Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year, Old Me.

I haven't written much lately.

I've been busy- catching and spreading bronchitis and pneumonia; catching the common head cold after that; flying across oceans; playing cutthroat dominoes; learning to ski (sort of).  I spent time with family and was introduced to Colorado.

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, needless to say.

And then all of a sudden today it hits me that it's New Years Eve.

We all know how I feel about the holiday, so I'm not getting into that again.  But I have been thinking a lot about the passage of time lately.  Especially in the throws of three simultaneous illnesses.  I have been thinking a lot about aging and the slow creep of time into your body and brain.

I had bronchitis a few years back.  Because it's me, and I rarely run fevers, I actually had bronchitis and hypothermia at the same time.  To be fair, I was living in Alaska so it was a little cooler than what I was used to.  But that is wholly besides the point.  I was sick as a dog and still got out and ran, did yoga, shopped, and was generally irresponsible with myself.  And I survived.  Hell, I survived a lot worse than that bronchitis at the same time.  It wasn't exactly the brightest period of my life, but then which were?

Fast forward to these past two weeks.  Granted, I had bronchitis and some other stuff but I hardly think that makes a huge difference (there's my juvenile mindset again).  But I was, am actually, absolutely miserable.  And tired.  Like, weary to my core.  I desperately wanted to run in Colorado but was winded going up and down the stairs- also there was the deep, chesty cough that still plagues me.

Even that small amount of time- those four or five years- I feel throughout my entire body.  The shortness of breath, the weariness, the immense weight of time.  I feel them acutely, these passing years.  Which is so strange because I'm only in my early thirties.

Now it could be that I've done irreparable damage to myself over the years that has fundamentally changed me,  speeding up the slowing down of my body.  It could also be totally normal, I just don't really talk about aging with anyone.

But it's New Years Eve, so what the hell.

I am on the fence about resolutions- some years I make them, others years I don't.  This year I told my husband that I resolved to not be petulant (an incredible sore loser) when he beat me at board or card games.  I have also resolved to stay as young as my brain wants to be, rather than as old as my body is.  I have resolved to be myself.

And until next year...

Saturday, December 16, 2017

I Want to Move to Wisconsin.*

This is sort of an obsession confession.  A few Thanksgivings ago, the family gathered at my Aunt's house in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

And I have been obsessed ever since.

No, I am not kidding.  I am actually utterly serious.  There's something about it, the entire state, it's like the fabled whole package, real deal.  The landscape strikes you first.  The starkness of it: the long, vast stretches of emptiness that are especially noticeable in the early winter.  And Lake Michigan- this mighty internal body of water that looks like the ocean but doesn't feel like it.  The white-winter that absolutely decimates the summer.

Then there's the beer culture and breweries.  The almost absurd 'facts' like there are more bars per capita than there are churches in Milwaukee(?).  It also hosts  the world's largest Irish Fest and North America's largest German Fest... imagine that.  What could those cultures possibly have in common?

Don't get me wrong, northern New England is still my jam.

But Wisconsin has the cheese.

I'll just leave that one there.

I also associate Bon Iver with Wisconsin, which is a total win for the state.  His music makes sense of the coolness and frigidity, makes it lyrical and mystical rather than just cold and northerly.

I think I might be one of the few people in the history of time that's actually been keen to move to Wisconsin, just because.  Just because I like the people (especially my aunt); just because I prefer a mountain of snow to a forest of palm trees; just because my one visit there has stuck with me.

Just because.

*Said no one ever.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

On Break.

There is something utterly refreshing- and terrorizing- about a blank word document.  A desolate, white, clean, void word document (pages for Mac users).  

Don't get me wrong.  I'm old school.  I like journals, I like paper.  I like the feel of a pen in my hand and I love the feel of that pen running across that paper.  I adore how exhilarating it is to watch my thoughts leak out of my hand.  I like the sound of scratching pencil and rubber eraser, and the satisfaction of crossing out, rewriting, editing.  

But there's something about that open, stark word document.  It might be the flashing blinker.  It might be the fonts and colors and all the bold, italic, underline possibilities.  It might be the mockery of the whole thing, the feeling that that document is judging you, judging your work, your intellect, your word choices.  

It might just be the challenge.  The dare of the blank document to make something bold and real; to write something powerful and engaging and interesting; 

to create. 

It's exhilarating, to start typing and witness those abrupt black letters take shape.  It's consuming, to watch that cursor blink, blink, blink.  

And it's a miracle when it all starts. 

I finished my fall term this past week and now I'm hanging out, staring at a fresh, new, evil word document.  It's asking to be developed into something- anything- real.  I have ideas.  I have notions.  I have a little bit of research under my belt.  

And I have a blank page. 

We'll see. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Actually, I Don't Mind the Dark

The nearly constant rain and/or incessant drizzle I don't love.  And the frequent gale force winds are maddening- especially when they accompany the rain and/or drizzle.

But I don't mind the dark.

In fact, after three winters here,  I think I actually prefer the silent, creeping dark to the nonstop sun of the summer.  People ask about it a lot- what the winter's are like, how cold it is, how much does it snow (wet, cold enough, rarely ever).  They ask about the 24 hour sun in the summer (not here, we only get about 20 hours at most) but not as much about the 24 hour dark in the winter (not here, either).

It's a combination of effects, really, that bring the season home for me: I like how the light seems paler in the winter- and the sunrises more profound.  I like how the shadows are always long here, when there is enough light to cast them.  I like how the ferries shut off their running lights and move like sharks through black waters.  I like that the lit balconies and doors and windows seem brighter- like havens.

I like how quiet the dark makes everything seem.  It's the same effect that fresh snow has- blanketing sound and muffling the extraneous noise that constantly beats at me.

I like that candles are lit and comforters come out and we descend into hibernation mode.

I like that the dark is more romantic, more mysterious.

So no, I don't really mind the dark.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

November Obsessions


I have a problem.

And it's name is Stranger Things (1&2).  Specifically Steve Harrington's hair and everything Jim Hopper.  Like EVERYTHING Jim Hopper.  I can't even handle it.  David Harbour is literally perfect in this role.  Everything about him is masculine, a little messy and a little messed up.  He's the kind of guy (take your pick, Hopper OR Harbour) that you want to have build you a cabin and then stay there with you... it's very nearly too much.  I digress, though.  I loved the first season for it being it, and the second season was everything I wanted it to be.  Funny, irreverent,... Sean Astin.  Win all around.  I told Steve the other day that if you could guarantee I'd have a kid like Mike or Dustin, I'd have a kid tomorrow.  (Also, the Jim Hopper link is the dullest I could find.  Do some digging.  Be a detective.)

Because in my heart of hearts I'm not only mostly a twelve year old, I'm also a little bit of a fifteen year old teenaged girlie.... I'm sorry, I have to do it.  This guy.

When It's Cold I'd Like To Die.  The title is only creepy if you dwell on it for too long.  The simplicity of it, the ambiance, it's worth a listen- especially now when the days are getting shorter and the dark is getting darker and the ocean is right outside.  

Look, I'm not high fashion.  In fact, 5 out of the last seven days have seen me in some sort of flannel apparel- and I don't even own 5 different items of flannel clothing- so do the math there.  I do at least two hours of yoga every day so I'm more often than not sporting leggings and functional tops.  Basically I wear pajamas all day every day.  ... What I'm saying is try not to judge me too harshly regarding the next few items...

The other day I was looking on Neiman Marcus' website and ran across a Burberry dress that I immediately began drooling over.  The lines, the simplicity, the elegance.  The most perfect little black dress ever.  Yes please.

These boots.  After having lived in Norway for about two minutes, boots became a thing.  I have a lot of them.  I might have too many of them.  But it's frequently boot weather here: cold; cold and windy; gale force wind and raining; raining and cold; sudden strong hail; the list goes on and on.  Boots are my friends, and these should be yours too.  Specifically ones with sheepskin lining to keep toes warm and spirits up.

Also, these boots.  Because... sparkle.

And this sweater.  Hello winter.  Hello Christmas Wishlist.

(Also hello my old obsession with J. Crew.  I thought I rid myself of that back in my late teens but apparently they have started to cut clothes that I like again- and that fit me the way clothes should fit.)

And now I'm off to make pound cake truffles.  No recipe link here... I'm winging it.

Until next time....

You're welcome. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mixed Messages.

Lately I have been asking myself if I am leading a good life.  It has been on my mind a lot: whether the life that I lead is one of mindfulness, grace and goodness.  Am I conscientious?  Do I proceed with care?  I ask myself whether I am doing the right things and making the right decisions.  I ask myself if I am helping or hurting, if my horrible bitchiness is a systemic problem or just a periodic one.

But there's no easy answer to any of those questions- they are impossible to even begin to tackle.

Especially in this day and age.  Especially when I'm in term at school and every third lecture focuses on damage done; especially when the news is on; especially when I sit back in conversations and let waves of rich emotion, dense opinion, and escalating voices crash over me.

I ask myself whether I am leading a good life and then I take a deep breath and look around me.

I focus in on myself usually, zero in on the past- two years, ten years ago- I think about how awful I was.  I recall the way I treated the people around me, people who ostensibly loved and cared for me, and I feel shame.  A deep, face-reddening, heart-wrenching shame.  I feel this surreal amount of pain form around me like a cloud.  And it follows me.

There are days when I feel like the grace that was given to me at birth- the grace and goodness that is the right of all children- is gone forever.  I lost it somewhere along the way, maybe in one sweeping moment or maybe little by little- here and there. There are days when this very idea overwhelms me and I can't help but consider how much has changed about me and around me.... and how little time it took.

I wonder how I could lead a good life after having done bad things?

How do I make up for past wrongs, how do I escape their hanging over me like a pall?

And how do I face the future.

How do I get good back?

Friday, November 3, 2017


It rains here.  A lot.

You get used to it after a while- the gnawing frustration of constant damp; the cloud of 'wet dog smell' that envelops you; the nearly overwhelming desire to buy stock in waterproof gear companies.

You adapt, develop, buy your dog a raincoat and keep a hearty stock of air fresheners on hand.

The one thing that you never see coming, though, that you always forget to anticipate, is how the cold damp creates a treacherous version of lethal slip-and-slide.  It's either the slick wet cobblestones; or the algae-bearing docks, walkways; or the piles of soaked leaves.  And every now and then, it's the ice.

And here's the thing: I'm not the steadiest, most graceful person on the planet.  I can pull it together teaching yoga and wow my groups with the ability to hold a tree pose whilst talking and waving my hands around.  But then when I'm on my own, I'll fall out of dancer three times before getting her steady.  I regularly run into doors, door frames, open cabinets (usually left open by me), anything that has a corner- my body is a study in bruises, a well-documented history of falls, scrapes, breaks, tears, and bends.  I trip, I slip, I slide, I plummet.

And I live in the wettest corner of Norway.

And now, as though I have fast-forwarded decades, I have developed a fear of falling.  Like, an almost paralyzing, certainly terrifying, fear of falling.  I think about it in the mornings when I walk my dog over those docks and cobblestones.  I think about it when I get vertigo going up or down our weird see-through-ultra-modern staircase.  It's not an unfounded fear.  A day before my husband left for two weeks in the US, I slipped while walking the dog and shredded my knee.  For an impossibly long moment, I couldn't actually move my leg, my knee cracked, my calf resting the wrong way.  And all I could think was... 'I don't have a phone, I live in a 4th floor walk up, I have a high energy animal, and my husband is leaving for two weeks.'

Then I started to cry.  Then I got a grip, picked myself up and limped home.

But since then, it's only festered in me, this fear of falling.  Fear of falling, basophobia, related-to-but-not-quite-vertigo.  I literally imagine myself falling and breaking an arm or an ankle (again).  I imagine myself hitting the ground with a sickening crack of the skull and bleeding all over wet pavement while my dog runs in circles around me.

Yeah, this is what I think about.  Oh, and I never carry a phone with me when I go out- especially with the pup.  This is going to sound ridiculous, especially since hardly anyone here calls or texts me, but I don't like the thought of being accessible all.the.time.  I like time off from... everything.  So I walk and run with only the dog and an iPod.  Which means I fall and skid with only the dog and an iPod.  With nothing that will allow me to call for help except my incredibly well-trained lungs.  And a sad lack of language skills regarding Norwegian.

I know what you're thinking- 'this is an easy fix, Kate.  Just carry a phone.... How is this even an issue?'  But then you've got to check yourself and consider who this is, who I am.  There's little-to-no change in sight on that front.  Which is when you're allowed to go 'okay then, either get over the falling issue, or deal with it.'

Fine again. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Scaring the Sh*t Out of Myself.

Lately I've become something of a fetishistic consumer of true crime.

Yeah, I used that phrase.

It started with Serial, Season One.  It continued with the Jinx.  I didn't love Making a Murderer the way other people loved Making a Murderer, but I loved The Keepers.

I obsessively listen to true crime- some even tiptoe towards true horror- books when I walk the dog.  I actually had a moment, listening to the Devil in the White City when I thought... oh yeah, that kid's going in the oven.  Which is weird only when taken out of context, right?  I just finished a book about a man on a train, basically an investigation of a lot of hatchet jobs in the early 20th century United States.  Definitely had a moment, listening to that one, when I thought... why use the blunt side of the ax?

The thing is, listening to all this, reading all of this, I am reminded of the fact that I have an incredible imagination.  I've had it all my life- as a little girl I could keep myself entertained for hours even in the absence of television, iPads, Gameboys (or whatever).  I convinced myself at the ripe old age of five that there was a werewolf living in the closet that connected my room to my brother's.  It did not help that the aforementioned brother told me that the also aforementioned werewolf used to crawl into my room at night, turn off my tape player, and watch me sleep.

One night I was awake when the tape ended and the player shut itself off.  I don't think I've ever held my breath for so long...

It's this imagination that gave me a successful run at colonial history during my undergraduate and graduate careers- it's so much easier to write about people you'll never meet or interact with when you can imagine them.

It's this same imagination that has me convinced that, walking up the stairs in the middle of the night, something is following me.  Which inevitably leads to a mad dash up the stairs, a dive into bed, and a severely disrupted puppy.  When Steve is away, it's worse.

So, back to the beginning, I'm listening to a lot of true crime and horror- and I'm scaring the sh*t out of myself.  These days are perfect for it.  It's October, Halloweentime, the days are getting much shorter in Norway and will be mostly in darkness pretty soon.  It's also the middle of fall term for me- so for a break from constant chemistry and geosciences, I indulge in a little Lore, or some of Netflix's Mindhunter.  Which means when I hop in the shower and hear an unfamiliar noise, I immediately imagine something utterly unbelievable and decidedly gruesome is getting ready to happen to me.  Or when I walk the dog and see someone out of the corner of my eye is taking the same path- it's obviously for some nefarious reason.

Needless to say- anything can be made sinister given an appetite for the eerie and an imagination to bring it to life.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Beautiful and Ominous.

Fall has come to Norway and, like everywhere else, this means the light begins to yield.  It does so spectacularly, but it does so nevertheless.

The sun rises later, and at different angles.  It's light is more intense, as though it concentrates on penetrating the impending winter.  If it can slip past the evening clouds, sunsets are as wild as they are blinding.

The light puts up a good fight.

But dark is like a blue-black spreading bruise; it creeps across the landscape and swallows it. It encroaches constantly, the days getting darker and darker.

Autumn has always been a time for introspection- for a heightened degree of self awareness.  It has always been a time to take stock, to gather, to store.

This will be my last Norwegian Fall and will bring me inexorably to my last Norwegian Winter.  It is, indeed, time to take stock- of what I have learned here, of what I love here, of what I long to leave here and of what I want to bring with me.

Now is the time to remember and to plan.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

On Homesickness.

The second time I went to New England was after a prolonged time in the deep south.  My tenure at Louisiana State University had come to a close (relatively successfully with the exception of bridges burned and hearts broken) barely the month before.  I was limping back, a hurt, tired, wounded girl with one sliver of hope: that the place I had fallen in love with those two years previous would have the power to heal me.

That's all I wanted- to live quietly in the mountains and heal myself.*

The entire drive up, my mind and stomach churned.  What if I was making the wrong move?  (At that point in my life, I was acutely aware of how wrong my moves could be- and what they could do to me).  What if I didn't love it there the way I once did?  What if I was remembering it wrong?  The whole place?  All of my experiences up there?  What if... What if... What if...?

Then I crossed the state line from Massachusetts into Vermont, began to climb the mountains, and the whole world settled down around me.

I was back.

Sometimes the memory of northern New England is like a an open wound- fresh, gaping, raw.  It's the  memory of green summers, wood-smoke falls, and dark winters.  It is the memory of home.**

It is a memory that comes back to me like a dream sometimes, like a phantom just at the edge of my awareness, teasing and haunting- following.  It's so present at the oddest of times- the occasional Norway morning in August: if it's not humid, or raining, it's cool and crisp and tastes like the fall in New England.  The drive into Bavaria as the mountains, the Alps, begin to take shape around you- especially in this season when the fog rises from them like smoke from a fire.

These moments, these memories, bring me home with such flash-bang intensity that they make me sick for it even in the moment.

So here I sit in Germany... in beautiful Alps country, longing for home.  Longing for a home that isn't truly mine, and a place that sometimes doesn't seem real.  I sit surrounding by such remarkable mountains and they simultaneously make me want to leap for joy that they are here, that I am here, but also go crawling back to the mountains that I love most- the gentle, rolling peaks of ancient chains- relics of the geologic past.

And that's where I am- body one place, heart another, head always in the clouds.

*Little did I know at the time that this would be the summer that started a two-year roller coaster of motion, followed by another two-years of self-discovery, recriminations, disgust.

**Even though I am not a born New Englander, I have spent enough time there- and more than enough time roaming around the rest of the world- to know that is as much a home as I have ever wanted.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Iceland, Redux.

There is still something to utterly indescribable about Iceland.

Something tied to beauty and nature and power- and sparsity.

This is the second time that I've traveled to Iceland; the second time that I've spend many quiet moments staring out windows and absorbing, thinking, feeling- but somehow not really processing.  It is the same exact phenomenon I experienced the first time I was here:

I watched, I witnessed, but I couldn't testify.  I can't testify.

The thing about Iceland is that until you've been, until you've driven through the empty, achingly foreign countryside, or walked on a glacier or under a waterfall, or sat noticing your feeling of diminishment in the face of such wonder... it's just another stop.

A cool one, pardon the pun, but ultimately just another small island in a big world.  And on my word, it is so much more than that.

These words.

Or these.

If you don't trust my current word, trust those words of a vibrant, ancient, wild 28 year old, running through a vibrant, ancient, wild place.  I spent much longer in Iceland when I was last there, but it's no less flooring and absorbing when you only have a weekend.  It is more frenetic, a frantic pace set by frantic people looking to do as much as humanly possible.  But still no less profound.  If anything, the brief visitor feels Iceland with an intensity unknown to the slower, more careful traveler.

What I take away from Iceland, all the time, over time, is the almost unbearable bittersweetness of a land that has is so different, unique unto itself.  The bitter tang of frigid cold mixed with the sweet mythology of history.  It's the landscape of time and magic.

Time and magic.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Minor Super Heroes.

When I first dated my ex, I spent a lot of time with his friends.  This was an interesting collection of personalities.  I tended to gravitate toward his male friends rather than the female ones- for probably obvious reasons.  Girl's are hard work.  Boys are easy.  

Anyway, one day overheard a conversation had by the lot of them.  (Also the boys had more interesting, and slightly more entertaining conversations). The topic of this particular one was: major and minor superpowers.  The basic rule is that 'major superpowers' were the big things- flight, teleportation, controlling the weather; 'minor superpowers', on the other hand, are silly small things- being able to open a refrigerator and get anything you want to eat, etc.  If you could have one of each, what would it be?

That absurd discussion/debate/show of one-up-manship has stayed with me- one of the stranger lasting legacies of that relationship.  

So this past weekend, in Dublin, imagine my surprise when a bartender told me that my innate sense of direction (albeit, terribly challenged for some reason this trip) was basically the 'worst superpower ever.'  (His words, not mine).  I had a giggle about it, went back to chit chatting with my friends, and then proceeded to get us slightly lost later that day.  (Hang on, though... I knew exactly where I was going, I just couldn't find the right alley to get us to the right pub.)

But I kept on considering the bartender's accusation of 'worst superpower' throughout the day.  And I started to consider all the little things that we do that are actually 'minor superpowers.'  Despite my getting lost once or twice (I blame the pints), I do think that my ability to navigate spaces and places relatively foreign to me is something special.  Superpower, I think not, but certainly an asset to my lifestyle.  

For minor superpowers, I have two that make the cut every time.  One might get me killed one day, but with minor power comes minor danger.  The first is my ability to move through crowds.  I do it seamlessly (*brushes shoulder off*), and much to the chagrin of my companions, uniquely.  I can get around, ahead of, and through a mass of people like a... like a... okay well I don't know a good metaphor to complete the image but you get the point.  I move through crowds like a crowd ninja.  Minor Superpower 1. 

My second minor superpower is that I never run a fever.  I'm not kidding.  The last fever I ever ran was when I was 16, in high school, with a delightful simultaneous case of the stomach flu and strep throat.  Since then I've had mono... without a fever.  I've had sinus infections... without fevers.  I've had bronchitis... with a temperature of 93F.  That means I had bronchitis at the same time as being hypothermic.  Now, as above mentioned, this might ultimately lead to my eternal demise in that many of the illnesses who have a hallmark trait of high fever will not present in me... with a high fever.  They might present with a 98.4 degree body temp- which is technically feverish for me- but won't be identifiable specifically by super high fever.  Minor Superpower 2.  (Could also count as freak body trait). 

Here's the point.  Everyone should be having this absurd conversation.  Everyone should discuss how their own odd traits are, actually, minor superpowers.  

Because the more confident we all are in our minor superpowers, the more likely we all are to act on them, to act like minor superheroes.  And god knows we need some superheroes these days.  Minor or major.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The When and Where of It All.

Lately I've been ruminating on being basically an imprint.  Not exactly a lasting effect, but an impression.  I've also been thinking about the past; about what it means to be a ghost.

I've done it before, you see.  I've been a ghost in my own life. I've been forgotten, forgiven, lost.  I've been the one hidden against the wall, the one carefully tucked into herself, the one contrived.  The one who hides behind an armor forged of intellect, sarcasm, and bravado.

Ultimately, I'm the one who pretends.

And it's been hard, here, to not retreat.  I'm struggling.  I have been struggling.

I can't pull the happy out, I can't pretend.  I can't fake it, I can't triumph, I can't make believe that I am at all.  Here, I can't find it in me to be a person I'm not.  Some days, I can barely find it in me to be a person that I am...  I find that I tip-toe around openness and dance around honesty.  I descend into the person that I once was in favor of the person that I could be.

It's like being back in high school... but worse.

Because I'm old enough now, and wise enough, to know that it's all on me.

It is no secret that I've had my fair share of struggles over time.  But time 'is always time and place is always and only place'... it goes on, naturally.  My great fear in life is to not live, to not be engaged in the time and place when and where I am; it is a fear that constantly sneaks up on me, rattles me, jolts me into aggression.  It's circling me now, this fear, this panic that I'm sitting way too many out.  That I'm fading.

And so of course, I retreat to the page, to the letters and language that make the most sense to me.  I retreat to the comfort of a clean white background, and a bristling black cursor.

So much for when and where.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Under Water.

When I was a child, I was ninety-nine percent sure that I wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up.  I loved the ocean, I toddled toward it on a mission before I was even a year old.  I loved the waves, the power, the water.

Specifically, and more to a mermaid's point...., I loved being under the water.  Because I love the way the world sounds under water.  The muted noises from above and around you; the muffled sound of water pressing in on you; the eternal silence of sea.  The unbelievable loudness of it.  It's all so mysterious and yet embracing.

And, between swimming in the three or four different pools, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea this summer, I've recalled this sensation that, as a child and a young woman, I loved.

I love the way the world sounds under water.

I learned, at a young age, to slip beneath a breaking wave and let the white, raw, churning head crash over me.  All that primordial power overhead, that sound of history contained in ocean.  There was nothing more exhilarating to me- it was my pied piper.  But still there are so many more sounds- alone in a pool, the way you can hear yourself move through it like you are your own current, like you create your own current.  Or in a busy pool when you can hear someone else's current, their body, move past yours.



Swirls of sound from every direction, all of them like ghosts in the water.

I love that you can, at once, hear everything around you and yet nothing at all.  I love that you lose all sense of time because it has no place in this wild space.

It is endlessly ancient and enthralling.

Also, I may still want to be a mermaid when I grow up.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Feliz Cumpleaños, Mama.

Growing up, I've had a running list of all the reasons that I would never have children.  I'm not kidding.

Of course over the years the list has grown, changed, reasons have dropped or skyrocketed in priority given my mood, my mindset, the time frame at which I discovered the reason...  Most of it relates to actually being pregnant.  Keep this in mind.

A Sample:

1.  No, I will not give up caffeine for 9 months.  (This was the first reason ever and remained close to the top of the list no matter the time frame or mindset).

2.  Aliens.

3.  When you can see a human foot or hand protruding from your belly.  (See above, Aliens).

4.  The Discovery Channel (or even the birth scene in Knocked Up) special on natural childbirth.

5.  The waddle.  (Offensive, yes.  But also true?  Also yes).

The thing is, I always sort of feared having kids mostly because I sort of feared the kind of mother I would be.  Which has nothing to do with pregnancy and everything to do with actually rearing children.

Because my mother is currently, and was absolutely when I was growing up, the most amazing mother.  Period.  I know a lot of kids say that about their parents... or maybe they don't.  The point is, I mean it.  My mom was kickass.  She still is kickass, but in a way that is now more adult, more deliberate.  There's a difference between kickass mom that gives you a cherry pie pod (does anyone else remember those things? I feel like Hostess made them and they were simultaneously disgusting and delicious) for lunch in the summer just because and the kickass mom that you can drink margaritas with.  A difference that comes with age, time, and experience.

If you haven't met her, it's honestly truly hard to explain my mom.  She wasn't a traditional mom, a stay-at-home mom, a pie-baking, apron-on mom.  She almost never had tissues or band aids in her purse- but hey, she's a nurse so it was sort of expected that my brother and I would be of hale and hearty and never-get-out-of-school-sick stock.  She wasn't protective in the creepy kids-should-be-bathed-in-hand-sanitizer-and-never-track-mud-in-the-house way.  She was protective in the I-probably-would-be-legit-dead-at-least-4-times-over way.  No seriously: that time I was drowning; that time I was an inch away from being hit by a car, those two-ish time when starvation became less in my head and more in every inch of my body.

My mom was (is) a wild-woman.  She was (is) a ferocious lover, mother, friend, confidant.  She did (does) silly things as frequently as she did (does) serious things, if not more frequently.  She healed people, took (takes) care of people, worked hard for everything she has.  She laughed (laughs) a lot, loudly, and heartily.

It's hard to contend with that when thinking about having your own kids.  When I think about my childhood, I'm filled with really happy, golden, insanely good memories (except for those with my brother :) ).  And so many of those memories involve my mom.  And then when I think about the children I could have, I think.... how can I be that awesome?  How could I ever be that awesome?  What if I'm not?  What if I can't be?  What if, what if, what if.

For all the what-ifs in her life, Mama made it work.

So, to my crazy, wonderful, lively, ridiculous, silly, caring, compassionate, bright-as-can-be, mom... Happy Birthday.

Happy, Happy Birthday.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Poetry, Ghost

I just found a cache of poetry, hidden in the husk of my old Macbook's hard drive (which itself lives in a file on the desktop of my desktop).  It's my poetry, pieces that I wrote over years and years, and then in a burst of one season in New Hampshire.

It's odd to see it again- collected this way.  I knew it was there, I mean... in a moment of rare egoism, I pulled my favorites from the annals of old computers, journals, scrap paper, and put them together with the thought of publishing a (very) small book.  Then the moment was gone, replaced by my usual entrenched lack of confidence.  So I knew it was there.

But I didn't remember what I put where, or how I let the collection take on a specific canto.  Looking at it now, it doesn't work.  Certain pieces need to be moved to the top, others removed completely.

Then there's the editing.

Of course there are type-os (my father would have a field day with the type-os) because I type too fast and only ever let my eyes graze the words appearing on the screen.  But they can be dealt with.  But then there's the loss of these poems' spirits, the loss of what I meant and felt and saw, when I initially wrote them.  Lost because translation from scribbled on a page to clean and typed in a Word document doesn't always work.

There's one, called "Père Lachaise, Paris, November."  I remember writing it (not immediately after I visited Père Lachaise for the first time, nor even when I was actually living in Paris).  I remember frantically trying to get my hand to keep up with my brain.  I remember the bound burgundy cloth journal it's written in, the way I scrawled the title on the side of the page rather than at the beginning of the poem, the blueness of the ink.  I remember a line that I wrote:

for the miracle of birth is mine...

What it looks like in my head.
I remember it, I remember writing it, I can see it in my mind's eye.  But nowhere in the typed, sanitized, black-and-white version of that poem does that line appear.  And I can't for the life of me recall why I took it out.  It's a pretty important part, it means something in the overall flow... and yet it's missing.  Because of my apparently tragic editing skills.

Mostly, re-reading these pieces, I remember how I used to write.  I wrote feverishly- I wrote the way people write when they're scared of dying the next day.  I wrote the way you write when you're the only person reading.  I wrote with passion and abandon.

And lots of scribbling.  

What affected me the most, though, finding all that poetry, is how little I write now.  How much I have forgotten, how much I have let go.

It breaks my heart that I only quickly skimmed the document (tentatively called 'Conversations') when I came across it (looking for something else entirely) and have not yet gone back to read each and every word as a singular entity and gift.

The things we remember, the things we forget.  Man.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The A* Word

This is going to sound weird.

But growing up, maybe until I was in my early 20s, I convinced myself that someone with an "A name" was going to play a really important role in my life.  I mean, I'm a girl and a romantic in my heart of hearts, so I figured I was going to marry or have a significant relationship with a man called Alex, Andy, Aaron (you get the idea).  Someone with an A name.  I was literally convinced of it.

(Scratch that- it is most definitely weird.)

I was, apparently, incorrect in my conviction.

Nevertheless, I have a lot of A words that roll around in my brain.  Words that haunt and harass me, words that mean something to me more than they would to others.  The other night I was laying in bed, sleepless, thinking about words.  As I sometimes do.  Some people count sheep... I list words.  And the only words I thought of that night started with the letter- you guessed it- A.

Here are a few, in no particular order:

Atlas: I could write encyclopedic tomes on what this word means to me.  I've blogged about it here to distraction.  It's a word that attracts every fiber of my being.  If there is one word above all others, it's Atlas.

Anorexic: No-brainer.

Aggressive: or Aggression.  I'm not a terribly aggressive person and yet there are times when I feel aggression boil in me like I'm the Incredible Hulk (or some other similarly large and unusually-colored creature) and I struggle to contain it.  I feel like my emotional hackles get in the way of my rational normal and BOOM.  Shirt ripped, angry growl, menacing sneer... I'm THAT guy.  Or girl.  Whatever, you get my point.

Anger:  See above but use the words angry and anger.  Also, I sometimes throw things.

Abasement (self): No-brainer, again.

Shall I keep going?


Still, it keeps going.  All these words.  All of these beautiful A words.

And until next time, Adieu. :)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Waves. Obsessions.

Sometimes I sit and I watch the waves on the fjord.  The undulating, endless waves.

I understand how waves work, I do.  But still they seem so special, so miraculous.  I think it's the constancy that gets to me, the interaction between atmosphere and ocean.  It's hypnotic.

Granted, I know that everyone who has ever lived near the water has probably had the same lost moments.  We have all started out at the sea, moving and moving and moving.   Endless in motion, unbelievable in depth, hypnotic.

So here's this.

Also, I cannot stop watching The Killing.  Apparently I missed it when it was out... oh, say... 6 years ago.  Either I missed out or I was an absolute flake (I'm not going to argue against the latter) because I literally cannot stop watching it.  I'm being even the slightest bit dramatic.  My husband is out of town for 12 days and because I'm in binge territory, the series won't last that long.  Not even close.

On that note, Joel Kinnaman is unbelievable.  And easy on the eyes no less.  Just sayin'.

Because I've never been afraid to cop up to my own flaws... anything from this brand.  I am utterly obsessed.  In fact, I'm surprised that it's never made the list before.  Every time I fly through Amsterdam on my way to anywhere, I stop and have a peruse.  I think it started when I was living in Paris as a 19 year old.  Longchamp's bags seemed so casual and yet so refined, elegant.  They still do...  I love me some books on tape... or on iPod as it were.

This dress.  Specifically, the 'soft apricot' color.  I'm off my dome for it and yet cannot even begin to think of a place or a reason to wear it.

This time two weeks ago, I was kicking it in Florida.  I was quite warm, sunburnt sometimes, and subsisting on a whole lot of happiness.  I discovered a deep affinity for Earl's... a dive bar with an amazing crew, lots of motorcycles, and a sense of humor about itself.  I also rediscovered a love of mimosa's.

And on that note, Happy Wednesday.

Friday, June 30, 2017


When my ex broke up with me (chronicled in painful detail on this very blog) I more or less fell apart.  See years 2011-2013 for The Adventures of Kate the Waster.  I don't really feel anything about it, good or bad, anymore.  But every now and then, I am transported back to the long night drives, in my old gold Jeep.  It was night time in the summer in North Carolina.  The air was warm and wet but smelled more alive than I felt.  So I almost always drove with the windows down- humidity be damned.  And the radio on as loud as I could stand.  Inevitably one of two albums had been thrust into The Beast's CD player: Adele's 21 or Mumford and Sons' Sigh No More.

I drove very very fast those nights.  And I listened very very loud.  And some songs I sang like my physical presence on earth depended on it.

Behind the wheel of that truck, I cried until I choked; I cried until I had to pull the car over; I cried more than I had ever cried before or have cried since.  It's no small miracle that I was never pulled over for hysterics or excessive moving violations.

More than any other song After the Storm gave me a part of myself back.  It's the song I cried the hardest to, the song I sang the loudest with, the song that shakes me today.  I hear it and I'm broken but healing again.  I hear it and I immediately tear up.  In a good way, I guess- a way that is familiar to me, a way that reminds me of who I used to be and who I am and who I will be, I hope, someday.

There will come a time, you'll see
with no more tears
when love will not break your heart
but dismiss your fears
Get over your hill and see
what you find there
With grace in your heart 
and flowers in your hair

Literally wailing like a banshee, and crying like tears were going out of style.

I was a dangerously toxic mixture of sorrow and anger then, of grief and deep deep distress.  I was simultaneously scared and terribly numb.  There is a part of me that is still both.  There is a part of me that thinks a part of me will be both forever.  (Drama, I know.)  Honestly, though, one of the most important things that entire period of my life- the relationship, the break up, the pain of loss (there are so many different types of loss), the insanity- taught me was how not to love.

And because that song is so wrapped up, in my head and my heart, with that time whenever I hear it, I think about love.  I think about how to love and how not to love.  And I think about time.  I hear that song and I think about the future.

Always about the future.  But also always about the past.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


*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.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Silent Shakedown.

At some point, as a woman not prone to histrionics, you learn how to shut it down.  You learn how to scream on the inside.*  It's a good thing and a bad thing: useful because you're screaming, useless because it's on the inside.

At some point, you learn the value of not wailing but weeping.

You learn how to paste on a smile, be nice to strangers, kind to others, and laugh with everyone else.  You learn to live on cue.

There are days when I feel like I am beating against a wall that will never come down.  I am trying to heal a mortal wound, and I'm too stubborn to give up.  And I'm frequently doing this in the confines of my own head.  My own heart.  My own reflection.

At some point you learn that madness is not anger but agitation; that from some dark and distressed corner of your being a beacon locates something sad and raging but silent.  

There is a part of me that wishes this were easier.  I wish I could wake up every morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to face the day.  I wish I could carry the first happy instant of sun (or cloudy rain) through the rest of the day as I face it.  And then there is that part of me that recognizes the need to wade through the less-than-easy.  We all need to feel the down, the dirty, the blues of it all in order to really get a feel for these lives we lead.

'Cause they ain't easy, that's for sure.

*I myself am pretty bad at hiding things, so my insidedness erupts in pouting and frowning: a slithering, obvious, excruciating silence.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sea Change.

When you're young, at least when I was young, familiar wisdom seemed trite.  Silly.  Antiquated in it's consistency.

'Everything changes' was the worst.  Of course everything changes.  Of course it does.  It always does.  Need we be reminded of that?  And here I am, how many years later, marveling at the fact that everything changes.

Yes, it is true- everything changes.

A decade ago I was getting ready to go to graduate school for colonial North American history.  Now, much to my chagrin, I'm back in school and this time for Environmental Sciences (with all the maths a non-maths gal like me could possibly hope for).  Sarcasm has not changed.

But I have.  Gone is the ferociously independent wild child that I was for just about 3 decades.  Gone is the girl who lived deliberately (and, unchanged, dislikes Walden with something close to religious zealotry) and decisively.  Gone is the mouth, gone is the arched eye-brow, gone is the flippancy, intellect, and sometimes I think the writing chutzpah (ego might be a change, too).  Boy how I have changed.

And here I sit, having just finished up a mind-numbing redux of the Laws of Sines and Cosines, thinking about change.  About my change and the changing world around me.  You see, the other day, my husband asked me if I was feeling a little too 'Groundhog Day' (think the movie, not the actual event) about life.  And to be honest, I thought I was.  I thought there was something humdrum about the in and out of what I do day to day.  And I thought that that was the reason... the reason that I was fading, changing.  Maybe I'm changing myself to suit this everyday.

But then I looked around and realized how very much has changed.  It's impossible that I'm ground-hogging it because things are changing all over the place.  They are admittedly often infinitesimally small changes, but things, they are a-changing.

Which means I have no excuse.

So there's that.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Covered Ground.

In these past few weeks, I have had an immense amount of trouble writing.  Not for lack of material, not for lack of need or desire, but for lack of... well, for lack of hope.  And inspiration.  I have had trouble writing because everything I write, or begin to write, ends up something like this:
I am 32 years old and this is the first time, in my life, that the dread had outweighed the hope. 
The first time that the Future* has seemed at the very least bleak, at the worst, spiraling into dystopian and post-apocalyptic.  Yeah, I said it. 
*By Future I mean the big one, the big, complicated, messy, confused hazy future that EVERYONE faces.
Seriously.  I have at least a dozen posts rumbling around, barely written, desperate to escape, who are never getting out because they look like that.  Because that post, like the others, would only get worse, more honest, and more abrasive from there.

I hate and fear that I am becoming one-sided and mean.  And hopeless.

Trying to combat that, I have looked around me for good(ness).  I have avoided staying on the Facebook feed for long periods of time.  I won't watch the news... well I watched the press conference last night and almost launched plates at the tele... so I'm back to not watching the news.

I have embraced the ebb and flow of personal interest in a bid to remember passionate obsession and that aforementioned good(ness) and in doing so have once again returned to my first Great Love: Poetry...

And it turns out that the poetry that really gets me going is not so much hopeful and full of good(ness) as it is.. ermm.. potent, resonant, dark, probing.  It's abrasive and frank.  This should not come as a surprise.  My favorite poet (a well known and discussed fact) is TS Eliot.  There is a reason he is a Lion amongst Lambs: his genius is as personal as it is biting.  I covet talent like his.  But rereading his work for the (what feels like) millionth time, I am struck by the notion that I am dark, really dark.  That I might be as lacking in hope and good(ness) as these times which unsettle me.

For example... in case you've never bothered before...

There are so many lines.  So much text to wade through.  And yet it captivates me endlessly.  I've prattled on about this so many times that I don't think I need to add more.

Then there's Donne... whose lines echo in my mind relentlessly:

I mean.. this isn't exactly popcorn reading.  I've got to sit back every now and then wonder what is wrong with me??  What is it that drives me into my melancholic mind, into a fragile refuge?  And finally it drives this question that's been bothering me for the past few weeks.  Why can't I see daisies and rainbows rather than absence, darkness,.. well you get it. 

Poor press conferences notwithstanding... it's confounding.