For three months, I sat with my back to the creative department I am supposed to manage, facing a glass wall with the account people on the other side. It wasn't bad, but I never felt comfortable.
Actually that is a lie. It sucked. I was separate from everyone, sitting alone with my dictionary and the voices in my head. Speaking what language?
So it was fantastic when I moved desks last week to the corner within the studio, amidst all the creatives, facing everyone and with my back to the wall. I think it is that last detail that is the best thing of all -- I instantly felt so much more relaxed as soon as I took my chair.
When trying to come up with a title for this posting, I asked Tom for his thoughts on what it meant that I am so much more comfortable in the new space, and he said, "You must have been Paulie Castallano in a previous life." Um, who? "You must have been in the mafia." Um, ok. That wasn't really what I was thinking. "What were you thinking?" he asked. "I have to sit with my back to the wall because I was once jumped from behind in a wild west saloon. Or in a castle. Or on the trail." "Wow," he said, "We have absolutely no imaginary scenario locations in common."
What an amazing weekend! Tom and I went to the Pyrenees on a bit of a lark and were blown away at every turn. We stayed 30 minutes straight up the mountains from the town of Foix, in a small inn owned by a young husband and wife pair, their dog and nine month old daughter. He cooked delicious dinners -- reminded me how good shallots are in a vinegarette -- of simple, regional French food, which we ate in the restaurant before promptly falling to sleep to the sound of crickets. And the stars!! Here are some photos and some additional commentary.
Completely random figure outside a small church in a tiny town filled with random figures like this. Dressed in a WWI uniform, this soldier stood beside the town war memorial and held a faded French flag. Other characters included a priest, a bride and groom and a pair of old people sitting on a bench. Facinating. And creepy.
Us outside the Niaux Cave and trying to get in the same frame on a hillside
Jesus at the entrance to Sigeur
The Carcassonne Cathedral
Super foxy bread guy in Mirepoix
Our view outside the door to our room.
Highlights: - the Niaux Caves where we saw paintings from 14,000BC inside a 200,000BC cave. Truely exquisite. - Castles! Castles! Castles! - Crosses and Jesus and churches everywhere! - This beautiful, charming surprising town called Sigeur in the Ariege that we stumbled on and walked around galking for an hour or so. - Carcassonne was impressive -- an entire mideval city inside the battlements that is a bit of a tourist mecca, but still completely unique and facinating. Outside the walls there was a fete where people in town had a giant garage sale. I lingered over the junk, which led directly to us missing our flight back to Amsterdam. Not by best moment. But really, French junk is just much cooler than other junk.
What the hell? Seriously. I don't know where to start with this. I was a child of "Free to Be You and Me" and therefore embraced the idea that women and men are all equal and everyone should be free to be themselves and do whatever they wanted with their lives at a very early age. This record, memorized from repeated listening, made me laugh at "old" ideas that there was a cookie cutter future for all men (strong silent fathers who had manly jobs) and women (wives and mothers who sighed into the sink and wished for something different). But apparently I was wrong.
Apparently all you need to court women voters is to put a woman on the ballot. It doesn't matter that this woman is a politically under qualified, hypocritical Christian conservative who believes that birth control equals abortion and therefore supports her 17 year old daughter's teenage pregnancy instead of perhaps WANTING HER DAUGHTER TO GET AN EDUCATION, BE INDEPENDENT AND DO SOMETHING GREAT. It doesn't matter that this woman has seen virtually nothing of the bigger world outside Alaska. It doesn't matter that this woman is called a "hero" because she didn't abort her 5th child when she learned he had Down's Syndrome (I don't call that heroic. I call that normal -- what mother would?) All because she has a vagina and that, apparently, is all we (women) need. Ridiculous!!!
I want a woman strong enough to stand before her congregation and admit to having an abortion when she was young. I want a woman strong enough to stand before her friends and tell them that having five children is, perhaps, irresponsible in the face of overpopulation and diminishing natural resources (but apparently not in Alaska, where there is an entire wildlife refuge filled with oil to suck out of the earth). I want a woman who made bad choices. Who hated God at times. Who triumphed. Who worked hard, hard, hard! Who is smart and tough and can take care of herself. Who raised children who didn't resemble one of the Spears girls or their husbands. I want a woman who doesn't make a love of Jesus a prerequisite for morality. I don't think this is too much to ask, especially for the second most powerful person in the USA.
If I didn't believe that conservatives like this woman judge first and blame second, I wouldn't care so much. But the Fox News channels of the world make me believe different. Women like her are mouthpieces of the right. Soldiers for the likes of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. They don't want to hear or consider any ideas different than theirs, and therefore are the most frightening, and unladylike people on the planet. I know I want to come back to the USA soon, but not if the USA considers women like this to be acceptable leaders. I wouldn't let her walk my dog.
SMILING MAGPIE - the sister blog to Travelcheese is up an running, albeit sporadically. An amalgam of shiny goodness, Smiling Magpie features cool things found while trolling the web, all sold by on-line merchants willing to ship overseas.