Posts Tagged ‘life’

Taking full responsibility

March 31, 2009

This morning I was lifting a sweater off a kitchen chair, and knocked a glass to the floor and broke it. My son called out in Swedish from the bedroom, “I’m sorry!” I said, “No, I broke it, it’s not your fault.” Then he was standing next to me there in the kitchen, saying, “No, both of us! Both!” I let him take the blame along with me. It was easier that way.

At preschool I lifted him out of his stroller, and he was immediately surrounded by three boys who pulled him into a huddle and clapped him on the back like he had just scored a goal. Then these  munchins in snowsuits ran off for the far side of the playground, their faces smiling and arms flapping.

Spring is here today. Spring in Sweden comes like an abusive spouse bearing chocolates and roses. I cower at all this sunshine, wanting to be glad for it, but not trusting it. This Swedish part of my brain, this part I do not want, tells me that by the time I finally do start trusting the weather, in July or August, it will change on me again. Today I will try to find my inner Californian, the one so sure about the sun. He’s much better to be around.

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When bad things happen to good blogs

March 25, 2009

Yes, the blog has been suffering. If The Sugar Pea Express were a Tamagotchi, it would have long since been buried in some digital pet cemetery (one hopefully not built on the site of an ancient Indian digital burial ground, causing the Tamagotchi to come back with a taste for digital blood).

Of course, I’ve never actually played with a Tamagotchi. It was one of those fads that passed me by in the late 1990s while I was mistakenly using my time to learn Swedish, be married, and deliver newspapers at four in the morning with a young Norwegian man. He, in turn, mistakenly used his time by telling me all about his church, which from what I could make out from his Norwegian had something to do with Moses.

Not that I am able to take care of living things either – aside from my son. But he’s a bit more persistent than a Tamagotchi, I would imagine. Unless Tamagotchis are now being programmed to kneel beside you on the bed and shout in your ear, “Get up, pappa!” I would totally buy one of those, because my poor son with his one mouth is only able to shout in one of my ears at a time.

Plants, on the other hand, have no place in my home. My plants wonder not whether there is a God, but why he has forsaken them. I leave them for months to die slow, dry deaths until one day I do hear their prayers, then immediately cut off all their vital parts and drown them in water. My plants mistakenly believe they are in the Book of Job, where suffering is eventually rewarded with 140 years of life. In actual fact, they are smack in the middle of Kübler-Ross’s On Death and Dying.

The Sugar Pea Express being both a train and a blog, I’m not quite sure how I would kill it. In the made-for-TV version of this blog, they would undoubtedly load it with explosives then send it full-steam ahead down Terror Canyon, where it would jump the curve at Dead Man’s Gulch and explode spectacularly in mid-air. Since this is the low-budget blog version, I would instead kill it by filling it with recipes for low-fat cheesecake.

What I learned today

February 11, 2009

1. I learned today that foveal vision is the kind of vision we use to see details. It is the smarter though less laid-back sibling to peripheral vision, which only cares about the big picture and helping you duck from objects thrown at your head.

The freaky part of foveal vision is that it is only as large as double the width of your thumbnail held at arm’s length. That is not much room for detail, is it? All day I have been testing it out and taking no satisfaction in my newfound limitations.

2. I learned today from author Elizabeth Gilbert that geniuses were once believed to be creatures or beings that supplied people with their creativity and insights. Nobody was a genius, rather they had a genius. She says that this was a healthier way of looking at creativity – artists, writers and painters could only take partial credit for their successes or failures. Instead of like today, when artists too often end up shooting themselves in the head.

She also says that she sometimes does not know where her ideas come from, and has talked to other artists who say the same thing. She’s writing a book about it, about poets who say that sometimes writing is like taking dictation, or Tom Waits who when driving his car on the freeway told the unknown source of a new song, “Can’t you see I’m driving?”

3. I like these eyes that do not see what we think they see, and minds that do not know what we think they know. It keeps life interesting, doesn’t it?