April 19, 2019

Still from Disney's Cinderella, carrying trays and laundry

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about cleaning. I think a lot of us have a love-hate relationship with housework — some days it feels great to busily breeze through the house with a dust rag and a scented candle burning. Other days it feels like a thankless, perpetual obstacle before you get to do what you want to be doing. An obstacle between your tired feet and becoming horizontal. Factor in negotiating who-does-what and how-much and it’s an exhausting puzzle. My friend Amanda shared a lovely thought with me: “There’s more to making a home than housekeeping.” Sure that stuff is important (I need clean socks), but laughing together and being kind feeds our relationship, and that’s an essential part of making our house a home too. Here’s what I read this week:

  1. The weird and wonderful world of neighborhood Facebook groups, The Week. “This familiarity makes it no less odd to me that we’ve built an online community composed entirely of people already part of an actual, physical community. Why do we choose to have these conversations on Facebook when we could have so many of them in person? Why do we gather in a digital group instead of at the street corner or on someone’s front porch?” I have had this growing belief that the best part of Facebook now is the groups — specifically groups gathered on a topic that actually interests you. For my part, I’m a member of my neighborhood group, but also a few librarian-specific ones where people brainstorm, vent about professional peeves, and share their successes. Another neighborly Facebook group in Frederick is the Frederick Scanner, which my boss at Dairy Queen taught me to pull up whenever I saw a bunch of fire engines in a row or was stuck behind a mystery traffic jam on the way to work. Facebook groups are a cool and (usually) moderated source of ~gossip~ and if you’re lucky, camaraderie.
  2. AAFU: My boyfriend of two years ghosted me, The Outline. I am a collector of good advice columns. (In fact, I’ve been thinking about doing a bonus post with some of my favorite letters from my favorite advice columnists!) This writer starts with a stunning quote: “There is no democracy in any love relation: only mercy.” And I think I agree with some of the advice in this letter. So many letter writers seek a columnist right after a break-up when they’re feeling unmoored, and I think in that season of life, looking for closure or a reason why is just not going to satisfy. In particular, I liked this piece: “Go do something you always wanted to but he thought was stupid. Cut your hair. Sell every piece of furniture he so much as sat on and redecorate your apartment. Write the meanest, most brutal letter you can and — this is key! You must listen to this part because in the past I have not and it was a mistake — do not send it. Keep it and reread it from time to time to track how differently you begin to feel.”
  3. There Is No Purer or More Joyful Reality TV Show Than ‘Antiques Roadshow’, Catapult.  Ahhh the perfect show to nap on the couch to. I never knew that many of the appraisers on this show are eager volunteers! “These people, our favorite appraisers included, choose to travel, interact with, and educate hundreds of strangers a day, for weeks out of the year, for free.” This is such a loving look at PBS and the Roadshow. Here’s another sweet part: “Passion is the main currency on Roadshow, where enthusiasm is never maligned by greed, by the search for fame or fortune….But that excitement [of the appraisers], which you can see often on the show, always seems to come from a place of gratitude. It’s the thrill of getting to handle a rare item that, perhaps, you’ve never encountered before.”
  4. Husbands That Cook: More Than 120 Irresistible Vegetarian Recipes and Tales from Our Tiny Kitchen, Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin. I just checked this cookbook out yesterday, but I’ve already loved one of the recipes (it was some kind of kale caesar salad minus anchovies). Going to explore more of the colorful plant-based eats in the next week or so!
  5. “Paul Robeson,” by Gwendolyn Brooks. Surprise! Another poem. These lines thrill me:
    “we are each other’s
    harvest:
    we are each other’s
    business:
    we are each other’s
    magnitude and bond.”

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