Posts tagged: community
August 16, 2012

Growing Pains

I’ve been trying to write this post for at least three months. First I started talking about it with people. Then in fits and stops I started putting down words, but I could never bring myself to publish it or even get very far in the writing because I didn’t like what I had to say.

To put it bluntly: The blog community feels different to me. And not in a great way. To any of us who have also been feeling this dis-ease, I really do think we’ll find our way out of it and into something that feels welcoming. So this isn’t a goodbye at all, but it is a plea of sorts: I’m not the only one who feels this way am I?

Let me back up: Since 2006, Pink of Perfection has given me a reason to write and an audience of women who care about the tiny details of everyday life, just life I do, and want to make them resonate with art, friendship, and meaning. That alone has been more amazing than I ever thought having a blog could be.

Plus, it was fun. I liked seeing what people were cooking for dinner, what they were reading, what clothes they were thinking about buying. Even when we were striving for something more, our blogs felt rooted in reality, in something true.

And then Pinterest came along and the line between the real life and art directed-photo shoots got blurred. The number of images we were consuming multiplied by a billion. The internet, which had once seemed to me like a cozy, welcoming home of real voices, turned into a hall of mirrors. Everywhere we look, it seems, is something to aspire to: a better wardrobe, a better dinner, better snapshots of that dinner, better blog design, a better home. And the effect isn’t inspiring to me, it’s exhausting. My life does not look like that, even at its best, we think. And more than once it has made me stop and look at the photo I snapped of a simple steak dinner on Saturday night and think twice about posting it to this blog. It rained that night and we stayed home and sat at the dining room table and listened to B.B. King and laughed about something I can’t remember. I felt that I was home, that I was in love, and that the moment, despite a blemish on my cheek or a leak in the bathroom or a kitchen made messy from the cooking, was right. But my photo was kind of crappy, didn’t have fresh flowers in the frame or a burlap sack on the table, and definitely wasn’t anointed with clear, white sunlight. And so I didn’t even bother.

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January 18, 2012

Bits and Bobs

  • One of my projects for the new year is to give my cubicle a makeover. If I can’t manage to get together all the ingredients myself, I’m loving these terrarium kits on Etsy.

  • Have you ever taken an e-course? Have you wanted to? I’m taking Susannah Conway’s Unravelling course and loving it, and my mind’s been percolating away at what a Pink of Perfection e-course would look like. Would you be interested? What would you want to see covered? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

  • I’ve been searching for a Cathrineholm teapot, and this might be a perfect stand-in until I find the perfect one. (How much do you love that the name of this Etsy store is During Quiet Time?)
  • Do you know of a charity that helps provide low-income girls and young women with access to tutors, mentors, college scholarship money, and other resources that help level the educational playing field? Please tell me–Pink of Perfection wants to give them money!
August 12, 2011

Jennie’s Peanut Butter Pie

I don’t know Jennie. But I know the reliable warmth of her writing and her creative recipes, and I’ve thought about her more this week that many of my real-life friends. Jennie’s husband died.

Just writing that makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.

People like me, who love Jennie through the fibers of the internet, have felt achingly helpless. But I read her lastest post and felt grateful for some direction:

For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.

Pie I can do.

I went to the grocery store this morning for the ingredients, and came home to bake. I tried to be mindful as I was mixing. Before this unimaginable news, I had been thinking about what it means to be married, how to share your life with someone and uphold the promises you make. I had been wondering about timing, and when to take the next steps in life. When is it time to buy a house? To have a baby? To take that trip we’ve been putting off? As I botched the cookie crust and struggled to spread the melted chocolate I thought, This is love. Making mistakes and making a mess. And extending the whole sticky mess as an offering.

If we walked around all the time, aware that at any moment our time with the people we love most could almost be up, it would drive us insane. So there must be some line we can walk, one where we are filled up with gratitude and so much joy for how lucky we are, but without making ourselves crazy over how fragile life is.

The pie smells delicious, and it’s sitting in the refrigerator right now. Tonight I’ll carry it upstate on a long train ride, resting securely on my lap. I’ll cut into the whole mess and watch it fall apart when the crust doesn’t hold, then pass out slices to old friends and my guy. And then we’ll dig in.

Time’s a wastin’.

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February 17, 2011

Soup Swap

My mom always had a knack for parties. There was my dress-as-your-favorite Barbie birthday party (peaches and cream, naturally) and, before my time, the teddy bear picnic my sister still talks about. But one of my happiest childhood memories was the cookie swap we had one Christmas. I remember the rustling plaid taffeta of little girl party dresses and our dining room table covered with cookies and three-tiered silver trays. That was when I tried my first rosette, brought by a classmate and her grandmother: light as air, whisper thin, and dusted with powdered sugar. I was in heaven.

Without the grand silver and taffeta party atmosphere, a soup swap is founded on the same idea: every attendee brings something and gets to go home with something else. In this case, I piggybacked on my book club meeting (Angle of Repose, if you’re curious), and asked everyone to bring two 4-cup containers of soup.  We then went around in a circle, each person nabbing their first soup choice. Then we reversed the order of picking for the second choice.

I love the feeling of a wholesome meal just waiting and ready to go in the freezer. In fact, my second favorite part of making soup is freezing half of it (who says you can’t have your soup and eat it, too?). But there is something especially nice when someone else has made that meal that waiting for you, nearly as comforting as when your mother tricks out your freezer herself. Because of our soup swap, I had a wonderfully spicy chicken sausage, chard, and black-eyed pea soup one day when the cupboards were bare. And still, a a vegetable soup awaits for some night when exhaustion and hunger rule with an iron fist. In other words, some night very soon.