Farmhouse Feminism

I’m a pretty tough cookie.  My mom taught me and inspired me to be that way when I was growing up, and I’ve only become more so over the years.  You have to be to live the life I do, moving, traveling, adventuring, and often doing it all alone.

I can drive power boats and motorcycles, find and catch a bus in 3rd world cities, haul tourists over 3 miles at a time in a bike trailer, safely take down psychotic angry people, and outsmart and surpass any idiotic male supervisor I am unlucky enough to run across.

Tough cookie.
Tough cookie.

Here at the ranch I  can carry hay bales and feed livestock, chop wood and build fires with it, shovel snow, smoke meat, and oil tack.  I can accomplish any task needed to keep the place running.  OK, I can’t drive the tractor, but only because I’ve haven’t yet asked to learn how.

I’m really quite capable of most anything, because not only do I feel good knowing that fact, but also simply because I’ve needed to be.  I could, from certain angles, look like the ultimate feminist.

Here’s the thing though.  There’s a foot of snow outside, it’s less than 30 degrees most days, hay bales are heavy and itchy, and the cows know I’m small enough to knock over, so they bully me.  I can do anything, but I don’t really want to.

Not to mention, somewhere along the way (pre-birth I’m guessing) I developed a very traditional side to me that any feminist would despise and ridicule me for.  I love being the queen, caring for my castle and king, and being pampered and protected (from evil cows, cold weather, and sharp sticks).

So here at the ranch, most days, unless insist on going out to help, I stay in the farmhouse, being very “girly.”  I sweep the floors, do laundry, make breakfast, then clean the kitchen and make snacks and prepare dinner, fetching more coffee when requested, and keeping the fire stoked and the house cozy while the man goes outdoors to do the “man stuff.”  And I love it that way.

I see this attitude as a sort of  Farmhouse Feminism.  I, as a strong and capable woman, stay in the house doing very traditional “woman” tasks and my strong and capable man goes out into the cold, dust, and dirt to push smelly cows around, plow snow, and  heave dozens of hay bales into big trucks.  This works out great for me.

Baby it's cold outside... Woman get in the kitchen!
Baby it’s cold outside… Woman get in the kitchen!

 

I appreciate that the girly  things I do are appreciated.  I’m happy to be hugged and kissed and patted on the butt, and left to bake cookies while the man puts on 4 layers of canvas, fleece, and sawdust to tramp through fields of cow poo and icy mud.

I know that just because I can  do everything a man can do, it doesn’t mean I have to in order to contribute as much or even more to keeping a home running smoothly and a “family” cared for.   So, sorry feminists, I don’t for a second have a problem with my man making cracks about how “a woman’s place is in the kitchen.”  My place is cozy and clean, with snacks.

Now if only I could be barefoot…

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National Train Day Contest

The booklet holding my ticket was advertising for National Train Day and how they are including a contest for sharing one’s experience on the train. People are invited to submit photos, stories, whatever relating to “What do you see on a train.”  I expect nothing top come of it, but it did make me think about, and this is what I see.

A day on the train, and I see peace. An escape to start my escape, I have these moments all to myself. Endless hours of entertaining, negotiating, juggling tasks and time consume me, but a day on a train releases me to just be. Here in this space, I can let the world go on without me for a while, solve only those problems I choose to, and enjoy the freedom to speak to no one. With only a purse-ful of projects at hand, I finally get to focus on things too often forgotten, and I relax into simple pleasures of writing, reading, and sipping a little something soothing while I just sit for a while and stare out through the glass. The view outside these windows is better than television ever could be, reminding me the world is so much larger than the all-encompassing but miniature radius that has been my perspective of late. So here in this cafe car, I watch the green go by, the houses that tell me tales of the people that call them home, and the smiling faces of train lovers who wave up at the windows honoring and loving this passing piece of American legacy. The sun warms my feet as I stretch my legs out and let the gentle rocking sooth me like a child. A day on the train and I am at peace.

Evolution of a ….ugh “blog”

I don’t journal.  I never have.  This is definitely the closest I have ever come. Usually I just write when I need to, my words coming out as prose or poetry, depending on how strict you are with these terms.  I have never been able to write when I make myself; there is no sitting down and scribbling or clicking out words for an hour to get down my thoughts or kickstart my creativity.  I personally find that to be a waste of time.  My brain works fine on it’s own, and I would rather go live the little adventures than to write down why i think I would like to live them, or whatever it is that people say I should “journal.”  When I am happy, I am happy. When I am in pain, I am in pain.  I do not need to tell it to a notebook, I just tell it to myself and keep moving.  If the thoughts form themselves into something I believe is worth putting to pen, then I do so, but that’s it. Besides this.  The odd thing, is that this began as a way to let you all know what I am up to, like postcards, but I find myself tempted lately to write, here, about how I am thinking, what feelings are threading themselves through this adventure, in addition to the actual details of the adventures. I will try to restrain myself.

Lots of love, thanks for listening.

Group therapy – join me!

When I was a mental health therapist at the psych ward in Fort Collins, I had to create and run group therapy sessions.  One of the main themes I worked with people on was coping skills.  A favorite Group I ran based on this was about recognizing the tiny positives in our lives.  The theory and purpose behind this group session was that we tend to let the little things that go wrong in our day bring us down, ruin a good day, but we never let the little things that go right in our days bring us up or help improve the day.  I believe this is not because there are no good things, but because we forget to pay attention to them.  So I used a very large whiteboard and my very small handwriting and made the group list all the tiny things that make them smile in life.  No matter how small, no matter how strange, they had to throw out anything that brought them smiles.  Funny how often I forget to do this for myself now.  So I’m going to do it,and I think you should too, even if you are not feeling terribly down.  You can use mine if you want, it’s always okay to steal ideas.  I just wish I knew how you could add yours to mine and we could build a big one.  You could always send them to me and I will add them if you like.  Or, just carry a little scratch paper and do it during your day for yourself.  Have fun, let it make you smile.  But more importantly, let it remind you to let those things make you smile on a daily basis, not just when I told you to.

Reggae, the smell of garlic, random text smileys from friends, realizing I am half dancing to a beat or song without even knowing it, new pens, beignets, the constellation Orion, sparkly christmas lights, my jeans, glitter eyeshadow, sore  butt muscles, palm trees, being able to find coconut water at Walgreens, great coffee, hugs, silver sharpies, sunshine, shrimp, my black boots, hearing a favorite song just in passing (Mariah Carey xmas song, Amazing, Dock of the Bay…), great lip gloss, tank tops, my reefs…

“professional”

I have just been offered a paid writing job.

It is a remote contract meaning I will be sent info and I will the write the assigned piece and post it back through an online “office.”

It’s not much, but

I have just been offered a paid writing job.

If this wasn’t a blog, you would hear me squealing and laughing and be watching my face cramp from smiling.

I wish I could hug someone.  🙂

Dauphine

So there is this street named Dauphine (daw-feen in nola speak) that runs from one end of the French Quarter all the way across the bywater and I find myself more in love with it everyday.  Don’t get me wrong, many streets, many areas are wonderful here, but something about that street seems to call to me.  I find myself there, over and over again, without even realizing it.  I ride my bike across the city and through a twist here and a turn there, suddenly I look up and I’m on Dauphine.  Or I hear from my housemate about this amazing coffeeshop down the way a few blocks and I go to find Satsuma  (and  fall in love with it’s hippie funky vegan friendly all are welcome artsy neighborhood vibe) and hey look, it’s on Dauphine. Or I find an ad for a temporary sublet that fits the necessary dates and budget and when I call for directions, she tells me it’s on Dauphine.

This love affair began while walking miles and looking at apts and neighborhoods a couple weeks ago.  Coming across an apt or house that was funkier, or had a more luscious landscaping, or a happy resident rocking on the porch and almost inevitably, after admiring for a few minutes and walking on, we’d come to a cross roads and look up and there it was, the Dauphine road sign. I love it from end to end. And funny enough, or maybe fitting enough instead, and not entirely because of, and not entirely despite, but my beloved soon to be New Orleans home, the pretty little “just what I want” place that I am waiting so impatiently for? oh yeah, it’s on Dauphine, of course.

Internal maps

I wonder if anyone else can get lost on a train.  I wandered up and down, back and forth, all day yesterday on the way to San Antonio.  I got on the new train last night and went to sleep.  This morning I got up and promptly got lost trying to find the dining car.  Granted, only for a moment, but the fact that trains have no corners, no adjacent rooms or wings, and only one long hallway, really makes me quite amused and astounded at myself.  I was about to say this train is set up backwards from the other train, but that’s crazy too isn’t it?  It is just traveling the other way, sort of.  Right?  OK, so The dining car is on the other end of where it was on the the other train is what I am dealing with here, you see? Fascinating how my brain just doesn’t and never has been able to picture buildings, cities, and apparently trains, from that crazy “birds eye view” thing everyone talks about.  I have to point myself in the direction I understand and sort it out from there and just completely let go of trying to understand the architectural layout.  Oh well, as long as trains always have windows at the ends of each car and I can turn myself or my map in circles til the “street view” makes sense, I should continue to be just fine.