Friday, September 26, 2008

Blogging over the years and remembrance of things in the not-so-distant past...

my blog kinda sucks.  i was just reading through some posts.  funny stuff.  kind of haha funny, kind of just plain old stupid funny.  since my memory is shit (no, i did not do drugs in college!), it is kind of nice to have a little record of what i was doing a couple of years ago, where i lived when i started this blog, how i spent my time, what my mood was like.  berlin. babies. breastfeeding. boobs. strollers.  diapers.  my dear girlfriends. baking.  germans.  it kinda looks like i did lots of cooking, and really got into it. i think i had a frickin' cooking blog. 

boy oh boy, things have changed....

well, sort of.  i still cook, but largely as a function of what i like to call, "the coop" in which Mama Jens lives in.

and speaking of things changing,  old friends (hi liz!) who used to remark that even my dirty dishes looked clean, would be pleased (or disappointed?!!) to learn that i have let the slack out a little.  instead of cleaning my dishes before i wash them, now i just don't fucking clean them.  no, no... i do.  but they do sometimes hang out in the sink for awhile collecting fruit flies and other things.  

mid-life crisis plus having to work your dang brains out to earn a living here equals forgetting to do things like eat, much less clean.  screw cleaning.  who needs it anyways?

but back to the coop bit...

when the school year ended last year and summer started, and we were like "holy shit, you mean we have to take care of these kids all day?!" we did something very brilliant.  we got a nanny.  

perks for nanny:  free room and board.   a weekly stipend.  no bills.  getting to sleep-in late on most days because one child doesn't need to be picked up from school until 11.  delicious hot meals every evening from mama jens (i'll get back to that cooking bit in a minute).  hi-def tv. presents and incentives because mama jens is so happy that you are here that she can't contain her excitement.  two friendly little girls to talk your ear off all day. new york city at your doorstep.

perks for us:  live-in childcare while we work during the day, not costing too much more than a room.  one on one entertainment for the insatiable little ladies.  once a week or so getting to go out and rock the house all night and not have to pay 8 million dollars for a babysitter.  all of your husbands' friends and everyone you work with and basically any random person you ever talk to asking if the nanny is hot, which provides us with hours and hours of conversational entertainment that we would never have had otherwise, friendly energy (she is from the south), and very good vibes.

so cooking.... i feel like i live in a coop.  and you know what i fucking love about it?  it brings out the hippy in me.  we have three adults.  two kids.  we all take turns with morning duty (getting the kids up and ready and to school), night babysitting duty (all three of us really like to go out and party all night like rock stars), and even cleaning up around the house and cooking.  it sounds like heaven, because it kinda is.

our nanny rocks.  she is awesome.  she likes us.  we like her.  she is amazing with the kids.  she is very low maintenance.  she is cool.  she understands how crazy we are and laughs with us. she drinks beer and watches project runway with me.

okay, i know you are all wondering if she is hot.  hehehe...

so back to the cooking.  mama jens is still doing all the shopping.  i whiz through a store with lightening speed and come out with the exact amount of food for a week's worth of meals, lunches, and breakfasts without forgetting anything!  its amazing!  and by the end of the week, holy empty fridge.  so i don't really know what i want to say about cooking.  oh, yes, we do it every night, but its after work and before bed and i'm not writing recipes or reinventing the wheel.  its basic, practical, meat and three vegetables, wham, bam, eat! feeding the coop.

so what am i trying to say?  i am at work and all these people keep interrupting me.  geesh!  

so yes, blog entries of then vs. now...those dreamy times spent at home, in stay-at-home motherhood and high unemployment bliss in berlin with all my friends and kids' friends on afternoons after kita....cozy in the kitchen built by our friend or at a playground or cafe, coffee with steamed milk, fresh baked something, a plate of nice cheese, rosy-cheeked sweet toddlers running around in seems faraway from the 9th floor of this building overlooking the hudson river, a photoshoot for a magazine happening in the next room, my kids at school, the nanny chillin' at home, the empty fridge on a friday, the traffic, all the windows with all the lights, no breastfeeding.  no boobs either.  how life has changed...

its amazing how we choose our paths.   some decisions are obviously more formative/transformative than others.  but i think about it all the time.  how little decisions affect the course of things, how much is conscientious and considered, how much is emotionally driven, how much is chance or even unnoticed....  

happy friday.

mama jens

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Bloody Valentine vs Ears

i am enjoying the quiet coming through my window this morning along with a little light fall wind, and trying to work through a speedy ear recovery from the aural abuse i took last night at the my bloody valentine show at roseland ballroom. having never been to one of their concerts, and apparently being an unsuspecting and naive, though solid fan, i wasn't prepared for it. well, i had earplugs, so in that way i was prepared, but i wasn't mentally prepared.

we stood through two relatively uninteresting opening bands, though j. mascis did make a stage appearance toward the end of the set of the second opener, and man that guy has some nice hair. we kept thinking, wow, we are in nyc, my bloody valentine could get anyone to open their set, we were hoping for our other favorites i think.

anyways, mbv delivered right away with loveless hits. beautiful, ecstatic, nostalgic, all the things one could ever want from a mbv show. by the third song, i felt ear damage. i looked around at the people around me and saw that they were all wearing earplugs already. mbv on earplugs felt like a really woozy, tranquilizer experience. maybe fun 10 years ago, but just annoying now. so the earplugs went in and out, based on what i wanted to hear vs how much ear damage i wanted to inflict. the strobe lights had my head down and eyes covered most of the time. unfortunate, because kevin shields was a nice thing to look at, as was belinda butcher.

a guy behind us had a seizure of some sort and had to be taken out, stiff as a board and eyes big and glassy.

the assault continued beautifully, and peaked with the 20+ minute head and heart crushing feedback fest that felt something like death by sound. knowing that they were going to do that at the end of the set, i wanted to get out of there about 2 minutes in. i sort of ran around the venue - to the bar, to the basement, around the sides, hoping to make it get quieter. no such luck. i finally left the building when i felt my chest and my heart seemed to be undulating weirdly under my ribcage.

holy jesus.

it took me a good hour to calm down. subway ride. a walk from the d train. in bed at 1 am my ears were pulsating. i was thinking about how crazy it is that you can hurt people with sound. sure its a well-known torture tactic, but i wasn't prepared for it indie rock style. i felt like i had been abused. an expensive, kind of beautiful abuse.

tonight is the low show at union hall's new venue on 3rd ave. i'll be screaming for more noise.

enjoy the beautiful, fall day.

-mama jens

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Its been a long time...

holy shit.  its been almost a year since i have posted.  my two devoted readers are probably long gone.  and anyways, who can follow all the title anyways.  what does all that mean? maybe i'll simplify at some point.  in the meantime, the fact that i haven't posted seems to parallel the first year in the delightful big apple.  

sometime around the one year anniversary of living here, i started to feel something like being human again.  it was like, we moved to new york, we got excited and blown away by the prospects, then a wave came and has kept us under for months.  drowning seems to be a decent analogy, so i'll stick with that.  

but remind me to get back to the being human again part...

one of the words that i learned living in berlin, a concept that never occurred to me until i gave birth there two times and dealt with midwives and birth houses and pelvic floors was "constitution."  i think when i first heard the term, i thought something like bowel movement.  i think the fifty times i heard the term after that, i was still stuck on you eat well, you have a good constitution.  who knew?  americans don't understand constitution.  but germans do.  

anyways, fast forward to a couple of years later, you find yourself going nuts in a crazy fucking city, and the term resurfaces again.  this time, it takes on a different meaning, or the real meaning.  hmmm, the overall strength of the body?

okay, i'm not a big lady, but i'm a strong lady.  sometime last month, i started questioning if i had it in me to live here, physically.

stress.  its loud,  its expensive,  its hard to find work,  going anywhere requires some hearty, uplifting subway travel, people coming going upstream downstream on sidewalks with (get this!) overwhelmingly, tall fucking buildings, pollution, an energy to shatter the most calmed soul, millions of entertainment options, countless old friends that have congregated, visitors up the wahzoo, brilliant people, beautiful people,  excitement, alcohol, and did i mention that its expensive?

in the back of our believing minds has been a feeling of sticking it out a year.  in the back of our lease, it says that if you don't stick it out a year, you fucking owe. 

so here we are.  my late-night encounter with questioning the strength of my own constitution (a couple of weeks ago) has remarkably, peacefully, luckily challenged me to stick it out longer. lucky only because i know i don't have the constitution to move somewhere else right now.

after a trip to maine (you gotta get out of here once in awhile) this summer, i have a sense of i know i can handle this if i put my mind to it.  those days (long ago posts) of being baffled by the amount of people running in prospect park and the beyond packed classes of type-A yogis trying to find a place for their mats are making sense in a new way.  i once heard that new yorkers are among the healthiest americans, but i tell you something:  its not all the walking, its not that they are more enlightened or that they don't want to eat fast food, its that if they are gonna live here, they have to learn to sink or swim.  you can come here healthy and sink quickly (drown under the wave), you can come here healthy and get lucky enough to catch a nice wave to ride (surfing), or you can come here healthy, start sinking, and figure out that you will simply drown if you don't do something different (take surfing lessons).  if you come here unhealthy, you're fucked.
as it turns out, i feel more in the category three of this storm.  i'm signing up.  what's outrageous is that i haven't really had a flight response, no matter how weak my lovely non-bowel movement meaning constitution has become.  sure, i ache sometimes for the lovely chapel hill house, but still, somehow, i still want to be here. 

call me crazy.

maybe the second year is different.  right here at the beginning of september, i'm banking on that.  with all the moves in my life (this is the 15th), i have never had a problem adjusting. maybe new york is just different, i keep telling myself.  its bigger, so it takes longer.  

not only are there the basic living stresses of being here.  the surface ones.  the ones that actually don't matter all too much, but there are the psychological/quasi-spiritual stresses.  
though i'm happy to report that i still have this weird ironic satisfied feeling after hauling my laundry to the laundry mat when i pay INSANE rent, there are other things that have lost their punk rock charm (i know, i know...nothing punk rock about paying INSANE rent...).  ease in the daily living things that one has to deal with is something that exists elsewhere.  i can embrace that.  everything is a little bit more challenging. options are plenty, maps must be navigated, blocks must be walked, people must be dealt with constantly, and well, when you are tired and don't think you can walk another step, you can't flag down a taxi to save your life. extremes downs are met with extreme highs, when you find yourself face to face with julia roberts because your old friend from high school is a reporter for a major u.s. publication, assuming being face to face with julia roberts constitutes (ahem) an extreme high.

julia roberts is absolutely star striking.  taller than average, sun-glassed, a jaw-line and a smile that makes you question biology and symmetry in general.  a fear, a wealth, an ease from living, fame beyond comprehension.  some kids, some acting skills, a constitution... 

and then there is the issue of meaning.  far more abstract and complicated than fresh laundry and  stunning julia roberts.  we all confront those issues in life no matter where we are or who we are, but if you ever find yourself wanting to jack up your mid-life crisis a little, move to nyc and let your head spin.  good stuff.

okay.  i don't know if any of that made any sense.  just talking for now.  goodnight to all the internet and non-internet souls out there.

mama jens