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?

Astronomical
Alchemical
Animal(istic)
Aloof
Author
Atrocious
Admonish
Adore
Adroit
Absolute
Amazing
Awe(some)
Astounding
Ameliorate
Ascend
Absent
Abhor...

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...

Audible.com.  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

Romance

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

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.

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.   

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monuments, Revisited.

A dozen years ago, as a young, interested, wide-eyed student, I moved to Paris for a term.  I lived there the same way I would live as a student anywhere- with my head in the books.  Oh sure, I took the trips, I visited museums and family, I ate and drank with my friends and got into all manner of trouble.  But I was, essentially, a student.

This past weekend I made it back to Paris for the first time (layovers at Charles de Gaulle notwithstanding) and it was like being there for the first time, again. 











Thursday, January 19, 2017

F*ing Grizzlies.

I am not a suicidal person.  One could make the argument that the eating disordered are, by nature, passively suicidal.  I would beg to differ- I starve myself for many reasons, death is not one of them.  But I digress.

I am not a suicidal person.  I don't have suicidal tendencies, I don't harbor death wishes.  I don't fear death, but I'm not actively seeking it out by my own hand.

That being said, there are some times (lately more times than not) that I don't want to live in this world.  There are times that I don't want to live in this world that we've so overwhelmed and so distressed and so degraded.  I don't want to live in this world that we are merrily destroying.

I'm no Pollyanna, folks, that much is obvious.  I'm not a sunny-side, always on the sunny side, keep on the right-side, etc., kind of gal.  Nope, I'm an eyes-open, brain churning (sometimes stomach churning) inquisitive, questioning, scathing kind of gal.*  I doubt a lot.  I read a lot more.  So it's nearly impossible for me to ignore the articles that I come across which state that the educational gene is failing in human beings; that bees have been put on the endangered species list; that primates are increasingly endangered.**  (It's impossible for me to ignore the man coming into the United States Presidency under a banner of hate, discrimination, and ignorance.)

It pains me.

There are days that I wake up and don't want to be a person who is living in/on and hurting this beautiful, miraculous planet.  I'm being serious here.  Look up the f*ing statistics about the distance from the sun, the atmosphere, the development of provocative, interesting, intelligent beings.   Look up evolution the way it happened.  The timeline.  The fact that humans have been on this planet for less than a split second in the grand scheme of things.  We are the miracle- or rather, we are privileged to have been born from the primordial past of this miraculous planet.  Some people believe in God-the Almighty, Yahweh, Allah, etc.  And that's cool.  But I believe in the Earth.  I believe in the planet that sustains and nurtures us.  And it terrifies me, shames me, that we have so irresponsibly beat her down.

That we have sown the seeds of our own demise so recklessly and with such abandon.  Because we are not the Number One here... she is.  And we've ripped this world apart like... like nothing short of a Hollywood analogy could describe.

It kills me.

Tonight I'm tired.  And I'm bummed.

And tomorrow it's no doubt going to be worse.




*Don't get me wrong.  I like my life.  I have a good life.  I count myself among the lucky few who love deeply, are greatly loved.... and who have dogs lol.  But seriously.  I am going to school, I am living abroad, I am adventuring as much as I can.  I like my life.

**The Iceland study/Education gene... welllllll..... I mean... I do have to pose the question- how many times have you (or I) been told that you are the kind of person who should have kids?  I have a queer feeling that there is an alarming number of incredible intellectual folks out there who are not having kids (see the article) because of.. whatever reason they are not having kids.  And those are the people who need to have progeny.  Those are the people who could stand to raise a kid.

Fo. Sho.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Roots.

If I've stated it once, I've stated it a hundred thousand times: I don't like the New Year's Celebration.  I don't like New Years Eve, I think it's a silly, arbitrary holiday with silly, arbitrary traditions (see Dick Clark, ball dropping, etc).  I don't like the idea of setting oneself up for failure with unrealistic (and silly and arbitrary) resolutions.

I have posted on the New Year, and New Years Resolutions before.. I've written about love and survival in these posts.  But this year is different for me.  This year I've spent time thinking about where I am, who I am, and most importantly how I came to be both where and who I am. 

And what I realized, after some time, is that I've strayed away from my roots.  Or rather, that I wanted to get back in touch with my roots - those things that make me me, those things that I have maybe lost touch with over the past couple of years.  So I set about discovering (rediscovering?), determining, identifying, and finally gathering close those aforementioned things.  

In the process of doing so, I slowly began to understand that this was/is supposed to be the year of reclamation.  I came to the understanding that what I have let slip away from me are the fundamentals- the core beliefs and meanings- of who I am.  And in order to get that back, it means boldly embracing everything I have loved over time:

Nature. 

Nature in all of it's Norwegian (read slightly sadistic) glory.

The wind.  The sea.  The sky.  The Earth. 

The music at which I now cringe...

(the grammatical errors which would have seen me end the previous with a dangling participle)

My belief in childlike adoration of wonder. 

Wonder. 

Everything that can be good, graceful, and real

Honesty. 

Provocation. 

Blunt. Ness. 

Dedication. 

The written word.  

The written word. On this last point a quick note.  Over this past year I have not given as much of myself or my time to what I consider the most important expression.  I could laugh it off and/or blame my new pursuit of a BS in Environmental Science (it's a time suck to which I have dedicated myself with a begrudging zeal).  To honor honesty, however, I've been stuck.  My words have been stuck somewhere outside of me.  Without access to them, I've been staring.  I stared at blank pages.  I stared at myself, I stared at my fingers, sitting still on a keyboard.  I stared at the blinking cursor, taunting me to reach.  

To reach. 

I have sat back on my writing this year- sat back on this blog.  There's been a lot going on in my life but there's also been an unexpected fear of judgment creeping into my mind, my thoughts, my fingers.  And, uncharacteristically, I let that fear still me.  

And for that I am sorry.  I am sorry to the words I cheated, the words I left, the words I hid.  I'm sorry to those I left behind.  

But this year, I put my root down.  I go back and touch base, embrace it all.  I kick it root down.  

A Spreading Stain.

That moment when something fluid and dark hits something light.  It begins to spread, and consume.  The inky creep of dark things against light. The middle is still thick, viscous, glistening.  But the edges are creeping- they are spreading out from the center, like little liquid soldiers on their little liquid missions. 

That is the progression of a bad mood- but not just any bad mood, the kind of bad mood that infects everything, and everyone around you.  It's the creep of toxic foul thoughts that begins in your (hopefully) irrational brain, overwhelms your rational brain, and then leeches into your entire being.  It is the spreading stain.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ruminations on Generations

It's distressing to go back to being an adult* after you've been your parent's kid, again, for a few weeks.

I am pretty unabashed when it comes to my good relationship with my mom and dad.  They've put up with a lot from me and I've gotten a lot from them in terms of emotional, physical, and (yes) financial support.  A college friend of mine once told me that I was literally the most emotionally spoiled kid she had ever met- largely because my parents usually picked up the phone when I called.  Or emailed me back pretty quickly.  Or came to visit me relatively frequently.  You know... things that to me seem normal, things that to others seem... unusual.

But I digress.  My parents and two of three of my husbands parents just came to Norway for Christmas (mine stayed through New Years but you get the idea).  I got fifteen days with my mom and dad.  Fifteen days to be a kid again, to try and not make decisions, to reap the benefit of mom agreeing that I really do need that pink sequined skirt and absolutely taking my side in everything.  Fifteen days of biological partners in crime.

And dropping them off at the Passport Control Gate in Oslo Airport today was tough.  I tried my best to be a big kid and honestly did better than I thought I would.  I waited until after they were out of sight to start crying.  Because here's the thing- it really only takes a few days (and I had many more than that) to remember that you're always going to be somebody's little girl.  (Here I go fighting tears... again).  It takes just a minute to recall how nice it is to be part of a multi-generational family unit- especially one that spoils you with care and concern.  And it takes absolutely no effort whatsoever to bask in that knowledge.

Which is to say it's a bit of a bummer when the party's over.  It's easy to put it out of your head when you have to.  It's easy to not think about adoring your parents when you have to be present here, without them.  When you have to be a mom (to a dog, CALM DOWN), a student, a wife, a writer, a park ranger, a wanderer, a whatever-it-is-that-you-do.  They are always in the back of my mind and a constant present in my heart and my life... and when they are right next to me, playing cards or making chili or drinking far too much, it's like we've never really been apart.

So it's not an easy thing to let that go at the end of a holiday;  to live an ocean and a couple of continents away from many of the people you love most in the world.  It's an adventure for sure, and a whirlwind, and I would not give up the life that I'm still carving away.... still it's not an easy thing.

But it's nice to see my parents.  Especially at Christmas, and especially to bring 'home' a New Year.

And until next time, I've got my own plane to catch.

*Insofar, that is, that I have the cabability of acting like, or being, an adult.