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The Dumb Brilliance of Mom Brain

Having a baby means spring cleaning for your gray matter. But does it enhance creativity in the long run? Research suggests that giving birth causes one of the most dramatic developmental changes in the life of a human brain, that "mom brain" is real and often debilitating, and that birth moms who have their basic needs met during this time not only recover their faculties but emerge from the childbearing years with lifelong enhancements to brain function and bodily health. I hope this is true for me, and I believe it is. I think I'm more efficient, focused, and creative than I was in my 20s. Some of that must naturally come with age. But now, on the other side of caring for a small child, I can look back and see how mom brain--frustrating and frightening as it was--served me and my family and my larger community in mysterious ways.

My daughter is eight years old, and I feel like I am just now beginning to want to reclaim an identity as a person who is more than Somebody…
Recent posts

We Belong to the Moon

I'm feeling all of this poem right now: "Blossom" by Mary Oliver.



Into the fire.

I want to have Matka Danu Miklagarth draft 1 completed by the New Moon in May.

I Am Now @msamiernika on Instagram

Just like your nana, I have a new phone, and I am learning how to use it! You can now find me on Instagram with the handle

@msamiernika
I proudly held onto my iPhone 5 for about seven years, but now it's fun to have a new thing. This iPhone 7 is not as new as the thousand-dollar fake lava lamp, but it suits me.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can expect silliness, wicked humor, cute cat pics, creative inspiration, and life hacks for not starving as an artist.

Sarcasm, perhaps. Domestic scenes possibly inspired by Amy Sedaris. Lighter fare than what you might find on the Magic Nutshell blog here.

But while I have you here, I'd like to relate to you that last night I baked a poppy-seed bundt cake with three sticks of (European-style, of course) butter and six eggs in it. When I opened the oven, the scent was so heavenly that I wanted to motorboat the cake. I did not. Instead, I sliced it up and served it to my family and myself with scoops of honey lavender ice cream from MOO…

DEUTSCHLAND Video

I've only been waiting 10 years for this. NO BIG DEAL.

As someone who loves history, science, anthropology, art, and Rammstein...

As a descendant of German-Americans who served in both world wars...

As the wife of a Holocaust survivor's son...

This is epically satisfying.

Using an unfortunately hilarious turn of phrase amounting to a gallows pun, German authorities have "condemned" the video before its release (ironically and hypocritically doing all the work of promoting the video and single in the German mass media) because of a teaser depicting executions in a Nazi concentration camp. I find this unsurprising--the German government often censors and speaks out against Rammstein's work (thus increasing their concert ticket and music sales). But all to the good. It is an unfortunate reality that a full third of Americans today are misinformed or in denial about the Holocaust and that anti-Semitism and right-wing hate groups are on the rise in Germany and elsewhe…

Momo Made My Daughter Eat Her Vegetables

You knew that was clickbait, and yet you're still here, dear reader. Thank you for that. Yes, Momo is a hoax, but the grain of truth in my lie is that one of those annoying children's YouTube channels has influenced my daughter to get herself ready for school and bed without prompting, do chores, and incorporate new vegetables into her diet. In the past two days, my eight-year-old ate two kinds of salad as well as spinach, both raw and cooked. 
Here she is, forcing the cat to watch YouTube with her.


Sadly, I am not being paid to promote or review the channel (not that I wouldn't take a cut of the family's bajillions of dollars if they offered it for this glowing recommendation!), but it is called SIS vs. BRO, and the reason it's so seductive is that most of the videos portray two rich siblings wasting vast quantities of brightly colored, fun-textured substances in silly ways. Like throwing limitless bath bombs into a hot tub, chucking random stuff into blenders, o…

Spring Into a Beer Before Dawn

Back to basics! On St. Patrick's Day, my husband and I and our best party friend Esperanza (maybe, LOL) will meet up at 7:00 a.m. for our old Irish-American tradition of pre-dawn breakfast and beer. We haven't kept up with this tradition after moving out of our downtown apartment (near a lot of bars and taverns) years ago, and we certainly haven't celebrated this way since our daughter was born. But this year, she's eight, and that's a fun age.

Mama will be the DD (I never finish a beer anyway), and our daughter will have gelato with her breakfast instead of beer. We'll celebrate at the massive, rustic grocery store down the street, which has grown into something like a redneck / hipster mall where you can get Guinness on tap at 7:00 a.m., unfettered access to a free coffee bar, free cheese and wine and beer samples, sometimes live music, and hot deals on fruits, vegetables, and bulk dried legumes.

I am also looking forward to purchasing some kind of multi-pur…

Fat Tuesday Flu

I need one of those masks to get through this whole week without scaring anyone. Not because I'm hungover from Fat Tuesday but because I caught a chain of viruses culminating in this year's nastiest flu strain.

But it's okay that I missed the Lenten kickoff revelries. I don't do Lent anymore. I think the only people who really need to give up their favorite things right about now are child molesting priests.

This season, I'm celebrating Girl Scout cookies. Happy Trefoils! Merry Momoas!