Monday, June 7

My first crop of lavender is almost ready to harvest.

Yesterday a roomie came home from work early because a client cancelled, but it was a good thing because said roomie was not feeling well. And then the man of the house came home after a long work day and he usually needs a few minutes and some caffeine before he finds work to do on his next academic degree or major DIY project. With frozen cookie dough popped in the oven and a fortuitous accident of turning on the video game console and signing in all the players for a quick game, it was only a few minutes before the house smelled of chocolate and peanut butter and they were happily slaughtering each other on the TV screen.

The best part was when they put up the controllers and refilled their coffee mugs and said things like “I needed that!” and “It was so nice to relax for a few minutes”, and even “Those cookies are magic” (this last mostly followed by the discreet theft of handfuls of cookies). And then they were able to comfortably transition from work to home, and I went back to whatever work I had been doing before. These are the moments--these in-between moments--when my job is very valuable to family morale (sounds funny to hear, but if you don’t recognize the truth in what I’m saying you may as well give up on life now).

Knitting & Spinning
Katheryn and I have spent most of our time indoors recently because of the humid-to-rainy weather. We even had a huge thunderstorm the other day, and my cat took several hours to forgive me for it. And besides, most of my time I have spent plying yarn I’ve already spun because my stash is starting to be less goal-oriented and I can’t have that.

I’ve started a sort of rhythm where I spin (fleece to single thread) and ply (spinning two single threads together) during the week and then wash and set the yarn on the weekend, laying it out on our lawn chairs so that the sun dries it (or at least drip-dries it if it is super-bulky, so that I finish drying it inside at my workbench on a drying rack).

My knitting projects are going spectacularly well; I have a pair of socks knitted up the toes and an Estonian lace scarf half-finished (with a few mistakes, but it is my first lace scarf of significant laciness!). The socks are part of my house-knitting and the lace scarf is for my own edification; I will probably give it to my aunt who is tall and willowy and appreciates handspun lace. Unfortunately I have one pair of arm-warmers for my mother (house-knitting) I am going to have to unravel, ply, and re-knit. Shouldn’t take too long, though. I have another project in the planning stages which will have an entire blog entry to itself once I get the pictures taken.

Tonight I am baking a meat loaf (with home-made chili relish we canned last year), a sweet potato pie (with home-made pie crust of deliciousness), peach cobbler (fruit from a local farm stand), and either steamed green beans or buttered peas. I will also be baking whole wheat bread for dinner. And a batch of cookies with chocolate in them to celebrate a homecoming.

Pies have been the food of choice lately; Sunday roast leftovers with extra gravy (a family favorite), apples that looked a little too inviting and coincided with a new jar of cinnamon, and summer icebox things with vanilla whipped cream. Our guests are duly impressed and my family is very proud and acts like they have this stuff all the time (who are we kidding? they do!), which is cute to watch and makes me happy.

Generally speaking, I love my job and it doesn’t really matter what people say about it. I don’t need to justify myself and am stubborn enough to not be persuaded by the ignorant. However, it is a thorn in my side, an un-scratchable itch on my back, an irritating speck in my eye when people (mostly women) think they know how to do my job and act surprised when my schedule is not free to spend socializing at their convenience. (NB: This rant completely ignores the fact that I don’t believe in socializing for the sake of socializing and would in all seriousness be happier mopping floors than faking a smile.) HOWEVER. People are important. Stupid “love everybody” rule. I am going to have to talk to God about this.


Rebbie said...

I love your descriptions of your job, it is clear you enjoy it very much! I am a part-time homemaker (with only one person to take care of, I found I'm entirely too extroverted to home-make full-time) and enjoy it often, but it's encouraging to read your descriptions. One needs encouragement when one's primary work is really fairly solitary. At least I find that to be true. Do you?

miss rika said...

Thanks:) I can't imagine what it would be like to have only one person to care for, although I expect I will have to think of it one day. The present fact is that I would love to be alone in the house once in a while so I could actually get some work done without people wandering in and out over it all the time (I carefully schedule my mopping times and jealously guard them).

I relish encouragement in my job even though it isn't as completely solitary as it might be. To be honest I need encouragement to know I'm doing my job well; since homemakers have no quarterly reviews or progress notes or even upgrades, promotions, or whatever, we have to find our own ways of knowing that what we are doing works. It is also an extremely relational job, so being emotionally aware and available is often more important than any cleaning or cooking I do (there are shortcuts here--so long as there is something freshly baked and snackable there, and the front doormat is clean, nobody notices anything amiss even if I haven't done dishes or folded laundry in a day... or two...).

Sometimes my idea of encouragement is as grand as an empty cookie jar and a pile of shoes in the front hallway. However, as a family we decided early on that positive reinforcement was necessary to be a good team (having several members in the helping professions as well as from Christian families), so I do intentionally get stories about how people try to steal their lunches and they do boast about getting handknit (now handspun, too!) garments on holidays--oh, and I get requests to knit/cook/mend/fix things for their friends, which is a compliment.

It is even a little over the top to have guests over because my family likes to show off the fact that they have a homemaker by subtly displaying handknits and acting as if fresh homemade bread is something everybody has:)

I am glad that what I have to say is encouraging to you. I do enjoy my work (so much more than working a 9-5 or going to university!). Even though I have no idea why I have to take this pause in my life (I'm young! I should be trying to go professional, or something) I know that this place is where God wants me to be. If I don't have anything else, I have that which is the most important, and that is something I can put my whole heart into. And God is embarrassingly good to me in so many ways.

Sorry for the long reply! You can ask any questions you like! I'm happy to share anything I know.

Rebecca said...

I finally happened back upon this post to read your lovely lengthy reply. That is great that your family is aware of the need to encourage each other, and that they're appreciative of what you do!

It didn't occur to me that you'd have people traipsing in and out all the time! Honestly, I think that might make my life a little easier; solitude just makes me less inclined to work. I find I have to get out and have those social engagements just to be motivated to crawl out of the foetal-shaped crevice between my laptop and my retinas. Even if they're just social-ish, being in the physical presence of other people while I do the things I would have been doing anyway helps loads.

But if all those people were in and out of the house all the time, I imagine it's such a different story! You don't have to go anywhere to get your sociality, and you probably have 5x as much to do as I do. Makes sense.