Quietness

Grace Bonney, who runs design*sponge, is one of my favorite bloggers. I don’t even read the site anymore for design ideas, realizing that I only have so much time to decorate even though I now have more spaces to decorate. (The boyfriend is letting me paint his house this summer. I’ve already picked the paint color for the hallway…) Mostly, I read because Bonney has a unique sensibility and voice for thinking about how design, space, gender issues, work/life balance, and mindfulness intersect. She highlights cool new designers and their struggles to make it in this marketplace while also looking at how women, in particular, can succeed as entrepreneurs. As she’s shared more of her personal life–her divorce, coming out, and now marriage to Julia Turshen–, the blog has opened up, becoming more self-reflective, and asking its readers to be more self-reflective in positive kinds of ways. If I had to guess, I’d say Bonney is a thinking introvert (a new category I just discovered), which is probably why her work appeals to me. Her lastest entry is this wonderful meditation on “finding your quiet.”  It’s about listening to what drives you and what work you want to do that is both meaningful and makes you happy.

Big Data and Radio

Fascinating long article on how Nielsen ratings work in radio and how differing technologies calculating number of listeners. It’s worth the read. Or at least, this NPR listening gal thinks it’s worth the read. In some ways, I really sympathize with Greg Kinnear’s character in You’ve Got Mail and his championing of older technologies. I say this while I type on a computer screen and plan on using my phone to structure my day. Simpler times.

Things I like this week

  

One of the blogs I read does a what we like this week group list every week. I like the handwritten compilation of happy events, food, and other assundry reminders that we live in a good world. A world where love wins and pie is part of the planning for next weekend. And fireworks and drag races. I may be excited about the start of my summer vacation. This reminder is, I think even, more necessary when the news brings us tales of horror and our inhumanity to each other. I can’t fix Tunisia or Paris or Charleston. I can lift up my brothers and sisters who suffer, listen, try to offer solace, listen a lot more, and in the meantime, celebrate that I have people I love and who love me. 

Rachel Dolezal

I’m still trying to make sense of Rachel Dolezal, a woman who identifies as black,* but whose parents claim/revealed that she’s white. Beyond the basic case of what appears to be a white woman passing for black, to say that there is a complicated and probably deeply unhappy family story in the background of all of this would be an understatement.

Yet, no one is interested in that story. It’s the story of a white woman choosing to pass for black. I kind of wish I was teaching cultural studies this summer so we could discuss the case in the context of race theory. Daniel J. Sharfstein at the NYTimes Magazine wades into the history of passing, both blacks for white and whites for black. It’s well worth the read.

*I have trouble with this phrase, although it is one Dolezal uses. Race and gender are social constructions, but I find using the language transgender people use for identification as one gender or another problematic here, although I don’t think Dolezal would call her sense of identification passing.

Of friends, sky shows, and dinosaurs

Last weekend, we were in Philadelphia for a friend’s graduation from medical school. While there, we went to the James Turrell Skyspace at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting in Germantown. It’s a Quaker meeting house, although I think such formal language goes against the notion of how Quaker’s gather together to worship. It’s beautifully, unabashedly unadorned space, pure white walls and unstained wood floors and benches. The smell of freshly cut wood permeates the space. Turrell, who is also Quaker, donated this particularly installation. The way it works is the roof opens to the sky, and through this square at sunset and sunrise, Turrell has set up, through the use of the walls changing colors, a beautiful exploration of color and the sky. The sunset sky turned a variety of watery colors, and for the first time, I came close to understanding what Homer meant when he described the Aegean as “wine dark.” With the windows open and the smell of spring flowers and the fresh cut wood of the space, we laid on the pews and looked up for almost an hour, quietly absorbing this different form of worship.

The next day, we went to the pier in Philadelphia, to celebrate Taryn’s amazing achievement and Jason got to catch up with old friends. It was the perfect kind of party, casual with people in happy, summery clothes. Everyone beamed and the weather was perfect. You could sink into the party without having to feel like you needed to be on.

After the official party on the pier and before the after party, Jason and I stumbled across a lovely French restaurant in an old firehouse pump station. Elegant, but not fussy, we ate small plates, sharing tastes and again absorbing a space through the senses.

This weekend, we saw Jurassic World with friends in Fayetteville, both of us walking back into the past, remembering the first time we saw Jurassic Park, and lamenting how the film missed the sense of awe the first film so effectively captured. I think it’s because the park, the engine for this film, was so focused on giving kids the next thrill, and the first showed us awe through Sam Neil’s scientist seeing in reality the thing he’d devoted his life to. Driving home through sporadic rain and the lush verdure of the tail end of the Ozarks, we saw the most perfect rainbow over the mountain. Later, we had dinner with other friends, and then today we celebrated Brad and Steffi’s new move to Vienna. In the midst of all that, Jason and I were exceedingly lazy. My friend Dan also sent me an MP3 file of Audrey Hepburn sining “Moon River,” and I get to see Glinda and Jill this week.

Women’s World Cup 2015 observations 

Some observations from watching the group stage:

  • Super cool hair, including lots punky short styles, hyper long hair, and multi color dreads. 
  • Many of the players play for division 1 universities in the U.S.  Are U.S. universities women’s soccers’ youth league?
  • Same sex couples are apparently common enough in women’s soccer that when the color commentary mentioned that one of the players had changed her last name and moved to Switzerland, where her partner works, it was done in the same tone of voice that any color commentary would be done in during a slow stretch of the game. Totally just part of giving us insight into where the player is now playing, no mention even of the player taking her wife’s name as unusual at all. Just par for the course.