Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, you’ve been kind of a bitch….

On the last morning of the year, I sit quietly in my living room with my husband who is my best friend, as I hear our kids and their friends roaring from the top floor of the house, down the stairs, through the living room where I sit, and into the dining room, the den, and the basement. They are all over the house and fill it with the beautiful noise of children, living their carefree happy lives. This sound fills me with happiness.

This year has been rough for me. We had a falling out with a friend who was also a band member and ultimately decided to move on with our lives without him so as to minimize drama and confusion. This was partially due to stress from the fact that my ex-husband decided to move out of the state and take my 12 year old son to live with him which I fought with every bone in my body and every dollar in my bank account but ultimately lost. I have started at a new University, and although I’m doing extremely well, the work is hard and it consumes time that I could be spending with my husband and my boys. My mother has been ailing in health all year, her arthritis and knee problems left her almost unable to walk. Anticipating knee surgery, we had all been assured by my mother and her doctors that getting a new knee would solve a lot of problems. This has unfortunately not been the case and since she had the surgery on November 17, 2012 she has not been able to recover properly and has been in and out of the hospital 4 times since then and I’ve had to spend a lot of time helping her, not to mention that I’m worried and I don’t understand what is wrong with her. As I type this, she is in the hospital, my brother having called an ambulance to pick her up and take her to the hospital because she was not able to use her arms to get herself out of bed this morning.

My wishes for 2013 are simple (I think) and not too much to ask. I will do everything in my power to make them come to fruition. I like to work hard though, so I don’t really mind.

  • I wish to be healthy in my mind and my body. I don’t want to let disappointment or regret get in the way of my sanity, my mood or my overall well-being.
  • I wish to have more tolerance for my ex-husband and get to a place where I accept the things the way they are and be the best that I can be in the situation.
  • I wish for my mom’s health and ability to take care of herself.
  • I wish to be a better mother, wife and friend to all those that I love as well as the new people that I meet.
  • I wish to be open to and seize every opportunity that comes that sounds interesting and fruitful.
  • I wish to have fun and have a light heart, even in heavy times.
  • I wish to take the time to help other people who are in need.
  • I hope that my husband can find a job in Norway!
Even though 2012 was rough, it wasn’t all horrible. I have the best husband and boys in the world and they light up my world. I have a good job and I did really well in school. My music continues to grow and flourish on my own terms. I have great friends, and much to be thankful for as well. I know that there are a lot of people who have more heartache, disappointment, and loss as well as those who are homeless, hungry, and broken. In perspective, it seems trivial to bitch about my trials and tribulations, but it’s what I have and it’s what I know. I’m going to make it better though, and hopefully everyone else out there will find some peace and happiness in 2013. May it be the best year yet.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Since I’m about to apply for a new passport, I was reminded of why I had to get a new passport several years ago due to the big black “X” that was drawn inside of mine on a cold February morning upon arrival into Stansted airport in London.

My band had played a super fun, rocking show in Stockholm at Debaser the previous night. We were out until 3:30 or so, and stumbled tipsily back to our hotel and slept for an hour and a half before leaving. It was a cold walk to the central bus station that would take us to the flybussarna (airport bus) that would drive our sleepy selves to the Vasteras aiport so that we could continue our tour with 5 shows that had been set up for us in England. The bass player perhaps needed more sleep than the rest of us. To his credit, he was the last man standing every night on tour so that is perhaps why he seemed like he needed more sleep. As we crammed onto the bus, backpacks, suitcases, guitar cases, etc. in tow, we sat close and decided to have a band meeting upon settling in.

The promoter in England had sent me an email a couple of days before we left the U.S. (tickets had been bought and tour booked for several months prior) to say, that they did not manage to secure us work permits for the shows in England but it would be no problem to just come in and claim that we are coming as tourists and to do some home recording with friends. This made me super nervous. Past experience had educated me about the importance of work permits when touring to other countries, but this man was so sure, and said, that “people do this all the time.” Since it was late to cancel, we went with it. 

As the bus rumbled on toward Vasteras, the drummer, my husband, the drummer’s wife and me all sort of huddled together around the bass player, who had his eyes closed, but we were sure was listening. We talked about our stories for going through customs and how we are going in as tourists, what places we are visiting, etc. With our stories straight, I felt confident. We started to look forward to the upcoming shows. They sounded good, and we had been receiving emails from fans who were excited to see us play. A good time was on the horizon.

The airport was small and efficient. We were flying Ryanair, which is cheap but will get you where you are going. The flight was uneventful and we all looked forward to the coming five days as we disembarked from the aircraft. We gave each other knowing looks as we approached customs. I know I gave the bass player a wink and a nod. In retrospect, he was probably confused by my display. We got into different lines, my husband and I in one, the drummer and his wife in another, and the bass player in yet another. We started to go through, my husband the quickest since he is from Norway. As we were all on the other side, we looked over at the bass player who was speaking to the customs agent in animated gestures. More customs agents came up and were conferring. Suddenly, the bass player scans the room and then points to us!  SHIT, SHIT, HOLY FUCKING SHIT is playing over and over in my head as customs agents march toward us and surround us. The questions start at rapid speed and it becomes obvious that we are in deep trouble. The bass player had apparently been sound asleep during our conference and had marched up to customs to say that he was entering England to play 5 shows with his band. He had told them, “No, really, you can check our website for tour dates.”

Suddenly, bass player, drummer and I were separated from my husband and the drummer’s wife. Even though my husband is in the band, he is safe since he is eligible to play shows in England without a work permit due to his Norwegian citizenship. I completely start to panic as custom agents separate the 3 of us and take us to a holding area where they start to rummage through our baggage while questioning us separately. The agents asked me all sorts of questions and then started to read my notebook and recite my song lyrics and diary entries to me. They tried to find hidden meaning, and criticized some of my cultural observations all of which was not only confusing to me, but it made me completely infuriated and embarrassed. After the ridiculous interrogation, we were walked back together and told we are being taken to a containment cell until we can be shipped back to Sweden. Great. I walked glumly with tears streaming down my face wondering what my husband was doing and how the hell we would all meet up. My cell phone and personal items were taken from me so I would not be able to call him. The customs guards were now trying to lighten up the mood, but I was still furious with the way they handled me and my belongings. One of them asked, “So, have you been to England before?” the drummer and I said nothing. The bass player responds, “This is my first time.” The customs guard says to the bass player, “well, what do you think?” The bass player looked around the aging back area where we were being taken and responding with “well, looks like it needs a coat of paint.” I always remember this exchange with great clarity for some reason.

We were taken to a small room with several chairs and a bathroom, and are promptly locked in. We had nothing to do since they took all of our stuff, and we are told we will be sent back to Stockholm on the last flight to Stockholm at 10:00 p.m. at no cost to us. Yep, we were being deported from England. Great. I was so stressed that my husband and the drummer’s wife wouldn’t know what was happening and I wanted to try to get in touch with them. For some reason, the drummer got to use his phone quickly and called his wife. She and my husband had been informed about what was happening, and she told of the dilemma on their end. She said that the flight back to Stockholm only had one seat left. The drummer told her to please make sure my husband got on it instead of her because I was freaking out and he didn’t particularly want to deal with me in this state. She is an airline pilot in the U.S. and was not worried about it. She knew she’d get back over, so my husband bought the last ticket. We sat in that room for over 12 hours. At times, immigrants from Africa were brought in and treated poorly because they didn’t speak any English. They had tried to come in illegally. This one woman was African and spoke French. I connected with her and spoke to her in whatever broken French I could remember from High School. She had come in with her kids and husband. They had gotten through but she hadn’t. She was going to be sent back to Africa in an hour, and she was completely panicked. Her family had saved up for a long time to get here and she didn’t know what was going to happen. My heart ached for her. The guards treated her badly and I tried to advocate for her. The guards ended up liking us a lot and thought we were funny so they brought us tea, sandwiches and chocolate. We were treated much better than the African immigrants, which was totally unfair. We also stayed a lot longer though. When it was time for the plane to board late into the evening we were marched across the tarmac from some back entrance of the airport onto the plane by guards. Everyone stared at us wide eyed as we were seated. One of the guards I guess had taken pity on me and arranged that I would be seated with my husband. As I realized this I started to cry uncontrollably. I was so glad to see him, I can’t even tell you! He held me and comforted me on the flight back. We arrived back in Stockholm slightly broken but not defeated. I started calling hotels on my mobile as we took the Flybussarna once again, this time back to the city. I had found us a really nice hotel that was relatively close to the bus station. When we were off the bus and walking through the station with our gear, I told everyone that I found a hotel and that it was on me. I wanted to just stay somewhere nice, not worry about it and have some nice warm food and a drink.

The hotel was welcoming and the woman at the desk was matronly and accommodating. She took us under her wing and settled us into the restaurant and brought us food and beer and much needed comfort and kindness. After everything that happened, Sweden seemed like the best place in the world to me at the time. I was in love with Scandinavia all over again. As we retired to our rooms, I don’t remember much of anything besides my head hitting the pillow and then the sunlight filtering in some 10 hours later. We were exhausted and slept a good sleep. We would use these next 5 days where we suddenly didn’t have and gigs to play, to lighten up and have fun. In retrospect, even the following day, the whole thing was quite humorous. I even have a beautiful certificate on that special kind of paper they print diploma’s on. It was from the United Kingdom, officially calling me a deceiver in beautiful majestic script. I suppose I should frame it and hang it on my wall. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Love at first sight, 10 years later

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I played in a rock and roll band. For 14 years, I traveled from state to state, country to country, in planes, buses, but mostly a 15 passenger van packed to the gills with gear and suitcases. It was on one of those trips that I met the love of my life. It was November, 10 years ago this month, and we were driving through England and Northern Europe in a splitter (a Dodge Sprinter with a separated area for seats and cargo). It was cold, and grey. I was married (to my band mate), but on the verge of a divorce as I had confided to my closest girlfriends. I was living with a dictator, and insane narcissist, control freak. All of my friends wondered why I stayed so long. It’s hard to leave someone who has so much control over your life and has stripped you of any confidence that you would be able to take care of yourself and that you’d be okay.

We drove around Britain, playing in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, and Gloucester as I remember and took the fairy over at Calais to the mainland. From there we went to Belgium, Holland, Germany, and then a fairy from Puttgarten, Germany to Rødbyhavn, Denmark. Scandinavia was dark already in November; the air was thick with fog which gave the old cities like Copenhagen, Lund, and Stockholm an eerie but magical aura. As typical as it may be, the Scandinavian crowds at the shows were fun, enthusiastic, and they were totally into it, which made playing even better if that was possible.  Nearing the end of our tour, we headed into Norway to play two shows. The first in Oslo, November 16th 2002, and the last show would be in Bergen on the 17th. As we were checking in to the Royal Christiania Hotel in Oslo, I saw two guys and a girl walk by. One of the guys caught my attention. I remember thinking to myself; those guys are going to be at our show tonight.

Later that evening, we did our sound check and settled in backstage where they had a spread of amazing Norwegian breads, cheeses, meat, fruit, candy, beer, wine, and bottled water. We hung out and ate, made set lists, etc. We went onstage and played a super raw set with lots of good energy, and hung out with the good people of Oslo in the venue for a while. That is when the two guys and girl that I saw walking by the hotel came up. The guy who had originally caught my attention and I locked eyes and I felt something. I could tell that he did too. We talked and talked and as it turns out, we had very similar taste in music, similar sense of humor and an amazing rapport. We exchanged email addresses and he gave me a CD of his band. We hugged when we said goodbye and my heart ached a little when he left, but I didn’t know why. The next morning we hopped on a plane to Bergen and had an incredibly fun last show in a beautiful city. I couldn’t stop thinking about that guy that I met. I listened to his CD over and over so that I could hear his voice.

We had to drive back to England, and fly back to the states. By this time, my ex and I were pretty much only exchanging barbed words and jabs and I knew that this was definitely the end, but I don’t think that either of us really knew how to end it. It was complicated as we have a child together. I don’t think we even agreed on parenting from day one of his birth!  We started to talk about officially ending it. Once home, I focused on my own songs and started writing a lot and recording. The Norwegian guy and I started exchanging lots of email. Soon we began writing songs through the mail and we began to chat on the phone almost daily. We decided to have our own band and we already had enough songs between us for an album. I booked a flight to Oslo in March and stayed for 10 days. There we recorded an albums worth of material and we also fell madly in love, though, I knew I loved him before I even got there. Before I left to go back to the states, I bought him a ticket for May to come to me. He was finishing up his civil service duty around the first of May.

When I got home, my ex and I finally decided officially that it was over.  This was a huge relief and I felt the weight of a thousand elephants being lifted from me. May rolled around, it seemed like forever, but it did. The love of my life came through customs at the airport and since that day, we have never really been apart. We had to do a lot of back and forth because of the visa waiver program it was not a good idea for either of us to be in each other’s countries for over a 3 month period. So, we stayed 3 months here, went to Norway for a couple of months, came back here for a few months, went back to Norway and got married once the divorce was final, and then moved back to the states.

10 years later, I love him more. I love him more every day it seems. He is my best friend, and hands down, my favorite person to hang out with. He’s an amazing stepfather to my son, and an amazing father to our son. I am so very lucky that I met him. I believe in love at first sight because of him. When I saw him walk by the hotel something drew me to him and made me notice him, and the connection that we made when we met was undeniable. We were meant to meet each other, and absolutely meant to be together. I believe that 100% with all of my heart. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Norway or bust?

Ever since my husband and I got married, I’ve wanted to live in Norway. He’s from Norway, and we got married in Molde. I feel like it would be such a great place for my kids to call home. Stable, safe, and beautiful. There are many reasons that we haven’t moved to Norway yet. I have a son, my oldest, from a previous marriage. Our decree stated that we were to reside in the same city unless there was a super compelling reason not to and it would have to go through court. I felt very strongly that I had made a commitment to my ex-husband to co-parent and be a family for him. Also, shorty after we married, my brother got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and my father was very ill. We didn’t know how long my brother or my father would be around. With pancreatic cancer especially, the life outcome is usually very bleak. My brother in fact ended up living about 6 years after diagnosis and got to do quite a few things on his “bucket list” so for that I am grateful at least. My dad ended up dying 5 months before my brother, which was what he wanted…to go so he didn’t have to see his son go. To make things even crazier, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month before my dad died. She’s been okay for now, but still, she had to do chemo, radiation, and the whole 9 yards. As you can imagine, it was important for me to stay and be strong. My resolve was to move to Norway once my oldest was out of high school, but I always let my mind wander and race to figure out how to do it sooner. Well, for about a year and a half I felt like I was healing from all of the sorrow. Then my ex calls me out of the blue and says he got into grad school 6 hours away from where we live and intended to take my son with him. I spent gross amounts of money to fight it with everything I had because I felt that he was making a terrible decision…to take our boy away from the only place he remembers as home. My son was ultimately asked to decide and he chose to leave my husband, our youngest son who is his half brother, and me, to go and live with his dad and step mom. Talk about heartache all over again, not to mention high stress. We still share joint custody, but I just see him way less than before, probably a week a month on average. Now it seems like nothing is holding us back from moving. My youngest son really wants to live there, my oldest son wants nothing more than to spend his holidays there and perhaps attend university there, so we’ve decided to do it. Our plan is to do it in the next year to year and a half. My husband has started to slowly apply for jobs and we are starting to pair down our things. Now that we’ve decided, I’m mildly obsessed. I need a big change, and a new perspective. I also feel that I need some peace. I need to be with my family without all of the other people pulling me away. I feel really guilty because my mom is getting older and I know she is going to be really sad. But, on the other hand, my other brother who is still alive and my sister live in town and can help. I can visit a lot and bring her over to us in the summer.  I am the most responsible in the family now that my brother is gone even though I am the youngest. I’m a bit tired of that. Is it wrong? Am I a horrible daughter? I just really, really want to go. I want to put us first. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First morning's urine

This morning my mother calls me and says, “Hey, can I drop by outside of your office and give you a bottle of my pee to drop off at the lab (I work in a building attached to the clinic that she frequents for her plethora of older age ailments)?” to which I reply, “Um, I guess. Will you put it in a bag or something?” She laughs heartily and says “of course!”  Ten minutes later my phone rings, and my mom shouts in to her cell phone as she tends to do, “I’m outside!” I run down the flights of stairs and walk out to the sidewalk looking for my mother’s minivan. I find her and walk over, she rolls down her window and hands me a paper bag. “Is it in here?” I ask. “Yep, it’s all here.” She replies. “I feel like we’re making a drug deal.” I confess to her. “It looks like I’m delivering your lunch!” She says laughing. The thought of me holding a bag containing a container of urine and lunch at the same time makes me slightly queasy. I change the subject and ask “is the paperwork in the bag.” To which she answers yes. I walk away and as I’m walking I look back to see my mother waving enthusiastically and then she blows me a kiss. I’m 41, it’s weird. I walk into the clinic part of the building, up the stairs to the lab on the 2nd floor. Go to the window and deliver the goods. “Here is a urine sample from my mom. The paperwork is in there.” The woman looks down her nose over her glasses at me and says “what time did she urinate?” I say, “Uh, I’m not sure, can’t be too long ago.” She says sternly, “I need to record the time and need to write something down.” “Just put down 8:00… that sounds good” I say. She eyes me suspiciously and agrees to put down 8:00. It’s amazing the kinds of things you can accomplish before 9:00 a.m. on a Thursday.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Every year, it’s like a clock. Sept 21st comes and my mind shifts. I find myself yearning for things that I can’t articulate, can’t touch…. I want to listen to different music that puts me in the right state of mind to match the new feeling. I feel as if I’m moving about in a dream, or watching someone else through a thick glass window pane. I cry more. Things that make me happy, that touch me, things that I miss (especially those who have left us), the things that I most want for myself and my family. I worry more. I worry about not achieving the goals I have set for myself. Am I being the person I want to be? Worry about my kids… what if something bad ever happens? Worry about my mom…. how am I supposed to take care of her? Worry about my finances…. how will I ever get out of stupid debt! I become more tired and quiet if not a bit restless. I suspect that it’s seasonal affective disorder, but isn’t that a bit early?? School routines pass day by day with certain monotony, yet it’s also nice to have a set routine. But it also feels kind of empty and uniform, blasé and mediocre. This is a typical pattern. I can’t rest well. I walk around my house feeling that it’s too dark in there. I wish we had bigger windows, I wish it was cozier. I don’t really know how to sit and relax in my own living room. I feel there isn’t a place in there for me. There isn’t a spot where I belong. How can I remedy this?  I often wonder to myself before my mind takes me to something different and I forget. My bedroom is cozy. I love to spend time in there. The window on the side has a really nice southern exposure with lots of light. But if I spend too much time in there I will become sad. I will feel bedridden and alone; left out of the activities of the kids and my husband. As if I’m hiding away, being a hermit. I feel there is no place for me. I wander from room to room like an old ghost. Soon, the holidays will take over. There will be no time left to think or worry about the thoughts in my head, which are actually just a burdensome luxury right now. When November hits, the routine of school stays the same, but there are more things that need to get done; school parties, work parties, finals, Christmas shopping, cooking and baking. There is no time to relish in my thoughts, only time to get things accomplished and fall into bed each night. Perhaps this is a better routine for me so that I can forget all about my inner ghosts.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012 Presidential Race

So, I got an email a couple of days ago urging me to donate to President Obama's campaign. Apparently he has been out-raised by the Romney campaign by millions, and has raised over 100 million dollars. Wow. This just is awe inspiring. These two guys can get money out of regular folks like me and on up to the wealthiest of contributors. One of the big platforms of this campaign is jobs. There are a lot of people out of work. A lot of people who are struggling. So, why do we rally around and throw money at these people who are going to serve as the president and "represent" us, and give them our hard earned money to buy hateful advertisements and such? Imagine what could be done with all of that money raised to help people here? To help the unemployed, education, infrastructure, small businesses, etc. What a waste it is to buy our elections as we do.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gardens and groundhogs

Finally some rain!! Went to check my raised beds... one squash plant gone, one cucumber plant gone, lettuce eaten down to the nub. The groundhog has struck again. I saw him yesterday, we locked eyes for 20 seconds and then he turned and dove under the fence. Where are my dogs? Well, to be fair, I should say "dog." My 15 year old dog with the torn ACL is probably not going to scare a groundhog anytime soon.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ode to Ringo:

Weimaraner, head to sky
Eyes closed, sniffing air
Two streams of drool hanging down

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why am I doing this??

I'm a busy girl... I have 2 kids, an awesome husband, an almost full time job and almost full time in school. I also am in the midst of a very large creative endeavor and business plan. So why would I want to create a blog?  I'm going through some crazy times... I write sometimes to keep my sanity, to look back and learn, and to just catch a breath and get it all out. I'm not particularly good at it, but I do it because it helps me calm down. Maybe, if there is a single person out there who knows what I'm going through or can commiserate, or if there is anyone who might be helped by hearing my stories, well, that's great! If not, well, that's fine too.