Wednesday, May 03, 2017

musings from somewhere over the atlantic

iceland air FI657, somewhere over the atlantic

i don’t think there’s any way to emotionally prepare for this. clearing out our childhood home. the photos, the show clothes, the memories. the realizing that there’s not much there that i wish to have or keep. the clinging. the letting go. whether to reveal to mom what we’re doing. how she will react. whether she will understand. whether i have compassion and sympathy for her. so many questions, many more than answers. and a limbo space, where i don’t know what to feel. anticipation, dread, relief, nostalgia, resentment, disappointment, sadness? all of those at once?

she’s not going to get any better. she has checked out and she’s no longer the mother i knew. if i ever knew her. can we know our mothers? can we escape them? embrace them? become them? what if we become them? shit, what if we become them?

her utter lack of ever being wrong. her hiding of her actions. her lack of attention span. her distractions. what if i’m already her? how to escape?

i look at my hands and see hers. but also mine. we are always a combination of our parents and our experiences. but who does that mean that i am? i look at my handwriting and see dad’s.

dad was smart, sarcastic, a bit too mean at times, he drank a bit too much, loved his garden, was writer and cared deeply about his town. he was funny and competitive and political and i miss him.

mom is distracted, determined, funny, loves to sing, doesn’t listen very well, was never rattled if 8 extra people showed up to thanksgiving. but i suspect mom never reached her potential. was it laziness? or did she just not know what it might be? she loved horses and instilled that love in me. she got a motorcycle license at 60 and a permit to carry at 70+. i miss that brave woman.

they both loved reading. however, i don’t have a sense of what they got out of it. i love reading too, but i don’t recall them ever recommending i read a certain book. i just read what was around the house and anything else i was interested in….from stephen king to tolstoy.

i want a tattoo of dad’s signature on the inside of my wrist. and i want to get it on this trip. i have a sudden certainty of that. on my right hand. the hand with which i write.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

taking my own temperature

i have a weird mixture of anticipation and dread. i head for the states later today. we're going to do a major tidy-up/clearing out of our childhood home (therein lies the dread) and i'm going to see the child and she's going to come home with me (therein lies the anticipation). we don't know how much to tell mom or whether to reveal to her that i'm there before we've made a good dent in the project. and i really don't know how i feel about that. it seems like i should spend time with her during the whole of the time i'm there, but on the other hand, it might agitate and upset her more to not be part of the clean-up. and if she's part of the clean-up, there won't be any clean-up. alzheimer's is a bitch.

speaking of which, i just read this piece, where researchers are beginning to think of it as type III diabetes. mom has type 2 diabetes, as did her mother before her and this makes sense to me. now, i must avoid getting diabetes myself...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

a collection of links i've been saving


i was rather chuffed to notice that i've surpassed 20,000 followers on pinterest.
i guess it's bound to happen when you've pinned 46,793 things.
only a few of which are duplicates.

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higher self yoga, tantrum yoga, goat yoga
or have we reached peak namaste?

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a deliciously biting review of a fancy paris restaurant.
some of the best writing you'll read today.

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you should listen to the containers podcast.
it helped me understand globalization better.
and spoiler alert - there are ships!
the creator tells a bit about it here.
and one more piece about here.

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speaking of podcasts,
i need to stop procrastinating and just make one already.

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after reading about how the fda has opened up genetic testing
so companies can tell you, for example, whether you are at risk for late onset alzheimer's.
i'm thinking about having my personal genome mapped.
would you want to know?

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a new carlsberg campaign revives
"probably the best beer in the world"
and features mads mikkelsen.
skål

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maritime startups. interesting.


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watching girlboss on netflix.
it's a bit like new girl with a nasty, unappealing main character.
it seems the guardian agrees.
what are you binge-watching these days?


Thursday, April 20, 2017

yoga and the unquiet mind


the sound of mats and heavy cream-colored yoga blankets being spread out. yawns and deep breaths as everyone settles in, trying to let go of a busy day and be there, on the mat, in the cool, dimly-lit room. the woman next to me massages her ovaries with abandon. on the other side, someone places a purple block under her lower back and stretches out, sighing deeply. i try to do the same (minus the ovary massage part). try to land there, in the room, in the cool, in the hush, to quiet my mind and leave my day behind. a siren blares outside. i wiggle around on my mat, trying to block it out. the instructor comes in. he's my favorite for now, while my other favorite is on maternity leave. i wonder briefly if that's ok, to have a favorite in her absence. i decide it is and try to clear my mind again. it flits gaily off to my undone to-do list. then to an afternoon conversation, then back to the list. i pull it back to the room, picturing in my mind my straining arm muscles, physically trying to pull my mind back to be here. present. in this room. right now. it sticks out its tongue and flounces off, cursing the travel agency, skating over an unfinished risk assessment, pausing over powerpoint and that two hours i'll never have back.

we start with that half moon pose, lying on our backs, legs curved to the right, left one crossed over right, arms stretched out to the right. i love this pose, except when i get a muscle cramp in my back, just beneath my shoulder blade. it loosens and i realize that i've just counted to 89 without even realizing it. stupid, restless mind. i mentally strain the muscles in my arms again, dragging it back to the room, to my purple mat. telling it to stay. it does, for about two seconds, like a disobedient dog. i'm not a dog person.

i think about the dentist appointment i made, the trips ahead, my undone to-do list, that obsession we have with cake at work, how that woman beside me massaged her ovaries, what's for dinner, yesterday's productive late meeting, how awesome it is to work with creative people. so many thoughts, so loud, so active. SO not present here, in this room, in these long stretches, that my muscles are longing for, but which my restless mind is clearly rejecting.

we do that position where you sit on your knees, feet out to the sides of your posterior and lie back over a yoga bolster. i always put a block under the end of my bolster, so it's at an angle, as my neck doesn't like leaning back. it's one of my favorite positions. mostly because i can do it easily and many others cannot. it makes me feel better about how i can't bend forward and touch my knees with my nose in those folded forward positions that seem so easy for everyone else. i wonder why it's easy for me and i enjoy the stretch on the front of my thighs. it's here i can still feel the remnants of how the nerves in my left leg were affected by my back problems of a year and a half ago, but i find it interesting and not painful. it feels like i'm helping the nerves heal. and for a few minutes, i'm there, in my body. my mind stops flitting around.

but then we lie back on the mat, to feel the buzz of the intense position. and my mind runs away again. back to the list, and the alzheimer's and the travel plans and the dentist and dinner. and as i once again reach 89 in the endless unconscious count, i remember that i'm practicing.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

raised by wolves


my cousin died today. he was only 57 and battling cancer. i've noticed that cancer often wins. that's far too young. he was one of dad's favorites, he had worked for the associated press and was also press secretary to a governor. those were things dad admired, and so we did too. he was only 7 years older than me. he was brutally handsome. someone so good-looking should not get cancer. when dad was dying, he came to the hospital with wine and cheese and snacks for us. we didn't know him all that well, since he'd grown up in brookings and we grew up in platte, but still, he understood what we needed in that moment when we were losing dad and so he brought it to us, instinctively. leaving us with our sorrow and the wine, not intruding, but giving us exactly what we needed. only alcohol would do. and dad would have approved. dad would not have approved of him dying so young. he would have made that tsk sound out of the side of his mouth, shaking his head and perhaps choking back a tear. he would have thought it unfair. and it is unfair. i had lunch with him (my cousin, not dad) on my way home after dad died. another cousin (once removed) joined us. and we laughed over our salads at having been raised by wolves. he wasn't sick at all then. the cancer hadn't yet come. and it was only two and half years ago. he was handsome and smart and funny and we laughed and we remembered my dad and we remembered our childhoods and we laughed some more. and he told me some about his life - how he'd married a bit late, but found love and a family at last and how happy that was. maybe it's all we can hope for...a few moments of happiness, some wine...and to be raised by wolves.

Monday, April 03, 2017

truths right now


you reach a point, perhaps very soon after you turn 50, when you start to think about the truth. and about telling it. and a list begins to pile up...and you have to get it out...

~ you don't have to like everyone.

~ and it's ok if everyone doesn't like you. life would be boring if that were the case.

~ it's great when you can have a gossipy conversation with husband on the phone about the state of the energy industry in denmark. seriously, i mean this, tho' it's hard to imagine gossip about electric and oil companies. however, it's a real thing.

~ i'm a bit jealous of a 5-floor office building with 77 meeting rooms (says she who is constantly booking meetings at the last minute and wishing there were more meeting rooms where she works).

~ it sucks when your mother is being erased by alzheimer's.

~ i'm totally cool with the no more periods part of menopause (especially as difficult as those menstrual cups proved to be), but the memory blips part is a bit disconcerting in light of the above.

~ the new s*town podcast by the folks at serial and this american life is an amazing snapshot of today's united states. and over far too soon.

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spring has shown itself since i started this list a few days ago and it feels like things are shifting...not just the season. i decided to go lighter with my hair again after nearly two years of not coloring it. it feels like exactly what i needed right now - rather fabulous, actually. if i were to scan on an inner level and give a status assessment for this moment...i'd say awake, hopeful, energetic. i'm sleeping better and stressing less about the cheeto. life feels enjoyable, not hard - both at work and at home. i have an inner sense of bubbling anticipation. i don't know what it's about, but i'm looking forward to finding out.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

sunday night dinner


i think sunday night dinners are my favorites. it's then that i poke around in the corners of the refrigerator, freezer and the cupboards and throw something together. something that will likely never be duplicated, but which often is some of the most delicious food that we eat. a few leaves of kale that survived winter in the garden, the last of the leeks (also plucked from the garden today), a bag of oven-dried tomatoes from the freezer (also from the garden), and a couple of thick pork chops from pigs we raised ourselves, half a container of mascarpone. add to that a bit of butter and a glug of white wine to sauté down the leek and a package of frozen mixed beans. with some red rice from the cupboard to accompany it. it's in the oven now and i can't wait.