Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BOOK THREE (5) basement cleaning, dance wax, Nellie McClung

In your cleanup of the basement's storage space let there be a 'can do' attitude; a balanced consideration of how much lego to donate, an honesty about how many pretty paper shopping bags truly need saving, and a willingness to let go of some of your hoardings.

like this? (neat but useless)

or these? (the little ones, especially, can't stay watered.)

or these bad boys?  (Too hilarious not to buy, too problematic to use.)

In your (pre-cleaning) breakfast peptalk (in which you attempt to recruit helpers) don't candycoat the work involved, or use the word "detox".

In fact, don't talk too much at all or you'll disclose your secret plans to later build a garden shed. (with their help.)

The goddess within you should preside over a woman who is clean but not a neat freak; a seeker of beauty, a stickler for fairness;  *like one who is ready to put on ballerina flats for a girl's night out after ridding her basement of extra rubber boots. A person of tangible awesomeness doesn't need the Home Depot sales clerk to approve the hooks she bought to hang bikes from.

Therein lies the secret of optimism;  of not wholly depending on anyone for help tackling the basement, nor needing anyone to acknowledge that some of the cookie tins you saved (and recently found down there) will come in handy on Teacher Appreciation Day.

*When you're already on your toes, you need no propping up.

Monday, February 13, 2012

BOOK THREE (4) Rico Suave, tattoos, breaded cats

Don't pass the rest of the time before the school bus returns, craning your head to check if the neighbour's driveway cleaning service is better than yours--unless you're willing to refer them to your driveway guy (with the compelling moko tattoo).

To wonder why your guy has a tat traditionally reserved for Maori, and what it means to him here (and as a snow plow driver), is a digression that not only takes you away from speculating about the neighbours, but from being at one with the domestic goddess inside you.

See then that your regard is kept free from random worries and utter nonsense:

(ie. remembering this song, then feeling compelled to say Rrrrico Suuaave over and over).

A housewife should think in such a way so that if she was asked "what're you thinking about?" she could answer straight up and without having to edit ("chin hair,""why do the boys stuff their socks between mattress and headboard?," Amedei chocolate, etc.) thus showing that all her thoughts were untortured and able to gently "be" attractive means to surmount both chocolust and household angst. Such a woman, determined to astound herself with her higher-self thinking is indeed the mistress of her own thoughts. She is making exemplary use of her inner mojo; unsullied by indulgence, teflon-coated to sticky 90s tunes, beyond the reach of the insult of unworn clothes being chucked into the laundry bin or...

She is the Princess Leia of life's greatest battle: the struggle against the dark empire of excessive emotionality! She is imbued through and through with awesomeness, donating real baking to the school Staff Appreciation day, rarely asking herself if her lemon pound cake stands true against the carrot cake already served up. She welcomes whole-heartedly the chance to pool money together to buy the hockey coaches thank you gifts, and only asks herself about other people's business when prompts on Facebook remind her to dislike Monsanto, McDonald's, and other Corporate devils.

She confines her ripples to her own puddles, having her attention fixed on her own spot in the bigger garden of existence, being sure to act honourably, and certain that what happens-- needed to happen.

She doesn't forget the connectedness of all reasonable creatures (the best of pets included in this, naturally), nor that caring is most often the right response. And she knows that it is not faddish, fleeting friends which should be held near her heart but only those who live within a reasonable degree of balance in everything. As for others, who exist in a perpetually messy drama, she reminds herself of that wise saying: "how you do one thing, you do everything," and that she doesn't need their approval, since they do not even sort themselves out enough to know what they stand for, let alone bother to stand for it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

BOOK THREE (3) Mrs. Partridge, Mrs. Cunningham,TV mothers, Etsy

Mrs. Partridge was a rockstar--

but still felt compelled to have "Caution: Nervous Mother Driving" painted on the back of her groovy bus.

On Happy Days, Mrs. Cunningham's occasional domestic rebellions confirmed the end of involuntary housewifery, but (like dancing with the Fonz), they were pretty tame.

Alice ("straight to da moon") Kramden,Wilma Flintstone, and Edith Bunker--who put up with Archie's bunk--

"and you know where you were then, goils were goils and men were men..."

were popular for their devotion to cavemen--before giving way to the harmonious sitcom marriages with work/life balance such as that of Claire Huxtable, or the "you've come a long way baby" lives of Mary Tyler Moore, or Anne Romano.

(But it was too many knitted hats and this kind of hair which eventually killed these shows off.)

My point?

You decided to be a housewife...(and thankfully not a TV one, unless you're one of those wildly plastic Real Housewives of Somewhere...) You've got tremendous kids, as well as a killer collection of vintage dishes. Time to let go of feeling like you're missing something! If it's for a 9-5 job with XEROX machines, and bad coffee, well, you'd better pack gum and hand lotion...

If not, then don't pine for the path not taken, like a latter day Erma Bombeck.

One path is homemade jelly, contract work, and Etsy; the other: steady paycheques, and traffic jams.

BOOK THREE (2) heroism, Henry Cavill, hot glue

Therefore, to a housewife sensitive enough to blush (on behalf of those lacking in talent), while she watches auditions for the Christmas Panto from the back of a dark theatre, almost everything:

and even this:

can be pleasurable to contemplate.

Such a woman will view nature warmly as she would view a yummy interpretation of it:

Her insight allows her to recognize mature heroism:

and the tastiness of this imitation hero:

Not every housewife has this understanding. She alone who has burned her finger with the hot glue gun while transforming an umbrella into batwings for her son's Halloween costume will be struck by nature's clever design, worthwhile efforts to imitate it, and degrees of hotness.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BOOK THREE (1) grilled fish, Leonard Cohen, decline

The daily wearing away of the cotton gusset in your panties, and their ever shrinking elastic, is not the only thing we have to consider. For even if a housewife lives long enough for her children to think of grilled fish as a treat instead of gagging material, we must still take into account whether or not she will continue to retain her capacity for speaking without rancour at childless friends who look tremendously rested, and are just back from France.

Alarming as it may seem, the onset of dowdiness may involve no sudden arrival of a bowling jacket on the coatrack, or mannish can sneak up on you in shoes with the wrong kind of heel and a Madame haircut. Therefore be advised: the ability to make full use of your lipstick collection, to assess correctly if the hemline is wrong, to judge if another glass of wine will help you sparkle or spill, or to make any other decisions that require a full brain, are already declining....!

We must press on, then, and be snappy about it; not simply because you're thinking about using moss as a creative centrepiece (dinner's not started yet!) but because every minute brings us nearer to arsenic hour (the pre-dinner tantrum zone)--when even our power to boil emergency frozen ravioli drains away like painted roses from washworn china.

(No painted roses, and not your average vintage china)

Therefore, after we detect what is making that smell in the fridge, let us consider Leonard Cohen's song, Anthem,and the inherent value of deterioration.

(Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.)

The crags and fissures of a cooling bread crust, or a cheesecake's teasing fault line invite inspection with a fork and knife; the "flaws" make you hungrier. Figs and olives are all more gorgeous for their various lines of stress due to ripeness. Pottery's imperfections and crazing are desirable. Similarly, the wrinkled, beloved hands of older relatives, and the uncommon faces and figures in those Dove ads reveal the consquences of time passing, yet simultaneously reward us by reminding us of its constant beauty.

Monday, August 15, 2011

BOOK TWO (17) knitted dogs, Jamie Oliver, Perrier

In the life of a housewife, her time is but a wash and spin cycle, her waistline in occasional flux (if preggers), her senses tuned to the arrival of the school bus, her body not what it was when she was 17, her soul often unquiet as she still feels 17, her fortune dependant upon the even kilter of the household, and her fame doubtful (with the exception of her status in her knitting circle in which she is a Star).

Now that's knitting!

In short, all that is of the body will last as long as a pan of brownies put before a group of little boys; all that is of the soul is as permanent as a resolution to cut sugar and fat from your diet.... Life is a series of full (then emptied) shopping carts, a brief time of bathing your child in the kitchen sink; and after letting the kids have pets you were dubious about and knew you'd be changing the litter for, and after no "ring around the colllar"?...nothing.

Where then, can a housewife find the power to guide and protect her steps?

In one thing and one alone: Philosophy.

To be a philosopher (albeit rubber gloved) is to keep un-harassed-for-sleepovers the woman within you, so that you may transcend equally Jamie Oliver's sticky fingers lobster which makes you weak in the knees, and any grubby Barbies dressed in sparkly track suits which your daughter loves (and you love to stuff behind the sofa). Philosophy will remind you that you are human before being mummy; to not donate too much baking to the sale; nor try to fake enjoyment in emptying a damp bag of hockey equipment. You will not depend on a return invitation for the dinner party you threw, but accept each return of the day as a chance to rub tung oil into the teak--and lastly: accept your eventual death as no more than the dissolution of the many agenda entries, appointments, coupons for Perrier, and kitchen tips of which each housewife is composed. If those elements themselves don't notice whether they are redeemed or not, why look with mistrust on being personally struck from the ledger? It is but Nature's way; and in the ways of Nature there is no evil, nor sparkly track suit, to be found.

Monday, June 13, 2011

BOOK TWO (16) Kate Middleton, gelling

For a housewife's soul, the greatest of personal mess ups is to be toughly attached to the domestic--and as unfeeling as a fibroid. For nattering heartlessly to your exhausted hubby about one part of the home, for example: a floor which needs refinishing, wears on the polish and calm of the entire household.

Another wrong is to reject other housewives, or claw them up with catty posts, (as has happened to a small degree to the radiant Kate Middleton, by people who lack her poise and destiny).

A third wrong is to overindulge in the pleasure of serving eggs for dinner --or the pain of buying your son a toy gun because it's what he really wants (and has been constructing out of tinker toys, lego, sticks, and bread crusts since the beginning.)

A fourth self-imposed wrong is to cheerfully offer to bring an appetizer, and then run out of prep time...leading to mushroom caps stuffed with ricotta, lemon, and crabbiness.

A fifth wrong is for the housewife to direct her care and domestic talent to pointless projects (alphabetizing the spice drawer is right on the edge), or to no direction at all... for even the least of our jam recipes ought to have "gelling" as a goal.