But I’m Not a Housewife!

Domestic Bliss, Eventually

Archive for Blog Confessions

Blog Confession Number Four: I Kind of Like Goop


Image via New York Times, Feb. 22, Fashion & Style

A couple of weeks ago my husband passed me an article from the New York Times (Martha, Oprah … Gwyneth?) as we relaxed together that evening. He likes to show me articles that he thinks I’ll be interested in to turn me on to the Sunday New York Time. I do share his joy over the the Sunday paper, it’s just that, these days, I’ve usually got stacks and stacks of books which I’m trying to get through for my blog….These things take time.

Anyway, I have ambiguous feelings about Gwyneth Paltrow, which have recently swung towards the positive end since I finally rented Sylvia from the library. Her performance was so good, I couldn’t help but have warm feelings toward her, despite her many differences from me (I just like to relate to people). 

And yet, I shy away from people who are born privileged with the slender physique that money can buy. People who have homes in the Hamptons and London and talk about the Kabbala, fasting and detoxification, and such New Agey stuff as “the Inner Aspect.” 

Here’s how the Times introduced her new website:

The enterprise attracting the most media sniping right now? Goop.com, a lifestyle Web site and e-mail introduced in September that hits subscribers’ in-boxes on Thursdays with tips like “police your thoughts” and “eliminate white foods.” The site’s name is derived from Ms. Paltrow’s initials, and its slogan, “Nourish the Inner Aspect,” positions it deeply in the New Age realm. 

As the current model for Tod’s, the Italian luxury brand, she looks at home lounging around like Grace Kelly — outdoorsy and to the manner born. It seems that despite several lowbrow films, an aura of pleasant and tasteful hauteur remains. So why is she suddenly on TV giving dieting and fitness tips, backing a gym, writing a cookbook and an online newsletter full of shopping advice, kabbalistic musings and discussion of the Master Cleanse?

See? You would think I would hate that! My husband had fun reading aloud snippets from the NYT criticism and from her website itself and we chuckled over it together, but when he was at work, late the next day, I found myself sneaking onto her site (and then telling him about it later for a laugh.) 

And although she’s been criticized for her recommended reading list (which was compared to a high school reading list) and for her banana nut muffin recipe – “Does the world really need another banana muffin recipe?” asks Beth Wareham, in the NYT article. (Actually, I haven’t yet noticed said muffin recipe. There was a recipe for buckwheat and banana pancakes, which I found interesting because they lacked milk and eggs – and because the buckwheat crépes I’ve had at our favorite Crépere are really good!) And even though her travel sections firmly espouse a certain class level of which I’m not a part, as when recommends places to eat and stay in Paris and talks about being taken there by her father for a weekend getaway when she was a kid. And even though her holiday shopping guide include things like women’s watches for over $1,000 well despite all that, I still kind of like it!

I like it’s simplicity (and yes, it has been compared to Real Simple magazine). The layout and photographs are calming. Her food sections are really my favorite and give me the hope that someday I’ll enjoy cooking for my family – which is the premise of a new cookbook she is working on. Most of all, her menu for a one week detox (something I don’t actually believe in) provides a healthier alternative to the fasting that is so popular and actually looks good! I’m not a dieter, but I’m always longing to find something which will inspire me to break out of my bad habits and make me feel clean and fresh and energized so that I can begin to live a healthier lifestyle from now and into the future. 

So check it out and tell me what you think of it.

Blog Confession Number Three: Someday I Hope to Cook Again

I’ve really fallen off the cooking wagon. I guess I’m just incredibly overwhelmed. I’ve been having trouble sleeping at night and I’m having chronic tension headaches. My headaches are confined to the muscles of my scalp – for those of you who aren’t sure if there really are muscles up there, I assure you – they’re there! I suppose this is an improvement over the excruciating jaw that pain I used to get when I let stress overtake me, but it’s still no fun. I think I need a new pillow.

Moving on, I was up in the night again tossing and turning and I felt really overwhelmed by life.

Wait, before I regale you with the thoughts that press on me in the night, let me continue with the original purpose of this post: I want to start cooking again. I’ve found a couple of recipes on new blogs (new to me) that I’m interested in trying. 

Tico Tilapia with Gallo Pinto, by My Sphere of Domesticity ~This one is nice because fish is the only meat I eat, but I need courage to buy it and cook it. It helps to know that others are doing it too.

Cake aux Olives et au Jambon, by Dedene of Soyez le Bienenvenue Chez Moi, in yesterday’s post: How much do I hate housework?, ~ I like this because it’s a quick bread and has olives in it. I’ve been craving olive bread. Don’t eat ham though….

So I’ll be sure and let you know if I ever, ever make these dishes. (Let’s hope so.)

Back to my insomniac worries. It’s always something you know? We’ve gotten two tickets in the past two days because I didn’t realize that my car registration was expired. ARGH! (Now we are cleverly parking the car in back of our house where the cops can’t see it, take that! – We used to park there all the time until we realized that we would rather park on the street and avoid our crummy neighbors, than park in our shared lot.) We already have stupid bills that we shouldn’t even owe, because try as I might, I just can’t NOT get screwed over by phone and cable companies! They hate me! The bills are just growing and growing and I’m not working full time….

But then I decided I’m not going to let this defeated feeling drag me down. One thing I’ve learned in life, that I find hard to remember, is that life is equally horrible and wonderful at the same time all the time. It’s really your choice which side of it to see. 

So I choose to bring my self back up! I choose to believe that life is really very easy! I mean, I get to wake up most days and choose what to do with my day. The whole bill thing is simple, really – start paying them off! Spending money on bills doesn’t have to feel this terrible. I can apply myself and work out a budget, I do have a master’s degree for goodness sake!

And on that note. I don’t have to feel dragged down about the state of my kitchen, or the fact that I don’t cook anymore. I choose to be positive. I’m going to clean and I’m going to cook….someday.

Let’s Take a Personal Day

I’ve been bad again, not blogging the way I thought I would when I started this adventure. And the day is so incredibly sunny, so unbelievable, that part of me wanted to feel upset about the state of my house. This should be a day where I open up every window and let the air flow through my sparkling domain. But it ain’t gonna happen today, and I’m not going to allow myself to get upset about it. Yes, that part keeps tugging at me: that part of me that is embarrassed and feels guilty about the pile of dishes, the insane pile of mail, the shoes that are overtaking every inch of the downstairs, the crumby, spilled-upon countertops, the fact that I’ve not mopped my kitchen floor once since we’ve moved in. Not once! (We’ll talk more about that in another post.)

I’m not going to bother being upset by the way air flowing through the house might just be spreading the dust and filth around. Anyway, it’s bad. The house is bad. I couldn’t possibly entertain a guest that might stop by – I’d have to grab my purse and recommend that we go down the street for coffee. And what if my landlord stops by to pick up her mail??? (The pieces of her mail that I have been collecting since Christmas! and that I can’t find because they’re spread out in numerous piles throughout the downstairs.) 

But I’m choosing to ignore all that, because I want to relax outside in this healing sunshine for awhile, and then I’ve got a ton of school work to do, so I’m not going to waste my day trying to  clean the awful, awful house. I’m hoping that after taking care of myself so beautifully and getting some schoolwork done, I’ll be able to pour a glass of wine this evening, turn up the music and tackle the house once more. 

And here is the reason why that just might work: This is the first day my husband has been on call for a couple of months, meaning he’s not coming home tonight, meaning, I can have an unconventional, answer-to-nobody-but-myself day today. I can eat cottage cheese and fruit for dinner and then tackle the dish pile, instead of making more dishes by cooking. So, I choose to have hope today – that I will get to the bottom of it all eventually – just not right at this moment – when the breezy  air is tinkling in my neighbors wooden wind chimes and  it feels like a day to be spent poolside – at the beginning of March!

New Title, Old Blog

Note to self: When you get in your car and it veers to the left or right when you start driving, you most likely have a flat tire! Pull over immediately and check all tires. 

Photo via PopularMechanics

Photo via PopularMechanics

On my way to work today, the above happened. I quickly called my husband, who I knew would just be ariving back at work after his lunch break and asked, Did you notice that my steering alignment is all @%#$ up and veers to the right?” (Pardon my French, my adrenaline was surging and I was fighting the urge to panic – Oh no, not my car!!!!) Well, he didn’t realize that veering to the side means you have a flat tire either, so I ended up driving it just long enough before pulling over to ruin the tire completely. I almost bucked up and changed it myself – I know it isn’t that hard – but I was missing part of the jack, the part that cranks around and basically makes it work.

So, here I am a couple of hours later, after help from the Principal of my school; two new tires, and too much money spent.

And, I’m still obsessed with the name of my blog. This Joyful Housewife name just won’t do for me if I’m not the only blogger with that name. I wonder: How can I still be unique, yet still advertise my fascination with all things housewife?

Hey you out there, every woman should know how to change a flat tire, so here are two sites you might want to review:

PopularMechanics: Saturday Mechanic

eHow: How to Change a Flat Tire

Blog Confession Number Two: I Hate the Name of My Blog

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

  • I don’t  like the name of my blog – I want so badly to change it
  • Despite my careful research before I named the blog, I’ve discovered that I’m not the only The Joyful Housewife blog, and that’s a bummer 
  • I’m a synesthete (I perceive letters, numbers and words to have colors)

 First, I wish I had chosen something more catchy for the title my blog, such as Modern Hausfrau. That’s nice isn’t it? I’ve been brainstorming for days, trying to come up with:

  • something better
  • something clever
  • something that I won’t be embarrassed of or defensive about when I tell people about my blog (a major problem for me now)
  • something that won’t make me lose my readers

But I’m picky about aesthetics and I love the way my title looks:

The Joyful Housewife

I love the way the J and the Y and the H and the two Fs look. They make a nicely balanced shape

And, strange as it sounds to most people, I have visual synesthesia,  so for me the title has a pleasant peachy hue.

The Joyful Housewife

So…I guess I’ll keep the name for now.

And, in case you’re wondering, this is roughly how i see my alphabet:

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Here are some other interesting synesthesia websites:

The Synesthetic Experience

The Synesthesia Battery

Blog Confession Number One: Blogland Loneliness

Okay, I confess:

1. I’m not a real housewife.

2. I’m envious of mommy bloggers.

3. I never did change that smoke alarm battery!! (So put me down for 20 points, thank you.)

Sometimes I feel left out of this whole housewife – homemaker genre in which I choose to write. I feel left out because I’m not yet a mother and therefore not a mommy blogger. What’s more, (yes, I’ll admit it!) I’m not even a true housewife. I’m sure you’ve noticed. I earn money working both from in and outside of the home. I don’t even know what a true housewife is. But I’m obsessed with the concept and always have been.

As you may remember I grew up in a home with a single mother who worked all the time. I never thought I’d get married and I vowed that I’d never, ever, serve my husband if I did – doing dishes and cooking meals and all that. Normal ( I’m not supposed to be using this word) families always made me uncomfortable, both at my friends’ homes in Southern California, and when I spent summers in rural Iowa. I hated the way men spoke to their wives – I was often outraged by the way Ricki treated Lucy on my favorite childhood show.

But then I matured and I met my wonderful husband (who enjoys cooking – score!) and I started allowing myself to dream about the future I’d like to have. Now I’m in a place I never imagined I’d be and I want the future to be even better.

And that means having a nice home.

I’ve spent half of my life feeling displaced and lonely because my family, both immediate and extended, live so spread out over this humongous country, and I hope to “get it together” enough to mitigate that fact someday. As in, I’d like to be able to entertain any company that should happen to pass through our lovely city, and I’d like to have our finances in order enough that we can travel to our various family members’ homes a couple times a year. And I want my home to be clean and uncluttered and to FEEL like home.

That being said, I hate housecleaning! (And I resent the fact that I’m the one who seems to be in charge of it.) I only moderately enjoy cooking. I go crazy when I’m not working outside the home – but I plan to work as little as possible at jobs other than creating a nice home when I do have children. I’m generally lazy, apathetic, and often overwhelmed about the state of my house. But I swear to all things holy, I’m going to figure this whole homemaking thing out!