I made good progress on the publishing project yesterday, and then got to scrubbing. I am reading a book called Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life, by Margaret Kim Peterson, which is about spirituality and housekeeping. I haven’t gotten very far into it, just far enough to read about how we undervalue housekeeping and how Christ was all about food, shelter, and clothing (check out Matthew 25) and God’s creation has a lot of housekeeping to it (Psalm 104).
Then Peterson went into the history of housekeeping. When she got up to modern times, she said, “housework is these days the subject of a great deal of fantasy.”
Huh? But as I read on, I realized that it was true. I had just read, in Wintersmith, about someone who thought you could be a witch just by buying things, and Peterson went on to demonstrate just how much of modern housekeeping is about buying things. Not necessarily about using them much — last I heard, American women spent an average of four hours per week on housework, and men of course do even less — but we really like the pretty laundry basket and the lavender-scented eau de linge.
In the typical American household nowadays, “every adult works full time for pay outside the home and no one bears explicit, dedicated responsibility — even part time — for tasks inside the home. The result …is homes so chaotic and unstructured that all the adults in the household would rather be at work than at home.”
And many working women are imagining that at some point in their lives, possibly with the very next purchase of Martha Stewart Living or a new cleaning product, they will be wafted into a magical domesticity in which they can pick apples from their imaginary orchards and make them into pies in their immaculate yet homey kitchens while wearing Eddie Bauer gear and being admired by their friends and family.
Just check out the advertising — I bring you a couple of images that popped right up on my computer, and you will notice many more once you start seeing them. This particular line of products sounds charming, and costs enough to pay for a maid service, and the chances are that there are plenty of customers with a couple hundred dollars worth of these lovely bottles in their homes, who are still not spending more than four hours a week on housework. They are perfect for fantasy housekeeping.
I really had never thought about that before.
I thought about it yesterday while cleaning house. I, and many of you, too, I know, do take responsibility for domestic work, even if I would like to share it out more evenly in my household. But I did clean, and I chivvied my boys into doing their chores at least halfheartedly, and I made dinner for the family.
I am out of the house three to four nights a week, so I do not always make dinner. Sometimes I leave it in the crockpot, and sometimes another family member does it, but people do get two or three hot meals a day around here. #1 daughter told me yesterday that she’s a bit sad that she won’t be able to cook any more now that she’s working, and I bit my tongue.
Here’s a close-up of those pastries.
They are very easy. You buy some frozen puff paste. Chop half a cup of almonds and mix them with a tablespoon of sugar. Spread this on the pastry and press it in well.
Now cut the pastry into squares and bake the squares at 400 degrees for ten minutes or so. At this point, you can split them and fill them with things. Strawberries and cream, in this case, but I think I will do something chocolate for my Sunday show.
The spinach lasagna and carrots and berries may not exactly counteract the cream.
That’s it. A few inches of Ivy. The darker knitting is the Doctor’s Bag. I left it so long that I cannot now remember what row I am on, and will have to figure that out before I can continue with it.
I have my work schedule figured out pretty well, I have all my classes and choirs and stuff under control, and I am getting to the gym and keeping up reasonably well with the housekeeping, but I am way behind on my needlework.
My husband is working lots of overtime, a circumstance which we hope will lead to our being able to take my poor car to a mechanic.
And there was enough puff pastry left in the package to make this nice little apple jalousie for breakfast.
I will be up at the store today, after doing a few hours of computer work, and then I have shows tomorrow and Sunday. More housework will be required. Also grocery shopping, cooking, and possibly gardening.