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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

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Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Travel and the strange business of pies

A lemon meringue pie for those who dream of travel, and of home

This was a very busy day, working with a designer in Zurich on a new news web site for the Lake Geneva region in Switzerland, talking to another designer in New York about possible projects for a company in Ireland and the changing attitudes of consumers, running a son with a back injury to a therapist - the stuff of which many women's lives are made.

While waiting at the doctor's office, after rushing around to buy groceries, I read an article in a Swiss architectural digest entitled something like "What women today want". I read something similar earlier this week in a Sunday supplement magazine. Many women were interviewed, the expected bits were written about how women wanted to get into the workplace, did, and now everyone wonders why there are not more women managers. And so on.

I turned the page and read with great interest a story about the Sherpas and why they are such happy people (says the reporter). I thought about a young man I met this weekend, in Ireland, who recently returned from photographing the chaos and debris in Pakistan after the massive earthquakes there in recent months.

My thought is that what goes round comes round: some of us finished school at a time when women weren't able to do much in the workplace, so that looked good. Then some of us got to the workplace and found it wasn't what it should be, so home looked good. And then again, work and home combined looked better. And only a few individuals seem to sort that one out. We like to travel when we are stuck and home and on the road we long for the comfort's of home.

Women are not more particular than men: it is just very hard to create the world where work and home and all the other bits, including travel, are happily combined. I think this is true for everyone. It is true for companies, when they do their best, and for individuals, when they try to fit in with companies' plans.

I have been a lowly employee, a manager, a company owner with employees and a self-employed person. What I want is to extend the 5 or 6 days a year when I get it all right and my life is a bundle of creativity, enthusiasm, love, affection, energy and intelligence rewarded. Well. In a good year I might get that up to 10 days. Say no more.

So this evening, after racing around and thinking the whole time that I could usefully sit down at my computer and upload some files for the designer in New York, who is trying to balance inviting distant friends for a long weekend with attending a colleague's wedding with redoing the office with getting the dogs out for a walk, this thought occurred to me:

My son will soon leave home. He flies off to China, spends a few weeks there, then flies off to Vancouver, spends a few months there. I won't see him for a while. He said the other day, as he began to realize how long he would be on the road, and how long gone from home, that a lemon meringue pie sounded good. Travel does that to us. It makes our hearts sing with the music of independence and breaking away from routine. At the same time it makes our hearts ache for those little things that call us home even before we have left.

Why, I thought this evening, don't I bake a lemon meringue pie right now?

I did. My advice to others who scrap the "to do" list and bake a pie is to start early in the day. This is especially true if you are putting a meringue on top of a hot filling and you can't find an electric beater in the house.

By the time I finished the pie I had built up muscles in both arms and the entire family was long ago in bed. The pie is done. There is no one but me to appreciate it. This kind of pie is never as good the next day.

There is really only one solution to this problem, isn't there?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anton said...

well that's really too bad!!! I for one ADORE lemon meringue pie...
Loved your article, you put things in perspective in an inspiring way
cheers,
anton (aka "celestialpilgrim")

8:28 AM  
Blogger whistlestop caboose said...

It isn't all bad: sometimes you can find pleasure in odd things like just staring at a nice pie by yourself late at night, knowing that you can choose to eat the whole thing in one go or behave more rationally and find additional pleasure in watching others eat it later. Pleasure is really all about having and making choices, in the end. (I didn't eat it all)

8:35 AM  

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