Thursday, November 29, 2007

This And That

Otherwise known as various and sundry items of little or no interest to anyone, least of all myself.

Here’s a little known factoid that you might want to file away as I’m sure it will eventually appear on The Great Blogger edition of Trivial Pursuit in 20 or 30 years time when I’m, you know, famous and stuff. The very first incarnation of this blog was published under the title Various and Sundry. I thought it was so clever. Unique even. Until a quick Google search pulled up approximately 15,000 other blogs titled the same. At which point, I logged out of Blogger and didn’t return for nearly a year.

Whatever. Not important. Back to this and that. Where are my bullets? Ah yes, here they are --

--Thanksgiving. Was okay. It was fine. Food was neither spectacular nor revolting. Company was what it was. They were all gracious and pleasant. But, I can never quite shake the sneaking suspicion that they’re only here and eating to be polite. I realize that this is probably a stupid and irrational way to feel as they’ve been coming year after year now for going on 10 years. But I can’t help myself. My cooking, at its best, would be charitably characterized as ‘adequate’, and sometimes it feels like they gush a little too effusively over the moistness of the breast meat, rave a little too hyperbolically over the sticky-sweet goodness of the yams to be taken seriously. Know what I mean? Eh—ignore me. I’m just being moody and precious over a less than wonderful meal that I nevertheless worked very hard on, and some friends who have recently turned out to be—I don’t know? less close? than I had previously thought they were. I’ll get over it eventually. I always do. Moving on.

--Growing pains. Literal, in this case. A couple of times this week, Missy spent the evening huddled on the kitchen floor moaning about pain in her “feets and legs”. I must admit, it took me a while to figure out exactly what was going on. Neither EM nor The Boy has ever complained about this sort of thing, and I don’t really remember experiencing it as a child myself. But Mister has told me that he has vivid memories of some very miserable nights during his childhood spent with bones that throbbed and ached for no apparent reason at all. I was annoyed with her at first. I mean God! You’re right in the middle of the bloody floor! And lookit’ kid! No scratch. No rash. No blood. No protruding bone. THERE’S! NOTHING! WRONG! Then I put two and two together and felt like a total shit, because clearly she was in some pretty serious pain. I joked with Mister that after all that writhing and carrying on, by all rights she should wake up a good 5 centimeters taller. I was more than a little disappointed when I got her dressed the next morning to see that her Raggedy Ann overalls still fit just like they did last time she wore them. But then this morning while I was brushing her teeth, I noticed for the first time she didn’t need to stand on her tippy-toes to spit. She still needs the stool right enough-but then, so does Boy. But last week she could barely reach over of the porcelain lip of the sink and invariably ended up spitting down the front of the cupboards instead. Today, suddenly, she can just sort of tip forward, aim, and spit. Easy peasy. So there ya’ go—that whole pain/gain principle at work right here in my very house. And to think, last year at this time we were queuing up at the hospital to have her tested for low growth hormone. How silly were we?

--Book report. First The Kite Runner. Then The Book Thief. And just this afternoon: A Thousand Splendid Suns. A perfect literary trifecta of grief, despair, and tragedy on a massive humanitarian scale. And just in time for the holidays too! You’re right mom. It’s too much. I was so emotionally raw after finishing A Thousand Splendid Suns this afternoon; I was forced—compelled—to inhale half a box of pepperkake and polish off an entire liter of milk just to feel like life was worth living again. Then I made the mistake of reading the latest in this ‘Baby Grace’ case. “Because she wouldn’t say ‘please’ and ‘yes sir’”? Words fail. The next time somebody asks me why I don’t believe in God anymore, I’m simply going to refer them to Riley Ann Sawyers. I defy anyone—anyone at all—to place what happened to that child—or any other child, for that matter, whose mother sat idly by and watched as she was beaten to death—in the hands of Almighty God, and then tell me that that is a being worth worshipping. You will tell me that it wasn’t God who beat the child; it was a weak and evil man who did the killing. And I’ll tell you that if God had any sort of decency whatsoever he would have struck that evil man down of a heart attack after the first blow. Or, at the very least, let the baby die after the first blow. But no. Apparently God’s plan was scheduled to take up most of an afternoon. Hmm, seems words didn’t fail me after all. Afghanistan will be Exhibit B. Thank you Khaled Hosseini.

--SAD. In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I’m a bit on edge. We’ve entered the perma-dusk portion of the year. Mørketiden they call it here. About a three month period from November through January where you swear you’re camped out on the foothills of Mordor so dark and bleak and grey is the world every time you look out your window. The lack of light gets to me every year, but it seems to have set in a bit early this time around. I’m usually fine through Christmas, and then by January I’m a prickly, snappish lump of raw nerves. Not so, this year. Sleep is elusive. Starch my only solace—it was all full-fat carbonara and French bread for dinner tonight, and I’m not even a little bit sorry. I’ve been crying like, a lot, lately. And I’m finding it very hard to shake the bad thoughts loose once they’ve settled in. Your fairly classic case of SAD. This too shall pass. But in the meantime—no more fucking tomes of woe and misery! It’s going to be all Wodehouse and Pratchett from now through March. And clearly I should steer clear of CNN for a while too. It doesn’t help that I’ve cut way back on the running lately either. I need to get back to that. Exercise saved me last year. I need to let it save me again this year. But ugh! So seriously not in the mood. Know what I mean?

Dude. Hope I didn’t bring anyone down, or anything like that. And sorry about the God rant, but He was way outta’ line on that one

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So I'm At The Gym The Other Day

First I should say, by way of explanation, that my particular gym is very popular with the retired, “golden age of living” crowd. In fact, I’d venture a guess that 60 and over’s make up a good 40% or more of the total membership. Which, don’t get me wrong, I think is great. I’m all for the pursuit of continued physical fitness into the twilight years. Good on ‘em! Plus, you know, the muffled chorus of tooting and squishing they tend to produce during some of the more strenuous Pilates maneuvers adds a certain element of, shall we say, ‘whimsy’ to an otherwise now routine class for me. No complaints. I love how they’re never too busy, too engrossed in a task to stop and chat with whomever about the weather, their grandchildren, the good old days when a cup of coffee cost less then one kroner and anyone suggesting they try some yoga in the living room would have been run out of the village as a heretic and a pervert. Doesn’t matter about what really, they just love to talk. And it doesn’t matter where or when either. Could be in the lobby right in front of the check in. Could be in a cluster near the treadmills where the noise of the machines makes it necessary to talk extra loud in order to be understood. Could be, as we shall see, in the locker rooms.

So there I am Monday morning—post workout—sweaty, vile, and ready for a shower. I slink into the dressing room all limber and lithe after an hour of Pilates, round the corner to where my locker is, and bump smack into a clutch of 10 or 12 of the cluckiest old hens you’d ever hope to meet—all in various stages of undress. Charming, think I, all selfless good cheer and forbearance, a clothing optional bee of some sort, how cute. It only takes a couple “ahem’s” and an “excuse me” to get to my locker. After that, it’s a few mumbled “oops, sorry’s” and “no really, I’ll just step over here maybe’s” to retrieve my bag and towels, and squeeze past them into the shower room. Honestly, they barely registered my clumsy intrusion, so engrossed were they in their congress.

One of them, it seems, is a knitter. Who am I kidding, more than likely ALL of them are knitters of at least some ability, this is Norway after all. But one of them has brought her entire cache of knitted hats, scarves, gloves and knickers for all I know, and is using the bench right in front of my locker as a display table to show them off. She could not have found a more enthusiastic and appreciative audience in a Dickens novel. They manage to ooh and ah and haggle over prices for the entire time it took me to shower, sauna, dress, dry my hair, and slap on a bit of make-up—a good 30 minutes at least.

But here’s the thing—the hitch, the crux, the reason I’m bothering to mention it at all—in all that time, not one of them bothered to, you know, get dressed. Some had bras and panties on, some had panties but no bras, some just had a ratty old towel slung absently over a shoulder.

Now, is it just me? Or is that odd? I mean, I’m not an overly prudish or shy sort in the locker room. I understand that a certain amount of nudity is to be expected in such a setting. I myself am perfectly comfortable doing what needs to be done in terms of showering and changing in front of other women. But this business of standing around chit chatting—at length even—in your bare nothings is just weird to me.

For God’s sake ladies, there’s complimentary coffee out in the lobby! Put some clothes on and do this OUT THERE!

Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to address a few additional newsy type items in Nan’s favored bullet format.

--Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My own turkey feast will be on Saturday, as per usual. Very small and intimate group this year, which is good. It has been my feeling that my guest list has gotten a little out of hand these past few years, so I’m glad to trim it back to just the most regular of the regulars. More left-overs this way too.

--Having finally given up all hope for last minute Christmas guests from the States, I gave Mister the okay to go ahead and invite his sainted mother to spend the holiday with us this year. And I’ll be God damned (which I know I probably shouldn’t be on Christmas, but I am anyway) if she accepted. She’s never spent Christmas with us. I just assumed that she’d rather be with one or the other of her daughters, both of whom celebrate with very traditional Norwegian food and customs. But she didn’t hesitate to say yes—one might even say ‘jumped at the chance’—which makes me think maybe—just maybe—we should have invited her sooner. The kids, especially EM, are thrilled. I’m ambivalent, but mostly okay with it. Should be MY mother here, but whatever….

--And speaking of Christmas, I’m a total loser and started listening to Christmas music last week. Yesterday, at EM’s behest, I downloaded 5 different versions of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. Personally, I like the Cyndi Lauper version best, but EM’s a sentimental sap and claims the LeAnn Rimes ditty is the prettiest thing she’s ever heard.

--Oh, and furthermore on the subject of Christmas music, if I may. The little nuggets of awfulness that Jilly fed into my iPod before she left continue to reveal themselves. Mariah Carey, Jilly? Are you kidding me? Mariah why-sing-it-if you-can-screech-it-in-key Carey? Even at Christmas, there’s just no excuse.

--Missy’s sick again. And The Boy experienced the greatest trauma of his young life so far last night when he touched Crocky’s nose to the fire place glass. It took all of about 2 seconds to melt and start burning. The mix of shock, fear, and sadness on that dear boy’s face was priceless, absolutely fucking priceless. Mom’s going to be pissed, but CROCKY’S NOSE IS ON FIRE! WHAAAAAAA! I didn’t have the heart to be mad. We all gave Crocky a cuddle and put him to bed to rest after his ordeal. Sadly, I don’t think there’s room in Boy’s heart for a damaged crocodile. He told Missy this morning that she could have him. If he’s willing to let Missy touch a thing of his, it’s more or less dead to him.

--Done for now. Eat yourselves sick tomorrow! Wish I could be there with you! All of you! Where ever you may be

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sometimes A Little Neglect Can Be A Good Thing

I’ve recently been accused of neglect. I’d defend myself, but, eh, she may have had a point.

What can I say? My writers are on strike. Bah-dum-bum.

Seriously though folks….

The blog stoppage this time around has had mostly to do with sickness. The kids kept getting sick—each in their turn, thank God. Then I’d be sick for a while. Then one or the other of the kids again. Then me—with a series of exercise induced migraines this time. Then finally even Mister succumbed to the trend, and very nearly died—or rather, gave a pitch perfect performance of a man on the verge of death. Please believe me when I tell you that there is nothing more galling, more offensive to regrettably lucid eyes and stubbornly functioning ears, than a husband with a head cold. How is it exactly that these delicate creatures—namely the white male of the species—have managed to rule the world as long as they have when they are so completely undone by a mild headache and a little phlegm? I suppose the experience of coming thiiiisssss close the hand of God two or three times a year, and miraculously living (barely) to tell the tale (hallelujah) would tend to induce a sort of CHOSEN ONE delusion in anyone. Silly gits. Get over yourselves already!

But I digress.

There has been very little in the way of inspiring subject matter happening anyway, so you really haven’t missed much. There was a brilliant, utterly silent battle of wills played out between Mister and me last week. I’m not sure who ultimately won, but I believe the prize for Most Inspired Salvo goes to moi. Monday night, after a full 24 hours of cold, stony silence, I chose to exact my revenge by whipping up a pork loin stew so good, so lip smackingly delicious that the eyes of said Sir popped spontaneously out of his head and fell aghast to the floor after a single spoonful.

I waited—tweezed brow arched coolly in an expression of smug self-satisfaction—while he fished his fallen oculi out from under the table. I was curious to see if he’d break his self-imposed vow of silence to compliment me on the rich, yet subtle blend of meaty perfection I had created.

Alas, he did not. But he wanted to, I could tell. It damn near killed him not to. And I believe he knew a moment of regret for his chosen method of warfare, so I counted the victory on my side. He finally broke his silence the next night to ask me, however grudgingly, if I’d like a cup of tea, but got only a tart, “No. And furthermore go fuck yourself,” from me. I jest. I didn’t really say all that, but he understood that it was ever implied.

Fear not! Peace reigns supreme here at Chez JEDA. Since then we’ve talked, we’ve joked, we’ve even fooled around a little. So once again, it seems the union will stand. I still say it’s a moronic way to have a fight, but it does get him out of my hair and leave me blissfully alone with the remote control while it lasts. So I guess it’s not all bad.

It occurs to me that this is shaping up to be a sort of crap-all-over-Mister kind of post, but I didn’t mean for it to be. In fact, my heart is brimming over with goodwill for the grizzly old Viking at the moment because, not 40 minutes ago, he packed my babies up in the car and took them away to my sainted mother-in-law’s for the weekend.


I’ve got wine. I’ve got pizza. I've got 3 new DVD’s and 2 new books.

And listen……

Can you hear that?

No. Neither can I.


Ahhhhh. Life is good. Now where’s that bloody cork screw?