looking back

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March was a month of draining demands, short fuses, heat and humidity and poor sleep, and I’ve never been happier to see a month come to an end. The worst was the lack of inspiration – I felt lethargic and most things seem to give little joy. When I can’t take pleasure in things, I know it’s bad.

Feel free to scorn me as the TV addict I clearly am, but one of the things that twinkled like a distant star and put a little smile on my face was the fact that “Mad Men” was returning in April. Peggy and Joan are in my opinion, the superstars among women characters on TV - ones that don’t ever do the dizzily-neurotic-yet-successful thing. They’re interesting, coolly competent, smart and not afraid to make a decision and take responsibility for it. I could say the same of the women of “The Good Wife”. They are the perfect blend of real-life and wish-fulfillment.

It made me wish for more real-life role models; the kind you encounter at the work place, or perhaps through a friend, or an acquaintance. A “six-degrees” role model, not just someone really well-known or from a TED talk. And people wonder why the lack of women in senior positions at the work place is a problem. Who’s going to set an example for the women floundering through the twenty-something career years?

Still, my month is winding down on a better note; I picked myself up from my slump and took pleasure in a few things that felt like fresh air:
  • Nicole Krauss’ "Great House". Her writing flows like water; you fall in and float along for the ride
  • The beautiful spaces and fashion editorials in Monocle – visually pleasing and for some reason it doesn’t make me feel like I need to go out and buy something
  • Margaret Dabbs as featured in The Gentlewoman: love her conviction
  • Chocolate and salted caramel tarts from Carpenter and Cook.
(And I did cross new frames off my list. Useful, and beautiful beautiful beautiful.)

Happy weekend everyone!

Comments

hannah-rose said…
The way you feel about Mad Men is the way I feel about The Good Wife. I love that show and I love the characterisation of Diane, Kalinda and Alicia... The dynamic of women in that show is great in general, actually. I have never watched mad Men (I know, I know) mostly for the same reasons that I have never watched The West Wing, I want to devote time to it. I want to enjoy it. I want to become obsessed with it. I don't think I can do that until my thesis is over hahaha.

Thank god March is (almost) over. I hope April is better for you and for me... I'm hoping at the very least cooler weather will make a difference. x
Camille said…
I feel the same about Mad Men, and I like that the show offers an offhand commentary about the societal evolution of gender roles and sexism, as well as well-portrayed, varied, and complex female characters. Peggy is probably my favourite. (Also, I simultaneously posted about how much I'm looking forward to the new season!)
can't say I watch much tv (still have my trusty old school little box tv)--even less now that I need some stupid converter just to watch the 3 darn shows i watch (snl, nikita, and modern family), i miss the good old antenna days...

Cute R2D2, when you think about it he's quite the inspiration...he was tiny but he was pretty darn mighty!
Petya K. Grady said…
I am a huge Nicole Krauss fan too! I love that she is unafraid to write ambitious, timeless literature when so many of us so focused on being cool!
love nicole krauss and also your blog! It's so nice!!! I follow you!
Pass to my blog and if it likes you follow me too, I will be so glad :D
Kisses
http://francescagiusti.blogspot.it/
Sue said…
I'm not a great tv watcher. I "absorb" most tv programmes - that is, they are in the background and if I get the jist of the plot and what is happening, that is good enough for me. This is in part to the tv being a constant for the males in the house so now I personally prefer "silence". You would too if you lived in my house. When I lived on my own, I didn't even have a tv.

March sounds like a trying time but it's good to hear it's coming to a close for you and new and pleasant things are there for you to take comfort in. The chocolate and salted caramel tarts sound divine! Save one for me.
Kali Vine said…
I love your picture! Useless comment but I had to say it. Otherwise I see what you mean.

Here on the other side of the world, we are numbed by the endless winter (5cm of snow on the 13th of March, really??) and I too, am eager to see April coming, like the promise for change, or rather, renewal.

And I hear you on TV series too. They are so good at hooking us up! I'm waiting for Game of Thrones to start again this year. I already read the books (before HBO even started making the show) but I'm still curious to see how they adapt it on TV.


Anyhow, only one week left before the end of March, we're almost there :)
Sarge in Charge said…
Totally agree on Mad Men- the BEST scenes are when Peggy and Joan interact. I died when they found out about the Don/Megan engagement. And despite being anomalies for their era they somehow manage to be successful without being crazy/shrill/neurotic as well (eye roll).
I'm excited for the spring TV lineup, especially Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and the new episodes of Arrested Development.

I understand the need for female role models, and perhaps from the other side as well. Our company is hiring and we've been having trouble finding good female engineers (currently I am only one of two female engineers in the entire company). Where are all the female engineers at???

Anyway, hopefully the change in season will bring a fresh wave of inspiration?
lin said…
Love that there are so many Mad Men fans!

hannah-rose: I remember I started watching the The Good Wife wondering how it could keep up that Eliot Spitzer premise. Now I know it's because they know a thing or two about character development!

I say go for Mad Men before the number of seasons become too overwhelming for you to start! That's actually how I felt about the West Wing, hah.

Camille: I like that they didn't over-play the sexism of the time; they do it very subtly and they don't use it as a crutch to support plot lines either.

Great minds think alike! I was so blown away by how the last season ended that I got pretty excited when I heard about the premiere date.

Pret a Porter P: Hahaha it's sad but for the sake of TV I would keep up with technology.

Love R2D2 - he's such a badass.

Petya: You're right! For some reason your comment made me think of Jonathan Franzen, haha. I hated "Freedom".

Francesca: Thanks!

Sue: I hate the sound of TV when I'm not watching it haha, so I can sort of understand what you mean. I also feel that my relationship with TV is bordering on unhealthy because I have a tendency to refer to it too much when talking about real life.

The tarts are amazing. If you ever make your way here you musn't leave without tasting one.

Kali Vine: Thanks!

I think the weather is just going to get warmer. Only December and January brings reprieve (and a tonne of rain).

I love the books! I've read them all as well and I'm quite enjoying watching them "come to life". I think the second season was really well done, much better than the first. So, high hopes for the third.

(I really need GRRM to get on with the writing though...)

Sarge: Yes! I watched one episode of The Mindy Project on a flight and I was so disappointed with the number of "women are crazy" stereotypes she employed.

koko: I do wonder why there aren't more women engineers. I was no great shakes at math and the sciences but lots of girls are.
Maja H said…
Hahaha, I feel like such a child. My latest TV obsession is Bob's Burgers! But I hear you on female role models. Careerwise I have a grand total of.. None, and ever since I heard about the Bechdel Test I have become even more disheartened with the portrayal of women in media. I've turned into on of those people who shout at the TV.
petrichore said…
Here's wishing you a brighter April and an office with a Joan and Peggy in it in your future!

I remember enjoying Barbara Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees" and other books for the same reason--strong female characters.
Ammu said…
I love Mad Men too :)
I am fortunate to have a number of close female friends who are older than me and who are fantastic role models. I think going to an all-women college also made me realise the importance of connecting with other women. I find the alumnae network a great source of advice and support.
Lucy said…
Mad Men is such an incredible show, and I'm so excited for its return in a couple of weeks. I've gotten my husband hooked, and we just finished watching the entire series so he could catch up and be ready for the season 6 premiere. Watching "The Other Woman" again simply blew me away, and I can't wait to see what the writers have in store for Peggy, Joan, and Megan this season.
What a great post. Nearly the same thoughts are on my own mind, and those of my friends!
But March isn't over yet. Don't cross it off too soon. It's a beautiful month here in NY, full of transition and surprises. If those are your new frames, they are beautiful.
I've heard so much about Mad Men but have yet to watch it. I don't own a TV but I should see if it's available on the internet somewhere. You're right about not having many good role models at work seeing how few women are in senior positions.
lin said…
maja h: I know how you feel, I feel deeply annoyed when certain shows come on.

petrichore: I sure hope so!

I must try that book! I really liked The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna.

Ammu: Yes, I think that's such a good network to have and I think the all-girls' primary and secondary schools I attended should have done a better job promoting this.

Lucy: I feel like Megan's character has turned out far more interesting than I would have expected; pretty interested to see what happens too!

editor: Indeed March isn't over yet and I got more disheartening news today haha. Yes those are my new glasses, really loving them.

Marlene: I was raised on a lot of TV, I admit, although my parents dictated a lot of what I could watch. Can't quite imagine what it would be like to a have a TV-free household!
Aïssa said…
Examples of achieving women are even more dire for black little girls... Representation/visualization is such a powerful driving force and though there is more diversity in every professional field, it's still very limited and even more so on tv.
That said I'm a fan of both Mad Men and The Good Wife because of the depth and layers of the female characters in both shows.

Great choice for your glasses! They actually have a retro /Mad Men /Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy vibe!

And I'm with you regarding march. Even if I had a few days off, it still seems to drag on and drain every bits of energy out of me... Thankfully I'm on a long week-end in a few hours.
lin said…
Aissa: You're right. As someone from the majority race group in the Singapore, I rarely stop to think about minority representation. In the past I would have thought that inspiration is "race blind" but with time I realised it wasn't that simple.

I'm living for this long weekend as well! I've been pulling too many six-day weeks.
Hannah Layford said…
It's weird but I've had exactly the same month - not the heat though- the weather has been depressingly stuck in winter mode and everything seems to be sapping the life out of. I've got no motivation to write, or blog, or do anything really outside of work except climb into a hot bath, curl up with a good book and go to sleep... which is very out of character since I'm the kind of person who likes to have a million things to do and never have time to think! It's been a difficult month with lots of change (and I know more will come this month with the new financial year starting) but I'm looking forward to a more motivated April!!

Hannah xx
Lindsay K said…
Wishing you a brighter April! So far, this year has been incredibly rewarding, but February and March were pure exhaustion. I'm looking forward to a new month and hopefully a bit more balance.

I really agree with Aissa's comment. I couldn't have said it better. I mentor a group of high school students who regularly tell me that in their communities they just don't see professional role models... It's shocking in a city of such abundance.

The issue of leadership at work is so complicated. In addition, to just trying to excel at work, setting an example is something that I think about in ways that I'm sure male colleagues don't. It adds an extra layer of stress or pressure because I know other women are looking to me to set an example. Ugh...

That being said, my primary/secondary schools really fostered mentorship/sponsorship. It was expected that older students provide advise/guidance. My undergrad alumnae network is great when it comes to connecting women. The strength of the alumnae network and the willingness of alums to provide support has really helped my navigate my career and leadership opportunities.

Love your glasses. They are so smart.
lin said…
hannah: I hope we all have a better April...I completely identify when you said you didn't want to do anything after work.

Lindsay K: Thanks! I hope you had a good month ahead as well. A big project is finally over for me so I feel a lot better now - I knew I was under pressure but it's still surprising when it's over to feel how much lighter I now feel.

It's quite interesting, what you said about leadership...I get that feeling from Sheryl Sandberg and a lot of other hyper successful women that they feel that this role model thing has been thrust upon them when they really just wanted to do their own thing well.
Anonymous said…
Hi lin, love your new glasses! May I know where you got them from? I've been looking for one in a similar design (but more squarish) for ages. Thanks.

-judith
lin said…
judith: Thanks! These are from Tom Ford, I think they're the same as the ones here - http://www.pretavoir.co.uk/tom-ford-ft5237-001.html
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