April Can’t Come Fast Enough.

So before I go blathering on about Simple Abundance any further, I ran across an interesting article by Valerie Poulin called, Sarah Ban Breathnach Pisses Me Off. Ooo, the drama!

Could it be true?? Well, probably. Who knows. I certainly don’t have the time or motivation to research the issue myself. I wouldn’t be shocked if it were true. Frankly, I’m okay with it either way.

I am not an intense Breathnach follower. If you asked me if I was ‘on the path to simple abundance’, I would say no. All I’m doing is reading a book and trying to pull the worthwhile bits out of it. (FYI, here is a link to more Simple Abundance Ideas)

If there is one thing I’ve learned very well the past few months, it is that it is never a good idea to get too wrapped up in the ideology of such books. In the end, the person writing the book never does live up to the dream that you hold. Sometimes, they are the exact antithesis of how they present themselves. This can be a startling lesson to learn, but in the end I am glad that I did learn it.
True role models are not writers that tell you how to fix your life. They are the people who actively impact your life and those of others, with modesty and grace.

The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think.

So sayeth James McCosh.

I’ve been working my way through Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Although it is meant to be a daily read, with entries for every day of the year, I’ve been skipping ahead.

Frankly, I’ve been skipping the parts where you are instructed to make any actual changes in your life. Like cleaning out your closets. Reducing clutter in your home.

Sort of defeats the point of the book, don’t you think? The idea is to do something, not just think about it and put the book away for the evening. Oh sure, I’ve been pondering the essays, trying to really evaluate myself and so forth. But intentions without any action can end up to be woefully pointless. At least to me it seems.

So right now I am making a commitment to start doing the necessary tasks. The grunt work. The somewhat terrifying tasks of cleaning out closets and freeing up space in my home and reducing the stress in my life. Today will consist of making the battle plan and basic housework, dishes and laundry, to prepare for tomorrow.

You may be wondering why I am doing what some book tells me to do. To that I say, what can it hurt? Really. What can it hurt to try something new. When the desire to become a better person, with a home I love rather than a home I simply tolerate, is gone, then that would be a very sad day. So let us get started on doing the actions necessary instead of putting it off as we often do.

  • Create a sacred space. It doesn’t have to be an entire room — just find a spot that you can use a retreat. A place for reading, thinking, prayer and peace. Make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Create a hope chest. No, not the traditional hope chests of so many years ago. Rather, a basket or chest filled with projects for rainy days and moments of peace. Knitting, scrap booking, sketching with charcoal.
  • Create a comfort drawer. For the days that are too awful to face, create a drawer of delights that will uplift your soul. Luxurious candies, perfumes, classical music CDs, trashy magazines and books, a beautiful photo of yourself, eye masks and moisturizing gloves.
  • Part with fashion mistakes and any clothing that isn’t true to your authentic self. Invest in new ‘comfort clothes.’
  • Pick one room a day and start with a few empty boxes. Collect items from each room that can be given away or trashed. I don’t save a box for garage sale items - there is too much temptation to keep these items when your sale is months away.
All in all, not a bad start.

Facing the scale.

I will admit, feeling quite silly, that the scariest thing about my new pregnancy was the fact that I would have to get on the scale. You know, in front of someone else.

I worked myself up into quite the state worrying about my first visit. I had heard a few horror stories online from other plus sized ladies regarding how they were treated by their doctors. Some were flat out told that they couldn't be seen by a 'normal' doctor, based purely on their weight and having nothing to do with anything else as far as health concerns go.

Some were verbally abused by the nurses. Some by the doctors themselves. I felt sick to my stomach. Was this going to happen to me? Would my first visit, and first ultrasound, be forever tainted by a bad experience with the staff?

Finally, I broke down and called the girl who would be seeing me for that first appointment. I had seen her a year before, and we had talked about my need to lose weight. I knew that I would have to face her again. I knew that my chart would show that I had gained weight after she had tried so hard to get me to lose it. I was so embarrassed.

By God, I was so emotional. I immediately broke down to tears as I confided in her that I was terrified of seeing her the next day. I told her that if they had a problem with my weight, please just tell me now and don't make me go through that humiliating experience in front of her.

She reassured me that they had seen plenty of plus-sized women and she had never heard of any problems with any of the staff being mean to patients. I was relieved. Momentarily anyways.

First up was the weigh in. In this office the scale was in a private bathroom. This awarded me with a nice advantage. After I provided my pee sample, I immediately got on the scale and got it to my correct weight. I wouldn't have to suffer any humiliation when the nurse started at the left and had to keep bumping up the scale to the right, and further to the right, and so on. This was a way for me to be in control of the situation, in a small little way. I survived. I didn't let myself feel depressed or ashamed, not even for a moment.

Second was the blood pressure test. The reaction I keep getting is something to the effect of, "Wow! That is a fantastic BP! What was it last time you came in?" In my head, I always hear it as, "Wow! That is a fantastic BP for someone as heavy as you are!" Even if that is what they are thinking, screw it, I am proud that I have a stellar BP and it is good news for myself and the baby.

This is who I am.

Dammit I am sick of being ashamed. I am sick of feeling so insecure. I am who I am. If anyone has a problem with it, I really don't give a crap. Who are you anyways, and why would I care that you don't approve of the way I look?

Once I do have this baby, I do plan on giving weight loss everything I absolutely have. Not because I am inadequate. Not because of the judgments I am afraid of having passed upon me. Only because I love myself and I want to live the best life possible.

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

I've been pondering who I am. Often times, I read a book, a blog, etc., and I find myself trying to be that woman, instead of just being myself. Does that ever happen to you?
  1. I wish I had the energy to clean, work on projects, cook up a storm, then be rested after 4 hours of sleep, like Martha.

  2. I wish I were more feminine like the gal who runs BrocanteHome. I want to decorate my house with antiques and special finds, just like she does. I want to have tea in the afternoon with a bit of cake.

  3. I wish I were well-read. I wish I had a high metabolism. I wish I had a house with a yard and a garden where I managed not to kill every single thing I planted.
We all wish so many things. I am guessing that before I can grow to be the person that I wish I was, I have to accept myself, as is.

That can be hard.

I don't think I will ever be really excited to clean the kitchen floor or to wash the dinner dishes. I need to learn to not expect it of myself either. Rather, I'd like to develop the discipline to do these things, albeit grudgingly, and just move on.

I don't have to be anyone but myself. I have to learn to be okay with that. I need to learn more about authenticity. To no longer say, "If I was just like her".

I am just as I should be. I am going to learn to embrace that.

Attempting to eat healthier.

by Divine Domesticity on March 26th, 2008

I haven't mastered the layering technique quite yet. Apparently it is more important for it to look pretty than to ensure that it doesn't fall apart in your hands. C'est la vie.

PS - This was my breakfast. I make no apologies.

This sandwich is sometimes called a 'California' or something to that effect. You can always add a little turkey or roast beef if you are in the mood for it. I like the taste of the veggies by themselves so I don't add any meats.

My Favorite Sandwich
Makes one sandwich

Onion bagel, split or fresh foccacia bread
Whipped cream cheese
Havarti cheese
Alfalfa sprouts
Salt and Pepper (Add to the Avocado)
Roma tomatoes
Red onions

1. Layer all sandwich filling ingredients on top of a fresh bagel or foccacia bread. Eat and be happy.

The Art and Science of Keeping House.

How many of you have read Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson? If you have read it, how many of you have made strides in becoming better at 'keeping house'?

I've read this mighty tome (almost 900 pages) a few times, and yet I've done practically nothing to improve my keeping house skills. I really want to, but I haven't done anything. Why is that?

First off, I've been messy my whole life. Second, I'm lazy.

I'm not too proud to come out and say it. I am LAZY!

When I fall off the cleaning wagon, I FALL OFF of it for weeks. I don't know why I can't stick to a routine. Hell, just picking up every few days would be an improvement.

Now, when things are very tidy, in my kitchen for example, I tend to have little rituals of where to put things away. The chocolate chips always go in the same spot, the jell-o always goes there, the baking soda and molasses are on the right, next to the jell-o.

I find myself crossed between someone seemingly OCD and someone who is a complete pig. When my apartment is a disaster zone, I hide under the covers or plan a day out just to get away from it. Or I could, ya know, just jump in with some rubber gloves and get to cleaning - but I don't do that. Rarely anyways. That is what perplexes me.

I want so very much to change my habits. I know that I've got to change them, for the sake of the baby that is due this September. I want to have a clean little home. A sparkling kitchen. Fresh towels and a freshly washed dog.

Lord knows I have the time. I am at home, with the dog, all day, pretty much every day. So what the hell is wrong with me?! It drives me crazy.

I do know this. I know that I simply must have my act cleaned up in about 6 months time. I've got to get a schedule in order. I must suck it up and get familiar with my vacuum. I cannot put it off any longer.

Time to grow up and start getting your hands dirty. Then clean them afterwards.

Mexican Hot Chocolate. Everyone should know how to do this.

by Divine Domesticity on March 25th, 2007

Granted it is nearly summer and hot chocolate isn't exactly the first thing you reach for in balmy weather, but this stuff is amazing and I order you to try it!

Mexican Hot Chocolate
Makes 2 Servings

Ibarra Mexican Chocolate, 4 wedges
2 Cups Milk

1. Add milk to a heavy saucepan and heat over med-low heat.

2. Chop up 4 wedges of Ibarra chocolate. Add to warm milk. Stir until chocolate melts and is combined with milk. Drink it!

How to be a good wife.


Home Economics High School Text Book, 1954

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal, on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the home just before your husband arrives, gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad he is home.

Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.

The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
Source: http://iws.ccccd.edu/grooms/goodwife.htm

I think a good many people have read this *fake* article and had a good laugh. As I was reading through it this morning, I had to wonder what was so wrong with it though? Is it really that laughable?

I tend to have a beef with the belief that the 1950s were a horrible time for wives. I am sure that there are exceptions to this, but on the whole, I just don't buy that all women from that period were mindless, bitter, unhappy women who were forced to be slaves to their husbands.

I think there is a prevalence of feminists who try to convince people of what a bad deal women got who were 'just housewives'. I don't buy it. I am a happy, fulfilled individual. I have at least half a brain (har har). I chose at age 21 to become a stay at home wife. With no kids even! Gasp! I just have always felt that being at home was the place that made me the happiest. Is that so wrong?