I accidentally ordered buffalo chicken on my pizza this evening instead of barbecue chicken which, when eaten, is the equivalent of biting into a chocolate that you think is filled with caramel but is actually filled with raspberry, or eating a cookie that you think is chocolate chip but turns out to be oatmeal raisin. Disappointment across the board.
Aside from the chicken incident, the pizza tasted delicious, even more so because it marked the end of a long work week. There are few better feelings than sitting on the couch and eating pizza knowing you have absolutely nothing to do tomorrow. Similarly: getting into bed and not having to set an alarm.
Today was the culmination of months of work on a product our team has been building. When I heard we had “signed off” on the product this afternoon I was overwhelmed with relief. You know the feeling you get when you finish a school paper and then close out of the 30 research tabs you had open on your web browser? It felt like that. This evening I sat on the couch and opened the Notes app on my computer where I’d taken pages and pages of meeting notes about the project, jotted down unanswered questions, and listed out “action items” and “follow-ups.” I thought back to a few months ago when the project felt too enormous and complicated to tackle and every meeting seemed to end in more questions than answers…and yet, here we are, somehow having finished it. Another reminder (to myself, mostly) that things get done one day at a time, one answered question at a time, one small decision or task at a time.
I’m feeling extra grateful for Thomas this week, not because he’s done anything different than usual, but because of that. Because together we got through yet another long pandemic week and I know my mental health would be in a much worse place if it weren’t for him. No, wait – I take that back, he did do something different than usual this week: he did the dishes last night. Unprompted. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
On a related note: I’m baffled by how many dishes we go through each day now that we’re eating all of our meals at home. It feels like I’m doing a full sink’s worth of dishes multiple times a day, and we are going through dishwasher detergent like nobody’s business. I’m hoping – and this might just be my optimistic, make-myself-feel-better-about-all-the-dishes take – that our increase in dishes has meant a decrease in plastic packaging. I’ve been trying to be more mindful of our packaging consumption, which also became increasingly evident during the pandemic as we generated way too much recycling each week. It’s easier to forget all of the plastic-packaged salads and sandwiches I consumed at the office when the waste didn’t pile up in my own recycling.
Speaking of waste: Simplify the Holidays is a great resource I will be using to guide my celebrations and gift-giving this holiday season. I also loved this video:
Both Thomas and I have been busy with work lately so the quality time we spend together is usually an hour (two if we’re lucky) in the evening. My favorite nights are those on which we eat dinner together and then, just before bed, watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. Over the past month, however, we’ve managed to watch every historical episode of GBBS and thus were in need of a new series to watch. After increasing pressure from my dad (he would text me once a day asking if we’d started watching yet), we decided on The Queen’s Gambit. “What could go wrong?” I thought. “Thomas is interested in chess and I love a good strong and complicated female character!”
What ended up happening, however, was that his inner chess nerd resurfaced (apparently he played competitively in high school???) and we had to pause the show every time the chess board was shown on screen so that he could analyze it. Exhibit A:
A few days ago I woke up to pee in the middle of the night and rolled over to find Thomas playing chess on his phone. I’m not sure he slept this week. Thanks a lot for the recommendation, Dad.
Aside from finishing The Queen’s Gambit this week, I read Girl, Woman, Other. I enjoyed it, in particular the way the author portrays the changing face of feminism and what it means to be a woman through generations. It made me reflect both upon the progress we’re making in certain realms (from “white” feminism to intersectional feminism, for example), as well as how much perspectives are nuanced and a product of our context and environment. It made me think about the relationship between the past, the present, and the future, and how much each one should factor into our actions and experience. There were many passages and quotes that left me confused about how I felt or what I believed, which I appreciated – and in many ways see as the point of reading – buuuuuut I didn’t have anyone to discuss them with! So, if you’ve read the book, let me know! Some examples:
“she didn’t tell them she’d taken her father for granted and carried her blinkered, self-righteous perspective of him from childhood through to his death, when in fact he’d done nothing wrong except fail to live up to her feminist expectations of him.”
“I tell Mum she married a patriarch
Look at it this way, Amma, she says, your father was born male in Ghana in the 1920s whereas you were born female in London in the 1960s
And your point is?
You really can’t expect him to ‘get you’, as you put it
I let her know she’s an apologist for the patriarchy and complicit in a system that oppresses all women
She says human beings are complex
I tell her not patronize me”
“What matters most to me, is that I know how I feel, and the rest of the world might catch up one day, even if it’ll be a quiet revolution over longer than my lifetime, if it happens at all.”
“she runs for her life because to slip up is to begin descending the slippery slope to giving in to failure, to inertia, to feeling sorry for herself about that moment in her life which still creeps to the front of her memory when she least expects it”
There were also plenty of passages and quotes that made me think, “wow. yes” such as:
“ageing is nothing to be ashamed of especially when the entire human race is in it together”
“be a person with knowledge not just opinions”
“his bredren and sistren could damned well speak up for themselves why should he carry the burden of representation when it will only hold him back? white people are only required to represent themselves, not an entire race”
“I don’t want you to give in, I want you to change, to understand my reasoning at a deeper level and accept it as the truth.”
“We should celebrate that many more women are reconfiguring feminism and that grassroots activism is spreading like wildfire and millions of women are waking up to the possibility of taking ownership of our world as fully-entitled human beings
How’s can we argue with that?”
ANYWAY. If you have read the book – or if these quotes intrigue you enough to read it- I would love to discuss. In the meantime, I will be selecting a new book to read while Thomas plays online chess.