"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Read recently where a new study shows that today's young women, while advancing in the workplace, are losing their "lady skills" and few know how to do the same domestic chores that their mothers and grandmothers did.

Making a roast, baking a cake from scratch, sewing on a button...apparently all have gone by the wayside because today's 30 Somethings are too busy for such things.

Well, I'm 54, and although I am no longer advancing in the workplace, I can tell you that my lady skills are certainly in need of some honing.

Remember darning socks?

I may damn socks while trying to match the little suckers, but as for mending the ones with holes in the toes?  Nah.  Toss 'em. Buy new.

However, I have been known to --  on rare occasion -- drag my grandmother's sewing basket down from the attic, spend an hour trying to poke a piece of thread through the miniscule eye of a needle, and sew a button back on a shirt.

Last time I did that was probably 1982.

As for baking a cake from scratch...

Methinks it may have been Daniel's sixth birthday.  Three failed attempts and I finally opted for an ice cream cake from the grocery store.

I do know how to make a roast.  As to whether or not it's edible, you'll have to ask my family.  And they will gladly tell you once they stop chortling.

Of course, no blog post about domestic artistry gone AWOL would be complete without a few good quotes from the Lady Skills Bible of my mother's era, "The Good Wife's Guide" circa 1955:

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. 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 get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, 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 for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him 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, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

Only had to read this retro gem once to understand why my mother drank.

Happy Thursday!

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