Homemakers Unite!

Because all of those little things? They transform your place into Eden.

Stay Awhile, 2018. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.
PS: This book sucks. Don’t read it.

This post is in celebration of The Homemakers.

It matters not if you are full-time, part-time, or somewhere in-between.

Without you, your dwelling would be a wasteland. Dust would swirl. Crumbs would stick to your elbows and feet.

“Home” would merely be a way station to another vibrant destination, always just beyond your reach.

. . .

Five Under-Appreciated Homemaking Gems:

5. Tending the Garden. It could surely be debated as to whether or not anyone needs a garden. In my circle of friends, gardening is not a means of survival, but an extremely satisfying hobby. The Sweet Husband has planted a plethora of botanical treats for us to enjoy. He patiently tills the soil, feeds and waters the sprouts, and encourages the vines to take root. Welcome home, young ones. You live here, too.

4. Choosing a Feature-of-the-Week. My wonderful mother may have coined this term, in relation to the humdrum task of grocery shopping. We all have our “usual” items on the list (and if you’re anything like me, most of those are accompanied by a diligently clipped coupon). But you ought to treat yourself, no? Choose something new! A specialty baked good, an indulgent body product? Go ahead! You deserve it.

3. Sprinkling Creature Comforts. I like to evaluate each room in our house, and assess its level of comfort. Is a clean and cozy blanket available? Unique books and magazines? A tube of my favorite lip balm? A tropical-scented candle? It’s those little creature comforts that come through in the clutch, yo.

2. Displaying a Ridiculous Amount of Options. We like to eat. And drink. And play games. So you can bet your sweet ass that our home is filled with fun. Let’s dig through the toy chest for a board game. How about this bottle of Zinfandel? Or is it a Sour IPA kind of day? Want to watch Battlestar Galactica? Yes. We like to rediscover all of the tiny treasures we’ve collected. We bought ’em, and we aim to enjoy ’em.

1.Celebrating Happy Memories. I took this one from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, which I read and loved long ago. Because she’s right: Our homes should be filled with relics of our happiest times. Hang up your photos, no matter how wacky or absurd. (Also, move them around from time to time so you continue to see them, and they’re not just absorbed into the background of your day-to-day.) I also like to display postcards from places we’ve been, or whimsical quotes on the bathroom mirror. Last time I checked, Better Homes & Gardens hadn’t called for a photo shoot. So I will celebrate the mismatched beauty of my life, conventions be damned. This is our home, and it’s perfect.

. . .

What are some of your favorite homemaking habits, Dear Reader?

The Perfect Time to Say Hello.

(smiles and waves emphatically)

Hello, 2017. Philadelphia. Original Photo by SnapDragon X.

Hello, Dear Reader. It’s nice to see you again.

I like to envision you reading this, in some parallel yet delightfully different state of being.

Perhaps you’re on lunch, with your tuna sandwich and iced tea before you. Or maybe you’re in The Waiting Room, and the thought of flipping through the tired magazine offerings has brought you here instead.

Regardless, here we are. You and I.

. . .

It’s Monday, my favorite day of the week.

It’s fresh, it’s crisp. It makes me want to open a brand new notebook and write down the many thoughts inside my head.

Because I am different today, and so are you.

There is only this moment. This delicate whisper of existence will soon expire to the graveyard of memory.

So here I am!

It’s the perfect time to say hello. It’s the perfect time to let it out.

(Join me if you wish.)

. . .

  1. Game. of. Thrones. I just. . . can’t. I can’t even articulate how much I love this show. I know it’s all anyone talks about, but it’s a work of art. It has proven to me, once again, that the power of fiction is everlasting. Do whatever you need to watch it, from the beginning, without researching fan theories or spoilers. Let it speak.
  2. I’m My Own BFF. Okay, so that’s not really true. The Sweet Husband is my best friend. I also have a small cluster of women who are fucking awesome and who I wish lived closer so we could talk and drink and “discuss all the vast intricacies of life.” (That’s a Paul McCartney lyric, by the way.) Anyway, what I’m getting at is that I’m trying to cut myself a break. I’ve read that you’re supposed to treat yourself as you would a friend. Show support. Forgive. Be understanding that Shit Happens. So why do I think I’m somehow not qualified for these affections? I power through a migraine because taking two Tylenol and lying down shows weakness. This is ludicrous thinking. Take a break, Snap. Treat your body and mind with the respect it deserves.
  3. Simple Pleasures. They are everywhere, love. We merely have to take time to see them: Morning sun; floral sheets; funky coffee mugs; listening to an album in its entirety; seasonal foods; handwritten letters; deciding which earrings to wear; bar soap; seeing new sprouts in the garden; Henry and Raj sharing a snack; happy hour; inscriptions found in old books; holding hands; family recipes; a haircut; knick-knacks; a favorite pen. We all have to go through this life, and I aim to do so while having fun. So damn it, I’m going to spend the money, eat the artisanal food, and pick the cute one. Because really. . . why would you not pick the cute one?

So if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to move along. The day is waning fast, and there’s a lot to do.

But I’ll wait until this song is over first.

My Ultimate Library: Part 1.

SnapDragon lists her tried-and-true, doesn’t-remember-life-without-them books.

Take a Quiet Moment, 2017. California. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

My signature move at parties is to ask people to list their favorite things–movies, bands, desserts–without overthinking their response.

“Ready, gut-reaction, go!”

So in fairness, I’ve decided to list my all-time favorite books using this method. No second-guessing. No re-dos. Just what comes to mind as I type this, all in one sitting.

These are the stories that have shaped me; they without a doubt make the cut for Part 1 of My Ultimate Library.

It should also be noted that for Part 1 I am only listing works of fiction.

So. . . Ready, gut-reaction, GO!”

SnapDragon’s Ultimate Library: Part 1

Animal Farm by George Orwell

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Native Son by Richard Wright

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Different Seasons by Stephen King

. . .

All right! So, I just paused for a significant moment. I suppose that indicates the conclusion of Part 1.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Happy Reading, friends.

Rebirth.

SnapDragon rambles on about who she is and wants to be.

It’s Me, 2017. Ocean City, New Jersey.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

I love this photo.

It’s not “cool”. I’m not sporting perfect cat-eye makeup or designer lipgloss.

It’s simply a portrait of me, on a radiant summer’s day.

My albino-like complexion called for a visit to one of the three thousand boardwalk shops, to select a wide-brimmed hat that would hopefully shelter me from harm.

This six-dollar beauty did the trick.

And when I look at this photo, I am reminded of my best moments.

When I’m my truest self.

When I focus on what really matters in this life.

. . .

No one will remember the clothes I wore.

No one will remember if my eyebrows were plucked with precision or if my stress-induced acne was at its worst.

They will remember how I made them feel.

. . .

confident; intelligent; unique; important; creative; insightful; hilarious; wise; compassionate; mature; complex; valued

This is how I want to make others feel.

. . .

I am a teacher.

I accept you as you are.

We’re on the same team, no matter what.

Because really, I am you. And you are me.

Your stutter, your emotional baggage, your insecurities.

We’re all just human, and I love you for it.

. . .

I will remember the sounds of people laughing.

I will remember the delectable tastes of omelettes, cappuccinos, and baguettes.

I will remember the power of music, and feel it deep within my bones.

. . .

My best moments are when I remember who I am, and stroll confidently into the unknown.

. . .

I want to see the best in people. I want to be slow to anger, and quick to forgive.

I want to be remembered as an artist.

I want people to know me for my passion, my heart, my loyalty.

I want to be an undeniably faithful friend.

. . .

Let’s show our best selves, Dear Reader. ‘Cause it’s another day to get it right.

The Quiet.

In Bloom, 2019. Pennsylvania. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

This moment is real.

The spring air is cool, still, and transfixing.

Oh, how I love The Quiet.

Have I ever told you that, Dear Reader?

Because The Quiet is alive.

The tick-tock of the cuckoo clock reminds me that time waits for no one.

Unidentifiable birds call to each other across the yard.

The Fur Babies’ water fountain trickles away, to ensure a fresh gulp is at the ready.

The ice cubes clink against the glass as I enjoy another sip in solitude.

Never Enough Thyme, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

I perch upon the porch for a handful of minutes. The morning sun has never felt better; my skin relishes its power.

This is The Perfect Moment.

I am alive.

Roll of the Dice.

Experience the Many Emotions of SnapDragon X.

Let it Go, 2018. Cape Cod. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Happiness:

I am happy when I feel I am utilizing my talents: writing, teaching, and organizing.

I feel happy when I inadvertently sing the harmony to every song I hear.

Animals. School supplies. Girls’ Night. A new tube of chapstick. IPAs. Frida Kahlo. Public Library signs. My aloe plant. Perfectly applied makeup. A fresh bedspread. When I hear a Paul McCartney song in public. M&M McFlurries. The moment after a TSA security check. Cast iron skillets.

. . .

Sadness:

I am sad when I think of society’s overwhelming problems: poverty, pollution, and commodification.

I feel sad when I feel alienated from those I love.

Suffering. If I’ve offended someone. Climate Change. The obsolescence of CDs. Injured animals. Making this list.

. . .

Anger:

I am angry when people don’t think for themselves.

I feel angry when those in power offer simple solutions to complicated issues.

Bullies. Hypocrites. Know-it-Alls. People who wear headphones when they drive. Short-sighted Identity Politics. Cults. Business models of education. Sunburn. A cracked iPhone screen. Pragmatists. Most cable television shows.

. . .

Tranquility:

I am tranquil when I’m curled up on the couch with The Fur Babies.

I feel tranquil when I’ve just finished a book.

Open windows. Friday nights. Clipping coupons. Crocheting. Afternoon naps. Being far from home. Being back home. Folded laundry. That just-showered feeling. Companionable silence. A completed task.

. . .

So it’s a crapshoot, really. A roll of the dice.

Each day is another game, another chance.

So cup those dice, blow three times, and embrace the possibilities.

Wait, What?

SnapDragon calls a Time-Out.

This is Real, 2018. St. Petersburg. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

I am in recovery.

Not from drugs. Not from alcohol.

I am in recovery from mental abuse.

Since birth, I was told that someone was always watching me.

24 hours a day, seven days a week.

My every action–in public and in private–was judged.

The books I read, movies I watched, and music I listened to were scrutinized and dismissed as impure if they dared to portray the struggles of human experience.

Scientific discovery was a ploy to be outsmarted.

I was told not to think; my thoughts could not be trusted.

I was told my body was not my own, to do with as I pleased.

I was shackled with the threat of eternal flames, for the crime of being human.

For being me.

Fresh Air, 2017. Philadelphia. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

And I’m not just cherry-picking. I’m not taking things out of context. This is how it felt. This was my reality.

No matter how hard it is to face the truth, it is here, in these words.

Escaping has been my life’s most outstanding accomplishment.

I saw my opportunity, and I went for it.

I am free.

I am free.

Yet I am covered in scars.

I sometimes feel my heart beating fast inside my chest, for no good reason at all.

Who’s there?

Hello?

Someone’s there.

I cannot rest.

Carry that weight.

You’re lost.

You’re a disappointment.

Sprouted Seeds, 2017. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

And then I remind myself, that no, I am not.

I am not yours.

I belong to no one.

I am me.

So you can read this, and judge.

You can shake your head and gather the flock for an intervention.

But I have used my greatest asset: my mind.

I’ve dared to embrace the here and now.

And that is all I need.

Because The Emperor has no clothes, friend.

(starts dancing, with the most glorious of smiles on her face)