The New Coat

Almost without exception, my childhood wardrobe was updated twice a year from the Land’s End catalog.  At the beginning of each school year, my Mother would pick out matching sets of jumper dresses and long sleeve shirts, mix and match cotton trousers and crew neck shirts, and consult me on colors.  I was going through my surly phase (ages 6 to 15) and insisted on no silly patterns, no bows or ribbons, and absolutely no 95% of all available everything.  I ended up with a lot of navy and dark purple.

Seeing as I never grew very quickly, and in general failed to grow very much at all, shoes, coats, hats, and trousers that my Mother bought a size or two too large stayed that way for several years.  In fact, the last pair of shoes we bought larger, so I could grow into them, was at age 14.  I wore them yesterday with an extra pair of socks, but they’re still 2 sizes larger than my feet.

Ah yes, this year’s Christmas pajama contribution.

The only other time I got new clothes was at Christmas.  Aunts and Uncles might send a sweater, or pajamas, and my parents always got me colorful socks, and any clothing I’d happened to wear out between Septembers.  One year, that item happened to be my winter coat.  By the time October rolled around, my wrists were uncovered between my sleeves and gloves, so Mom took me out to try on coats.  My coat would probably come from the Land’s End catalog, but I tried some on in person in case we found something that would work without shipping costs.

We only went to The Mall perhaps twice a year, and Mom took me around to all the stores that November.  I tried on anything that looked like a possible size match, but the biggest problem was definitely my 13 year old self in an 8 year old sized body.  This coat had sleeves much too long, and this one was so puffy my arms couldn’t rest at my sides.  This one had a pink lining and was automatically vetoed, and no Mom, it doesn’t matter that you can’t see the lining when it’s zipped.  This one has flower buttons, and little ribbon ties around the hood.  No, that one is plain brown and ugly.  So it went, with nary a coat to be found.

Then suddenly, it was there.

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Örlygur Can’t Find My Blog

See, I’ve got this friend, Örlygur.  We’re in choir together, and he’s part of the crew that I study with each day on campus.  I’ve generally studied alone, but something has changed about finals in the past couple of years.  In actuality it’s probably me, and I now need some peer pressure to keep myself on track.  This fateful day we were all sitting together, typing away on our laptops, or circling irritatingly uninteresting words in books about theory, when I turned to my friend, Maureen.

“Ooh, guess what!  I got a new country yesterday.”

“A country…”

“On my blog.  I got a view from a new country.”

“Nice!  Which one?”


“Ooh, never would have guessed that!”

“Wait, what?”  Inserted Örlygur.  “You have a blog?”

“Oh.  Yeah, I keep a tiny blog I don’t tell anyone about.”

“What?  But you just told me.”

“Noooo, I told Maureen because I got a new country.  She knew because I asked her to read a post one time.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t sound too whiny.”

“Well, what’s your blog called?”

It was here I faced an ethical dilemma.  As of yet, I’m not doing anything to advertise or put my blog out there.  I’m using this as a space to practice writing, editing, storytelling, and consistency.  I’m very interested in what other people think, but this is still primarily a resource for my own slow development.  With that said, it’s incredibly fun to see how many people look here in a day, and where they are from.  This week, I got another country, Algeria, and am so very excited.  That brings me to a grand total of 7 countries, and I tell Maureen whenever I get a new one.

In summary, I’m not advertising affablebrabble, but intensely like when people read it.  So what, you may be wondering, is the ethical dilemma?

Well, on the one hand, Örlygur is my good friend, and I would welcome his perspective on my writing.  On the other hand, I absolutely love to play a good game, especially the long-running practical joke kind.

Can you tell which one I chose?

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The Winter Doldrums

I have recently been informed, via internet search, that ‘Doldrums’ is a colloquial expression derived from “historical maritime usage”.  Apparently, there is an actual physical space in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans where a large low-pressure zone keeps the winds and oceans still.  Historically, I image that means sailing ships caught in such an area floundered in their inactivity.  For me, that is what doldrums mean; inactivity, stagnation, despair.

Thankfully, we’re passed the first stage of my Winter Doldrums.  I’m from a Northern climate, and have moved to another.  Each year, the sun rises in the summer at a frantic rate, and you can get so much done.  18 hours of daylight is energizing, glorious, and cumulates in the Summer Solstice, where the sun in my hometown dips below the mountains, but never truly sets.  Sunset and dawn become one blended moment, an unending day.  I don’t remember the first time I realized that this pattern demonstrates the way Earth rotates on it’s orbital axis, but that is now what I think of each year, marveling at how very small I am; a single person in the great, wide everywhere.

An unending day.

Of course, the opposite of this never-ending day is darkness.  Each year beginning in November, I sleep longer, manage a little less of my daily life, and cry more at sad movies and animal adoption commercials.  One might reasonably argue that this is a classic example of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and to you I say, kindly keep your logic out of this discussion.  It doesn’t count as SAD when everyone does it.  We all sleep poorly, we all feel sad, we all dread the Winter Doldrums.

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The Slow Death of No Coffee

I have many fine roommates.  I generally wish they were a little cleaner, and that I were a little cleaner too, but we have baking parties, watch Harry Potter all the time, and they introduce me to strange and glorious food I would never eat on my own.  This is the nicest roommate housing I’ve ever been in, and I am generally quite please to live here with a group of Icelandic and foreign students.

With that said, I’ve begun…feeling a little angst-y around one of the crew.  There are 10 of us, so I get along better with some than others, but Sævar (sigh-var) has recently become a serious hinderance.  When the school year was new, parties on the floor above ours were pretty much continuous, and I found sleep absolutely impossible one evening.  I took myself and a book to the common room to make tea.  It was about 2:30 am, and they always wind down by 4 am, so instead of wanting to strangle everyone, I took a reading break.

There I was cozied up under the quilt made from my father’s old plaid shirts, when along came Sævar.  He was…unsteady on his feet, and much more talkative than I’d ever seen him.

“Bettina!”  He said.  “You’re awake!”

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep.”

“Your mission is to make me coffee!”

“Sorry, I don’t have any.”

He gave me a squinty eyed look, and pointed one wandering finger towards me.  “You’re lying.”


“Bettina,”  He said, very seriously.  “You’re lying to me.  I will die without coffee.  I need you to make me coffee.”

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