Windowsill Goddesses

So today was a really low energy day.  I think the Cleanse is getting to me.  I got up and did Ashtanga with Christine and Cheryl at 6:30, came home and drank my Serious Green Juice and then fell asleep during Holosync (holo-snoozed it today).

I really wanted coffee.

I did 2 loads of wash, cleaned out and refilled the birdfeeders, , made kasha, and did a lot of dishes.  I rather like doing dishes.  I didn’t grow up with a dishwasher, so even though I have one now, I very rarely use it.  I fill the sink up with hot soapy water, put on a podcast (Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.  This American Life. The Moth. Radio Lab. Speaking of Faith. Buddhist Geeks. The Accidental Creative are some of my favorites), and I wash the dishes by hand. And stare out the window. And think.

I think about the podcasts I am listening to as I wash the dishes.  I stand in awe at their creativity. I marvel at how much research and work it must have taken to make something so wonderful, so inspiring, so interesting, –all while up to my elbows in hot soapy water.

And I have a very definite system for doing dishes.  This system was taught to me by my stepfather when I was about 11.  One night he watched me do 2 stacks of dinner dishes, including pots and pans, and after I was finished he made me wash them all over again, only this time, THE RIGHT WAY.

Here is the system:

All dishes are queued up and washed in this order:

Anything that directly touches the lips gets washed first, when the water is at its hottest and soapiest.  This would include: silverware and glasses and cups.

Next come plates and bowls.

And lastly, pots and pans and spatulas and ladles, etc.

Knives and forks are placed heads down in the drainer (so as not to poke or pierce a wayward arm or finger).  Spoons can be drained heads up.

“Doing the dishes” includes wiping down all surfaces,  including the range, and cleaning out the sink, and drying and putting away everything.

I hated him the night he made me re-wash all those dishes, but his system has given me both solace and a place to start whenever I was faced with a messy kitchen.  And in college, this was every single day. Unlike my roommates, I always knew where to begin.  I began with the silverware and glasses.

Because of my system, when I do dishes I can just go on “auto” and stare out the window at the birds at the January feeder.  Or I can contemplate my Windowsill Goddesses.  Here they are:

Ganesha, Lakshmi, Neytiri

Ganesha isn’t a goddess, he’s a god of course, but I elevated him to goddess status, just because of the questionable sexuality of his  elephant part.  Who knows if it’s a male or female elephant, right?

So from left to right we have: Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles; Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity; and Neytiri, Queen of Pandora (my latest action figure from the movie Avatar).

It’s a nice little scene in my kitchen.  Me, laughing at Wait, Wait, the smell of pear-scented soap, the flitter of birds at the feeder, and the watchful eyes of the goddesses, making sure everything is done THE RIGHT WAY.

2 thoughts on “Windowsill Goddesses

  1. Kathleen:

    It is a joy to read your blog.

    Thank you for this latest post.

    You describe washing dishes with a zen-like eloquence. What a sensitive, profound portrayal.

    Even the simple things in life can bring us joy like washing dishes: it can be a creative act if you put your soul into it.

    You have a soulful way of doing household chores, and that’s something we can learn from you.

    It is also inspiring. Keep on sharing your wisdom!


  2. Doing the dishes is one of the best ways to fight cabin fever! I always do the dishes as you so wonderfully wrote looking out the window and think – ahhh it’s not so bad out there, look a cat just ran by, oh a squirrel and a couple birds. Then once the dishes are done, I step out and go WHAT THEY HELL! Its freakin’ cold out! And go back and eat some more and create dirty dishes all over again. It’s a vicious circle – but were it not for the dishes I would just eat all day long.
    Thanks Kath, always enjoy your views!


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