Archive for New Beginnings
Wow! I blink my eyes and weeks have passed since I last posted. It’s been so long that I’ve begun to develop anxiety about posting again. It all started when I worked some extra hours at work. Then we acquired ants in the kitchen and I was battling them for days! Then the weather was bad here in Denver, a snow storm that cut out our Internet for a couple of days. Then, I started to develop carpal tunnel like pain in my arm and gave up knitting and typing for a while. Then there was the funk I was in. I get those from time to time. Finally, my husband bought me a terrific book (which I’ll post about soon) which inspired me to go to the library and bring home a giant stack of books to read…instead of writing myself.
Well, I think those are all the reasons for my absence. Since I’ve been gone, we’ve been doing some exciting things, though.We are still trying new grains and new greens in the kitchen. I wish I could say that my house was getting cleaned and organized during this time, but it’s been two steps forward, one step back with that area of my life. We invited friends over to grill with us and I cleaned voraciously. I managed to get through a very, very large pile of mail that has plagued our dining room, organized and stack them neatly in a box that could be hidden away when company comes, but when I lifted the box a day later, the bottom fell out and the mail is now in a nasty heap on the floor of the sun room. But, I’m making an effort, and that’s all I can do really. Move forward one step at a time.
There is another excitement in my house these days. We are growing heirloom vegetables from seed and our seedlings are sprouting and growing strong! My husband and I literally sit and stare at them, maybe not for hours, but for a surprisingly long time!
So, there you have it. I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long. I’ll try to catch up. Pictures of things we’ve cooked, the book Tim bought me, and the seedling we are growing are forthcoming.
Having studied Linguistics, I’m not often offended by any single word. Words simply exist. And yet, context and history often do combine to load words with unpleasant connotations. Take the word housewife. I have put it in the title of my blog and still, I cringe when I hear it. Perhaps I feel I can claim this word because I also work part-time in and out of the home and feel that I use it ironically in this new millennium. I’m not yet a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), I’m not a very good homemaker, and somehow, SAHW (stay-at-home-wife) bothers me most of all. I think there will always be debates over these words.
For commentary on the use of housewife vs. SAHM vs. homemaker, check out lilsugar.com – Tell Mommy: Does the Term “Housewife” Offend You?
In my last post, I wrote the first of many posts on marriage. For a fun article on “Marrying One’s Self” check out Sexy in Van City, a blog by several 30-something gals living in Vancouver, BC. Enjoy yesterday’s post by Kittyn: A la French Maid! 1950s House Wife Cleans The Home… the sexy way, in which she describes her transition from dating herself in 2008, to marrying herself in 2009. Gone will be the cluttered home, piles of clothes, rotting leftovers, (sinks full of dishes, if she’s anything like me) as she uses healthy, homemade cleaning products (baking soda, vinegar, and lavender oil) and gets dressed up in a fun, feminine costume, turning on the tunes and considering it a workout.
I enjoyed Kittyn’s post immensely and it has provoked a lot of self-reflection. I find it a wise revelation in many ways. First, one must value herself before she can expect to be valued by a man (or partner). And second, it echos the sentiment of of homemaking in general. When we “nest,” or “home-make,” or “play house,” we are creating a pleasant environment for our loved ones (spouse, children, family) and for our selves to live happily and stress free in a hectic world.
In the spirit of change I’ve posted pictures of the view out of the french doors of my home office, about a week and a half ago (above), and today. Autumn has finally moved in and changed the appearance of my communal backyard despite the spate of really warm days we’ve had recently (in the 70s!).
Now, I did vote today and so it seemed like a good day to join a new network of bloggers organized by this lovely lady at the blog Home Sanctuary. Each weekday, Rachel posts one simple activity that she will do along with all the Company Girls to help make her home a sanctuary for her family. Her post for today is about Change! I find her recommendations for today hilarious for so many personal reasons. I recommend you click on the link and read her post, but I’ll quote a bit of it here so you can see what I’m up to today.
Today’s Small Thing is to make some small changes in your own precinct. “Change,” in this instance meaning, “to replace the old with the new.”
You can elect to:
Change the sheets on a bed Change the towels Change the batteries in your smoke alarm Change a light bulb Change the oil in your car Change your tablecloth Change your undies, or simply turn them inside out. Good to go.
For starters, I’m literally on my last pair of underwear today. And you know all about that smoke alarm of mine. Finally, I can’t just go changing the sheets because we only have one pair for our bed! (Too bad we didn’t get sheets for a wedding gift instead of the three coffee makers we got – and if one of those coffee makers was from you, please don’t feel bad, we are very thankful – it was bad management of the registries on our part.)
So, I figure I can do the following in my first attempt at doing small things for my home sanctuary:
- Get that battery into the smoke alarm. It turns out that the battery in the kitchen smoke alarm also decided to konk out a couple of days ago and I was forced to buy batteries because it was going off all day. The first time it went off, I ran downstairs in my bathrobe, wet from the shower, wondering if I’d have to be rescued from a fire without underwear on. We changed that battery (but we haven’t gotten it back up on that 12 foot ceiling yet). The other battery is in my basket for keys and other odds and ends, and soon it will be in that basement smoke alarm!
- Change my sheets and my underwear. I figured all that underwear that needed washing fit pretty well with a load of sheets, and all I have to do now is put them in the dryer.
- Change the towels. I already exchanged most of the towels in the house for clean ones. Some of them don’t really have replacements, so it’ll have to wait till the next load of laundry.
And, since I’m not feeling very creative. I guess that’s it for my first day. 30 points! ( I’m really not that competetive.) All in all, it doesn’t seem like much, but we’ll be sleeping on clean sheets, and I won’t have to turn my underwear inside out tomorrow – And that’s something.
To close, a recent pic of my beloved snoozing pooper, and now we’re off to a friend’s to watch the election results.
I just realized I checked this book out on September 19, loved it, got really into it over some morning coffee, read thirty-six pages of it and then moved on to other things….
(I think it was wading through an unbelievable stack of mail looking for some insurance forms that made me feel overwhelmed and depressed and put me out of my “change my life” reading mood.)
Granted those things have been really big things:
- (I started this blog for one!)
- I said, “Its now or never!” and agreed to be on a panel at a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) conference that is coming up at the end of the month. (I’ll be the youngest, most inexperienced person on the panel, but hey, I’ve got two more weeks to get my presentation together!)
- I got a new part-time (very part-time) job teaching American Sign Language in a Home School program to 5 high school girls. (The girls have been without a permanent teacher since September 3rd, and are totally thrilled to have me.)
Items two and three were of the Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway variety. Truly. I stayed awake nights worrying over both of these things and thought to myself that the benefits would far out-way any of the discomfort that would come from plowing ahead.
I mean really! I turned 30 on September 12th and it hasn’t been so bad, but it really is that, “I had better start living life!” moment.
And these things may not seem like all that much to you, dear readers. You’re probably thinking, “Duh.” But you must realize that for me, my entire life has been about feeling the fear…and never leaving my house.
I’m big on sharing success stories and here’s the truth – I went from flunking out of college and losing a scholarship and a spot in an accelerated program, to finishing my Master’s Degree in Linguistics and meeting my wonderful husband (who is a doctor of all things!).
During my first two years of college, I was put on Lithiumand earned a total of seven Fs and a smattering of As and Bs, because I couldn’t handle a load of more than two classes at a time, but it was also too overwhelming for me to deal with the bureaucracy of dropping the classes (or even putting school on hold for a while, which is what I should have done).
And I’m proud of my successes. And my motto is, “Darn it! Life is not a race!”
And so, perhaps I was influenced by this unfinished book. In a couple of weeks I went from working not enough hours at a part-time computer job from home, to doing two very grown-up things.
And my life feels fuller.
And my kitchen is still a mess. And I honestly can’t fit into any of my teaching clothes because I have gained thirty pounds since I married my husband. But, I’m pretty happy. I love this new teaching job. I’ll survive the darn conference presentation, and little by little, my house will get cleaner.
So, tonight as I go to bed, I’m hiding the stacks of books about knitting, gardening, HTML, and whatever else I’ve got out from the library right now, and I’m gonna continue reading this book. It’s actually really good and I’d recommend it.
And finally, before I go listen to the Presidential Debate on the radio (because we don’t have TV right now) I want to thank Susan from Raisin Toast for checking out my blog and sending me a personal email (after I commented on hers). I actually think I may have stumbled upon your blog a while ago and been completely intimidated by it! (But I’m a new woman now, and I take action – such as blogging anyway!) So it means a lot to me that you enjoyed my blog. And since I have so few comments, I figured, what the heck, why not thank you right in my blog!
I’m staging an intervention for myself. I’ve just turned 30 and I’m still so domestically challenged that I often just give up. I’m one of those leave it for weeks until the in-laws are coming types of people.
And I don’t want to be like this anymore.
Who isn’t happier when she has a clean, fresh home?
My husband and I don’t own a home yet and we don’t yet have children. We plan to change both of those things within the next 5 years. I’m lucky to have a husband who enjoys cooking – when I’m trying my darnedest to learn to enjoy it. I want to give back to my family.
And one more thing: I am the child of a compulsive hoarder. You may have seen the episodes about this phenomenon on Oprah. It’s just as bad as it looks. Thus, I have my work cut out for me!
I want to learn to keep my house clean, fresh, inviting, and cozy.
I’m 30 years old and I vow to change my domestic ways.
It is obvious to me that if I can do this anyone can!
So join me on my journey. Offer me encouragement. Ask me to post photos of my house so that I am accountable. Learn from my mistakes and share your best tips with me.
As I turn over a new leaf, I vow to make journey more fun than chore – if that is even possible!