Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chaos Theory & Perfection

        This was written several years ago, when my situation was different.  But I like it so I’m going to share it anyway. 

I don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes it feels like frustration lives with me.

Like earlier this week when I tried to clean the cat’s litter box and the cat insisted on using it during the cleaning process.

Or when I had just finished actually scrubbing the kitchen within an inch of its life, dishes and all, when my roommate smilingly brings in an entire tray full of used glasses and di from the study. 

It's a conspiracy, make no mistake about it. 

The Universe was not meant to be a clean place. Dis-order, chaos and dust are the rule, no matter what Martha Steward tells us.

In no place in nature do brooms exist of their own free will, nor do vacuum cleaners grow naturally in any corner of our planet.

Given the opportunity, all things attract dust, muddy dogs prefer the couch, sticky children are attracted to keyboards and spidermites prefer favorite plants. 

Somehow, in our household, I was elected to work against tremendous odds, doing the impossible, fighting off the inevitable. It is my job to make the place clean, no matter who lives here or who made the mess.  I don't remember volunteering, nor do I remember accepting the draft notification. Yet somehow it is my responsibility to keep the house shining and beautiful. 

I've pondered about this for years (no comments please), but I have yet to come up with a solution.

I have thought of four basic ways to handle the situation, none of which are satisfying. 
1)   Ignore the situation entirely. I go and play with my art stuff or read my books and have a good time. This works, but only for a short time. Sooner or later I will want to wear clean clothes or drink from an unsullied cup. And it is depressing to live with unrelenting dinginess 

2)  Pay someone else to do the cleaning. This works only if you have a family budget which can afford such luxuries, which ours doesn't. I strongly suspect there may still be things that fall unattended to, anyway. 

3)  Blackmail other members of the household to do part or all of it. This is great theory, but it seldom works in the real world. My dogs cower at the sound of a vacuum cleaner, and so does my husband. The cats simply Hate the dishwater and so do children. Friends, however, can be trained not to date the messages they write in the dust.

4)  Compromise. Do the best I can with the time I've got. It will never be perfect, but I might sometimes be able to make it livable. 

(I should note here that there is a fifth solution – which is to make it fun.  But even I have troubled expecting that miracle to happen)

The real trouble comes with expectations.   I am sometimes too all-or-nothing in my thinking.   I want my home to be perfect, otherwise why bother?

But It’s difficult to have a perfect home when it is actually lived in.  Clothes need to be cleaned, likewise with dishes.  Dogs shed copious amounts of fur and cats bring home half-eaten presents.   

I get so frustrated when my home does not resemble magazine pictures.

I expect myself to be perfect.
I forget that I can't be.

 I compare myself to Grandma Moses, Betty Crocker, Sister Wendy, Mother Teresa and Princess Di, all at once.

You see, I forget that even they only had to be one of them at a time. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Cinderella Story

(Orange Sampler of straight stitches, around 2' by 4')

The Cinderella Story

Take what you like and leave the rest

The Cinderella story is found in many forms in many cultures, from Russia to China, From Ethiopia to England.  Details change from culture to culture, but the themes remain the same.  It is one of the most pervasive human myths. 
In some few cultures, the Cinderella figure is male.

There are some important elements that seem to figure highly in nearly all versions of the story.

-The Cinderella figure is often poor, always worthy, but unappreciated.  In fact, Cinderella is usually  persecuted.

-A gift is given, sometimes by a fairy godmother or jinn, sometimes as a found treasure from an unnamed source.   This gift transforms the Cinderella figure so that he/she is seen as worthy in the eyes of others.  But Cinderella is so transformed that those who might be expected to know Cinderella the best do not recognize him/her.

-However, a Handsome Prince (or Princess or nobleman or tribal leader), does recognize the special qualities of Cinderella and is instantly smitten.

-Cinderella has to leave in a hurry, or is taken away, or is lost.

-After certain trails in which the Prince or Princess proves they are worthy, Cinderella is found again and the two are united.

-They live Happily Ever After.

It is obviously a fairy tale

I believe that there is reason that this story is found in so many cultures.  Jung speaks of the Universal Human longing for love and acceptance.  This need transcends time, place, culture and gender.  We all want it.  We all need it.
Cinderella is an archetypical story of that search for Love.  In this case, romantic Love.   It is, in effect, a ‘chase’ story, chasing after Love.

And, of course, once we have found Love, there is the question of keeping it.  Most fairy tales end with “And they lived happily ever after”.
Most of us know well that ending is itself a fairy tale.  In fact, many of us might say that it is not the ending, but the beginning of the real story

The stories that take place after the ‘happily ever after’,  those stories are probably more relevant and interesting than the ‘chase’ stories.  And more helpful, too.

But that is for another blog.

                &      &      &      &      &      &

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lesson #1

Lesson #1

What cheating at cards has taught me

I admit it.  I cheat at cards.  Oh, never when I am playing with other folks, just during solitaire.  And even then, my cheating only means that I can take back a move and try another option.  Having the games on a computer makes it easier, because I don’t have to clear off a flat place to put the cards.

So in solitaire, even on a computer, there are do-overs.  If only there were do-overs in real life.  Except, sometimes there are.  Once in a great while we get to do something over.  But, silly us, when that happens, many of us make the same moves we did the first time.  

Just to make sure that what we did last time really doesn’t work.