Saturday, April 9, 2011

Recommendation For a Successful Marriage, Then and Now

Somewhere along the way, I was given a list of "marriage secrets" from 1950, probably in one of my English classes in high school. I, being the precocious girl I was/am, decided to re-write them when I was about 17. Now that I'm actually married, I'd re-write them yet again, hopefully with more maturity and wisdom.

My favorite photograph of my grandmother

1) HAVE DINNER READY: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal - on time. 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 come home and the prospects of a good meal are a part of the warm welcome needed.
2) PREPARE YOURSELF: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, 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. His boring day may need a lift.
3) CLEAR AWAY THE CLUTTER: Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.
4) PREPARE THE CHILDREN: Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
5) MINIMIZE ALL NOISE: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.
6) SOME DON'TS: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.
7) MAKE HIM COMFORTABLE: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie 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, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.
8) LISTEN TO HIM: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.
9) MAKE THE EVENING HIS: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure - he needs to be home and relax.
10) THE GOAL: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
FROM: 1950 Home Economics Text Book


Jenn's Rules for a Successful Marriage (1999/2000)
1) Dye your hair blue.
2) Buy me flowers.
3) Be sure to have candles and incense burning, as well as wonderful music blasting when I get home.
4) Make yourself useful and do some housework once in awhile.
5) Don't try to grow beards or huge sideburns. They're scratchy and unpleasant to the touch.*
6) Make sure you listen to me. And I mean REALLY listen.
7) Refrain from referring to me as "your woman".
8) Don't be such a wuss and let me give you manicures.
9) Bring me cheesecake, chocolate cream pie, and coffee as often as possible.**
10) If I don't want to talk, leave me alone.
11) Give me good back massages.
12) Take me swing dancing.***
13) Don't be insensitive when I have cramps and am in pain. And don't make cracks about me needing Midol.
-Boldly Going Nowhere, Issue 3, circa 1999/2000

On our wedding day, November 8, 2008

Today's Recommendations for a Successful Marriage (2011)
1) Equality is key
2) Show love daily
3) Thoughtfulness goes a long way
4) Share the household chores
5) Listen to each other
6) Be understanding of each other
7) Be willing to compromise
8) Make time for each other
9) Laugh!
10) Be each other's best friend

*My husband has had sideburns for as long as I've known him. And he has a beard. I actually prefer him with a beard.
**I'd probably amend this to chocolate and wine.
***I've never been swing dancing in my life, I've no idea where this notion came from.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Photo Geek-dom

San Francisco Art Institute

In case you didn't know, I am a bit of a photo geek. Photography was my favorite class in high school. I did a summer photography program at the San Francisco Art Institute between junior and senior year. I even majored in photography in college. It started with developing black and white film and prints in the darkroom. Gradually I moved on to the color darkroom. Finally, after college finished and I moved home and no longer had darkroom access, I started to work digitally.

It's been a long time since I developed a roll of film. (Remember those?) It's also been a long time since I've written a zine. Furthering my re-visitation of that teenager I used to be, here's a poem* I published in Boldly Going Nowhere, the zine I produced over a period of 2 years.

"Ode to the Empty Film Canister

Oh, my empty film canister!
How I adore you!
Your curved surfaces
Like motor oil on pavement
With rain.
Such perfection in your contours!
Such perfection is fit only for the gods.
So much possibility lies within you!
You could be a change holder,
The pennies and dimes would
Inside you
Like ancient
Leaning Towers
Of Pisa.
You could carry the jewels
Of the one who owns you,
Keeping them safe
From predators.
Oh my empty film canister!
Such splendor in
Such rarities found only one place on this earth,
The place of your birth,
-Boldly Going Nowhere, Issue #1, circa 1999

*Part of me suspects this is actually an exercise from my AP English class, which would be further indication of my geekyness.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Revisiting My Teenage Self

I haven't written in a long time. Make that a very long time. Priorities have shifted, and I don't really know what I want from my creativity anymore. That being said, I do miss blogging and writing and just doing something creative. So tonight, I put the dishes and adult responsibilities on hold and dug out some relics from my teen years. Surprisingly, some things haven't changed so much.

When I was 16 and 17*, I wrote a zine called Boldly Going Nowhere. It took me about 3 months to put together an issue, and I stopped once I went away to college, so I only ever made 6 issues. I distributed them to friends and people on this Witchbaby** message board I belonged to (I have absolutely ZERO recollection of how I got myself involved with that, or why I stopped being involved. None whatsoever.) A guy at work recently gave me a copy of his zine (which, by the way, is really cool - thanks, Corey!), which got me thinking about all of the time I spent working on mine. Maybe one day I'll resurrect it, or create another one. But for now, I think I'll just re-published certain "highlights" in this new-fangled media thing called "a blog."

"I pull into the parking lot of Office Depot, thinking I'll pick my two extra binders and clear colored plastic dividers at my leisure. As I'm walking in, I see a girl from school. "Hi Jessie," I call...she returns the salutation. It is at that exact moment I realize that I will probably see about half my high school crammed into the 7 aisles set aside for school supplies. Amazingly, not only is half my school population squeezed into those few walkways, but also half the student body of just about every nearby elementary, junior, and high school. Of course the shelves are practically bare and you have to fight and elbow and bite in order to even get close enough to glimpse the price tags advertising that Office Depot has the lowest prices and the largest selection of school supplies.

But I, taking a stance as "Monkey Girl" herself, decide that I have no better place to be other than in the midst of students and their parents at Office Depot, and therefore will look for the humor in the situation. Seek and ye shall find, my friend. Frantic students are everywhere. "Omigod Mom, I can't have THAT planner! It will clash with everything I own!" Once I finally position myself in front of the dividers, I take my sweet time picking the ones I want. Let's see, do I want the plain white ones? Or the ones with clear tabs? Oooh, if I get this package I can get 8 for the price of 5! I pick my dividers. I decide I don't want them. I put them back. Impatient people are all around me, frothing at the mouth, waiting to snatch up the best deals.

Standing in line to pay for my items of choice, I hear a rousing account of how someone in the calculus class has already finished all the math homework for that night, and how unbelievable that is, and who she was asking for help, and how she has to juggle THAT class with ASB AND the assemblies. And behind me is a girl who is pointing out every single athlete from my school to her mother, explaining who is on varsity and who is not, and who is really good at what they do, and who is not. I shift my folders and dividers in my arms. Catching sight of my precious dividers, the girl exclaims "Mom! I need those!! Omigod!!!" Mom suggests asking me where I found them. The young athlete declines. It wouldn't be cool. I'm probably some loser, and besides, she's waaaay too cool to talk to me anyhow. I silently laugh. I pretend not to here Mom's suggestion.

People are walking into Office Depot, shrieking their friend's names, and running over to give them a hug that nearly knocks them off their feet. It's THE social event of the season! Party at Office Depot! Let's make cute accessories out of Post-it Notes!!

And of course there are those of us who are pretending not to know that we are standing right next to each other in line. Oh hi Sarah, didn't see you standing on my foot practically. How was your summer? WILD you say? Mmm hmmm, see you around school, I can't WAIT! Fakey fake. But it's the best way to handle people at the party of the century, at Office Depot."
-Boldly Going Nowhere, Issue #1, written circa 1998

*Remember, I was 16 and 17 when I wrote these things. You must excuse the silliness.

**For those not in the know, Witchbaby is a character from The Weetzie Bat Books, written by Francesca Lia Block. They were a series of 5 books that followed the same characters throughout their lives in LA, and were eventually published in a single volume called Dangerous Angels, which was one of my favorite books at that time. When things are stressful for me I find myself regressing to my teenage self, listening to Portishead and Smashing Pumpkins, tearing through my FLB collection and battling insomnia and nightmares. (Last night the nightmares centered around my upcoming trip to England for my sister-in-law's wedding. I get there and realize I've left my shoes at home.)