Who is this? Really? Are you letting her take me away? Hold up sister! Are you leaving me here???? NOOOOOOOOOOOO' Ok, so that is a dramatic re-enactment, and she probably had no clue what was happening. But it was pitiful and I felt HORRIBLE. So guilty. I walked back to train in a daze, hoping that the Norwegians hadn't accidentally written 'euthanize' instead of 'teeth cleaning' on her forms.

They knocked her out good and when we picked her up she was a shell of her usual self.

Like a limp noodle. A rag doll. She was flopping all over the place. Tongue hanging out, body like jello. I was so scared to see her, but when she heard my voice, the only sign of life was the faint wag of her tail. We put her on the ground when we got home and had to take off our coats. She was stumbling around like a drunk on a 3 day binge. She kept falling over. I felt so sorry for her, so naturally, I had to take pictures, cause at the same time, I couldn't stop laughing.

Sweetest dog ever.

Sometimes all you need is a little sheltering and some love:

Say it with me:

Sunday, February 24

Tag, you're it!

I've been tagged by Jen at 'Use Real Butter' and can I just say what a THRILL it gave me? I LOVE her blog and have mentioned it several times on this one,usually for sending me into fits of cravings after having seen something she has made. She is amazing and is worthy of your reading! So, needless to say, being tagged by her felt a little like getting asked to sit with the popular kids at lunch.

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

So, FIVE things about me:

1. As a child, I was OBSESSED with The Chronicles of Narnia. I wanted DESPERATLY to get transported into Narnia to do Aslan's work thereby fulfilling my destiny. I do not know how many times I read 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', it never got old. My greatgrandmother, Mama, had an old wardrobe in her closet and I used to go in there and stand in front of the old piece of furniture with butterflies in my stomach, knowing that THIS time, I would go through it and end up in a snowy, wintery Narnia, just like Lucy had. Of course I was always bitterly disappointed, but that didn't stop me from having the FAITH that it just might happen...someday. When I moved to Norway, we were out for a walk in the woods one day and I suddenly looked up, and my heart skipped a beat. Whenever I had imagined what my first view of Narnia would be, was right before me, and it gave me goosebumps:

Alas, Aslan did not come bounding out of the forest, but it made me feel good inside to have a bit of my childhood desire fulfilled in a very unexpected way!

2. When I was 2 or so, I thought it would be a good idea to drink some 'Liquid Gold' furniture polish. Who knows why. Panic ensued. I was rushed to the hospital and saved. Death by furniture polish, what a pitiful way to go. I am probably the reason why they invented child safety tops shortly thereafter:

3. My husband and I are in Rick Steve's Scandanavia 2007 travel book! Long story short, he came to Oslo to do research, we showed him around town, he took a picture of us holding a pack of hotdogs and a six pack of beer and the rest is history! It's in the Oslo section. Good times:

4. Very little grosses me out. I don't know why. Give me blood, vomit, poo, whatever, I can handle it. Makes me think I have way undershot my potential and I should have been a surgeon.

5. I have a highly developed sense of smell. I can tell you the different smells and tastes in wines and identify the various notes in perfumes with astounding accuracy. It is kind of weird. And I also associate smell with taste. For example, I will say 'Oh, this tastes like honeysuckle smells'. There is a scientific name for it, but I can't remember what it is. Oh, and I smell diabetic people

There you go. Those are some fascinating things about yours truly!

So now, who to tag?

1. I tag Amylia Mainly because I think she is a pretty amazing person. She writes beautifully and always makes me think. Plus, she got to go to an Oprah taping last week, and I think that is REALLY something. PLUS, she is an identical twin, and since losing my little sister Courtney, who was also an identical twin, I have an ifinity for those single egg pairs.

2. The Homesick Texan:
This girl is amazing! Whenever I am feeling down in the dumps and missing Texas, I go over to her blog and feel my soul being FILLED. Everything she makes is MAGIC.

3. Shell at 'Fiber among the roses'. I don't know her yet, but people who can knit and make ACTUAL things you can WEAR, I find VERY impressive!


Sad, I know, but I don't know anyone else to tag! So, I am breaking the rules.

Thank you Jen for tagging me!

Wednesday, February 20

Oh, Reuben, how your memory haunts me...

As many of you know by now, I am a woman driven by cravings. The general rule seems to be, if I can't find it here in Norway, I crave it even more.

I'm not sure why, but I have never been one to get excited about sandwiches. You would never catch me saying 'A sandwich just isn't a sandwich without the tangy zip of Miracle Whip'. Now, I won't turn up my nose to a good pimento cheese or a BLT. My dad made the best homemade pimento cheese and the BLT's weren't too shabby, but other than that, sandwiches don't really float my boat.

Except for one.

I don't know where my love affair with Reuben began, it didn't seem significant at the time, but it has endured the test of time. I think it is the combination of the of the saurkraut, the rye bread, the corned beef, the russian dressing, all of it grilled til it's all melty and delicious.

To me, it is food porn. And it all culminated last summer in New York City. I had one singular goal. It was to go to the legendary Carnegie Deli and order a Reuben and possibly be yelled at by the grumpy old waitresses.

It was classic. We went in, sat down, and our waitress, who had to have been at least 75, came over, slammed our silverware down and said, in a voice like gravel, 'Whaddya havin'??'. I knew instinctively that I shouldn't ask for ANYTHING on the side and that substitutions would NOT be tolerated. Even though she couldn't have been an inch over 4 foot 11, you could tell the tourists were terrified of her. She was the queen.

She took our order, shuffled to the counter and hollered our order to the cooks, and moments later, my perfect, gorgeous reuben was before me. I was living the New York dream and it was PERFECT.

Well, I hadn't thought of Reuben since, until Sunday. I went over to 'Use Real Butter', that is Jenny's blog. She is a kitchen goddess and her blog is like CRACK to me. Inevitably, I always see something on her blog that sends me into a complete craving spiral. Well, of course she had made a perfect, gorgeous Reuben! Just seeing it again made my mouth water. And that was that.


One teeny, tiny problem: I LIVE IN NORWAY!! I had a feeling this wouldn't end well, but I was determined to try. I needed rye bread, saurkraut, swiss cheese, corned beef and thousand island dressing. I had ZERO of those things and had very low hopes of finding them here in Scandanavia. So my turning Oslo upside down yielded the following: Spelt sourdough bread, low fat Jarlsberg cheese, Pastrami and norwegian saurkraut. I went ahead and made homemade thousand island dressing. I was determined to TRY and recreate what I had in NYC.
So lets get started shall we?

My scandanavian ingredients:

A close up of the pastrami and cheese, really cause I liked the way it looked:

Putting it together:

Grilling up nicely:

Out of the cast iron skillet and on to the cutting board:

And onto my plate:

I wish I could say that it totally satisfied my craving, but it didn't. I just kept thinking about the mean old waitress and my perfect Reuben in New York City.

Then I felt sorry for my little pitiful norwegian reuben. It couldn't help it that we were in Norway! So, I pushed NY Reuben out of my mind, and enjoyed the Nor-reuben thoroughly!

But how the memory haunts me...

Sunday, February 17

The times they are a-changin'

I know it's been awhile since I have posted and I am sorry, but I have been a little conflicted. I love blogging and I love writing about things that happen in my life, but I always feel guilty writing about random things on a blog called 'the beautiful diabetic'. I feel like I should be writing things about diabetes. And, to be honest, I feel like diabetes is such a small part of who I am, that I feel CONFINED. Heart disease is a much more pressing matter for me. I could rename the blog 'Long Qt girl', but again, it's only a small part.

The sad part is, i LOVE the name. The Beautiful Diabetic. Here is what I wrote on my very first blog entry:

"I didn't decide on the name out of vanity and strong conviction of my beauty. I decided on the name because I am tired of disease marking people as 'flawed' or 'weak' or 'sad' or 'dying'. I decided on the name after living with disease throughout the last decade. After watching an UGLY disease kill my little sister, who truly was beautiful. After realizing that I have spent too many years at war with this thing called my body. Calling it names that are ugly and spiteful. No more. I am diabetic and I am beautiful. Therefore I am the beautiful diabetic. I expect those words to love each other. To be what my mother always called 'Fast Friends'. To wrap around each other in a warm embrace, like two things that were always meant to be, but were always somehow kept apart. A homecoming of sorts. Where diabetic will say to beautiful- 'At last!' And beautiful will say to diabetic- 'It's so good to see you!' And two words who have been kept apart, will fall together naturally, and suddenly the beautiful diabetic will have taken flight."

Isn't that poetic and nice? To me it was. It just RESONATED within me.
So, I don't know what to do. Can I keep on being JUST the beautiful diabetic, when I feel like there is so much more? Is it just me? Is the name not that big of a deal?
Maybe I can just call it 'the beautiful' and leave it at that.

So, here is one of those beautiful moments of my life that I have been thinking about lately.

One of the highlights in my life thus far happened in the summer of 2002. I was in Japan with my mom, aunt and cousin. We took the bullet train from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji. We got to Fuji-san (as the locals call it), and it just so happened that we were there in the middle of the few weeks that it is open for climbers. Well, for some reason, Megan and I thought it would be a good idea to climb it. Why not, right??

In hindsight, there were MANY reasons NOT to. However, those eluded me at the time. I was engulfed by the challenge of it all. I was standing at the base of Mt. Fuji! THE Mt. Fuji!!! I was flooded with emotions. My little sister had recently died. I had had my first heart surgery and I was angry at my body. I was angry at many things, and it felt as though I had something to PROVE. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do ANYTHING despite the betrayal of my body and my bad heart. So, the combination of Mt. Fuji and a girl with a dead sister and a flawed heart seemed like a match made in heaven.

My mother protested. I could not be swayed. So,she and my aunt returned to Tokyo with hugs and tears and the promise that we would meet them tomorrow.

So, here is the scene. Climbing this sucker was not planned. Apparantly, if you intend to climb a mountain, it's best to prepare and do a little research and planning. There is a list of things you need, we had a total of ZERO of those things. To help you understand my idiocy, here is a visual of mountain climbing Kathryn:
White linen shirt under a pair of blue jean overalls topped with a stylish black cashmere sweater. I had on thin socks and a pair of running shoes. OH, and for some reason I had a red bandana. Oh yea, sounds like I was really prepared. We bought rain slickers, gloves and walking sticks in the supply shop and started our climb.

It was actually pretty easy. At first.

We met people from all over on the mountain. The higher we got, the vistas became increasingly beautiful. 5 hours into it, I was cold, I was exhausted, I was in pain, but I was determined. I would pick a place in the distance and tell myself that I just had to make it to that point and then I could quit. I would get to a point and I would suddenly look beyond it and see other mountains below it, and I would be flooded with emotion. I kept thinking about my sister and how she would NEVER have the chance to do this, to see this...and I wept.

I wept as I climbed. I wept as I thought of Courtney and a life without her. I wept as I yelled at God for taking her and I wept as I thanked Him for the grace and mercy He gave to survive it. It was a mess of emotions. It was intense, but I continued.

It was really stupid to be there in the first place, but as night fell, we were halfway to the summit. They say you should climb halfway, sleep for a few hours in a mountain hut, get up at 2am and continue to the summit to be there in time for sunrise. The Japanese call it 'Buddah's Halo'.

In this hut we met 3 older Japenese men. They met every year to climb Fuji-san. By the end of the night, they had adopted us. My Japanese grandfather was called Shimnee. I think he could tell instantly that I would need help. Megan went on at a olympic pace with the other two old men, and Shimnee stayed behind with me, the obvious weak link.

As we climbed in the darkness, we shared stories. I told him about my sister and he was silent and understanding when I cried. He told me about his life and his wife and children. We were moving slow. It was hard to breath at that altitude.

But I was determined.

I was having to stop alot. I was freezing and Megan had mercifully given me her coat that she just happened to have. I kept sitting on big boulders along the trail and Shimnee would admonish me and say 'No Katrin-san, you must rest standing style. No sit.' It was a race.

I NEEDED to be there at sun rise.

It was so quiet on the mountain. I could hear a clanking noise and I turned to look and there was a snake of lights wrapping down the mountain. The noise was the swaying of lanterns. There were hundreds of people making their way to the top. It was a stunning image, pitch black on the side of Mt. Fuji with hundreds of flickering pin pricks of light. All of these people going to the top. I seriously doubted I could finish. I hurt EVERYWHERE.

And then I heard my name being called. It was Megan and she was smiling and waving. She had made it to the top. The sun was getting ready to appear and Shimnee put his hand on my back and said 'We finish now', and with that, I took a deep breath, and with everything in me, I climbed that mountain. Megan and the other 2 old men were cheering me on, Shimnee was right by me silently willing me to continue. I was so close and I was STILL crying and then, I WAS THERE!

I was on the top of Mt. Fuji! I did it! I was totally overwhelmed. I was hugging Megan and Shimnee and the other men and everyone was doing a little half bow thing and then it happened. A collective 'OOOhhhh' spread across the summit.

It was like a crack in the steel grey sky. Like fire and light had just cut through the darkness. Then the sun rose in all its glory and it took my breath away and I wept again. But this time, I felt new. I felt cleansed. I felt STRONG. It was in that moment that Megan called me again and said 'Smile!! You did it!'

I did it.

One agonizing step at a time, I climbed a mountain and a part of me was reborn: