Dishes and other domestic thoughts

July 21, 2008

We are finally starting to feel a little more settled. We are renting an apartment owned by my family. It is an old house that has been divided into an upstairs and a downstairs apartment and it has been primarily occupied by various family members at different points in their lives. And now it is our turn. Our upstairs apartment doesn't have a dishwasher so I have now added that chore to our daily routine and strangely it is something I look forward to each day. This is probably just the honeymoon stage and I'll be missing my dishwasher soon, but for now I am enjoying it. Actually reminds me of what the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn wrote about doing dishes as an exercise in mindfulness. I can't say that I am always "mindful" or meditating while doing it, but there is something so soothing about dunking my hands in the hot, soapy water and such a nice sense of accomplishment when I get rid of that pile of dirty dishes. As you can see from the photo, the kids have also been enjoying their attempts at dishwashing. They used up an entire bottle of dish liquid while I was trying to get things moved into the apartment. On one hand it seems so wasteful, but on the other hand(that of a now single parent!) it was so worth the money and mess for their enjoyment and distraction so I could get some work done without my little helpers.

Another recent discovery in the apartment is a little George Foreman Grill that was left in a cupboard. I remember hearing others rave about this little gadget when it came out, but I am now a convert. Especially since it is too darn hot to turn on the oven and wow, does that little grill work quickly. I think that will be our primary source of cooking for the next six months! If you have suggestions or good recipes for an indoor grill send them my way, please!


Oh and here is one more domestic realization. It isn't a new one. It started during our escapes to Oura Wan and has continued with our recent travels. Less really is better. We have a very comfortable set up here thanks to my generous family, but it is also a very scaled down existence. Minimal furniture. Minimal toys. And minimal dishes. And it is a good thing. In fact
the less dishes the easier the dishwashing...if you only have four sets of dishes, you only wash four sets of dishes. There's my deep thought for the day.
Weasel said...

I miss you guys...and I have been thinking of you all so much recently. I will in be touch with some contact information. Why is it that things like cell phones, and in my case address books seem to go missing/malfuntioning when you need them the most? It is the curse of a mobile family. Can't believe how big Camille is getting!!!

Jessica said...

I'm laughing, if it wasn't for the George Foreman grill I would have one less brother-in-law because he would have starved to death a long time ago. ;)

Glad you guys are settling in. Great photos--as usual.

Betsey said...

Haven't been by in a few days. Sorry to hear of the struggles. But am glad to also read things are settling down and you are settling in. Your little place really sounds nice. Our family also enjoyed the simplification and "no worries" attitude we learned in Japan. It always bothers me when I discover we are losing that. I hope this time, surrounded by family, goes more smoothly and most quickly.

Tisra said...

I'm on board for the less is more! And while I don't hand wash dishes for everything, I get a sense of accomplishment with what I do. Mostly, I load the dishwasher full and then handwash what doesn't fit. BUT, I love, love, love hanging my clothes on the line to dry. Even though it takes more time, I use it as a moment to breathe in the outside air, listen to the birds, and pray.

Andrea said...

Thanks for popping over to my blog. I used to read yours way back but lost the address when I got a new computer. Good to find you again. :) You should definitely do the unplugged projects, we are having a ton of fun doing them!

Shanea said...

I was washing three days worth of dishes in my double sink today due to nearly burning up the dishwasher with lack of water pressure. It took me back to my San Diego days of no dishwasher, and I agree it is a sort of soothing task that gives a sense of accomplishment. My kids have emptied a bottle of dishwashing liquid in the throes of settling in as well. I rationalized that if I'd gone in search of an amusement to keep kids so thoroughly engaged and enthralled, I probably would have spent more than a bottle of dish soap! In hindsight, it probably wasn't so great for my septic!
Glad you are settling in!

Mom said...

Seeing the kids at the sink, washing the dishes made me feel like I was seeing them more grown up. I guess part of it is that Noah must be standing on a stool and he looks so tall and the glasses make him look so mature. They look so absorbed in their task it reminded me of when I used to put Stacy and Adam in the tub to scrub it clean...they loved it! Your apt. looks great and very cozy and I agree, less is more. Talk to you soon, Love Mom

Karen said...

Hey Lucia, Of course I agree with everything and everyone (etc, etc)... but I have to add, I LOVE THOSE FLOORS! haha! Painted hardwood? Love it!-- K

Heather said...

Your dish soap story reminded me of when my children entertained themselves for an hour with a roll of toilet paper while I was busy taking care of something. Wasteful? Perhaps. Cheap and effective entertainment? Definitely. :)

Funny, I absolutely hate washing dishes, but I kind of enjoy doing laundry for the same reasons you mentioned--it's kind of soothing, frees up my mind, and gives me a sense of accomplishment (especially if there's a clothesline involved).

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