Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Reluctant Teetotaler

It seems I have a drinking problem.

Now before you commence with all your smug mmm-hmming and well-I-might-have-guessed-ing, allow me to clarify: it's not a slurring, drooling, shame your children, wreck your marriage, blight your liver kind of drinking problem I'm talking about. And no Jilly, it's not the Airplane kind either (funny as that would be).

It's to do with my sleep, see. Alcohol is fucking with my sleep. And it's really starting to piss me off.

I don't deserve to be fucked with in this manner. It's not like I drink massive amounts of alcohol. Sure, I'll admit to drinking often. Especially now during summer when Mister is on vacation, and working in the yard building flower beds and wharfs and garden stairs and whatnot; and a cold beer at the end of a long, hard day of physical labor is right and just; and I would be remiss in my wifely duties if I let him drink alone, wouldn't I? Because drinking alone--now, I'm pretty sure that does qualify as a drinking problem, and we wouldn't want that now, would we? That would get the neighbors talking.

But even with this near daily indulgence of a beer here, or a shared bottle of wine there, I hardly ever drink to excess.

Shut up!

I don't!

Holidays notwithstanding, I seriously mean it! My drinking habits are modest----ish.

But I'm figuring out that every evening I do choose to enjoy my trifling bit of alcohol, I'm pretty much guaranteed to spend the night tossing, turning, and drifting in and out of the shallowest of sleeps. Maddening, I tell you. Vexing to the extreme.

Last night, just as a little experiment, I politely declined Mister's kind offer of a glass of port after the kids had gone to bed. Slept like a goddamn baby all night long. Eight straight hours of blissful repose.

It felt so fantastically good, that tonight I refused the cold beer that was proffered over the dinner table. I'll admit, I'm jonesing for that beer a bit right now. The crisp SNAP as the seal on the can cracks open. The glug-gurgle-fizzzzzz as the glass fills. The faint whiff of yeast in the air as foam settles.......JEDA wants......

But no. I shall remain firm. I SHALL SLEEP TONIGHT!

And if I don't, if my little experiment fails--it's going to be Chianti for breakfast, a six-pack over lunch, and a god-damn pitcher of margaritas for dinner because I'm only human, all right!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I don't know. Whaddaya' think?

Too pretentious?

Tis', tisn't it?

Alpha Grandma left today, and I'm bored.

And more than a little moody.

Remind me again how I ended up in this situation where I'm forever saying goodbye to people I love very, very dearly indeed; often with no hope of seeing said loved ones for a good year or more.

Don't say for love of Mister, because it just ain't cuttin' it tonight.

It's not that I want to go home with her, because I don't.

And it's not that I desperately want her to stay, because clearly she was ready to go home. She was ready for some peace and quiet. I respect that. We were both ready to have our respective spaces back. She'll respect that.

It's kind of like I have no anchor without my extended family around me. I spend 98% of my life absently adrift, 5,000 miles away from my safe harbor. Then, once a year or so, for this all too brief interlude, I get pulled in and lovingly surrounded by my people--people who've known me forever, and speak my language, and love me because they have to on account of the blood and all. But then, very abruptly, I'm cut loose again. And even though I know this adopted place of mine--I'm comfortable here, reasonably safe, and wildly loved by my own small brood--I can't help but feel miserably alone and completely misunderstood so far away from the people and places who raised me.

I feel this riduclous metphor most keenly immediately after a departure. And let me add this, it's much, much worse to be the one left behind than to be the one leaving. Something I don't always appreciate because it's usually me doing the leave-taking.

In just over a week my dad and step-mom will be coming for a visit. They too will leave me in their turn.

Again, I say MEH!

Self-pitying ennui. I'm a master at it. Pour me onto a sofa in a dimly lit room, and crack open the wine. I may be here awhile.

In the meantime, let me know what you think of my new masthead. I was just futzing around a little. I can give it another whirl, if this one doesn't suit.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Heaven On A Stick

Being the fine, upstanding American citizens that we are, Alpha Grandma and I decided to spend our expatriated 4th of July energies getting pleasantly buzzed on French rosé and then inventing new and ever more delectable ways to devour a bag of the Norwegian delicacy that is Smash.

Think Bugles dipped in chocolate, then try not to whince, for while I admit that this combination might sound odd and unpalatable, I assure you that it is not. It is, infact, pure mana sent down from the boisterous bounty of very Valhalla. Pure Viking genius I tell you! Because you know how vexing it is sometimes when you can't decide if you want something salty or something sweet? Well fret no more, friends and neighbors, because Smash has made it so you never have to decided again! Salt and sweet in one glorious, crunchy bite. Perfection. And incidently, one of only 5 material benefits that make life in Norway marginally more sustainable than life in America.

Yet somehow, Alpha Grandma and I have found a way to improve on this already heavenly treat.

So without further ado I give you--the Smorsh--

The Method:

First off, you poor sods stateside are going to have to ask me to send you a bag of Smash, for as far as I know, it's not available over yonder. You're on your own for the marshmallows and the roasting sticks. Once you've gathered these key raw materials, you'll need to stoke up your campfire, then lay out your coals in the usual fashion. Begin by roasting a single marshmallow on all sides to golden, bubbly goodness. Then remove the marshmallow from the coals, and gently lift what Grandma and I hilariously (and not at all childishly) referred to as its foreskin about halfway up the *snickersnickersnortsnort* shaft. Carefully place a single Smash (coneside down) into the resulting sticky hallow, then gently fold the foreskin over the Smash. Now return the whole thing to the coals, and further roast the sticky underbelly of the marshmallow until you see the chocolate tip of the Smash begin to melt. Behold--the Smorsh!

Here's a magnificent picture of Grandma deep throating one of our creations. Observe the quiet rapture. The private ecstasy. I assure you, the Smorsh is every bit as good as it looks.

I'm going to let Alpha Grandma tell you the rest of the story of our 4th of July campfire barbeque. It was, after all, her grace under pressure that got us into the mess in which we ultimately landed. Suffice it to say, it involved skipping stones and two fully-clothed, semi-sober women dragging their sorry American selves out of the lake. There may have been some screeching and extremely hysterical laughter, as well, but it was largerly drowned out by the children's shouts of, "Do it again! Do it again!" and "Me too! Me too!"

Good times, people. Good times.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

So Far

July? Already? Seriously? I know we've been busy. We've been places and seen stuff. But I can't think what it all was.

Let's see......

We've done a lot of this.

And a bit more of this.

When the rain lets up, we head out for a bit of this.

Yesterday we nearly killed Grandma doing this.

And at night, of course, we all have to sleep like this on account a' how the bloody sun won't just stay the fuck down long enough to get a decent night's sleep.

For the most part, we're enjoying ourselves.

Kind of.

Sort of.

I think.

I find myself fantasizing about day camp and summer school a lot, but then the kids get busy collecting blueberries, or building tents and playing baby crocodiles out by the lake, and I think "Isn't summer just the greatest thing EVER!"

I've read half a dozen books since school let out.

A few days ago I ran a 30 minute 5K (personal record).

And I sit here now with wickedly sunburned chest and shoulders (just reward, no doubt, for the attempted matricide of yesterday's aforementioned 5 hour hike).

So things are pretty much as they should be. Except I don't have nearly enough time for blogging.