I wasn’t originally planning a second photography session today. However, tomorrow’s classes got cancelled so procrastination was inevitable. I didn’t think that there was going to be much of a sunset tonight, but I am definitely glad I was wrong.
Here is the work of my procrastination:
Today was warm enough for some of the snow on the road to melt, which left wonderful puddles for beautiful photos.
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I have never been one to worry about my age or complain about growing older. While my body sometimes feels the years, and my face shows the truth of my life experience, my heart and soul, young and vibrant, still view the world with fresh eyes, hopeful and forgiving. I’ve been naïve at times, hurt and pushed to cynicism, but it never lasts for very long. Angry words and harboring bad feelings cannot fool my heart, eventually I let go and give the world another try. At least . . . that’s what I think I do.
Even now as I am closer to sixty than fifty, it’s not age that concerns me, nope. I think more often about the years that remain in my life . . . a number I cannot predict or control. More than ever, I want the years, the days, and every moment to count, to be big, important, and worthwhile. I don’t mean to say that every experience must be beautifully crafted and perfectly planned, complete with inspirational soundtrack, not at all. Instead, I find beauty and perfection in the most unlikely places, in the moments of my mostly ordinary life.
Getting to this place has not been easy. Therapy, yoga, meditation, soul searching and writing, lots and lots of writing, have all played a part in my journey. But the most important ingredient has been the people, my teachers, the supportive and gifted women in my life, and my family. And then there is my grandson, Luca, who helps me see the world through his eyes, brand new and beautiful.
Last week Luca visited and wanted to play Cops and Robbers. I chuckled to myself as this seemed so old- fashioned. I’m not sure at all where he learned the term. He definitely knows all of the critical elements for a successful game, a cop, a robber, a jail and an excellent imagination. Running through the house he squeals as I chase him, no easy task to run and laugh simultaneously. Anticipating capture, he stops in his tracks, catches his breath, puts his hands behind his back and boldly states; put the handcuffs on me Nonna, just pretend. I lock the fake cuffs, making a clicking sound. I walk him toward the mirrored wardrobe, the space we have designated as the jail, and put him inside. In my best tough guy voice I gruffly warn, Stay inside, I’m watching you, and I walk away. Within seconds, he emerges, running as fast as his little legs will carry him, and I chase closely behind. He screams and laughs; his happiness so pure.
We repeat this scenario several times before I add a new element. I manage to quickly hide before Luca escapes the wardrobe. As he flees to freedom I jump into his path, and scare the daylights out of him. Each time I leap from a new hiding place, he shrieks and between the giggling says, let’s do it again Nonna.The next time, we have a long chase. I let him believe I cannot catch him. He runs and runs and I grab at his little shoulders but never quite grab him. He screeches and laughs, and then he slows just enough to look over his shoulder and say, I love you Nonna. I respond, and I love you my Boo.
Still running, out of breath and laughing, we stop short of smacking right into the mirrored wardrobe. I find myself face to face with my reflection, and I am completely surprised by what I see. It’s me . . . but I look younger, happier, and lighter. I actually look more closely and wonder if it’s the lighting in the room. And I then I think . . . so that’s what happiness looks like, that is love’s light shining from the inside out. Looking into the mirror, Luca smiles exposing his jagged little overbite and asks, why are you smiling Nonna? I smile some more, and say because I’m happy.
So . . . these days I do my best to not worry about my remaining years on the planet. It’s a huge waste of time. Instead, I happily exchange my worry for a good game of Cops and Robbers, time with my family and my best girlfriends, and walks on the beach.
Seems my best lessons, come from Luca. Completely unaware of the years that lay ahead, and certainly not concerned about the time that has passed, he only knows to enjoy every minute of each day.
I love that.
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I read an article in Forbes this morning entitled, The Redomestication Of The American Woman. It really struck a chord and I have so many things spinning through my head as a result. I will try to organize those thoughts as best as possible.
DIY Marketing: Targeting the wants/needs of the current generation
For those of you who aren’t already familiar, the last decade has seen a bit of an explosion with DIY (Do-It-Yourself)/ crafting. There are numerous concepts and ideas tied into this explosion – wanting to go green, wanting to be less dependent on/ fighting against mass consumerism, wanting to save money, hoping to make money, wanting to create something – the list is rather long, and different people come to DIY/ crafting for different reasons. I’ve seen a lot of books and sites that market themselves on taking traditional activities (sewing, crocheting, etc) and bringing them up-to-date/ de-grannifying them. (My favorite line from The AntiCraft’s AntiFesto: Never again would we be forced to gleefully execute a sweater of intarsia puppies.) I actually got a book from the library yesterday titled, The New Granny Square, which boasts that the patterns in the book “are not your granny’s granny squares!”
Of course we don’t want to do the same things our mothers and grandmothers did! But… why? Why does this marketing work and what is it saying? Is it as simple as new generation, new wrapping paper? Is it really even new wrapping paper? There is an excellent article in the Fall 2007 Interweave Crochet magazine, “Crochet Heydays”, that discusses the cultural role of crochet in the 1960’s and 70’s. From the IC article:
Crochet was play, but in the late sixties it was also political as a highly visible communication of a generation’s radically different values. Crochet was one way to express the young generation’s need to craft its own image and identity and to move beyond conformity and the status quo.
So much for being different from our parents and grandparents, huh?
Who’s Space is it Anyway?
Handicrafts such as knitting, sewing, etc. have traditionally been considered to be feminine. Because women were homemakers for so many years (and in many parts of the world, still are), there is a kind of social tendency to associate these activities with femaleness. Do we still feel this way as a society? I’ve seen a handful of knitting books and blogs geared toward men (See: Knitting with Balls and a similarly titled blog Knits with Balls that I follow), but these still seem to be novelties to me. By and large, most books and patterns are still written with women in mind. But at least we’re starting to acknowledge the fact that men like to pick up hooks and needles too.
I can remember going through a phase during high school/ my first couple years of college where I was steadfastly tomboy and wouldn’t give the time of day to anything traditionally deemed “feminine” or “girly”. I considered myself to be a feminist and, at the time, I was convinced that somehow wearing men’s cargo jeans and working on cars with my Dad was somehow superior to wearing a dress, carrying a purse and cooking or fashion. Of course, I eventually realized that what I was doing was still giving power to men/ maleness/ masculinity and denying myself things I would come to love. (I am reminded here, of the song “What it feels like for a Girl” by Madonna, where she intros, “Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, cause its ok to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, cause you think that being a girl is degrading.”)
So, as I read the Forbes article, I can certainly understand her concern that, “scratching at the organically-sanitized surface … is the haunting notion that the pro-creativity movement is in bed with strong societal forces to bring women closer to procreativity (and ideally “full-time” motherhood) …” However, I think, so long as we are aware of what is going on, aware of our own interests in these activities, and we’re not choosing to engage or not engage in them based on what society’s ideals for us are according to what we have between our legs, I think we’re safe. The important thing is having options, knowing what they are, and making our own choices. (I suddenly want to watch Mona Lisa Smile for the millionth time. Re: The part where Julia Stile’s character tells Julia Roberts’ character, “This *is* what I want.”)
The new Barbie comes in three new body types: petite, tall, and curvy – landing her a spot on the cover of Time Magazine with the headline, “Now can we stop talking about my body?”
The top-secret development of new dolls was dubbed Project Dawn and they even have a customer support line prepared to field calls about original Barbie’s clothes not fitting on curvy Barbie.
Barbie now comes in four different body shapes, seven different skin tones and 18 different hairstyles. Watch out human Barbies, y’all are about to get some serious competition.
What are your thoughts of the new dolls?
Dear My Dear,
I’m struggling with makeup. Not putting it on, mind you; I gave up on that long ago. You know how I sweat.
What does it mean? I’m sure that seems an odd way of questioning the practice of slathering one’s face in brownish spackle and glitter, but I suspect that’s because it had been seldom so publicly question. At least, not until recent memory.
It began small; a meme or two of pre and post-op makeupsexuals. ‘Post-op’ is a perfect word for it. Have you seen the YouTube tutorials? “Easy foundation routine” my arse. Houdini was less complicated. Millions of views per video well-deserved for the sorcery that happens before my very eyes.
The debate has spawned whole movements, and I’m torn where I stand. On one hand, I remember generations of women fighting to be seen as more than make-up and high heels and, on the other, I age and exist among contemporaries who righteously spurn their scarlet branding for daring to feel pretty.
Plus, my God, shoes these days are lovely. I’d wear the highest pair I could afford were I not positive I’d fall and break a bone, if not a window.
This might seem a shallow topic, but I believe it indicative of a larger problem exacerbated daily by public humiliation and shaming. By and large, we have told women that this was their routine, we have told men that this is what to expect a woman to look like, and with the above comes wide-ranging fallout; artifice and ‘enhancement’ have reached the very pinnacle of cultural significance in that it has become mundane. It is every day. It is nothing special, it is normal, typical and expected. It is standard.
So, I question how those who shame consider the conditioned to be the makers of their conditioning. If I told you every day, with my every action, that ‘this’ is how you are valued, how could I then fault you for finding value in ‘this’?
Perhaps, that’s the core of the issue? What is one’s “value”…? Who has decided this, when and where did we learn its definition, and how does this knowledge decide for us whether we are or not?
I doubt you and I could agree on any of the above. How could we? Far too many variables.
The vocabulary, the connotations, are what bother me the most: Prettier. Cleaned-up. Polished. Presentable. These words we use to describe our choices suggest that ‘our best’ is manufactured; it requires an effort to be our best selves, therefore we are not our best selves, naturally.
How depressing. Time for a cocktail.
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