Saturday, July 18, 2015

Unexpected Change

Honestly, I was happy with how my dining room looked.  Ever since we changed it a few years ago, it felt like it all went together well.  I had no plans to do any painting or redecorating in the house this summer. brother Tim called me at my mother's house on July 4 to see if we were interested in buying a table he just made. Like, with his own hands, from re-purposed wood.  Ummmm....yeah. Ever since I saw the stuff Tim makes, I've wanted him to make us a dining table.

But then, of course, the dining table didn't work with the rest of the room.  And so--as I had, in fairness, warned my husband might happen if we bought this table--I had to change almost everything else. Wall color. Shelving. Artwork. Curtains. We even replaced the drawer pulls on the secretary (though I didn't think to take a specific picture of that). Only the chairs remain from the room's previous incarnation, and thank heavens that worked (chairs are expensive, even at Ikea). The resulting room looks like this:

It's hard to tell in the pictures, but I went with grey again (gull wing grey, which seemed appropriate for a table from Rockport, MA). The sideboard, shelf, and curtains are from Ikea, and the mostly stuff I had around, some of it used in new ways. 

I love the table, and I think I am pretty good with the rest of the room.  I'll have to see how it makes it through winter. I never used to like the dining room in winter until its last incarnation.  At any rate, this is it for me with dining tables. I now have one that is sustainable and has character, a story, and a personal connection.  It's not quite as big as the old one (which could seat up to 12 if I put in all the leaves), but I can still fit 8 comfortably, and that's good enough for me.  The room now feels less polished, but the dialed down, less fancy look does a better job of reflecting my casual nature.

Thanks, Tim! 
(And, um, thank you Howard--for putting up with my need to change everything right away.  I am working on that patience thing, but don't quite have it figured out yet.)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Let's All Be a Little More Curious, Shall We?

Today, a lengthy, food-for-thought quote from a favorite gender scholar.  I want to work toward making curiosity more central in my life and actions:

"The moment when one becomes newly curious about something is also a good time to think about what created one's previous lack of curiosity. So many power structures--inside households, within institutions, in societies, in international affairs--are dependent on our continuing lack of curiosity. 'Natural,' 'tradition,' 'always': each has served as a cultural pillar to prop up familial, community, national, and international power structures, imbuing them with legitimacy, with timelessness, with inevitability. Any power arrangement that is imagined to be legitimate, timeless, and inevitable is pretty well fortified. Thus we need to stop and scrutinize our lack of curiosity. We also need to be genuinely curious about others' lack of curiosity--not for the sake of feeling self-satisfied, but for the sake of meaningfully engaging with those who take any power structure as unproblematic.

Why is a state of uncuriosity about what it takes to produce a pair of fashionable sneakers so comfortable? What is there about being uncurious about how the military base affects the civilians living in base towns that seems so reasonable? I've come to think that making and keeping us uncurious must serve somebody's political purpose. I also have become convinced that I am deeply complicit in my own lack of curiosity."

Cynthia Enloe, The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), pp. 2-3.