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Archive for October, 2008

A sincere apology to my mother

Dear Mother. I am sorry I posted a picture of me (and Mischa and Moby Dick) where I looked like shit.

Sorry. I was tired. This tiredness is normal after our twice-monthly reviews at work where my working day tends to stretch to 10-12 hours. So when I come home late, have a glass of wine and take an iSight picture, the result is likely to be that I look the way I feel — tired. I defy my mother and anyone else to find someone who does not look tired at 1 in the morning when taking a tired iSight picture with a sleeping dog in the background and a glass of wine in front of them, but don’t tell me Margaret Thatcher didn’t because she was not a human being and only slept 3 hours per night and just look what that did for her general beauty! so she doesn’t count.

The picture only proves one thing.

I am normal.

I know. It’s a shocking thought.

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Operation update

It’s now twelve weeks since the operation, and my life has totally changed. I’m now having my first period “controlled” by the pill, and it’s a little strange knowing exactly when my period is going to be. Get me right; I’ve always been totally regular, I’m just so absent minded I never keep track of things. Most of the time I barely know what day of the week it is, have even found myself on my way to the office on a Sunday. And believe me, I’m not THAT eager.

Before the operation to have the myomas removed, my periods were hell to get through. We’re talking nearly two weeks of heavy bleeding every month and pain, unbelievable pain! And a woman is not a nice person when in pain. During the heaviest part of each period I was pretty much unable to leave the house, and I was forever hoping that the heavier days would land on the weekend so I didn’t have to take time off work (ok, I’m a little eager). And I actually started dreaming about getting a bidet installed, a proper, French bidet.

I had been reduced to having fantasies about bidets. And that is what can safely be called reduced quality of life.

Now, twelve weeks post-op I can honestly say the difference is dramatic. Yesterday, second day of period, I left the house for several hours to do a photo shoot for VTP and didn’t worry one bit about the accessibility of toilets. And though I still get twinges of pain as the uterus isn’t fully healed yet, I don’t feel like biting the heads off the entire male population should any of them be so unfortunate as to find themselves in my path.

I’m sure there are men who wonder why they should be at the receiving end of this female rage. It’s quite simple. Women have to suffer periods, which is bad enough when not made worse by “benign, fibrous growths”. And it’s MEN who came up with the idea of putting LUXURY TAX on tampons and similar feminine hygiene products. Luxury. Think about it.

Emotionally — well, that’s an entirely different story. I keep my thoughts at bay as best I can by re-arranging the flat, moving stuff from one place to another and back, hanging pictures I haven’t had up in years, listening to Ö3 (Austrian radio) and cuddling Mischa. A lot. I recognise all the symptoms of depression coming on; the wish for a major change, from wanting to just grab Mischa and go — somewhere, far away, totally undefined, to shaving my head. Anybody heard that one before? Britney? But I know I would look just as bad as she did and feel no better for it, so I’m trying to think of something slightly more constructive.

Got to go. Will let you know how I fare with regards to the depression. It is bound to be fascinating.

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Oh yes. Moby Dick is his.

Taken with iSight late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning after a marathon-day working and not finishing until, oh, ten-ish. So was still winding down at half past midnight with a glass of wine and the BBC world news.  Which is fairly depressing since suicide bombs seem to be the new black.

Oh, that thing sticking out of my head is not actually sticking out of my head. It is a cow made from various upholstery material and was sent to me as a wedding present. To my work in London. The only way I could get her home was by having her (her name is SophieMoo) behind me as a pillion on my motorbike. With her long limbs wrapped around my waist. On the way home, one of London’s more hardened couriers pulled up next to me. So there we were, dainty little me, on Molly which was nicely red and relatively clean, with an upholstery cow wrapped around me, and him, of the rugged kind, hairy, leathered, spiked, with a black, beat up Honda held together with gaffa tape and an evil looking rubber rat stuck to the front fairing. His parting words shouted over the drone of his failing exhaust as the lights changed were “NICE COW!”

Tell me what I could have said to come out of that one looking even remotely cool.

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A sudden feeling of freedom

While in Norway I went with my parents to “inspect” my favourite place in the whole world: my little summerhouse by the fjord. The one with the lovely view of Moss. Don’t ask. My mum was full of apologies and warnings in an effort to prepare me for the chaos that is presently reigning there.

We drove through a stunning Norwegian landscape: deep green forests (pine), gold and yellow trees (birch and maple and oak) and rolling fields, part green, part fading yellow and part black soil. And the rocks, of course. I don’t call it mountains since the area is not very peaked. But I do think of Norway as a large rock. Grey. Solid. Granite, some marble. Solid. I’m no expert, there are lots of other types of rock, but I really take little interest in what it is.

The cabin is built on this stuff, on a foundation plonked right on top of it. And now we want to expand it a little, get an extra bedroom and a bathroom, and suddenly some of that rock was in the way. So an explosions expert was engaged and rock was dynamited all around.

Let me go back a little. It started with blowing enough rock to fit a small car park for two cars below the cabin. It looked innocent enough in the drawings. Once the hole was a fact we could have fitted an Olympic sized swimming pool in there. Twice. Oddly, the neighbours complained and demanded that the hole be filled with a garage. Once my mother, who never does anything by halves, had made the plans for said garage we realised the new building would far surpass the cabin in standard and comfort and SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE. We couldn’t put the cars to sleep in a palace and ourselves to sleep in a shed.

More plans were made for blowing more mountain and dynamite man came back and blew away. All around the cabin. I wonder if he ever worked for the IRA — such precision work! Applications were sent and requests made to get connected to water and sewage. Which was denied because somebody couldn’t be bothered digging up the information we needed to make that happen. Tell me, are all people who work for local authorities bone lazy? In all countries? All over the world? Don’t answer. So another application was made to keep the cabin a cabin with a little extra space and with the same shady water connection as before. All this took MONTHS, and just before I arrived a letter was received rejecting the cabin-application, stating that the previous application was good and please get connected to the water/sewage line running a few metres north of the cabin. What’s WRONG with those people?? If they had told us that right away those lazy buggers would have saved themselves some real work, instead of — oh, you know what I mean.

So there I was. Walking around the entire cabin for the first time as up until now the rock behind it had been right up against the wall requiring some serious rock-climbing skills if one was to make one’s way up there. The sistern which had been hiding a multitude of sins had been brought out into the open, standing atop all the blown rock looking like a bizarre out-of-place deep-sea mine. And my little cabin, the one place on our blue planet where I feel truly at peace, was looking small, shabby and forlorn in its expanded environment, holding its breath in frightened anticipation. Yes, I do think it has a soul.

And I walked inside. Saw all the old things I left behind when I moved away — and found peace.

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Self-pity is truly dreary after a while. So I’m going to Norway for a long weekend (as one does) to drink wine with my parents, laugh and hopefully have some good meals. And perhaps even see my sister and her family I hope. My niece is a really good amateur photographer — among her many talents — and she has a new digital camera that I suspect she is already going wild with. She has also started writing her own blog (in Norwegian which is why I haven’t linked it up yet, but I think I just might anyway to encourage the world to learn that fine language). She writes incredibly well, letting her bright personality shine through and I read it eagerly for that little bit of extra contact with the family.

But now it’s time to go. Flying KLM this time, via Amsterdam, the finest airport in Europe, but also insanely expensive. And I have brought only one book, in German, as it’s time I got back into reading German.

So: thinking about something other than my miserable life!

PS Have had no more haunting Kevin dreams. Things must be improving, surely? Still putting that makeup on.

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I fell asleep on the sofa last night. Didn’t feel great, a little nauseous and cold, so when Mischa came over and licked my nose he was more than welcome to join me in a tight snuggle. So there we were, snuggling close, he keeping me warm, and we slept.

I came home from work to find Kevin there, looking for something he had left behind. It felt so incredibly good seeing him again, and we hugged, long, and then we talked. About work, about theatre, about sports, about all those little insignificant things we used to talk about. We laughed, opened a bottle of wine, agreed on everything and nothing, and then we went to the bedroom. We sat on the bed and kept talking and joking, while the walls slowly disintegrated to reveal a field and a forest in the early evening sun in the autumn. I reached out to touch Kevin, to remind him of something that happened in Norway many years ago, but he was no longer on the bed, he was standing a few feet away looking into the forest saying he had to go, he had found what he was after. The bed metamorphosed into a grotty old cast-iron bed full of cockroaches and rotting bedlinen.

I woke with a screaming headache, still nauseous and too hot from having Mischa draped across me. It was late and time for his evening walk, so together we stumbled out into the city, into a still, warm evening. There were bats out flying around the dome of the Karlskirche. Mischa didn’t try to play this time, just kept near me, walking slowly.

In the morning I found him comfortably curled up on the sofa. Mea culpa. I put his cover on the seats and let him back on; Moby Dick now officially belongs to him.

Line: you may well find me on your doorstep soon. I’m coming to Norway on a long weekend.

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I feel so down about this breakup I don’t quite know how to talk to or what to say to our shared friends. And I must admit to having a little bit of an irrational reaction; most of the friends I met through Kevin I tend not to contact at all, reasoning that he needs his friends and they should not have to take sides. I’ll do that for them. By not talking to them. Because… what am I supposed to say? I can’t go into details of our breakup because, frankly, that’s between him and me. And right now, it’s all I’m able to think about when not feeding Mischa, walking Mischa, working, walking Mischa, working, feeding Mischa, walking Mischa and trying to dampen the echo left behind by Kevin’s retreating back. Which I’m doing by buying clip lamps at IKEA. I know. Curtains might have been a better idea.

My friends? I left most of them behind when I left Norway. And when we left Scotland. And when we left London… Do you see a pattern here? No? Good.

I’ve re-gained some of my Norwegian friends, though, thanks to the wonders of Facebook — designed by teenage nerds, loved by middle aged nerds. Reunion site no. 1. But as years have passed any form of familiar intimacy once part of any of those friendships is long gone and there is no need to wonder if they’re his friends, my friends or anyone else’s friends.

OF COURSE I have good friends. Friends that offer a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, sympathy, empathy, love and support. But I have nothing to say. There is nothing to say. And if there’s one thing I don’t want to do it’s sit with someone and complain about Kevin. It wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t feel right. He has not been unfair or nasty in any way, he has remained the wonderful man I met all those years ago.

When I came back from Paris — though he was no longer here he had clearly been not long before — he had left me a pizza (feeding me again…) and a bottle of wine and two letters. One with general instructions and contact details and one written like a poem recounting fleeting images and memories from the past 15 years. Yes, I cried. OF COURSE I cried. And he’s the one who’s been my best friend since we met. And his was the shoulder I wanted to cry on. And his is the last shoulder I am allowed to cry on. So it’s Mischa who gets all the tears, the cuddles, the grooming and walkies and more tears. Mischa is now my constant companion while I wait for the feeling of sudden widowhood to go away.

Speaking of Mischa, I had better take him for his evening walk. We’ll stop in front of Karlskirche and see if we can spot any of the bats that live in the nooks and crannies of the church and which feed on the insects attracted by the floodlights. Though it’s probably too cold out my now. If you get the chance on a warm evening you should try to go there and see if you can spot them.

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