Sparkle Boat

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This Blog is Now Closed

It should be obvious from the lack of posting, but this blog served me well in a certain time of life, which I am no longer in. I'll leave it up, and feel free to toodle around here, but don't expect any updates. Thanks for visiting and spending a bit of time with a previous version of me! :-)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Everything that Freezes Must Converge

Icicles against sky
Originally uploaded by madame valentin.
OK, points if you get the reference in my post title. Otherwise, I don't have too much to say, other than that I like the way the angles in this photo play against each other.

This was taken during this January's ice storm. It was fun. We were housebound for days. Maybe we didn't need to be, but we were too chicken to even try to drive. In Austin, even rain can throw people for a loop.

When we ran out of regular food, we had to improvise, and after searching our pantry, came up with a damn fine Mexican lasagna, the recipe for which I will post later at my food blog, Miss Menu. Makes me kind of wish for more snow days in life.

Friday, January 26, 2007

He's gone mad!

He's gone mad!
Originally uploaded by madame valentin.
This is what licking the bowl will do to you.

Texas, the cookie

Texas, the cookie
Originally uploaded by madame valentin.
OK, so I obviously have been out of the blogging for a while. I don't know why. I think it could have been the holidays, and also a serious case of the blues. I always hate winter and the short days. But I'm ready to be back.

Here is a quick post along with a picture of some of what we did over our Christmas vacation.

They were pretty yummy. I got the recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes. This was my very first batch of sugar cookies ever, and so I had no idea how hard it would be to roll them out. But it was. I have never cursed something inanimate with such feeling. Well, maybe I have, but not in a while.

Anyway, my husband decorate these, and I thought they were cute. Yes, we're from Texas, which means nothing says Christmas like edible political subdivisions.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

When You Can Be Yourself

Me and Meredith!
Originally uploaded by tiffybex. know you are in the presence of a true friend. This picture was taken on a recent visit to Salem, Mass. to visit one of my very best friends. I think you can see that we had a good time, and that we are enjoying each other's company.

Jason and I have been reflecting on how few people you can truly let go in front of--the people who know you and aren't judging you, the people you love and would do anything for, the people who you extend your generosity to because you are moved to do it, and not because you are trying to impress anyone.

With Meredith, there is no pretense, no tension, just the happy harmony of two people who truly like each other. I've been to parties recently where it felt like everyone was trying to one-up everyone else--who's the funniest, the smartest, the most successful--and it's just so exhausting...and so pointless.

So here's to the Merediths of the world, and here's hoping that everyone is lucky enough to count a friend like her among their life's blessings.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What We Do All Day and Why

This article--called Shop Class as Soulcraft--is quite possibly the best and most illuminating I've ever found on the nature of our work economy and also how and why we've embraced the idea of the "knowledge" worker at the expense of the skilled craftsman/laborer. I just finished reading it, and so I'm still digesting it--and will probably have more to say in future posts--but I have this vague notion that it ties into my previous post about the satisfaction possible in the domestic arts. Just read it, and if you do, let me know what you think. If you've ever worked a day in your life, it is essential reading. It's long, but the reward is worth it.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Appreciated Housewives?

OK, forgive the retro mindset for a moment. I am coming off a workday in which I have been ignored, insulted and dismissed, rendering me quite angry and feeling quite useless. I am a writer, and I write for an office professionally. Unfortunately, everyone thinks that because they can type that they can write. So I get work yanked out from under me all the time. All I want is a second chance to make it right if it doesn't look so good the first time. Grrr.

This episode had me fantasizing and no doubt romanticizing the role of housewife. I imagined myself making really excellent meals for my husband--shopping for healthy, tasty ingredients and having a real menu--with side dishes or even a nice little dessert thought out. I love to cook, so it's easy to think of this as the fun part. But even keeping the laundry clean and off the floors, the house and garden clean and even beautiful--these domestic responsibilities sometimes appeal to me on days like the one I had today--because I imagine that all that work would go toward something I cared about, something my husband cared about--good food, a comfortable home--and not toward bosses and an organization that doesn't think enough of me to come to me when something needs to be revised or reworked. Why give my energies to people who really don't care for me in the same way my husband cares for me?

I suppose my fantasy hinges on the ability of people not to become complacent, not to take energies spent and comforts provided for granted. Is that possible? Or is it inevitably that our human nature will begin to get used to such a way of life as to believe it has always been there and always should? My guess is that it probably is so. Which renders the above romantic ideas slightly tarnished.

Still, I'd love to sit down with housewives from every era and interview them, get their take on how they feel about the domestic arts. Did they feel appreciated? Did they get bored? For those that left their jobs, did they regret their decision? What advice would they give knowing what they know now? I know it's hopelessly old-fashioned, but doing work for someone you love sounds so much better to me than doing work for people you tolerate.

Of course, I also enjoy the idea of being left alone with my thoughts--I am, after all a writer, who loves reflection and spending time in her head, and while I enjoy socializing with my friends, I abhor participating in small talk with people I am thrown, arbitrarily, in an office with. (The exception, which I don't know how housewives deal with the absence of, are the people who I meet at work and truly enjoy talking to--the people who start as co-workers and become friends.) And I suppose the small talk is excellent research for characters, which is often what I'm thinking about when I nod my head in sympathy or agreement.

Being a romanticized, appreciated housewife appeals to me because I believe I'd have time to myself--time, when the laundry was getting done to read a bit, or write--without the worry of intrusion from the bundle of neuroses in the cube next door.

But the question remains--is there any truth in this daydream, or is desperation what you find upon waking up?

I suppose one other path remains--finding the job in which you are appreciated. A job where your contributions are noted, where your energies go toward something worthwhile, where you are rarely if ever taken for granted. I this a fantasy too? Or do such jobs exist?

And these thoughts are all taking place in the absence of children. I'm not even considering the layers of nuance and complexity that a child adds to the internal struggle. Women are such amazing, thoughtful, energetic human beings--I'm so very glad to be a woman, but I do think these traits add to our burden. We are capable of so much, and so we try to do it all. But is doing it all healthy? And if we must cut back to retain our sanity, how do we choose?

And, perhaps more importantly, how can society better help us carry our valuable load?