Monday, July 07, 2014

the outside view from the inside

lego me being buffeted by north sea waves.
i've been quite bowled over of late by all sorts of things...things which have kept me from my usual amount of time in front of the computer. but they've also been good things...an abundance of strawberries that demanded processing into juice and shrubs and jam and such; my mom's visit for sabin's confirmation party (and the party itself); lots of work projects growing in intensity in the push towards summer holidays; and a visit from my cousin. (actually, my cousin's daughter - what is that called? first cousin once removed? second cousin? we're not really sure.) it's all been quite wonderful, but it has cut in on my sanity time in front of the internet.

not our house. if our place looked like this, this would be a different blog post.
both my mom's visit and emily's visit have me pondering how things look around here from an outside perspective. this is a falling down farmhouse and a 10-year project (where we're only 4 years into it) and we're in our late 40s and should have a more settled, prosperous life than the house (and my aging, dirty toyota) may make it appear we have. and while i'm normally quite comfortable with that, when you think about how it looks from the outside, you (and by you i mean me) may start to feel a tad, well, insecure, no matter how much you (again me) try not to.

a walk in the creek with mom.
as for my mom, i know she feels a bit sorry for us with our lack of microwave and fans and proper curling irons. i've lived without a microwave for 15 years and have only missed one on two occasions...once when making homemade lip balm and all the recipes gave microwave directions and once when reading recipes for homemade mozzarella, which also seem to all call for microwaves. neither made me give in and buy a microwave. where fans are concerned, we need one for approximately 3 days per year if we're lucky, so we haven't invested in one. people don't have air conditioning or screens on their windows either for the same reason. the season for those things is so short, we invest our money elsewhere. and as for the curling iron, since i haven't had a perm since 1987 and left my hot rollers behind in 1997, i've been pretty much a flat iron girl. but i'm certain these things feed into my mother's notion that europe is, at the heart of it, a backward, old-fashioned civilization that can at best be pitied. i think she hopes it's just a passing phase for me.

fourth of july wish lanterns (we didn't have any fireworks).
as for emily, who is young and sweet and open and curious and smart and just at the beginning of becoming who she will become, i loved the freshness of seeing things a little bit through her eyes (even tho' it's actually impossible to see what another person sees). or at least what i imagine that to be. and i've laughed a lot today, to myself, as i imagined what she may have seen.

everyone around here will eventually have to build lego
she would have seen that we drink a lot of wine around here. we build lego for fun, tho' we aren't under 12. we eat late. we're a bit casual about doing the dishes after dinner and content to actually load the dishwasher the next day in the interest of hanging out, talking or watching a british crime show. we go to bed late and we sleep in. i dress casually for work, preferably in a superman t-shirt and converse. we have a lot of cats. and bunnies. our remaining hen is a bit mad and insists on spending her evenings up a tree and coaxing her chicks, who can't fly as well as she can, up there too. emily took it all in stride and we truly enjoyed her visit.

summer poppies - just thought they were pretty, so i had to use this shot.
there's something to having a shared foundation. we both grew up in that small town in south dakota. we know the same people. we share crazy family members (some of them crazy in a good way and some less so) and although we have different perspectives and memories of them, that shared foundation means a great deal. it helped us bridge what is arguably a generational divide. we can share stories and memories and fill in the gaps for one another. it was, in short, wonderful. and it made the falling down, cluttered house just a comfortable setting in which to talk about it all over a glass of wine and some awesome cheese and bread. because although this house isn't how we would wish it to be (yet), it is, if nothing else, a welcoming place where you can feel comfortable and relax and have room to be yourself. and by you, i might mean me, but i hope that i also actually mean you.

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what if your password could change your life?

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what is the deal with the anti-feminist women? and why do they have a voice?

3 comments:

Neighbors of Wellington Hills said...

Whoa, backup in thus homey story ... You did say, no microwave? Uh, you're living in a modern country, one that's suppose to be enlightened (at least compared to the US)... and you don't have a microwave? I mean, bare minimum, a kitchen needs a sink with running water, a refrig and a microwave ...

You don't use an open fire pit to make popcorn do you?

Magpie said...

i only have a microwave because it came with my house. i use it once in a blue moon...

also, your first cousin's daughter is your first cousin once removed. your first cousin's daughter (that same person) is your daughter's second cousin.

Shauna said...

I spend the summers reconnecting with relatives I love that live far away and thinking alot about how much I value those shared foundations based in a tiny central Utah town where I bet many things are the same as South Dakota (despite most of us being as Mormon as the day is long). Thanks for sharing your summertime world fellow expatriate.