July 30, 2008

"Let my girls be Hermiones": Some thoughts from J.K. Rowling

I ran across this article yesterday on J.K. Rowling's website. Nevermind WHY I was on Rowling's website, but I really like the ideas she expresses here. This excerpt is preceded by her listening to one of the Harry Potter actors who was concerned about a female friend at school who other girls had started calling "fat."

'"Fat" is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her,' I said; I could remember it happening when I was at school, and witnessing it among the teenagers I used to teach. Nevertheless, I could see that to him, a well-adjusted male, it was utterly bizarre behaviour, like yelling 'thicko!' at Stephen Hawking.

His bemusement at this everyday feature of female existence reminded me how strange and sick the 'fat' insult is. I mean, is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I'm not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain...

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn't seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? 'You've lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!'

'Well,' I said, slightly nonplussed, 'the last time you saw me I'd just had a baby.'

What I felt like saying was, 'I've produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren't either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?' But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!

Maybe all this seems funny, or trivial, but it's really not. It's about what girls want to be, what they're told they should be, and how they feel about who they are. I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before 'thin'. And frankly, I'd rather they didn't give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls. Rant over.

July 23, 2008

Change, upheaval, and some uncertainty thrown in for fun

When I got to work on Monday, I found out that one of the attorneys at my office would be going out of town this week for vacation. This seemingly mundane fact struck me as highly traumatic, and I couldn't figure out why. Then I remembered what else is going on in my life right now:

1. Lindon is renovating the kitchen. While the end product will be unbelievably awesome, the mess that occupies our house in the meantime is not. Currently our refrigerator is in the sun room, the plates are in the dining room, the silverware is in the living room, the sink is out of commission, and the counter top is long gone. Everything else is covered with dust.

2. Lindon is going to Pennsylvania next week to spend some time with his family and help his dad with some projects around the house. While I am completely supportive of him going, I hate when he goes.

3. Things have changed a bit at the office. For various reasons that are too tedious to explain, one of my favorite attorneys in the entire world will not be practicing law for the next three years (no, this was not his own idea). Instead he will administrate the firm while his former partner, Matt, takes over as the lead partner (or whatever you want to call him; titles are rather arbitrary around here, so sometimes I call myself the Office Princess). Though Mark isn't technically going anywhere, it's sad for me to think that he cannot practice. And though he is a huge encouragement to all of us and eagerly rattles off the reasons why the new situation will be better, there are an awful lot of changes that need to be made: new letterhead, new phone greeting, new voice mail message, new sign on the door, new business cards, and the list goes on.

All of the above-mentioned factors might be manageable on their own, but combined and thrust onto someone who despises change, and the result has been a lot of internal trauma for me - which explains why something as inconsequential as another family's vacation plans made me feel like I was losing the roof over my head.

So for the past week I have been grappling with all this change and working through how I will respond to it. For the most part it's good change, and I can look forward to the positive outcomes - like having a dishwasher for the first time in 2 years. But I still fear the unknown, and for all my progress, I still fall far short of being a Fearless Fowler.

But while I know I have a ways to go, there have been some huge blessings and precious lessons learned through this process. First, I continue to thank the Lord for Lindon's amazing abilities and hard work ethic. Our house looks amazing thanks to his skill. His focus on projects forces him to start and complete them quickly, so our house is full of tangible results rather than good intentions that never materialize.

Second, my zeal for my job as increased. It's no secret that I love my job and think I work for the best attorneys (and administrator) ever. But this week I started coming into work early just because I wanted to. I haven't left work early any days, and I am not earning extra hours for comp time to by spent later. No, I am just going in and getting more work done. When work begins to lessen the pull of my favorite idol (sleep), you know things are changing.

And perhaps most important in all of this has been the reminder that I am not in control, as much as I want to be. I believe there is a God, and He is working out the events in my life for my good, not my happiness. God is there, and He has not forgotten me. He is faithful. It's a simple lesson, but one I need to learn again and again.

I think my time without Lindon will provide me with more opportunities to think about these things and reflect on what I've learned. Since I have no kitchen cabinets, it's not likely I'll forget any time soon.

July 11, 2008

A moment to brag on my husband

So I wanted to take a moment to share some of the great changes we have made around our house this summer - and by "we" I mean mostly Lindon. What started as a desire to quickly freshen up our living and dining rooms has ended with us painting nearly every room in the house. And again, by "us" I mean Lindon. He's incredible. 

So I wanted to show some before and after shots of the work he's done this summer. I am so thankful to have a handy, hard-working husband and for all that he has accomplished and will accomplish!

The dining room - before

This was our bedroom before. Now it's our office, and it's painted. But it gives you a good idea of the blah color that was in the bedroom and office. 

New bedroom and new color
I know the green looks a little frightening in this photo, but it's a bit more muted in real life. Plus we added curtains that contrast with the room nicely.

Here is the new color in the office. This is a little darker in person. It's the all-purpose "Powell Buff," which we love. Thanks Marcie Cornwell!

Next on the agenda: the kitchen. More photos to come later!

July 8, 2008

More non-news

P.S. Still no blossoms on that darn hydrangea. Now I am feeding it every 2 weeks in hopes of something happening. If you have any advice, I am all ears.

An update post

Well, I haven't posted in a while because there has been no news to speak of. Soon I will post some photos of the work we've been doing around the house (and by "we," I mean mostly Lindon). Also I have some stories in the works that should be published in the next few months. Once those come out, you can read them here. Until then, hold tight.

Oh, we are also in the process of sending/ emailing our latest update letter. If you haven't received one but would like to, let me know!