These are the arks, the trophies I erect,
That fortify thy name against old age;
And these they sacred virtues must protect
Against the dark and time’s consuming rage.
Though the error of my youth in them appear,
Suffice, they show I lived and loved thee, dear.
The Prodigal Daughter Returns…ish
I’m sorry. So sorry. I’ve been away so long. If there was a tank of goldfish in my Tumblr account, they would have all died by now from my negligence in feeding them (perhaps I’m taking this metaphor too far…).
It’s been crazy—getting back to college, (finally) having a social life again, being crushed under piles of assigned reading, the like. I’m going to try to do better with posting here, but my posts may be fewer and farther-in-between-er than they have been these past couple of months. My apologies. I do not love you any less—but my GPA calls (much as I’d sometimes like to ignore it).
On another note, I’m thinking of spending this next summer volunteering in Cambodia!
And, on that note, arrivederci til next time, my loves!
A Very Serious Internal Debate
Do I bring my newly-arrived copy of Jorge Luis Borges’ Collected Fictions and read that on the plane, thereby representing myself as the cultured, urbane English major I of course am…or finish up the trashy beach read I started while sunbathing the other day?
This is a very serious decision.
I’ll compromise with a travelogue on Italy. Depending on my seatmate, we’ll see which other books I decide to pull out of my bag.
After much clicking…
a new theme! I figured that since it was getting close to a year’s mark for how long this blog has been around, it was time for a facelift.
To go along with my housewifely post from yesterday, I’d like to share with you a Good Housekeeping Article from 1955 (my grandmother sent this to my mom, who showed it to me).
“Remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.”
And this, ladies, is why we must resist romanticizing the 1950s era too much, even if the dresses are drool-worthy.
**You may have to click “High-Res” to be able to read it; sorry for the small image size.**
Summer as a Scullery Maid(ish)
This summer has been an exercise in being a 1950s housewife. While home for college for these past three months, I cooked dinner every weeknight for my family (since both parents work full-time and having either my brother or sister cook for us would have resulted in a) dinners of hot dogs, Kraft mac & cheese, and chicken nuggets from the former, or b) endless platters of cupcakes and pies but nothing of nutritional value from the latter). I also moved the laundry along and, often, did the dishes. Once or twice I even vacuumed (something I consider a useless task since only the person who vacuumed away the dust bunnies from under the couch really knows the difference she has made).
I earned the nickname “Matilda the Maid” from my father. Part of this may be attributed to the fact that my fashion sensibilities tend toward wearing dresses (at least I skipped the 1950s essentials of a string of pearls and a pair of heels to complete my perfect housewife look). Also, the fact that I was often found wearing the ruffled apron my mother sewed for me (see image below).
Granted, I was not completely a domestic (though my name, Abigail, was often used as a term for maidservants belowstairs beginning in the 17th century). I also held down an internship and did work from home for various companies. And, to be honest, I LIKED cooking dinner. I love to cook (even if I had to work around the fact that my brother hates onions and tomatoes and my mother can’t stand anything spicier than El Paso taco sauce).
But, on more than one occasion, when people heard about my role as chef (or Cinderella, take your pick), this sort of comment was made: “You are going to be such a great wife. Your husband will love having you around.”
Wait wait wait. So many things about that comment made me shudder. One being—marriage? I know that my Facebook news feed is slowly filling with people announcing engagements or changing their relationship statuses to “sposato” (I have my Facebook in italiano), but thinking about it for myself still makes the non-committal part of me squirm.
Second—and the part that has more big-picture appeal—are we still stuck in the societal idea that the woman prepares dinner for the man?
I know we talk about the sweeping progress women have made (and that’s definitely true). But, at the end of the day, when the parents come home from work, who’s making dinner for the kids? In my family, the traditional tables were turned. My father is an amazing cook, while my mother’s culinary proficiency is limited to an ability to make chicken noodle soup and chili (my dad likes to label all her other dishes under the name “slump”). For me, it was normal for a man to make the family’s meal.
But it’s seemingly not so in our society, no matter how much we talk about equality. You all know women who talk about how “sexy” it is when a man cooks a meal for them instead of taking them out on a date (and I agree with those women). But how many of those studly chefs end up, after long years of marriage, resorting to the social construct of the woman having dinner waiting on the table when he comes home from work? How many revert back to the mindset, after the spark and fire of a love story is gone, that the woman is the homemaker?
For me, I know that despite my love of cooking, of frilly aprons, of even washing the dishes (there’s something therapeutic about the warm water and soap bubbles), that will not be what happens when/if I ever marry. The laundry and cleaning and chores will not resort to me simply because I am a woman. I’m all for my someday husband appreciating my culinary prowess, but I know there’s something valuable to be found in a home where gender roles are not assigned by society.
I grew up in a house where my father made dinners and my mother handled the finances—something far from the idyllic 1950s image of man and wife. But my parents both did what they were good at, and what they enjoyed. Not what society told them they were supposed to do. And my childhood was filled with more happiness and love because of it.
Even if my father still insists on calling me Matilda.
Two Ends of the Spectrum: Twitter vs. Tomes
So, fellow Tumblies, I got Twitter! I realize this is a mixing of social media mediums—and, honestly, I probably won’t be posting too much on it (I really got it more to be able to following people/organizations I want to stay updated on), but…if you want to get some nice bite-size tweets from me (as opposed to the often tl;dr posts I do here), you can find me at:
(after my religion blog of the same name)
Now, I’m off to do some reading (that’s right, in good ol’ ink-and-paper books, in that world of literature I’ve so often neglected this summer in favor of the interwebs). Look what finally arrived in the mail! I’m excited!
Don’t judge. I am, after all, an English major.
My new addiction is…
Deep-fried peanuts. From the local farmer’s market. See: http://www.mikespeanuts.net/
Yes, I know it sounds disgusting. And the fact that I am so addicted probably means I should be concerned for my arteries (or at least my waistline). But there is something about the combination of salt and crunch and nuttiness that has me hooked.
Luckily, I can justify my current overdosing on this snackage by reminding myself that next week, I will be back in Boston—far from the heart-attack-inducing foods of the South.
Unfortunately, not hurricanes. Apparently as soon as we weather it here in South Carolina, Hurricane Irene will follow me back to Boston.
There are some things that just won’t be left behind.
Progression of a Love Story
She walks in beauty
not like the night
but as a sacrificial light—
the calf led to the burning byre,
an innocent flame, naive desire,
She’s unaware each step she makes
takes her closer to the fire.
She walks in beauty like the day
she is the sun’s same rising—
her gentle dawn a misty gray
like when the clouds are crying.
She walks in beauty
in his heart, long after she has left—
trailing footsteps in the veins
that run throughout his chest,
beating on his ribcage to give a muffled shout:
She does not like the darkness
She’s begging to get out.
Just a quick poem I jotted down this morning. Lord Byron’s “She walks in beauty, like the night” has been dancing around my head for some reason.