Sunday, October 31, 2010


The morning after I hung him up, the kids decided he was French and immediately started calling him Skull-La-La.  Boy wondered what he'd like for breakfast.  "We'd offer you toast, but it's not French toast, so you probably wouldn't like it."
We offered an exclusive selection of lemon poison, orange poison, or raspberry poison.  But everyone, by God, had to drink their poison, or be gone with them!  There was only one dimwitted little kid who couldn't quite get with the program, and insisted that he wasn't allowed to drink wine.

He spent the weekend rewatching the movies so he could get Jack's mincing little walk down.  I thought he was pretty good at it, but Boy insisted he could do it better if only I'd give him a little rum.  It's the rum, apparently, that makes badass pirates walk that way.
If you asked Boy what Emma was for Halloween, he said, "I don't know, something black."  If you asked Amanda what Emma was for Halloween, she'd say, "It was kind of like pretty, but the face was all wrong."  If you asked Emma what she was for Halloween she'd say, "I don't know what I was, but I was the best one there!

The princess dress that Alpha Grandma made for her last year was a much better fit this year.  She insisted that she needed a wig because both Daniel and Emma had wigs to go with their constums.  Stupid Disney branded Sleeping Beauty rat's nest cost me more than the other two costumes combined, she only wore it for 10 minutes, and she looked 100 times prettier when she finally took the damn thing off.

Count them if you dare.  There should be 16 of 'em, not including the terrified friend of Amanda's who was cowering in my lap while this picture was taken because she was terrified of all the boys' scary masks.  Seriously, the precious thing was sobbing in terror.  Her mom had to turn right around, and pick her back up.  Part of me feels awful about it, the rest of me is all, "Oh for God's sake!"
Appropriate?  Or inappropriate?  Mister and I held quite a debate over these little guys the night before the party.  The marshmallow ghosts were not working, and I was pretty much ready to punch someone in the face for being fed up with party preparations.  Toby then started hanging Seigemenn from tiny licorice nooses, and I think I fell in love with him all over again right then and there.  I worried, however, that other mothers might not think they were nearly as adorable as I did.

They ended up being a big hit, with the boys especially.  In fact, Mister had to make more, because there was some awful whining about there not being enough for everyone.
No Halloween party is complete without a game or two.  It was Emma who came up with Pin-The-Arm-On-The-Zombie.  Then she offered to draw and color the requisite zombie and severed arm.

I offered to find some pictures of zombies online to give her some ideas.  She was immediately offended.  "Can't I just use my own ideas?  It's much easier that way." 
Clearly she didn't need my help.

Didn't need my help at all.

She's rather wonderful, my Emma.  Is she not?

As a prize for playing the game, which they all played and loved, we mixed 50 Kr. in coins into a pumpkin still full of its guts, and told them they could keep whatever they managed to grab hold of.  The perfect amount of gross-out factor, but most of them still dared to do it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We Regret To Inform You

I don't think anyone believed it would really happen.

"Winter?  Again?  So soon?  But, summer was just...Is there nothing to be done about it?"

No.  'Fraid not.  No deferments.  No appeals.  No special pleading.  Only forbearance.  And it would help if you would all put your winter tires on now, please, thank you.  Which no one did.

Last weekend the pepperkake went on sale.  And last night?  Last night it snowed.  Oh, not much.  Only 2 or 3 inches at most.  But still.  Winter -- that bitch -- she's back.

I hear talk, occasionally, when I choose to listen, that there have been predictions of another winter as harsh and cold as the last one.  Personally, I think it's a load of bullshit, and mean-spirited fear mongering.  But still...what if it's true? 

I'm not being the least bit poetic or melodramatic when I say, I don't think I can handle another winter like last winter.  Empty wells, frozen pipes, daily shovelling, minus 29.9 degrees.  That's the record low on our thermometer. I don't care to ever see that one broken. I'll throw the fucker in the lake before I see it dip another tenth of a degree lower. Well -- first I'll hack through a foot of ice, then I'll throw that little fucker in the lake!  So help me God I will!

If I sound a little cheerless and bleak lately, it's because I am.  Things are not going well at school.  My hair is suddenly choker-block full of grey hair.  When did that happen?  It's been two months since I last went out running.  All work and no play, and I'm still not as smart as I think I should be?  Oh, and I'm cold.  All the time cold.  And now there's snow.

Ah well, at least the pepperkake went on sale last weekend.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, pepperkake is absolutely the best and brightest part of Norwegian Christmas.  Still waiting on the juleøl though.  I'm sure everything will be better when the juleøl (Christmas beer) hits the shelves.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 41

Ever since my kids hit school age, I've carped and moaned about høst ferie in early October and vinter ferie in late February.  They're a week long school break (every year the same week--week 41 for høstferie, week 9 for vinter ferie*) and every year I've grumbled, "A week?  A whole week?  Didn't they just start school?  Do they really need a whole week right now?  A long weekend sure, maybe.  But a whole week?  How absurd!  How wasteful!  How perfectly inconvenient!"

Then I went back to school last winter.  And it all began to make sense to me.

To say I was ready for this week long break is a bit of an understatement.  To say my brain was fried, and I was in need of a week long break from studying is still a bit of an understatement.  To say my brain was first battered, then fried, then shredded and finely minced for good measure, and that I was in need of flash freezing and a week long rest in cold storage is coming much closer the truth (albeit metaphorical) of the matter.

It's not just the classes.  I'm taking physics and chemistry, and I find both subjects challenging to say the least.  And, of course, it's all taught in Norwegian, so I have the additional hurdle of having to make my own understanding of all this new and intellectually demanding material make sense in a language that is not my own.  My fresh-faced, eager young classmates don't have to do that, and I find I resent it.

Also absent in my fellow students' lives--children.  Three children who must be fed, chauffeured, occasionally chastized, often nagged, tutored and read to, not to mention just plain listened to every once in a while, and at the end of the day made to feel nurtured and loved and wanted.  Here too, I find I resent that I'm presumably the only one in my classes struggling to balance both studying and parenting.  And in resenting my childless classmates, how can I help but start to resent the presence of my own children?

It hurts my heart to say, to even think, such a thing.  But there it is.  I resent my husband too.  I resent his job for taking him away from home so much, and throwing such a disproportionate amount of the parenting responsibilities on my shoulders.  I resent his success because it only means that I can't really complain.  He's extremely good at what he does, and to ask him to step back, to help me (cuz' he'd do it, see, he loves us, and he'd do pretty much whatever I asked him to do) would be to essentially ask him to quit.  He's always on the verge of something fantastic, something truly, career-makingly spectacular.  One of these days, one of these glorious projects is going to round third base, and slide on into home.  And that would be it for him.  He'd be set for life. I cannot, I will not ask him to step back now.  Afterall, it's not his fault that I was lazy, and I foundered for so long trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and then summon up the gumption to actually go back to school and do it. 

He's been rather wonderful though, ever since I did ultimately decide. Encouraging me.  Supporting me.  Cheering me on.  But even this unequivocal enthusiasm I resent a bit.  He expects great things of me.  Perhaps even a greatness, eventually, equal to his own.  He says simply, that I'm clearly capable of it.  But with that expectation comes a huge amount of pressure.  I'm not allowed to simply float.  I suppose that even without him there egging me on, I'd put the pressure on myself to get far more than merely adequate grades. That's just the kind of girl I am. But feeling him there behind me, expecting it of me...

The resentment, it just grows and multiplies.

It's this, really, that has been fucking so thoroughly with my brain, and from which I needed the week long break.  I've got to find some way to put it all in perspective, or it's going to break me in two, and I'm going to have to quit.  I don't want to quit because I like it.  I like having a direction and purpose to my days.  I like the challenge of learning new and difficult things.  I love the heady buzz of getting a good grade on a difficult test.  But I keep catching myself thinking, "Why can't my kids just go away?" and "Why is my husband so useless?"

It's wrong.  It's unfair.  And I can't do it anymore.  My kids are delightful, my husband is far from useless, and I deserve to enjoy them.


For now, I'm on my own.  Mister has taken the kids to his mother's.  He's gone hunting.  And I've got a box of rosé and season 6 of Lost to rediscover.  I can honestly say, I resent none of these things.  I am at peace.

*These are the weeks that apply to Bergen.  Other cities have their høst and vinter feries in either the week before or the week prior to ours.  They stagger it this way, apparently, so the entire population doesn't migrate en masse to the hyttes (cabins) and various resort destinations, thus causing a catastrophic shift in land mass distribution, and, theoretically at least, causing the earth to move off its axis.  This is the shit I get to think about now that I know all about Newton's laws of motion....