Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Friday, December 30, 2005

 

Thoughts on Barbie mutilation, first brought to my attenion by Julie

I have a post today and you can read it right here.
Today we have 5 minutes more of daylight than we did on Dec. 21st.

It's the small things, really...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

 

Happy Holidays

Christmas is over. Praise baby Jesus.

I think I have post holiday stress disorder. I have a lot of cherished relatives who visit this time of year. I love seeing them all. Sometimes I wish they would visit in July instead though, when I am not crazed, and can spend time hanging out and having fun instead of twitching near them in my holiday induced panic.

Christmas Eve Maggie received an abundance of gifts and lovely toddler clothes made by her Grandma. She celebrated this by ignoring all her presents, and playing in a large cardboard box. She played contentedly in the box. She popped her head up intermittently to put a large, unopened can of Guiness beer to her lips. She then tilted her head back and took a big old pretend chug off of it, and then retreated back into her box. With her beer. It was a beautiful site. A sixteen month old practicing to be a homeless person.

We tossed balls of scrunched up wrapping paper in her cardboard home to see what she would do, and she threw them right back out at us. She takes after her father, and seems to like things neat and orderly. She might turn out to be a wino living in a cardboard box, but it will be the cleanest cardboard box on the block.

That's my girl.

Friday, December 23, 2005

 

For Fuck's sake

This morning, we had an ice storm in Minnesota. As I left my house and walked to the MLF mobile, my feet slipped out from under me, I fell on my ass, and the coffee in my mug shot up like a rocket and LANDED ON MY FUCKING HEAD.

At this point, a more intelligent merson might have turned around and gone back to bed, but NOOOOOOO. Not me.

I will not delve into the gory details of the rest of my morning, except to say that at times, the blogosphere reminds me of driving in rushour traffic.

On a happier note, the most serious injury of the day was inflicted upon my hair and my pride. If anyone notices the smell of stale coffee? That would be me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

 

Slogging

So, as of today we have officically slogged our way to the winter solstice!!

Pat yourself on the back for making it this far. We shall now get a teeny tiny little itty bitty bit more sunlight each and every day.

Sometimes winter makes me feel like that guy from the documentary "Touching the Void". The guy whose climbing partner cut his rope, causing him to fall down an enormous crevasse. He spent the next week or so half dead and delerious trying to find his way back to camp. If you haven't seen it, it's great. And this time of year reminds me of him and his harrowing journey.

And I also have a post for your reading pleasure here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

 

desperation breeds creativity, if not self-levitation

This time of year, I sometimes feel as though I am swimming through peanut butter to survive. I try to move forward, but every stroke takes tremendous, exhausting effort. I wear myself out, and then look back to see how far I have come, and I can’t help but feel frustrated and disappointed by how much effort it took to move forward so little.

I suffer from low grade depression that ebbs and flows. This dark time of year, it tends to rear its ugly, ambivalent head. I suspect it has something to do with the lack of sunlight, and being holed up all hours of the day, and the fact that this time of year is hard on darn near everyone. I have a bad habit of taking the bad moods of others as a personal insult. Most of the time people are in bad moods simply because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or perhaps they are feeling small inside for their own reasons, and that is why they might treat the people around them poorly and dismissively. At any rate, it rarely has much to do with me, and I need to remind myself of that repeatedly.

This November, my bout was particularly bad. Worse than I remember it ever being, aside from the weeks following Maggie’s birth. For a few weeks there, I walked around and sighed, and stared off into space, and picked at my food, and stayed up til all hours worrying about things I had practically no control over. I was anxious and I couldn’t stop being anxious. I was like a record stuck on a skip, and I needed a good smack to set the needle straight again, but the smack never came. So there I sat, skipping over and over the same lyrics in my mind. It was, well.. depressing. And repetitive. I felt incredibly ineffective and helpless to do anything about any of it.

Desperate to shake myself out of it, I decided to try something new. Acupuncture. I had heard good things about it, and figured it couldn’t hurt. I am not what you might consider to be new-agey, or more accurately, I am not what you might consider to be Ancient Chinese-agey. But I was willing to try just about anything by that point. I just wanted to feel normal again.

I made the appointment and showed up feeling a little nervous. It was, in my mind, the most depressing time of day, the most depressing time of year. Dusk in early December. It was cold, and the gray light was turning to black. The building was on a dingy busy street. The office was dark, and the door was locked. I knocked and waited and knocked and waited and went downstairs to check the marquee to make sure I was at the right place and I was, so I went back and knocked and waited some more. I paced, and my footsteps echoed from the stone floor down the empty hallway. It was a desolate, creepy, dingy dark kind of an evening.

Finally a diminutive woman with warm brown skin and shiny black hair opened the door. She reached to shake my hand, and her small, warm grasp felt as though it contained tiny, delicate bird-bones. She led me to a dim room and sat me on a table. Windham Hill piano music played softly in the background, and the streetlights gradually grew brighter outside as the final rays of weak sunlight surrendered to blackness.

She asked a lot of questions. What did I eat? What was my energy level like? Why was I there? Did I have digestive problems? Circulation problems? Skin problems? She looked at my tongue, and told me it looked pretty good, but the center was swollen (what that means is beyond me). She took my pulse in three places. She told me my liver and spleen pulses were weak, but that could be because I had a baby a little over a year ago. She told me I should take fish oil supplements and vitamins.

Eventually she brought me to a warm, dark room, and told me to take off my shoes and socks and lie down. I shut my eyes, and she massaged some kind of oil into my calves and feet. I don’t know what it was, but it felt nice. She waved some kind of essential orange oil under my nose, and began placing the tiny little needles. They didn’t really hurt. They felt strangely good. For some reason, I especially liked the one she stuck at the top of my scalp. She placed a couple on each hand, each wrist, and each ankle and foot. I think she put one near both knees too. She did this thing where she barely touched my head. I could feel her hands moving ever so slowly towards my hair. Then she left the room and I laid on the table, alone in the dark, all stuck with acupuncture needles.

I have to admit, I felt a little odd. I tried to relax my mind, but in typical fashion, I began worrying about whether I was relaxing enough. I tried to prevent myself from peeking at the needles, but my curiosity eventually won that wrestling match and pinned my resolve to the mat. I opened my eyes. Yep, little needles stuck in my hands. There they were. I looked at the clock and worried about how long it was taking, and that we needed to be at a family function, and what if my husband was mad? Then I just sat there.

It is nice to just sit there. People don’t just sit there enough. I have tried meditating, and stopped trying, because I always felt like a loser busybody because I couldn’t stop my mind from racing. I felt like a meditating failure, and then instead of trying to relax, I worried that there was something wrong with me. Why can’t I just relax? Why can’t I slow down my thoughts? Why do I always feel like there is something wrong with me? But I think, the point is, to at least try to be quiet. So I tried to be quiet, and it felt nice.

The small, warm bird-hand lady came back into the room, and removed the needles from my flesh. She told me to lie down for 5 minutes to prevent lightheadedness. I laid there impatiently for about 90 seconds and then got up. I felt fine. I walked out to the lobby, and paid the bill.

I tried to decide if I felt any different. Maybe it’s like when you start to get over a bad cold. You don’t really notice when you start to feel better, until one day you realize that you don’t have a cold anymore. When I walked out to my car, the darkness seemed to have lost its oppressive quality. It seemed less scary. The lights were a little more welcoming. I wondered if the difference was the acupuncture, or the fact that I tend to fear the onset of darkness more than the actual darkness itself. I have an irrational and immense dislike for dusk in the fall and winter. I am not sure why, but the aversion is a powerful one. I feel the onset of darkness in the pit of my stomach, and it doesn’t go away until I acclimate to night-time.

I am not sure what to attribute it to, but I have to say I am feeling better. More like my old self. And that is a good thing. I stopped sighing so much. I am eating and sleeping again. My husband Jim stopped tiptoeing around me, and is back on my case for leaving towels on the floor, and I can’t say that I mind. I think I will give acupuncture another try, for good measure. If I get sick of slapping down my heard earned money for quiet time, I might try to figure out how to get more of it. And when I do, I will try to remember the answer might just lie more in providing myself the opportunity to quiet my mind, than in whether or not I succeed in silencing it. It’s not a lost cause if I fail to self-levitate for the love of Pete. I just want to feel better is all. And I think it worked.

Monday, December 19, 2005

 

On a less depressing note

Okay, sorry about the existential methaphorical angst, folks.

Had a breakthrough with the old therapist. I need to put up a post about why I love my therapist at some point. She helps lift the fog, and when that happens I get a little introspective. Enough already.

You can see my latest essay about the time I tried to outsmart Santa and got my ass handed to me here.

Fresh stuff coming up!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

 

Emotional Framework

It's a little wobbly. The house teeters when the wind blows. The foundation sinks a little when it rains. The cockeyed foundation has made all the window frames hang crooked. There are gaps under the window sills, and the cold wind blows through each room, bringing snowflakes that float and bob, and land in perfect swept mounds. As though placed there intentionally. But each snowflake landed all by itself. It seems it just never got built right. Some shortcuts were taken. It could be a diamond in the rough, but it’s hard to tell in the state it’s in. It could be beautiful already. To the right eye.

Do I wait for the condemnation notice, or do I call in the construction crew now?

Monday, December 12, 2005

 

Don't try this at home, eh?



Hallelujah. After a torturously long weekend of caring for our daughter, now affectionately called “the non-sleeper", she finally, spontaneously, collapsed in an unconscious heap for a nap Sunday afternoon.

I was at my parent’s house, making the world’s most insanely futzy cookie. The Krumkake. We decided that the crazy Scandinavians came up with the worlds most fucked up convoluted cookies because they were bored out of their goddamned minds during their dark, cold, empty, barren 6-month-long winters.

I can imagine the coin toss: “Okay Lena, if it’s heads, we go out behind the shed, strip down naked, and wait for the hypothermia to bring sweet relief from this never-ending dark frigid Hell-on-earth. If it's tails, we make cookies with a simple pancake batter, branding irons, and boiling hot lard. We’ll call them rosettes!”

"Okay Ollie! Tails it is! Yah! You betcha we'll make them cookies, eh?"

Somehow I got tagged “the krumkake daughter”. My sister Betsy makes lovely gingerbread cutouts which she rolls out and decorates carefully. Me, I got tagged the krumake Subject Matter Expert. Krumkake are cookies that you make ONE AT A TIME with something called a krumkake Iron. A Krumkake iron is an archaic torture device which you load with batter, hold over a hot flame, flip over, burn yourself with, and finally roll around a wooden cone with your oozing, blistered fingers. The krumkake iron. It burned. Dough got stuck, and when I tried to spray a little Pam to loosen the gunk, a flame three times the size of my head shot up. The little pieces of excess cookie fell down onto the gas burner and started mini-fires. It was dangerous work. The first seventeen cookies typically don’t work out, and they take approximately two and a half hours to make. After I've worked out the kinks, the remaining three hours of skin-searing labor produce approximately 22 cone-shaped cookies which crumble to pieces as soon as they are placed in a bag.

Don’t make krumkake. Not unless you are stuck in an isolated cabin in the dark frigid cold for 6 months out of the year. Only then should you make krumkake. And only then, if your one and only alternative to making krumkake is heaving yourself off an icy crevasse.

The Instrument of Midieval torture:





I made krumkake, and I started fires, and I suffered several second degree burns. But the child, she slept in her pack ‘n play in the upstairs bedroom. I had to call Jim during the Vikings game to share the news. Our suffering had come to an end. The day was a complete success. When it was time to go home, I took my well-rested daughter to her car seat and gingerly buckled her up with my blistered stubs. We went home and proudly showed Jim the bag of broken krumkake bits. The cookie shards did not impress him (fucking krumkake), But the fact that I got our daughter asleep for a nap left him completely speechless and awestruck.

Friday, December 09, 2005

 

Ten things

Got this from Beth at sothefishsaid

Happy Friday!

1. I am much better at coming up with 10 things about other people than I am at coming up with 10 things about myself

2. I didn’t start writing as a hobby until May of 2005.

3. I have an odd, and perhaps concerning obsession with true crime stories. I have two books on the nightstand about murderous women.

4. I am not a neat person. In fact I might be considered messy, except that I insist that the kitchen and bathroom are always clean and sanitized. So I suppose I am cluttered but clean.

5. My hobbies: I have run 6 marathons, I like to paint in watercolors, write, cook, and host dinner parties. Oh and Karaoke. I LOVE me some Karaoke. I am a closet ham. Just give me a few glasses of wine and try to tear the microphone from my clenched fist.

6. My vices are red wine and social smoking. I imbibe in social wine-induced cigarette smoking, much to the chagrin of my husband.

7. I am 5’ 9”

8. I am obsessed with Little House on the Prairie. So are all 3 of my sisters and my 4 cousins. 8 grown women, obsessed with Little House on the Prairie. We know every episode like the back of our hands. We watch them on DVD and mock the characters and actors.

9.McDonalds French fries are the best tasting thing on earth.

10. I have an irrational fear of insomnia that caused me to become addicted to Law and order reruns. Irrational because I typically fall asleep by about 9:40 p.m. 75% of the time I fall asleep to Law and order. Typically about 10 minutes before you find out who the criminal really is. I have L&O dependency.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

 

INSANITY

No, I am not talking about my mental state. I am talking about the venerable feast of reality television I was exposed to last night. GOOD REALITY TELEVISION.

The season finale of ANTM (for those unschooled in all things ANTM that stands for America's Next Top Model). To ease my withdrawal, they are airing a reunion next Wednesday.

Then we moved onto Martha's Apprentice. It's growing on me. If nothing else for the insanity of Martha herself. Her "reward" for the winning team was scrabble. YES! Scrabble! They worked their asses off, beat the opposing team, and as their reward they played Scrabble with Martha! Holy Lame-dom.

You know, I totally thought I would dig hanging out with Martha until the scrabble reward was unveiled. Unless it was the kind of Scrabble I used to play with my friend Jen, in which obscenities, and any word you could use in a sentence counted. I got credit for "Quabs" because I used it in the folowing sentence:

"I am wiwwy Squatchy and the doctow says it's quabs."

And then we moved on the Project Runway which is possibly the most delectibly addictive reality show known to man. Watch it once and mark my words. You will be mesmerized by Heidi Klum in all of her pregnant bellied Hiedi Klumness. And the fashion! The designs! The designers! My heart.... it goes pitterpat!

It was insane. Totally insane. There shall never be another night like it in all of television.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

 

Star of the Produce Parade

My daughter Maggie acts as though a trip to the grocery store is the world’s most mind-blowing, fanciful experience imaginable. She’s not stuck in a cart running mundane errands with Mommy. She is touring the wonders of Charlie’s Chocolate factory whilst waving from her very own convertible parade-float / grocery cart to all her adoring spectators who, in her mind, came out just to see the Maggie Parade.

She glides along regally as I toss tuna fish and mayonnaise into the cart.

Elbow elbow, Wrist wrist.

Your average shopper might think it’s just a trip to the grocery store. HA! What fools! This is the Maggie show! Full of delights and fantastic things to see and eat!

We meander down the aisles and she does her best to initiate eye contact with unsuspecting shoppers. “Hi!” she implores, tilting her head upwards to get noticed.

If her greeting goes unnoticed, she ups the ante and shouts a little louder, with gusto. “HI!!!” She cranes her neck to place herself in their line of vision.

And if she gets no response she practically implodes with unrequited desperate yearning and increases the decibel level to an eardrum piercing level. “HI!!!!!!!!!!” she shouts desperately, as her head bounces up and down like an overly caffeinated orangutan.

More often than not, the preoccupied shopper looks up, smiles, and returns the greeting. Maggie nods her head satisfactorily and moves on to seek a response from the next unsuspecting shopper.

We eventually make our way to the produce section where the child’s eyes literally light up with delight. “Mmmmmmmmm!” she exclaims as we approach a pile of avocado’s. “Mmmmmmmmm!” she squeals and wiggles with excitement as we move towards a mountain of bananas. Each new mound of fruit and vegetable provokes an “UMMMMMM!” which increase in pitch and volume. These exquisite displays of magical treats placed just for her viewing pleasure! She tries frantically to reach the goodies I place in the cart, just out of the reach of her chubby toddler arms.

By the time we make it to the checkout line, her patience is completely shot. The anxiety begat by having to sit in a cart full of the world’s most intoxicating treats which she is not yet allowed to eat, gets the better of her. She breaks down. About the time the cashier wrestles the last pint of strawberries from her freakishly strong grip, she loses it. Game over. And I take her kicking and wiggling and sobbing and screeching from the store to the car, where she gazes vacantly out the window. A hollow shell of her earlier glorious parade float self. Sniffle.

When we get home, I put Maggie in her high chair and offer her samples of the washed fruit and delectable treats and all seems to be forgiven. She can be bought with food. She is her mother’s daughter after all.

Friday, December 02, 2005

 

Re-discovery

I am convinced that Christmas is by design, a distraction from the oppressive darkness and general depression – inducing cold and bleakness of the season.

I mean, Easter is really the big, important, significant Christian religious observance. At least this is what I have read. That is when the real miracle supposedly occurred. He was the first person to rise from the dead for crying in the soup. THAT was a big deal. Plenty of Tom’s Dick’s and Harry’s were born before him. I understand that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. And from what I know if Jesus, he was a pretty righteous man. Whether you are Christian or not, his existence is historically documented, and he was a cool dude. There is no denying. I am not dissing Jesus here. I am so not dissing Jesus.

I think we turned the celebration of the birth of Jesus into a brightly lit, occasionally tacky, capitalistic pagan hootenanny because we just NEED SOMETHING TO DO this time of year. We need a distraction from the dismal. We need tacky obnoxious lights in the darkness. We need to-do lists that are crammed with items to prevent us from focusing on the lack of light, the lack of sound, and the claustrophobia of being holed up in our hovels all day long.

Can you imagine what December would be like without the holidays? I get to work in the dark. I leave work in the dark. It would be like January through February, but darker. Oy.

It’s downright depressing out there.

Typically, I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel this time of year. So much so that I actually print out the sunrise, sunset calendar and mark off the days until daylight starts to increase. If I can make it to the winter solstice, I will at least know that tomorrow will be less depressing than today was. At least I sincerely hope so.

This year, I find myself caught off-guard by the brand-new, tiny little spark of excitement I feel as the holiday approaches. I have to admit, it is heartwarming to watch Maggie’s face light up when she looks at the Christmas tree. When she lifts her arms to me and I pick her up so she can get a good look at the ornaments up high. There is something awe-inducing about the way she carefully brings her chubby finger to them. The way she takes the tip of her finger, and slowly….just barely …..gives them the most gentle and reverent touch. When she gapes at Santa with wide eyes, I see a glimmer of the wonder that my skeptical soul seemed to have lost years ago. Kind of like when you don’t realize how famished you are until you set your eyes on a cheeseburger and fries. I didn’t realize how much I missed that wonder until I saw it again in my daughter’s eyes.

So perhaps I will wait this year until December 26th to print out that calendar to watch the days gradually grow longer. To observe the insanity-inducing slowness of the change from winter to spring. Until Christmas, I just won't have time. I have a big responsibility. I am the CEO in charge of wonder. I am honored to be appointed to such an influential position, and I take my job very seriously. My success is measured in the looks of wonder in my daughters eyes, and I am hoping for a stellar, bang-up, start-up year.