Monday, February 14, 2011

A Bed to Dream About

I put a lot of importance and value on a good bed because I enjoying spending long hours reading, talking on the phone, sleeping, and other stuff in my bed. I use to love eating in my bed, under the covers, feeling decadent, but when I started sharing one with the Mr, he put a dramatic stop to that. At least he made it up to me by bringing an excellent bed into our shared apartment.

Our bed is excellent: simple and handmade in warm wood, with a mattress that is soft enough to hug me but hard enough to hold me up. Yet, while in Ireland, staying at the lovely Mount Vernon, I got to sleep in a bed to dream about. The mattress was just as good as the bed is beautiful. The house is charming and the hosts welcoming but it was the bed that was the toughest to leave behind.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

On Special, Repeated Request

Dear Readers,

I may not always understand your requests, but I do my best to honor them. This request came through a number of times in the last few days, so here it is: a new picture of my belly.

Just for you - keep those requests coming!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Forget Perfection - I'm Just Not Giving Up

Last weekend I attended a Work-in-Progress Writers Studio for my ongoing project. The studio was led by the inspiring Irene Graham and held in a villa called "Mount Vernon" on the west coast of Ireland that was once owned by Lady Gregory.

The workshop itself was challenging and rewarding. We had significant blocks of time to work on our project in an environment of "luxury, peace, and tranquillity" surrounded by "fine antique furniture, paintings and ceramics" (to quote the first two links above). I left the extended weekend feeling refreshed and inspired, with much more written than I had hoped.

In this environment it would be difficult to leave any other way:

Yet, I, the one who sometimes thinks too much, did manage to leave with my head whirling and twirling, wondering if the goals and the dreams I'm carrying within my heart are improbable in the best sense and impossible in the worst.

The truth is that I am a child of feminism: I want it all. I want a family I'm present for and dedicated to; I want a corporate job I enjoy more often than I don't; and I want an active writing life that challenges and inspires me. On top of that, I want to like myself and remain in close friendships with some amazing women - all of that without empting my energy tank, ruining my hopes, or killing my marriage.

You that have told me my dream is impossible: I have heard you and I've realized that you are right in at least one particular regard. My "all" won't ever be perfect or fully in balance. I will get tired and I will complain and sometimes I will fail.

But I have chosen to listen more closely to other voices, voices of people who are balancing - and many times "only" trying to balance - the many pillars that make up the life they want. Like them, I may fail but I'm not going to give up.

There are a lot of people out there working towards your balance: What are your tips and warnings?


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Beach Ball and The Cripple

The Mr took a startling and dramatic tumble while playing football (soccer for the Americans) last week. The poor guy ripped two ligaments in his ankle and is now sporting a hot new accessory.
We now have two people that walk strangely and shouldn't carry anything heavy in the house. At least one of us can still drive!


ps: under protest I'm adding a picture of the Mr's injury so that everyone knows that he isn't "putting on a show":

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Not Easy But Worth It

Time to come clean: I’ve been having a difficult time writing about our time in Moscow. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have visited and to have had the chance to spend quality time with one of my favorite people – lovingly nicknamed Cold Snob – as well as meet one of the most energetic and entertaining young women I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

Indeed, the visual images and moments deeply touched me. Just to share a few of the best:

The imposing state museum:

The intricate ice sculptures built both inside and outside:

The majestic Red Square:

The newly rebuilt and exceedingly golden church in the center of Moscow:

The arresting changing of the Kremlin guards:

The still and impressing Kremlin:

But unfortunately three large themes also impressed me, and a not so positive way: media, equality of nations and races, and equality of women.

We arrived in Moscow shortly before the airport bombing that killed 36 people. With some very helpful translations, we experienced the initial Russian media coverage. The words “independent” and “free” didn’t and don’t spring to mind. Like one of the buildings dedicated to news coverage (next pic), the words “imposing,” “controlled” and “structured” do.

We might have missed experiencing Russian media completely or at least the emergency media coverage without the bombing tragedy. We might have also missed the underlying – and not quite so underlying – racism within the Russian society.

I need to add an disclaimer here: we were in Moscow for one week only and our contact to the average man was limited due in great part to language limitations. However, it did appear to me that the general populace holds the belief that the “pure” Russians deserve better pay, better treatment, and while beating the hell out of the “others” isn’t necessarily to be encouraged, it might not be all that bad either.

Which puzzles me because the best food we ate during our visit - and I continue to claim that cuisine tells us a lot about a culture, look at the American and German for proof points - were all absolutely not Russian. Georgian was the absolute best; if you haven't eaten it yet, run to the next resturant. Unfortunately we ate that meal so quickly there aren’t any pictures. So here’s a yummy and recommended Uzbekistani dish: fowl stuffed with lamb.

Lastly, while the women may exude a certain strength and remarkable beauty, it appears that they hold a second (at best) place in society. I can get really militant about this topic – so I’m cutting myself off.

With all that finally off my chest, lets return to the good stuff – did I mention Moscow is beautiful? Even at night and especially from above.

Summary: Moscow should definitely be on your list of places to visit, just don’t expect an easy experience if you think too much.

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