Friday, June 6, 2008

What's cookin?

The work world was the first place I experienced the strange dichotomy that is my personality. My ideal self is a benevolent earth mother, but the tarot cards and my horoscope invariably cast me as the queen of swords. In fact, in most of the world the female of any species is the most agressive in defense of her young. So, maybe, just maybe, the whole benevolent earth mother is a misrepresentation of women.

My own mother chastises me for being too sensitive and caring too much about what other people think (other than what SHE thinks of course). In the work world I've had people say with me in the room "don't be fooled by her kindly hippie demeanor, she'll cut you off at the knees if you cross her."

Maybe I am sociopath, because I don't really see a problem with the two sides, as long as neither side is hidden. Are we captives of our own characters-or how others would percieve our characters? Unexpected anger, etc. from someone doesn't bother me nearly as much as unexpected kindness-but I too like people to behave as I expect them to behave.

But the truth is, in many situations and settings, such as my own kitchen, I'm not quite sure how to behave. Really. Teflon (fumes) stainless (sticks)? So, I've been working on my kitchen with the intent to understand what it's saying about me, what I think it means. I have this notion that if I can conquer the kitchen, I might be able to deal with the rest of the house and maybe life.

It's been crazy-I've examined everything from a complete remodel-which would leave me broke and completely remove the 50's details that I adore. I finally settled for a new dishwasher and a stove and I'm going to add gadgets to make the cabinets more functional. The fridge is up in the air at this point.

Now, all this could have been conveyed, perhaps, by saying, I'm getting a new dishwasher and stove today. But, honestly, it means a lot more.

The early days of this blog had me espousing and grousing about all the STUFF we have-and I still believe we have too much stuff. But I am no longer sure the stuff is the enemy, maybe it's the need for the stuff to make us into something we are not. What if I flipped that over a bit and used stuff that would help make me into who I want to be?

The ideal of strolling nekkid through garden just isn't practical in today's society.

Like a true woman of my generation, I escaped from the kitchen, now I'm going back to the scene of the crime to see what it was I was running from. Not the oppression of a male dominated society-leaving the kitchen didn't resolve that one at all. I think it's more the repression of a female image that doesn't fit me.

So, I am making the kitchen over in MY image. Precious counter space is devoted to....a coffee/tea area. I'm putting the fairly new toaster in the garage sale (I can't eat bread, I don't even have any in my house).

I first titled this entry "is life contextual'? and I think my point is ultimately that there are big gaps in the context of my home life. And why should filling them in be more difficult or painful than an educational/knowledge gap or any of the other countless gaps I've filled over my life? It's just one more puzzle.

9 comments:

kj said...

hey! i've been traveling and missed your comtemplations. i hope you do something special after you make your kitchen to your liking. i know what you mean...

Debra Kay said...

KJ-your home photos inspire me. My mess has gone over the top, even for me-and it's saying "face the underlying cause or live with me"....LOL.

I wish I could say it's because I'm lazy or non creative, but that isn't true. Closer to the truth is that I don't feel confident putting myself out there in "matters of the home" and that is going to change. I'd like to create a space that reflects who I am, because I really don't believe I'm a bad person at all.

My latest thing is not to just watch the design shows, but challenge them when they try too hard to sell a design by bashing another....like "tired outdated shelves...." well, I LOVE my old shelves and shudder to think I almost replaced them. Now, I'm not knocking new fangled anything, just knocking making choices based on what someone else thinks ought to be in your home.

Now, I'm quick enough to realize the kitchen is a metaphor for something (not sure what) but if the world wants to speak to me in metaphors, then that's what I will work with.

Forever Young said...

this is an excellent post, so much more than what to do with the kitchen...my view is 'get out of the bloody kitchen' i don't do kitchens and i don't do food or cooking either...

Mim said...

I love an old fashioned kitchen, with good smells and a place to sit and chat. I agree Deb, it's the craving for stuff and the importance that we give it that is crazy. Enjoying technology, and making things easier to do is not evil, it's human. I think that we have to be grateful for the conveniences that we have...not let them make us spoiled and unkind. Share what you can.
I just bought a wonderful new sewing machine and the old one is getting an overhaul, and heading off to goodwill or a similar place. I want someone else to enjoy it, and enjoy it at a good price. I could hold onto it...just in case..but don't think that would be wise.

Note: my old house had one of those old fashioned kitchens and while warm and cozy it was very inconvenient. New house has a more sterile look - we went too far in the other direction. Next house will get it JUST right.

Anonymous said...

WHO says, "The ideal of strolling nekkid through garden just isn't practical in today's society"?

Fern said...

I'm happy in my kitchen if there is no dog hair in my tea cup....and especially happy if the rock collection on the window sill are freshly rinsed.

this post is more than about the kitchen, though isn't it? About the hearth..the heart... the center of your home/your self.

Debra Kay said...

Mim, I "salvaged" the shelves from my old stove and dishwasher for a couple of projects-and at first felt guilt....but I have no clue what Home Depot will do with the old stove/dishwasher and I put the shelves to good use-the dishwasher shelves are now rollout cabinet shelves and the stove shelves are bracing up my squash.

The grates are a special prize-I am torn between using them for my grill table top OR filling them with cement and making some awesome stepping stones.

I think the nugget for me is that it's OK for me to utilize my stuff fully and THEN give away what I don't want or need. I don't owe anyone a complete stove just because I bought a new one.

I did blaspheme-I threw away perfectly good teflon pans....but I didn't want to give them to Mom or even GW because I was getting rid of them because I thought they were harmful for health.

I do the same thing with my shoes. Because of my feet, I wear out the insides long before the outside shows much wear. Mom thinks I should donate them, but I really worry that I could hurt someone who is looking for a good supportive shoe-because the support is gone.

Ok, it's not really a worry-like I don't sit around brooding about it-but I do try to be thoughtful and responsible in my actions-even in donations.

Anon-I don't live in a very nekkid neighborhood.

FY-I'm just trying to get function and cleanliness and a flow that suits me-hence the big coffee area.
But I do buy lots of cooking things, so I must consider that maybe I truly want to cook at times. And if that is what I WANT, why don't I?

kj said...

do what ever you want debra kay. that's the bottom line. please yourself first. do it your way. god knows you've had to compromise enough already here and there. stick up for your kitchen!!!!

:)

human being said...

wow wow wow
a wonderful post...
very thought-provoking...
every word of it... gave me lots of thing to ponder on..

'Are we captives of our own characters-or how others would percieve our characters?'

once i really was... but the years that i have lived with the idea that all people should try to understand they are just different... i have been living much happier... if others don't understand me ... it doesn't mean i should be explaing about my points all the time... i live my life and let them say whatever they want... sure one day they come to accept the difference...

and regarding the kitchen and cooking... your words were very deep... yes they are metophors of some deeper things... our inner alchemy...
and i think me too should be "going back to the scene of the crime to see what it was I was running from."

i think for me something else is working too... but i rlate to your idea of 'stuffs'...
i'm running form them.... it seems, however, sometimes they help us to return... my husband says the same thing you say...

i really love this post... and also the comments and your words on them...
think i'll be back again ... i want to read it again and again...
need it...