Tuesday, October 11, 2016


it hit me recently that for the last half decade, i have felt invisible. it may have even been more than a feeling, i suspect i might have actually been invisible. i think it happens to women when we reach a certain age - and it really is a middle age - we're done having children, but haven't yet hit menopause. we become invisible somehow, perhaps biologically but certainly culturally. for me, a couple of soul-damaging workplaces didn't help. they shook the foundation of my very identity. and i struggled for a couple of years to not be where i work, but i also have to admit that it was a struggle that i lost. my work life fills a great hole within me and gives me a space in which i unfold who i am. this is both good and bad. because work can push me places that i wouldn't always want to go. happily, for a year now, that hasn't been the case and i feel like i have emerged and that i'm unfolding my wings once again and it seems like they still work and i can still fly. and i've become visible again.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

notes to self

just leaving a few things here, so i remember them...
  • do not leave your tweezers at home for a whole week. your eyebrows (and possibly those around you who have to look at you) will suffer.
  • that organic california chardonnay you bought was a bad idea - it tastes like oily peaches compared to the lovely, crisp south african whites you normally drink (even molly noticed).
  • cat farts are the worst.
  • but cats are otherwise the best.
  • clowns are scary a.f.
  • but not as scary as donald trump.
  • they can keep århus (long story).
  • really cool content about björk.
  • i did some voicing in a real recording studio this week and admit i found it addictive. i want to do more. perhaps that podcast i've been putting off? why have i been putting that off again?
  • i wonder who is going to take care of the cats when husband ends up in the folketing and is also in copenhagen all week...
  • when the weather is glorious throughout september, i can welcome and love autumn again.
  • also, i need to hold onto the memory of the good weather when it gets grey, dark and rains throughout november.
  • gilmore girls makes a great background to a rainy sunday afternoon.
  • thank odin for netflix.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

yoga-induced stream of consciousness

the scene: yoga this evening. the room lit by fairy lights, the faint smell of sweat and jasmine in the air. mats being spread out. everyone silent, not even a murmur between friends. deep breaths and sighs as everyone settles down on their yoga mats. all of us in our own heads and trying to settle down into our own bodies. it’s not an easy transition. our teacher comes in. her calming presence quietly fills the room and our minds quiet. or at least mine does and i sense that the energy in the room settles down, so the others’ minds must go quiet as well. the stresses of the day wash away.

it’s yin yoga, so we push gently into long stretches, held for what can seem like ages at times and like not nearly enough time on other occasions. my mind leaves the lists and the counting and strangely flits to an apartment in chicago. where did that come from? it’s not even an apartment i lived in, only one i once looked at with a realtor on a whirlwind day of looking of 18 properties. where did that come from? it involved a kitchen island and what i would now call a hyggeligt atmosphere, tho’ i had no idea of that word then. there are seemingly no emotions tied to it, it’s just a random memory, popped into my head. and a remembered feeling…the green of many plants, the coziness of the kitchen, white-framed glass doors. why was it again we didn’t go for that one 20 years ago? i don’t remember that anymore now. and why did it come up? i think i could find it again, there in hyde park. i wonder who lives there now and if they changed it? does it still feel the way it felt then? does it somehow know i had a visual memory of it in yoga class tonight, 20 years and an ocean away?

then we change positions and someone farther down the room farts loudly. thankfully, not me. no one giggles, tho’ i want to. danes are polite like that. yoga can be strenuous and the body wants what the body wants. it’s natural.

home to my little weekday apartment. spinach for dinner. i could (and sometimes do) eat that every day. i revel in the quiet. listening to podcasts – britney luce’s sampler episode this week – cheat codes – is inspiring. i send it to a friend and mark it saved on my phone to listen to it again. it makes me want to get off my ass and make that podcast i’ve been talking about for a year now. what is stopping me? and then jonathan goldstein’s new heavyweight podcast feels poignant and touching beyond what i want in this moment, so i turn it off and put on the spotify playlist i discovered in a restaurant in klaipeda. it’s called freedom dub and you should go follow it. it’s great, loungey remixes of all the songs you know. in the best way. perfect to write to.

and it’s been far too long since i let the perfect conditions for writing happen. it’s nice to be back.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

august wanes and the season changes

what a month it's been! planes, trains, ships and cars. edinburgh, london, dover, hamburg and copenhagen. the culmination of a very big and very healing (for my wounded soul) project that resulted in a world record. a couple of days away with all of my co-workers. we sent the child off to the states for her year of high school. a bit of time in the garden here and there. as the garden produces its abundance, all of the other more metaphorical seeds that were sown over the past year have also come to fruition. i feel sated by the bounty of it all.

we've had the best weather of the whole summer in the past couple of days but right now, it's raining with biblical intensity. husband is helping the child with her algebra in the other room, via facetime. there are two teenage cats racing back and forth, playing a bit too rough. we had a roast chicken for dinner. i served it with a squash gratin (i'm using squash in everything, since the plants are going like gangbusters in the garden) and a broad bean mash (also from the garden). a simple salad of plum tomatoes and cucumbers from the greenhouse rounded it out. it's so satisfying that most of the meal came from our own garden.

i made it to yoga entirely too little during august. i saw friends too little. but on the whole, it's been a very exciting and happy month. it feels like i'm entering a new season of happiness, just as autumn, which is always my favorite season, comes around. a balance has come, an equilibrium. it's borne of spending my weeks doing work that makes me happy and being home on the weekends in this place in the countryside that makes me happy. it's the best of both worlds. long, deep conversations with husband make us both appreciate the time we do have together. meals eaten together, a glass of something cold in the garden in the late afternoon, musings about garden designs. life is full and good as august comes to a close.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

summer in dry dock

i got to spend a good chunk of my summer at a shipyard. i know it sounds weird, but i love shipyards. ships on an ordinary day are cool, but in a dry dock, when you can stand underneath and take in the immensity of them, that's the best. in a dry dock those over-dimensioned hunks of steel are somehow just....well....sexy. even when they're cut in half, covered in scaffolding and exuding the acrid scent of welding. even in the rain. even at 4:30 a.m.

you can see what i was working on at the shipyard here and here.  and there's more to come, so why don't you subscribe while you're over there? and watch this video too, it's a really cool time lapse (that was made before my time). we'll have to arrange a new one now that the ship will be 30 meters longer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

nothing to fear but a cheeto with a brillo pad on his head

i find myself thinking about fear. it’s surely the aftermath of last week’s republican national convention, which seemed to be all fear (and hatred) all the time. and then i just listened to the modern love podcast episode “live without me,” which was about how almost being in a plane crash changed the author’s fear of flying (counterintuitively taking it away). and it got me thinking about what i fear.

i can have the odd sleeplessness at 3 a.m., worrying about money or whether they’re painting the ship without us being there to film or reimagining what i should have said in a conversation, but i’m not generally much of a worrier. but i find myself genuinely worried these days about the prospect of that cheeto with a brillo pad on his head becoming president of the land of my birth. about the only thing i can do about that is vote for hillary and do my part, so it’s not actually worth losing sleep over.

in a little over a week, we are sending our child “over there,” into the belly of the gun-toting, school-shooting, cheeto-loving, jesus brigade. and i’ll admit i have my share of fears about that. was it a good idea to send her via an airport we’ve never transited? do we bring her home immediately if the cheeto wins? how soon will it descend into anarchy and chaos and be completely unsafe for an innocent, albeit fashion-conscious, über cool teen? was it wise to buy her a one-way ticket?

all of those giant, quite unfathomable fears aside, i don’t generally fear that much in my daily life. ever since i left russia by myself on a train to the finnish border in 1994, i've been pretty fearless. i used to walk alone at night in my neighbourhood on the south side of chicago, believing that if i walked with purpose, i’d be ok (turned out that was true). i’ve travelled alone on balkan trains, ridden in rickshaws late at night on the streets of mumbai, crowded into the back of a tuk tuk in phuket, driven the road from manila to subic, played in the waves in the south china sea during a typhoon and been beaten up by (supposed) bulgarian police. and yet, i remain a mostly unfearful person.

it’s something my mother taught me to be, by being fearless herself. she drove us to horse shows all over the upper midwest on threadbare tires throughout my childhood. she told me to get back up on the horse when it dumped me off. she made me get out there are work with that horse again when it was being difficult. and that time that skip’s galley lad picked me up by my shoulder blade with his teeth when i was 12, i didn’t tell anyone (until years later), nor did i become afraid of him, because i had a fierce love for him already in place. if anything the fear made me more determined.

but i’ll admit i don’t really know what to do with this fear about the fascist cheeto with the brillo pad on his head. it’s a low grade fear that won’t go away.