Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Round Holes & Square Pegs


No, this is not a post about shoes (per se).  Yes.  There are shoes in the photo.  Lots of shoes.  But what I really want to discuss here is the storage of shoes; in particular high heeled shoes.

My last post revealed a frightful state of disarray in my closet.  It was an unmitigated mess.  I have since taken the time to try and organize the handbags and belts and scarves (in addition to clothes).  And for the most part, things are looking pretty good.  Except for the shoes.

Now I have several shoe organizers hanging in my closet.  I also have a shoe carousel.  I’ve also had (in the past) over the door shoe trees.  I am not unfamiliar with shoe organizational paraphernalia.  And they’re fine.  If you wear flats.  Or low-heeled shoes.  They’re not so fine if you wear heels.  And l love me some heels.  Really high heels.

I can fit ONE SHOE in each pocket of the nifty hanging shoe organizers.  The carousel is great.  Except that it tends to unscrew itself when you turn it, resulting in the ill-timed avalanche.  Plus, when you start hanging a platform shoe with 5″ or 6″ heel, well, you start needing some serious real estate in order to accommodate the dimensions.  In short, the shoes just don’t fit very well. The heels hang out and scrape against walls and clothes, and other shoes.  Finally we get to the over the door models.  More of the same.  The heels stick out so far, they interfere with the door.  Plus, those jutting heels are kind of dangerous when at eye level.  And usually the shoes are too large to be able to utilize all of the slots, so again, lost real estate.

The only real option left is the plastic shoe box.  And these are fine provided you have the space to accommodate all the boxes.  At least I can fit the pair in the box together.

Why is it so hard to find practical means of accessible shoe storage?  I want to wear my shoes.  I just don’t want to have to work so hard to put them away.

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My Closet Needs an Intervention


There is no excuse.  None.  The stuff is piled up so high it reaches the ceiling.  And that’s not all of it. It’s not even mostly clothes.  Shoes.  Handbags.  And there’s more.  The thought of cleaning it out makes me want to collapse in a fit of vapors.

I’ve consulted my new housekeeping book (see post regarding my inability to clean my house).  There is advice.  Good advice.  It involves organization (I like this), taking inventory (I’m less comfortable), and purging (again, vapors).  I fundamentally don’t want to get rid of the shoes.  Or the handbags.  And I really don’t have room for them all.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is one of those tasks that is best done with someone else.  I think a different set of eyes would help me gain a more positive perspective.  This is, after all, a process for me.  I’ve just been doing things on my own for so long now, that I forget that I don’t necessarily have to.

With luck, I will declare victory over the closet clutter by the end of the month.  It’s good to have goals.

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Baking Bread


There is something very therapeutic about baking bread.  That toasty, yeasty smell wafting through the house.  When I was first married I used to make bread as stress relief. I would take out my frustrations kneading the dough by hand.  Plop it in loaf pans to rise.  Wait impatiently while it baked in the oven.  This was not fancy artisan bread.  Just plain white sandwich bread from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  Once I forgot to add the salt and it was horrible.  Several times I over-proofed the yeast.  But the process always brought me a sense of comfort.

This recipe I’m using is virtually fool-proof.  There’s no kneading, proofing, complicated risings.  Everything (all 4 ingredients) gets mixed together; sits for a couple hours; then into the refrigerator.  When you want bread, you hack off a chunk of dough and form it into a ball.  Let it rest for about 90 minutes, then into the oven for half an hour.  I like the bread a lot.  It tastes great and it means we can have a fresh, crusty loaf pretty much whenever we want.  I miss the process though. Must be a sign of progress or something.

For the recipe, go to http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/02/09/back-to-basics-tips-and-techniques-to-create-a-great-loaf-in-5-minutes-a-day#more-1616

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Another Reason I Must Get the Household Under Control

It would seem that every time I’ve gone to the grocery store in the last week (at least 4 times, I’m ashamed to admit), I’ve bought at least one or more heads of romaine lettuce.  The refrigerator is virtually exploding with lettuce.  We are turning green from all the salad.  This week I am determined:  I trip.  With List.  Refrigerator cleaned out BEFORE I leave the house.  And I think we have enough lettuce.

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That’s exactly the kind of day it was.  Thanks to all night storms, I barely got any sleep and then couldn’t get up in the morning.  No housework.  Cooked though.  And made the girls clean the kitchen.  More storms headed this way.  Think I’ll just curl up with Nalini Singh’s new release and start over tomorrow.

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This morning I got up extra early to read my new housekeeping book.  Specifically I wanted to look at the various strategies:

  • Clean everything all in one day
  • Clean a room a day
  • Tackle certain types of cleaning chores each on its own day.

I see the pros and cons of all three, but I probably have to go with Door #2.  I don’t think I can give up an entire day to housekeeping.  I don’t have the attention span (or willpower).  Grouping tasks (like cleaning all the mirrors, or windows, or doing the dusting) each day is also not good for me.  It’s too scattered.  I would never feel like anything was actually finished.  I think the “pick a room and spend a half hour cleaning it” is probably going to work best.  I picked the Dining Room (mostly because I was standing in the kitchen and the light was shining through showing every bit of dust and dog hair and utter chaos and I just couldn’t stand it one more minute).  So, out came the duster and the vacuum.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a darn sight better and I feel better.  More importantly, I am motivated to work on another room tomorrow.  I think this might truly work.

I think I can work out an equitable schedule that doesn’t overwhelm me and doesn’t interfere with work.  And I take off Sundays.  Period.  In fact, I’m going to try very hard this week to have my shopping and laundry done on Saturday morning.  I typically have a terrible time setting up and adhering to routines, but I think this may just be worth the effort.

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I Don’t Know How to Clean My House

I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t know how to clean my house.  Oh, I know the mechanics of using a vacuum cleaner and a duster and a mop, etc.  It’s more that I don’t have any sense of how to approach it as a process.    Which means that my house is never truly cleaned.  There might be a day where the living room is dusted and vacuumed.  But not the dining room. Or the bedroom. The ceiling fans might as well be on the moon for all the attention they get.  It’s an ongoing struggle.  I don’t know where to start and I don’t know how to start.  So I just ignore it until, well, I can’t.

Very occasionally I hire a super competent person to come in and clean the house from top to bottom.  I vow to  maintain the lovely level of cleanliness.  I don’t last the month.  This is frustrating to me.  I prefer organization and order.  I live in clutter and chaos.  And I telecommute, so there’s no escape.  It’s overwhelming.

So on Sunday I went to the local Barnes & Noble in search of some expert help (there are entire sections of the store devoted to cleaning and organizing – this does not make me feel better).  For $40 I can get Martha Stewart’s ginormous tome on all things housekeeping.  I found it entirely too scary and could not bring myself to buy it.  I think I need to work up to it.  I did however, find Cleaning Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin.  $17 and only 307 pages including Index.  This is much more my speed.

So, I bought it and I’m reading it and I’m now holding out hope that I might just figure out how to clean my house.  Or at least that’s my goal for June.  It’s good to have goals.

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Just a start

I’m not yet sure what this blog is going to be about.  Maybe for a while it will just be a random collection of thoughts until I figure out where I’m headed.  Maybe it will help me find direction. I suppose everyone has to start somewhere. So this will be my start

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