Thursday, October 04, 2018

5-4-3-2-1 method


still reading and rereading that nytimes piece on being kind to yourself.  i haven't been particularly kind to myself of late, so i'm eager to figure out how to do so. according to the article, there's a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method, which involves naming five things you can see in a room, four things you can hear in the room, three things you can touch or feel, two things you can smell and one good quality about yourself. so here goes...

5 - starbucks cups full of colorful sharpies, my cameras, a flock of unikitties, original art by people whose work i love, a photo of my father-in-law beside a drawing of him that husband did at age 9
4 - it's nearly 2 a.m., so i can hear husband snoring, my own fingers on the keyboard, my ears ringing and silence
3 - i can feel the touch of my fingers on the keyboard, the scratchiness of the wool fabric on the chair and the softness of the lambs wool pelt that's also on my chair
2 - i can smell the fragrance of the shampoo i just used in my shower and if i'm honest, the nagging odor of a litterbox that needs to be changed
1 - i am self-reflective, even if i don't always give myself the right message.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

goodbye dear friend


i've been home sick. after all the travel in recent weeks, i have ended up with a head cold, slight fever and general aches. i think it was my body's way of telling me i needed to take a moment to slow down. the weather was blustery and there were squalls of rain off and on all day. but just before 6:30 p.m., i was sitting at my desk and the sun came out in a full blaze of glory. it exposed all those spider webs that have accumulated on the window, but even so, it was warm, golden and welcome. i turned my face towards it and basked for a few minutes. a few hours later i learned that our dear old friend cyndy was finally released from the bonds of her cancer, at right about that time. and i can't help but think that the beautiful, welcome, golden light was her, finally coming over to see me here in the falling down farmhouse. and it didn't feel so much like goodbye as hello. thank you for the light cyndy, i am sure you have found it. it was a privilege to know you and be touched by your enthusiasm, your words, your thoughtfulness and your kindness. godspeed.

Friday, September 28, 2018

be kind to yourself


the new york times told me to be kind myself today. i'm not sure i've done that or that i even know how. instead, i bucked up my chin, packed up my laptop and headed for the library and a decent internet connection and i worked. i pushed aside everything that yesterday brought up in me, including those things which i had suppressed and made myself forget. i've not articulated them to a soul since 1991, so it's a bit hard to know where to begin now. i need to find a space to whisper them out loud to myself. and that's a bigger step than we might imagine. the courage of ms. blasey ford yesterday was incomprehensible. i have no idea how she summoned it. and no idea how to feel if it was all for nought.

an accidental bug for lunch


my lunch today consisted of a bug that i accidentally swallowed on my way to the car. it kind of went downhill from there. the afternoon was filled with diagrams of squares and circles and funnels and data and ways of boxing in creativity and others taking credit for ideas not their own. it was disheartening to say the least. it didn't help to get home and watch a bit of the horror show before the senate judiciary committee as a petulant, entitled manchild freaked out that his frat boy ways were found out and half of the country remained on his side. memories of a sexual assault i had buried away from even myself resurfaced. my wonderful friend cyndy is dying. and the full moon is waning. these are troubled times we are living in and it can feel pretty hopeless. especially when you have a bug for lunch.

Monday, September 24, 2018

kittens = happiness










it may be slightly irresponsible of me not to have fixed our two mama kitties. what stops me is that they are molly's daughters, so if i fix them, there is no more of molly's line on this side of the atlantic. plus, we live on 7 hectares and we need cats around here. i also thoroughly enjoy them - taming them, making them into good pets for their eventual forever homes, photographing the hell out of them. after a long, stressful week, coming home to them brings me back to center and makes me happy. i'm a cat person, what can i say? this time, i am thinking it's time to fix freya, six kittens is a lot for one batch, even tho' it's a bit of shame since she has finally become a good mama. but, i think i will keep one of the creamy ones, just to have a little piece of molly to carry on the line.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

road trip :: brobergs take the south 2018 :: part 3 :: the road


on our summer holiday, we drove 2,875 miles in our rented toyota sienna. that's 4,627 kilometers if those are what you relate to. no matter how you think of it, that's a lot of asphalt. luckily, the sienna was roomy, so it accommodated our suitcases and our snacks and a cooler of drinks and everyone was comfortable, so there wasn't any fighting or complaining about who was sitting where. we took turns driving, but husband did do the bulk of it.

i have found myself reflecting on the many roads we traveled and how that's true of life as well. and despite us all being in the same vehicle, traveling down the same roads, we undoubtedly each had our own experience of them. for my part, i told myself stories of the places we drove through and past.

in northeast alabama, i looked out the window at the countryside flying by. it was dotted with shabby, flimsy trailer houses with broken down vehicles and too many dogs in the yard. houses where it looked like people didn't have the energy to care about the junk on the falling-down, tacked-on porch. you could feel that life wasn't easy there, just driving past it. then there was a road in mississippi where the houses along the way were small, but built with care. they looked much more charming and kept up - with inviting porches that had chairs and plants, you could feel a sense of community and that people lived there, rooted in the place. then there was the gulf coast near mobile, alabama and on towards pensacola. the sandy beaches were beautiful, but ugly high rise buildings gave it an uninviting soulless quality.

the roads in the bywater neighborhood where we stayed in new orleans were in a very bad state of repair. but yet, i'm not sure i've ever seen a more charming place. colorful houses, long and narrow, but adorable - with shutters in contrasting colors and loads of gingerbread. each one unique, but somehow also harmonious - sort of like you would like to be as a person - your own individual style, but also playing a melodic chord - signifying belonging, yet room for individuality. what more could you ask in your road.

in savannah, we arrived in the evening at our airbnb and got turned around and started following the roads into a less prosperous neighborhood, where the main businesses seemed to be the liquor stores and greasy takeout joints on every corner. just a few blocks in the other direction was savannah's utterly charming downtown - filled with shops and cafés and restaurants. we managed to find our way to a most amazing chocolate café, where we ended our long day on the road with chocolate fondue, cheesecake and chocolate cocktails. such contrasts just a few blocks apart. the same road able to take you two very opposite directions, both literally (obviously) and metaphorically, all in the space of a just a few blocks.

all these roads represent so many stories, it was a veritable cacophony, i want to go back and listen to each one. and make more of my own.


Monday, August 27, 2018

the end of the innocence


i had a discussion with my sister some weeks ago about don henley's 1989 classic the end of the innocence. go watch it, i'll wait here...

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn't have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by

When "happily ever after" fails
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly

But i know a place where we can go
That's still untouched by man
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind

You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

O' beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They're beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king

Armchair warriors often fail
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie

But i know a place where we can go
And wash away this sin
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind
Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair spill all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

Who knows how long this will last
Now we've come so far, so fast
But, somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us

I need to remember this
So baby give me just one kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say good-bye

Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence


what was interesting is how different our memories of the song were. she finds it very political, whereas the only politics i can find is the stanza about the tired old man that we elected king (has anyone ever described reagan more aptly?). for me, that summer was the one where i had a very painful broken engagement. i was devastated and lost 17 pounds in a week, mostly in tears shed. that felt like the end of my own innocence and a real transition into adulthood. it caused my life to change course...shifting from plans to attend u.c. irvine to iowa city and the university of iowa. looking back, i think it made me less trusting of potential boyfriends for years afterwards, really ending my own romantic innocence...poisoning my own fairy tale. in other words, i found the song very much about my own situation, even though reading the lyrics now, i can clearly see that it was about one's parents splitting up. my own happily ever after had failed (thank odin now, looking back), so i sang along at the top of my lungs as i drove my little gold pontiac fiero and felt like the song was written specifically for me. especially after i met a handsome summer fling who gave me back some confidence and made those lines about the tall grass in the wind and the small town in each of us ring true. it was really more or less the anthem of the summer of 1989 for me.

for my sister, her departure for college was on the horizon and she felt the pressure of that. i think we both thought that our parents wouldn't be able to survive the empty nest, having such separate interests. so the words about daddy having to fly spoke to my sister and she felt a heavy weight of responsibility for keeping them together. and watching the video, with its odd 50s feel (aside from the shots of tattered reagan posters and ollie north), it does seem much more political that it ever seemed to me at the time. and though i was home that summer, i definitely didn't feel the same pressure my sister did to be the glue holding our parents together. in the end, their marriage held, though some part of me still wonders why when they shared so little. i suppose staying together was just what you did in their generation (speaking of the 50s).

in these times, where our entire existence is smeared in the nasty politics of our post-truth era, it does seem that our innocence has ended once and for all.


* * *

today's lack of truth has its roots in postmodernism.
i heard about this piece here on T.O.E.
and i'll admit to feeling a little guilty for all that derrida, foucault and baudrilliard i read in college.

* * *

the problem is way deeper than trump.