Thursday, January 31, 2008

to read

you said you wanted a list of books to read:

  1. john irving, a widow for one year (you said the other day you weren't sure you read it...i think it's one of his best and even if you read it, you should read it again)
  2. umberto eco, how to travel with a salmon (these are whimsical little essays that you can graze through. put this one in your bathroom for reading in the tub and other bathroom reading opportunities)
  3. j. maarten troost, the sex lives of cannibals and getting stoned with savages (light and humorous reading about someone who dropped off the grid and onto vanuatu. it will make you want to spend time on an atoll in the south pacific)
  4. paul auster, oracle night (it's about writing and a special notebook and he's married to siri hustvedt)
  5. francis wheen, how mumbo-jumbo conquered the world (op-ed pieces, but very accessible, erudite and amusing)
  6. you've got to read the Harry Potter books. Period.
  7. gabriel garcia marquez, love in the time of cholera (not an easy read, but worth it)
  8. salman rushdie, fury

i think that will do for now. i'll keep adding more as i think of them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

charming bees

"Yogic sages say that all the pain of a human life is caused by words, as is all the joy. We create words to define our experience and those words bring attendant emotions that jerk us around like dogs on a leash. We get seduced by our own mantras....and we become monuments to them." --as usual, Liz Gilbert, in Eat, Pray, Love

as i feel a drive to write and express myself in words, it's strange that the phrase above resonates with me the way it does. or maybe not, because it does state that all the pain, but also all the joy is caused by words. it is true that our words define our experience...even when bad things happen to me, in the core of my being, i know that i will be ok...the words i say to myself in my innermost self never doubt that for a moment. it's part of leading a so-called charmed life, or being, as someone said in macedonia (quoting fried green tomatoes, i believe..), that i'm a beecharmer. if i'm honest, sometimes i royally piss off the bees, but there are a lot of bees in my life that have been charmed. more bees charmed than pissed off. and if i really look at the ones i piss off, there is some intention and purpose in it on my part, even if only in my subconscious. it's because i know that it will force something to happen. something which will result in a change for the better. and it has proven true every time.

so what is my inner mantra? other than "win or don't come home." actually, maybe it IS "win or don't come home..." and it's actually served me well, as harsh as it sounds at times. because it's why that inner voice never doubts that i am headed for something better. and every time, i AM headed for something better. my inner fatalist presbyterian, who somewhere in her core, believes that everything of significance that i will do in my life is written down in a big book by the hand of god (or whatever s/he is), never lets me down. she's actually the bee charmer. and when the going gets rough, i'm SOoooo glad she's there.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

some things of note before I leave

You'll notice some new artwork on the wall in the kitchen. I believe it's mostly Finn's work, with a little Owen mixed in. You'll notice the nice use of watercolors. There's a barn, silo and choo choo train theme. That was a packet of birthday goodies for Sabin, by the way. It was Sabin's decision to put them up on the wall with the consultant snot.

I took a couple tiny balls of that yard we tangled up and then sorted out the other night. It's my goal to knit a little pouch for my Nano while I'm on the plane.

I took the shaver from your shower. Where the hell is mine?

I also took one of your combs. Not that you'll even notice. I still can't find my blue pick, but I did find the missing bra!

While at Føtex today, I forgot that I was leaving for 5 days and I bought 2 packages of the toast bread that Sabin and I like so much. I tried to eat as much of it today as possible.

I decided to take my computer. Sorry to leave you with no pictures successfully printed! You should try to install a driver again for that printer on your machine. I know it's possible and you'll have to do that anyway when I leave. I'm not hauling that thing back just to wait for 3 weeks to have the HP people help me regionalize it again!

Ok that's all... I'm going down after a paella pan. Win or don't come home. See you soon.

stunned silence

So I finished the book I was supposed to only start and take with me to Spain. It's What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt. I just finished reading the attached interview with her. I stand in admiration. It took her six years to write that book. I can see why. The main characters consisted of three women and three men. We got to know them so incredibly well. Their complicated and heartbreaking relationships were seamlessly woven together. I feel like my words won't really do justice to the story I just read, so I'll stop describing and just sit here and nod thoughtfully.

That book is surely worth a re-read. I'll need to pick up all of these wonderful books you've suggested during my stay here in Denmark. Please continue to keep a list of things I should read. Life is so short and there are so many books. I need to pick the good stuff first, because surely I'll run out of time.

So I pick up a lighter read to take with me tomorrow when I go to Spain. Probably wise to take a book on this trip that I'm physically able to put down. I can't very well spend all day reading in bed. I'll have some goodies to buy and some art to take in, I'm sure.

Monday, January 28, 2008

normal? what's normal?

it's very important that your hands look normal. indeed it is.

but perhaps you can distract from them with your new butt crack jeans.


The next blog

I heard you muttering some frustration the other day about being unable to reach the Dashboard when you're inside one of your blogs. One might think we simply have too many different blogs going on that we'd find frustration in navigating to a different writing space. But I just learned something that I'd like to share with you now! If you're reading your blog, there are the words "next blog" at the top of the page. When you click that, you'll navigate to someone else's blog. But then the "Dashboard" link comes back over on the right! I'm so delighted to tell you all about this. But now I have to go and click "next blog." Not because I want to reach the Dashboard, but because I want to brush up on my Spanish. Just try it and you'll see what I mean. :)

time overlaps

It's happened to me before. I noticed it again tonight because I'm mentally preparing to go to Spain on Wednesday. I'll see Maria for the first time in years. I've been fretting over my nails. I want my hands to look normal when I'm there. I pictured myself meeting Maria at the train station in Gandia. My mind played for me the excitement we'll experience together when we greet one another. Then, suddenly, my trip was over and I was back in the here and now. It was as if that greeting had actually already happened. But it hasn't. I still haven't even packed my bags.

When I went to the Philippines last summer, it happened, too. While I was getting ready to leave, I had a flash of a time when I was already back. I play in my mind with girlish anticipation the exciting moments of the trip. Then I look forward to the time when I'm back from that trip and the images in my mind are of real memories instead of just images I anticipate.

It feels like my timeline is all screwed up. Like my life isn't so linear as it is circular. I've spent so much time going over again the emotions I've suffered hundreds of time before.

But I can forgive myself for all of that. I have previously gotten so frustrated at the revisiting of old pain. I think now that even though I seem to go in circles, I'm also moving forward. And I'm getting a clearer picture of what lies ahead. I think it will be fun. And I look forward to the day when that fun is a picture in my memory instead of an image I anticipate.

orientation to the world

liz gilbert talks about the balinese sense of orientation to the world. she says the first question someone will ask you in bali is "where are you going?" and the second question is "where have you been?" it's an entire culture built around the notion of just knowing where you are.

when i gave our blog a title, i was just being funny. we'd been talking so much about the need for a gps (or not). husband had just given you a map and a compass for christmas, instead of the little pink garman nuvi you wanted. but, now i realize the title resonates on a deeper level as well.

here at the end of 2007/beginning of 2008, i feel that i'm definitely stopping and taking the temperature of my life and asking myself where i am and where i'm headed. it seems that you have been doing the same over recent months. where are we and where are we headed? and how do we even know how to begin answering those questions?

i hope that i'm headed for more balance in my life--that's why eat, pray, love speaks to me the way it does. balance is what liz was searching for as well. you read all the time in the newspapers about having a work-life balance, but i've come to realize over the past couple of months what they're talking about. it IS important to make time for both...tho' i prefer to think of it as work-home balance. and i intend to have more of it in 2008. when there is a chance, i want to prioritize home, whereas for nearly 3 years, i prioritized work. and my life got very out of balance, until there was nothing left for home, because i was using all of my energy at work. somehow i lost my orientation to the world and no longer knew where i was.

i feel i'm already on the way to figuring out where i am these days...a big part of it is creativity...blogging, painting, knitting, scrapping, making earrings. there was definitely a yawning, creative black hole in my life over the past couple of years. i won't let that happen to me again. i'm coming to realize that knowing where you are is actually about the choices you make. and making them in a conscious way, rather than just letting them roll at you and hoping they don't crush you. i did far too much of that in my work life. thoughtful choices are key to balance and your orientation to the world. and by thoughtful, i mean being conscious about them and about the fact that one is making a choice. we make choices all the time--where we work, what we accept from our workplace, who we hang out with, how we spend our time, what we read, what we watch, what we listen to, what food goes into our mouths. i want to be more conscious about all of that. and thereby have a much better idea of where i am...

how about you?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Capital Punishment

Dear Julie,

What do you have against capital letters?

Just curious, MQ

Friday, January 25, 2008

a story from mom

i got the email below from mom this was so funny and such a blog-style entry that i had to share it here. welcome mom, as our guest blogger. :-)

Did I ever tell you about my "knitting days"? When I was 20 I admired someone's hand knit sweater featuring a horse on the back and also designs on the front, all in three colors. So I went down to Fantle's with the pattern and got the yarn and Frankie Reeves taught me how to knit – her way, which is the "pick-knit" method. Instead of throwing the yarn over your needle on each stitch, you Pick it through the last loop you made. Both methods look the same when completed. I proceeded to make the entire back of the sweater and then went down to have a lady at the store inspect my work. She said, "Who's this going to be for?" and when I told her it was me, she said what I'd just made would fit a little kid. Although I had counted all the stitches and made it according to the pattern instructions, It was knitting it too tight (can be caused by the yarn being too small in diameter and/or making the stitches too tight). So I ripped it all out and started over. I may have even had to buy larger knitting needles, but in any case, I had to make looser stitches. I don't know if you remember seeing this sweater. I don't even know if I still have it, in the depths of our front bedroom closet. It was tan and had two colors of brown for the horses. I believe this was my first and last effort at knitting.

Somehow this reminds me of when Dad decided to enter the old man's calf roping (breakaway roping) at the Platte horse show, using "Beast" (Bee's Star Bar). He roped the calf in 4 seconds, winning the event, and promptly retired from the sport, undefeated.


i did one practice knitting swatch. with some really fat yarn and #7 needles. then i decided to plunge into my scarf project. with very tiny yarn and a #5 needle. it already went wrong in the first row. i don't wanna practice anymore, i wanna MAKE something already!!! but it's clear that i have to pratice or i will wreck my beautiful rainbow yarn before i even begin. this makes me sad. i just wanna be good at it. now, now, NOW!! on a brighter note, monica did a great job of teaching me to cast on and off and to do the knit stitch. it's more about needing to practice with yarn that's similar to what i will use, as the feel of the yarn can make a huge difference! or so it seems.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

telling stories

we've entertained sabin the past couple of nights at dinner with stories from our childhood. it started out as one of those "i had to walk to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways..." kind of things and then became a collection of the strange thoughts we had as children.

julie: i thought that the local news people could see me from the television. i knew that not everyone on t.v. could see me, but must have had some concept of "local" which led me to believe that les and gina harding could see me. this led me to sneak behind dad's big old gold chair on my way from the bath down to the laundry room to put on clean clothes.

husband: thought that the tracks made by the ferries crossing øresund sank down to the bottom, from where they were retrieved and turned into highways.

monica: there were two different enterprise locations. one which you accessed from the front and a different one that you accessed from the back. i wonder how old she was when they became one location for her? (assuming that's happened.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tomorrow's To Do List (need your help!)

laundry (for God's sake, I can't take dirty clothes to Spain!)
job application (need killer cover letter)
help make 75 cupcakes
jog (need to make sure I'm not getting sick)
mix down Richard audio
balance checkbook (yeah, right)
finish beaded necklace
knit pillowcase
teach big sister to cast off
recall more Spanish vocabulario and polite verb forms
remove mysterious Marilyn Manson entry from new playlist
get the HP people to finally fix that printer
remove items from digital camera memory card
charge video camera for Big Birthday on Friday
spank Sabin before she turns 7
give self proper manicure/pedicure
make beaded earrings

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How many minutes from 37 minutes?

You've got these super high efficiency appliances that clean and dry your laundry. While I'm sure that they use less water and less electricity to clean your towels, you do have a bit of a problem. The dryer isn't supposed to sound like it's scraping a big piece of glass around inside. And the washer, after already running for 120 minutes stays forever on 37 minutes. Surely, the washer has a specific period of time during which it stays on 37 minutes. It could be a half an hour or so, or maybe even as many as 68 minutes. You don't know... you're moving around, doing "stuff." I'd like to ask you if the washer is using any water or electricity during that unspecific period of time where the timer stays on 37 minutes? Is this electricity included in the efficiency rating for that particular appliance?

How many minutes is it from 9 minutes? You and I have problems with numbers. I told you earlier tonight that, according to Wikipedia, Platte, South Dakota had a population of 1367 people in the year 2000 and a population density of 1364.4 people per square mile. I simply considered that the two numbers were awfully close. Perhaps Platte is almost exactly one square mile, then. Er, uh, what? "Too many numbers," you said.

knowing where one is...

"no really, when i came out of the bead store, i could see panduro hobby."

"just let me ask these nice people in the tattoo/piercing store, they'll know where the bead shop is."

"it was right here, next to the african store."

"they've moved it."

"including the cobwebs"

seriously, could you please just know where you are?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why do you need to be so mad?

Sabin just came in here with a sweet voice asking for a piece of paper. You barked at her, "Why?" She said, "Because." You sighed that sigh that says you're totally exasperated and handed her one piece of typing paper. By the way, we have a whole ream of it. She said, again in the sweet voice, "Why do you have to be so mad?"

A-men, Sister!

Seriously, it was a simple piece of paper.

You can't control every little moment of your surroundings. Especially when you choose to live with this many people. Other people have their own agendas. Sometimes, they're noisy ones. Sometimes they get your brand new dish rags all dirty. But the car has been needing a bath for some time now. Can't you just be glad that someone else was doing something about it?

Chill out, Mom. If she's bugging you with her little friend, put your boots on and stomp out there to spend some time with them. Focus their little energies on the creation of Good instead of the Evil car-washing and bubble-making.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

you gotta find out your dosha!!

hey sis, what IS your dosha anyway? i learned this evening, while you were out eating sushi (probably not good for your dosha) and chatting the evening away, that my dosha is pitta. you've got to find out what yours is! we won't know what to cook until you do! i think tho', that before we start this new ayurvedic way of living according to our doshas, we'd better do that detox. february would be a good month. it's short. we can live without cocktails for one month in the interest of our long term health, don't you think?


where are you?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

mean people

what is up with mean people? like the woman at the swimming pool today. the swimming pool nazi, i have dubbed her. yelling at us for going into the shower with our swimsuits on to rinse them after being in the pool. she was so strangely righteous about it. because the suit might get soap on it. and when i commented that it probably got soap on it when i washed it at home in the washing machine, she said, "no one else does," in her righteous, pedagogical tone, implying that would probably rot in hell for washing my suit. what was her problem? was she a pervert who simply wanted to see naked women's bodies? (that would explain the staring as we shed our swimsuits.) was it about humiliation? she was certainly eager to be angry and loud and the pool was crowded. there was another time when she yelled at me for having evidence of yesterday's mascara around my eyes, giving me a righteous lecture about removing my mascara. righteous wench. why do people whose lives are clearly poisoned want everyone else's to be as well? sometimes people just mystify me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

sexy cities

i just read a piece in berlingske about berlin. they said it was a damn sexy city. and cheaper than most large european cities. let's go.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

nice boots, babe!

Cool boots, eh?

where i am...

...on facebook.

Nice title...

It's a nice title to our blog, sis. Knowing where you are is very important. It was important on that beautiful autumn evening when the muffler of your car dropped off the bottom and dragged on the pavement creating sensational sparks out behind. Sabin had just mentioned from the back seat of the old Toyota that she'd never been on that street before. I knew I was lost, but I sensed bigger trouble when your 6 year old said she was also lost. I called you and told you that I was broken down on the side of the road with your daughter.
"Which road?" you asked.
"I have no freakin' idea!" I answered.
I had thought ahead to grab the map out of your rental car that morning. And you were really planning ahead when you accidentally kept that rental car instead of returning it to Avis as they were expecting.
"Where's my map?" you asked.
"I took it." I answered.
"Why the hell did you take the map?" you asked.
The map wouldn't have done either of us any good. I didn't know where I was.
So I learned something that night. Knowing where you are is very important.

So where are you?