Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Obsession Confession: Post Finals

So I've just surfaced for some air after dead week and finals.  And I'm okay admitting that some of the things that go me through... well, you can feel free to judge me.  

This album and this album.*  Seriously.  Judge me on the second, I dare you.  But before you do, listen to this song and embrace the fundamental David Bowie-ness of it.  I feel like I've been a little out of touch with music lately, falling back on my old favorites and hoping they do the trick.  Rather than digging into new tunes, I've just lamented the loss of most of my digital collection after a computer crash by worshipping the old ones. 

This has caught my ear though.  And this.  Same artist for each, a group that I've been digging on for ages now.  They are something else entirely.  Part rock, part funk, part drama, they do it all and they do it well.

This yoga company is making some deliciously comfy clothes.  Which I'm totally obsessed with. 

In the few minutes that I abandoned studying before my brain rotted, I recalled how much I enjoyed Karl Urban and Simon Pegg in the recent Star Trek reboots. ....

.... Okay let's be honest, I'd watch Karl Urban in Looney Tunes and Simon Pegg's humor is nothing short of genius Brit.  But the movies were a delightful break from books and index cards and lectures and books and highlighters and more lectures and more books.  Yeah.  Dead week and finals. 

And Benedict Cumberbatch. 

In the mean time I've become utterly obsessed with Irish girls names.  They are divine. 

The Keepers is a Netflix true crime series that is worth a shot.  (Speaking of Netflix, which is where I discovered Luther, another series of it is coming out.  Yass, Idris Elba, Yass.)  Steve has described it as 'boring' but what does he know?

And how, that's enough for now, hey?



*Also, sorry if that popped you over to a Norwegian version of iTunes.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

Inspiration.

I've been a little worried, lately, about my writing.*  Since starting school, it feels like my brain has shifted from poetry to periodic tables; from literature to Laurentide ice sheets.  I'm becoming a scientist, of sorts, and it's messing with my words.  

My blogs have been dwindling; daily journals have become 'when I think about it' journals; reading is a luxury at the end of the day.  This is NOT normal. 

And yes, this is the sort of thing that I think about, fairly regularly actually.  I think about how much I used to write, how much I want to write, and how much I do write.  I think about the books I love, loved, and can't wait to love.   And then I do math homework, or an oceanography lab, or get really excited about plate tectonics (yes, has happened). 

I have felt like I'm losing my words, my passion, my writing. 

Turns out I just needed the right sort of inspiration.  Also turns out that I apparently have an inexhaustible well of words for our current administration.  Most of which are x-rated.  Alas. 

While I don't like to post too much about all the dipshit things that moron does day to day (especially considering that my passionate dispassion may lead to a divorce), I find that my writing, my words, comes back with a vengeance when I get even a whiff of the daily news.  It's a strange beast to tackle- feeling what patriotism I have ebb.  And discovering that it inspires me to put pen to paper in a way I haven't in ages.  It's not something that I'm yet comfortable with, this struggle with my American identity.  But it's certainly something that is feeding my mental water wheel, getting thoughts and words flowing again. 

Ahem.... Most of those words stays hidden- note the aforementioned x-ratedness.  There are a lot of private sentiments, a lot of personal feelings and opinions that many of my friends would agree or not agree with.  There are a lot of arguments waiting to happen in those words, a lot of debates and disagreements.

And until I'm ready for them... 




*Amongst some other things.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I'm Over It.

There are days, many of them actually, that I feel like I don't really fit in this world.  I don't like it and I don't want to be here.  I'm sure I've mentioned this a time or two.  Or ten.

Don't get me wrong, I like Jeeps and smartphones, I like the interblogs.  I like the fact that I can wear pads and tampons rather than huge wads of rags stuffed into my panties when I'm on my period.  (Sorry for the vulgarity folks, but we're all adults and half of us are women so get over it.)  I like many many things about today.

But I don't fit.

Our apartment is on a fjord.  I'm not writing that to be cool, I'm writing it because it's how it is.

I look out at the water and it seems alive.  The water is alive.  And I look at it sometimes and just think... take it back.  Take it all back.  Like I really want the world to rebel against us, to wash up over shores and collapse all around us and vault us back into a time when people were grateful for land, soil, earth, water.

I certainly don't want to be here when the world falls apart around us.  When we push the natural world to the brink and then over.  I don't think I can, or could, stand that.

So I look out over the water and I think just win. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In Firenze.

I recently came back from a week-long trip to Florence (si chiama Firenze in italiano).  It confirmed for me that, of all the places I've visited in Italy, Firenze is the winner.

There's something incredibly old, incredibly secretive and incredibly seductive about this city.  It does not have the ancient nobility of Rome nor the waterlogged mysteries of Venice.  It does not have the airy lightness of being that you would find in Capri (or the exclusivity).

What Firenze does have is a network of streets that feel like they are leading you to a dark dead end *shiver*.  Or possibly to a mugging **bigger shiver**.  In the summer it is sticky, hot, and smells of every mistake you think you've made over a lifetime.  In the spring it is more subdued, still cool at night, fewer tourists circling the Duomo like moths to a towering flame.

Firenze has courtyards and piazzas that feel like they have been created solely for aperitivos and happy hour; for talk of the day and danger.  Piazzas that exist sort of like a confessional.

It has Aperol Spritz, Negroni, American Spaglioni- all of which taste infinitely better in some shadowy alley bar, sipped while people-watching Florentines and their symphonic style of conversing... rather than in the shadow of the Coliseum, hoping you can keep from shoving someone's selfie stick somewhere the sun don't shine.

What it has is an identity separate from the rest of Italy... the Medici stronghold, the seat of Toscana, this place where fantasy, fact, and fiction intersect.

Oh.  And the David.











Monday, April 24, 2017

At War With the Weather Gods.

There are times, here, when I fear I've done something to personally piss off the weather gods:

Days when any sunlight is obscured by ceaseless, soul-sucking drizzle.  Not rain, not fog, just mind-numbing drizzle.

The weeks on end when there's no sunlight to be obscured by ceaseless, soul-sucking drizzle because it's pissing down rain and the clouds seem to multiply with infinite, peculiar glee.

The snow in March (or April); the pop-up hail storms; pretty much the everything.

I know what you're thinking... 'Well, you did move to Norway.'


Don't let it fool you.  The bright
blue sky and nearly-white sun
are charming LIES!
And I did.  And to be fair, it's not the first place I've been with weird weather.  Iceland- where sometimes it rains up.  Bergen (which is Norway, true)- where in the space of a mile and a half hike I walked through hail, snow, a lightning storm, and the brightest sunshine.

But sometimes, some days, it's like they're out to get me.  Take this morning, late April, when I walk my dog out to pee first thing and the sudden need for long underwear strikes with a petty, cruel vengeance... again.  Not because it's necessarily freezing- no.  Nor because it's snowing or hailing (nope, that came later).  But because there's a gale-force polar wind whipping down from what I imagine might be the top of Mount F*ing Everest.  Is that where the Wind God lives?

This is the type of wind that simultaneously robs your breath and gives you an instantaneous brain freeze.  It's the type of wind that you have to lean into just to keep from toppling over; the type that gives you an ear ache when it hits, and keeps hitting.  It's the kind of wind that shakes the apartment... building.  It worms it's way in through every crack.  It's R.E.L.E.N.T.L.E.S.S.

It's a Norway thing.

Also, it's currently hailing sideways.

Again.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Birthday Card for The Bob.

Birthday cards in my family are a form of tactical, psychological warfare.  Seriously- our exchanges could easily make up an addendum in the Art of War.  Our cards are cruel, scathing and pitiless.  And smart, very very smart.

It's been this way as long as I can remember.  I mean... when you're a kid, you get the cute stuff- ponies, unicorns, puppies, etc.  But at some age, my dad's sisters unleashes all their wit and decidedly dark humor on you.  And once you've recovered from the initial shock you begin to school yourself, year after year, in their ways.  Always trying to get that one up on one of them.  Usually the middle one.  Don't scoff at me, Auntie... you know who you are.

What can I say?  It's a thing.

Well anyway, this year, I didn't manage to get a card for The Bob's birthday (today).  Alas- despite my best efforts, cards in Norway are mostly in Norwegian... and don't actually seem to be that funny. Or mean.  Apparently on birthdays, Norwegians are considerably kinder than Seyfrieds.

Lame.

In the meantime, what I did get him is a present to take the place of an AOW card....

Now let me explain something.  I had a couple of different possibilities lined up (from this website because I like it's agenda) but ultimately went with this one.  Much to my husband's surprise:

The Thinking Man's The Bob.
Likely planning global coup.
Steven: "The Bob (because everyone calls him that) is not going to wear that."

Me: "You don't think so?"

Steven: "No way.  He'd never wear that."

Me: "I think you're underestimating my father's abject adoration of me."  (To be fair, I may be overestimating the same, but I doubt it).

Steven: *snorts* "I don't think so..."

Me: "Place bets?"

Needless to say, it went downhill from there.

But here's the thing.  It's true that my beloved father is not exactly the most cuddly creature on the planet.*  And I swear I'm not being an awful daughter in saying that... I mean, I think he's a big ole' teddy bear, and Henry thinks so too.  (But that's because somewhere along the line The Bob learned how to Jedi Mind Trick my dog which led to the abject adoration of Henry for The GrandBob.)

*Which is why this is literally the perfect birthday present for him.

He's a bit gruff, a bit dry, has a sarcastic spin to his humor.  He's wicked smart, armed to the teeth with weird knowledge and periodically helpful day-to-day pointers ("Well Kathrine, if you bothered to back your files up from time to time, you wouldn't have that problem would you?", etc) and can do at least 17 different things at the same time.  Go ahead, I dare you to challenge him on that last one.  Also, there's a good chance that at any given moment he may be thinking about the many ways he can overthrow... well something- name it, he's probably considered it.

He's not real big on obvious displays of affection, but a few fortunate and challenging souls have managed to cajole him into a hug-in-public a time or two.

And I will bet dollars to donuts that The Bob will, in fact, wear that.

Outside even...

And ideally with the fifteen inch machete I got him for his 64th birthday- which in reality may have actually been the perfect birthday present for him.

If you manage to run into him on his big day you should probably hug him.

Or not, it's your call.  But I'm pretty sure if you try, he'll curse me a little, pat you on the back, and then drop you.  Careful, his kung fu is out of control.

Boom.

Happy Birthday, Daddy... and here's to many many more.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Do Not Come Here To Die*

Whenever I travel, I try to remember to be grateful.  Grateful that I got from Point A to Point B safe and sound; grateful for the opportunities of and to travel; grateful for the destinations as much as the journeys.

It's important to me, the gratitude, the memory of privilege, because I get to go places and experience this world in ways that few people can.  I get to live, to borrow a phrase, deliberately.

This Easter weekend I traveled with my husband and best friend (and her husband) to Svalbard.  It's a place I've long wanted to visit, ever since I read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series and discovered that Svalbard was real: "and all around was the bitter Arctic cold and the immense silence of the North."

 It's a privilege to experience that cold and silence.  It is invigorating to see and know, without doubt, that at least for now, the high north is real- a place of frigid mysticism and icy, natural resolution.  It's a practical, wild place.

And here, you have to maintain gratitude in the face of such profound barrenness.  It's a humbling place, this archipelago that dances on the edge of the North Pole.  It's all snow and stone and permafrost.  The bones of this place are all made of ice.  It's provocative to be so far north and see so little human presence.  We're there, for sure, but we're not in charge, not by a long shot: there are more polar bears than people and you can't bury your dead.

This is not a place for the faint of heart of the meek of mind.  It's a place where you have to match the outer wilderness with your own.

Svalbard:










*Right,  so this is actually a little less awesome than it sounds.  The thing is, you can't actually expect to be buried or treated well at all upon your imminent demise in Longyearbyen, Svalbard- or anywhere there, really.  There's permafrost year round and simply no way to accommodate the dead.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Youth and Time.

A couple of years ago, just before my 30th birthday, and acquaintance of mine said "Hey listen, your 30s is your best decade.  You're young enough to really enjoy your body, and old enough to know what to do with it."  Sculptor and sometimes paramedic, he knew a thing or two about the human body.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about what he said.  Basically that I should enjoy it while everything is still in working condition.  We all should.  It's been two years since he shared that wisdom.

And right now, I feel like I'm falling apart.  I'm becoming a stranger... to myself.  It feels like my previously working body is now slowly caving in on itself.  Muscles ache longer and deeper than they used to, bones creak more often.  Joints whose suppleness and flexibility I took for granted are getting tight.  Strange sensations creeping up and down my arms, consequences of a pinched nerve.  I can feel my body aging: gaining time and giving up youth.

It is the first time I've really spent time thinking about getting older, the first time I've let myself really sink into the idea of it.  Or rather, the reality of it.  You see it's never before bothered me.  I am not, well I wasn't, that girl who fretted over birthdays, wrinkles, time.  I've never been vain enough to be deeply distressed nor do I think I can cheat the passage of time.  Nor, despite my musings here, do I want to.  If you're around, year to year, to actually celebrate, why let it get you down?

At least you're, well, you know.

But this year, this past year, I've felt every straining second tick by.  In my bones, my sinew, my blood.  I feel it in the morning, and it weighs on me until bed time.  Time passing has become an unwelcome companion, taunting me with it's constancy.  I just feel it... all the time.

It's not just in my body, either.  It's an awareness that I'm losing chances now, I'm losing possibilities. I'm losing moments that I cannot get back.  Those moments that do make me want to cheat, that make me want to cling to what I have even while it's slowly slipping through my fingers.  It's those moments that make me inherently fearful of this march of time- moreso than ever before.

And I'm not getting any younger.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

End of March Obsessions.

I'm long overdue for an obsessions post.  Not that I haven't been obsessing about things, but I've been... side tracked.  Believe it or not, school takes up a lot of time.  And a lot of the creative energy that normally goes into obsessing and writing has been redirected toward chemical equations, dire climatological straits, and maths.

A lot of maths.

Who knew, when I started a degree that goes against the very nature of the other two degrees I already have, that I'd be pretty stunningly and regularly working like a dog.

But I digress.

Obsessions.  This song.  I am digging hard on this guy.  (Believe it or not, I discovered him on VH1, lol.  In Norway the music channel still actually plays only music videos.  It has not yet been infiltrated by bad reality series or serials). The rest of his album is a good listen, too.

The new iPad.  But here I have a problem.  Over the past year and a half or so, I have been graciously given an iMac and a laptop or two (or three, technically, but that's a loooong story rife with self-destructing screens and spinning rainbow pinwheels of death and a very obvious series of technological mutinies) and am uncomfortable even considering getting a tablet.  I mean... at this point, I think I have enough tech to keep me plugged in. ... Errr... I hope.  Also, if I get another Apple product, I will never hear the end of it from my beloved father.

Brandon Flowers.  This is an ongoing obsession à la Bon Iver or Matt Damon.  Still, The Desired Effect is so hammy and circa 1987 that it tastes as good as it sounds.

Every year, this time of year, I recall that not only was I raised in ACC-land, but I also went to a major basketball uni. Perhaps you've heard of it: I'm currently lusting after this circa 1987 sweatshirt from my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred... etc.

In the meantime, I just finished The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story.  And it was good- but here's the thing: it wasn't good for the reason you'd expect it to be good.  I went into it hoping for a modern day Indiana Jones-esque adventure.  I mean, it's not every day that we run across a 'lost' or 'missing' city in the wilderness- let's face it, there's just not that much that's lost or missing these days, not on the scale of a city anyway.  And the book is good for that aspect, but it's great for it's discussion of Old and New World contact and disease.  I mean, by the time I put the book down, I had to fight myself from googling leishmaniasis because I didn't think I could handle the image return.  (I just did- here's the wiki page if you dare- it's pretty tame but I'm still avoiding the image situation).  There's about a four-chapter span that blows 'disease as a symptom and inheritance of colonization'  out of the water (all the while the author goes through his own harrowing experience with it).  So much so that by the end of it, I was beginning to wonder about my own travels and intersections.

Late as always... I've been watching American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson on Netflix.  Sarah Paulson and David Schwimmer are gold.  Certainly worth a watch- it more or less (definitely less) fills a void that finishing The Jinx left behind.

This song, too.  Nina, oh Nina.  Sing it.

And I think that's probably enough for now...

But seriously... leishmaniasis.  It's keeping me up at night.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sometimes You Just Want a Hamburger.

The days when I am really sick of myself, I just want a hamburger.  This is how I can tell exactly how sick of myself I am- by how badly I want to sit down and eat a hamburger. Preferably one with sautéed mushrooms and onions, cheese, and maybe even some bacon.

Today I want a burger and fries.

The thing is, no matter how great I seem.  Scratch that.  No matter how great I am, no matter how great I actually feel,  I'm never really as great as that.  I never feel comfortable, so to speak.  And to be honest, I don't think that's a bad thing.  Comfortable is unfamiliar to me, and dangerous.  It's a state of stillness that I cannot afford nor will I ever.  Comfortable is confusing.  I think it's okay to be uncomfortable and I think it's important to be challenged.

It's been a while since I was really sick (not of myself, just sick in general).  It's been a while since I starved myself for real.  It's been a while since I actively did terrible things to myself because of a deeply entrenched battle between revulsion and control.  Now I don't think I'm in danger of going down that road again.  Not that I'm an expert or a psychiatrist, therapist, psychologist, etc.  But I am an anorexic.  And I know myself pretty well. So I guess I am an expert on something...ish.

But it's been on my mind lately- this combination of greatness and not greatness, of being uncomfortable, of being sick, of being sick of myself.  It's a combination that is on my mind now.  Because I have so much guilt over it.  And it's the guilt that drives it forward over and over again.  You know, because it's not like it's not constantly in my head.  It is.  Just sometimes I keep it back, and sometimes it creeps forward. And it's the guilt that drives it.

Why is it that I, with this life that I lead, can't just be grateful, gracious and comfortable?

I know the answer.  Because I have this disease, and my brain is addled and nothing works right.  But it's still hard to handle that.

And today all I really want is a hamburger- because it's normal, because it's something I would eat before I was sick, because it's something I'd like to eat again (and enjoy).  And because someday I won't be guilty enough not to.