Monday, June 20, 2011

Things Done and Things As Yet Undone

Done:  Annual Weekend o'Birthdays
  • Epic fail on the girls' birthdays this year.  For those who don't know, my girls have their birthdays within three days of each other late in May.  My calculus final was scheduled for the day of EM's birthday. There was no possible way I could manage two parties, and a respectable grade on my exam, so--sadly, selfishly, cravenly--I told them they had to wait on their parties.  I bought presents though.  Large piles of presents I did definitely manage.

Done: Elder Miss's Make-Up Party
  • EM's actual birthday was on a weekday, and I had the exam, and I was somewhat, what you might call overwrought on account of said exam, so I didn't ever get a picture of her with her pile of presents.  Fy. But just last weekend, I took her and a small group of her closest friends to see Pirates of the Caribbean 4.  Five of the chattiest, loudest, goofiest 11 year olds EVER.  They talked all the way through the movie, but I didn't shush or scold even once.  Happy Belated Birthday, Baby.
Undone:  Little Miss's Make-Up Party
  • It's going to have wait now until August or September.  That's okay.  I'm pretty sure she's forgotten all about it.  My Missy tends to live very much 'in the moment'.  We love that about her.
Done:  Elder Miss's Annual Spring Art Show and Tap Recital
  • Someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to schedule an outdoor tap dance recital this year.  Someone apparently forgot that we live in the wettest damn place on Earth, and outdoor events are generally discouraged here in Bergen.  Baby got wet.  Very, very wet.
  • Someone else was also thinking outside the box when they scheduled the art show this year, and managed to find a whole new venue for the event.  Instead of an art gallery, the kids got to display their work at the Bergen Fishing Museum.  That's right, the fishing museum!  Along with hundreds of pieces of their children's colorful, clunky imaginations made manifest, parents were treated to the museum's permanent collection of nets, hooks, and, of all things, outboard engines!  Add to that the intriguing aroma of rotting, drying fish marinating in the ancient wooden floors, and you've got yourself a pretty spectacular afternoon of history and culture! 
Eel by EM

Jellyfish by EM
  • All snarking aside, I did rather appreciate the aquatic theme of all the art. The kids had obviously been working towards this the whole year.  And it was a much, much bigger building, so there was none of the overcrowding that has been such a problem at the art gallery. 
  • Do take a moment to try and conjure that smell though. Think low tide.  Think 300 years of fish guts rotting into the floorboards.  Add salt.
Done: Realfagkompetanse
  • High school math and science proficiency.  I didn't do it as a teenager.  I didn't do it as a college student.  But it's done now.  And I did it in Norwegian.  I get to brag about that a little bit, because it was hard.  Damn hard.  But I did it.  And I did it in Norwegian.  Somehow over the past 18 months I've managed to cram 3 full years worth of math and science into my brain.  I've taken biology, chemistry, physics 1 & 2, and calculus 1 & 2.
  • The final oral exam in physics was not great.  I went in with the wrong attitude.  I choked.  I missed some things I really shouldn't have missed.  I'm not overly proud of my meager performance that day.  But it was one day. One bad day.  And the important thing is, I may not have aced it, but I passed it.  I'll get credit for the class.  And that's really all I need to get into the University.
  • I've applied for a place in the Meteorology/Oceanography departmant starting next fall.  If I don't get in, fuck 'em.  I'm spending the rest of my days on the sofa watching reruns of Extreme Make-over Home Edition, and eating bonbons.
Undone: Stateside Summer Fun
  • There's much on the agenda this year, including side trips to Victoria, B.C.; Seattle WA; Yellowstone; and Northapmton MA.
  • Boy's going to learn how to swim.  He doesn't want to, but dammit! He will, he will, he will!
  • I'm going to eat steak.  And mint chocolate chip ice cream.  And Pop Tarts.
  • I'm going to buy stuff.
  • Lots of stuff
  • It's going to be good.
  • Very good
  • Bags are half-way packed.  We're almost there.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Long Overdue

So my dilemma is two-fold.  No, three.  My dilemma is three-fold.

First: the audience.  I'm a mommy blogger.  I've understood this, from random snark and other disparaging comments and articles I've read, to be a bad thing.  Apparently there are too many of us, and we all say the same things over and over, and our kids aren't really all that cute, and nobody cares, so how dare we take up band-width? 


This criticism has nothing to do with my dilemma. My motives in writing this blog over the past five years have been primarily journal keeping, and a convenient way of keeping far-flung family updated and involved in my kids' lives.  I suspect 90% of the other so called mommy bloggers out there have similar motives (the other 10% wishing nothing more than to brag, the uppity bitches). So again I say, whatever. If you don't care, simply move on.

I honestly thought most of you had moved on; a conclusion I came to based on the lack of feedback. 

Please understand, I'm not here to pander for compliments and comments.  I just assumed that "No comment" meant "Meh, enough with all the chattiness.  We'd rather just look at the pictures on Facebook." When you half suspect no one's listening, you have to start to wonder if it's worth all the effort. It's not the only reason I stopped writing, but admittedly, sulkily, it was part of it.

It's been six months since my last post, and in that time, especially this last month or so, I've had several people say to me, "What gives?  I keep checking, but you never post anything new."  I'd be totally lying if I didn't say my ego isn't hugely flattered to discover that there are people out there (who aren't my mother) who enjoy, and miss my writing.  Guess what people!  I enjoy and miss my writing too.  And I'd like to get back to it.

Which leads me to dilemma the Second: the subject matter. My kids (my primary subjects) are growing up. Their personalities, their idiosyncracies, their foibles, all of their daily victories and defeats...Sure it all makes for some pretty great writing, but is it really fair of me to turn everything they say and do into some amusing little anecdote?  It's the one part of the 'mommy blogger' criticism I tend to agree with.  At a certain point, it crosses a line.  I'm just not sure where that line is. 

I like the idea of journaling their childhood, of collecting our family's stories in one place.  I find myself revisiting my own archives often, glad everytime, that I took the time to write it all down.  I'm pretty sure they will be too one day. But at 11, 9 and 7, they're just now moving into the most awkward, socially/physically/psycologically fraught stage of their life.  How mean of me to make a joke of it all.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  So do the writing, do the journaling, just don't post it.  Save it. Treasure it.  And someday your kids will treasure it too.  This is a good and noble idea.  I should totally do that.  But here's the thing, see dilemma the first, I like the audience.  I've always thought straight-up journaling was kind of stupid because what's the point if no one is going to read what you wrote, and let you know that they've heard and understood you?

Apart from the kids, the only other thing I have to talk about is this little project I've got going that I like to call The Complete Re-education of Mother.  Honestly, I'm not sure how much anyone else cares.  Physics and calculus are not nearly as amusing as, say Boy's recent attempts to wield Jedi mind control in order to trick me into buying him more Lego, or Missy's current obsession with HUGE boobs, which  (See, right there? The boob thing is probably over the line, right?  Nobody's business. But seriously, people. She smacks her lips and rubs her hands together like she's about to take a bite out of some rare juicy fruit.  Of course, I'm loath to label any such proclivities as deviant, but, I mean...Ladies, lock your doors before showering...that's all I'm sayin')

Finally, dilemma the Third: time.  I am no casual, spit it out, stream-of-consciousness kind of writer.  Believe me, I wish I were.  It takes time for me to come up with something I'm willing to post, to let other people look at.  And since I started my little re-education project, I have significantly less spare time for the tortured selection of perfect adjectives than I used to.  So even if I do get back to writing about family, about school, about rain, there's going to be significantly less of it than there used to be.

In the meantime--indulge me in a little uppity bragging.  Not about the kids though, about my mighty husband.
The handsome man (alas, someone else's mighty husband) with his finger on that button there is Norway's Prime minister Jens Stoltenberg. The button he's about to push is the button that will start production of a series of gas ferries (see picture hanging in back ground) that will operate in the north of Norway.  Those are my mighty husband's boats.  He designed them anyway.  The other man in the picture is, apparently, Poland's Prime Minister (the boats are being built in Poland).  There.  Two Prime Ministers in attendence.  It's just that. big. a. deal.