Ironing and Jane Austen: The Perfect Marriage

Clump # 249:  Conquer ironing pile in bedroom…again; day seven of National Blog Posting Month.


I took the photo above by the roadside on a walk today.  I just googled “large bright green tree seed” and it looks like an osage orange.   I wonder where it came from? Also, I wonder why I can’t keep up with our ironing pile, another wrinkled blob.  (Smooth transition.)  The only way I could face it was by turning to one of my favorite “ironing movies,” Pride and Prejudice.


I sat the pile down in this rocker and got the movie started. The last big clump of ironing I documented here was sped along by another Jane Austen story, the movie Sense and Sensibility, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. Fun fact: in real life, Kiera Knightley dated the actor who played Mr. Wickham, the villain; also in real life Emma Thompson married the actor who played Mr. Willoughby, who was the bad apple of that movie. Hmm.

I know true “Jane-ites” disapprove of this movie version of Pride and Prejudice.  Not wearing bonnets in public? Shocking!  Mr. Darcy and Eliza kissing? Scandalous! But I absolutely adore it.  I know Colin Firth is the ultimate Mr. Darcy, but this is a movie I can watch in one sitting, or standing at the ironing board, as the case may be.  The music is sweeping, the photography is gorgeous …


And those trees!


Where did they find trees this size:


Much like the size of my ironing job.  Just the napkins alone.


This summer we started using cloth napkins for almost every meal.  But they do have to be washed, pressed, and put away.


So many clothes we’ve lost touch with for so long … welcome back!


And if that wasn’t cheering enough, I had a “I didn’t kill it!” moment with a pansy orchid that was generously given to me this past Spring, and about which I was beginning to worry.  I noticed a brand new flower!


And a new, wrinkled leaf that I don’t have to smooth out.

Coming Back to My Senses and a New Challenge

Clump #205:  De-clump ironing pile.  Again.


Oh dear!  I thought I was back over a month ago.  Turns out, the hazy, lazy days of summer made it irresistible to take a blogging break.  Can I claim busyness and laziness as excuses?   The resulting build-up of clutter in areas I had previously vanquished is now annoying and discouraging, not to mention downright embarrassing.  Oh, and I forgot: I was really going to try to be more accepting of myself.

It occurred to me this morning that I should start another 30-day challenge.  Two of my husband’s sisters will be visiting in September, which is a wonderful thing.  I blithely thought, “I’ll just start the challenge a month before their arrival date.” Then I realized … uhhh … that would be TODAY.  Nothing like a deadline to snap me out of this rudderless-boat-in-the-middle-of-a-bank-of-fog world I’ve been inhabiting.  I’ve had a particularly bad time with calendars ever since my surgery. I’m afraid the surgeon mistakenly took the calendar-awareness part of my brain out by mistake.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:


I had meant to jot down an appointment, and instead this, above, actually happened.  We wouldn’t want to forget that it’s June 11th on June 11th!  (Help me!)

For those very precious longtime readers of the blog, you might remember a certain struggle with a very large clump of ironing in days of yore.  Well … laundry mountain rose once again:


To get myself moving, I watched a favorite ironing movie while I worked, “Sense and Sensibility,” starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. Nothing like a Jane Austen story to sooth the raging clump devouring our chair, clothing, and peace of mind. Something was wrong with the movie player/television (????) (technophobe alert!), and for some reason I could only get it to play in black and white.  I ended up really enjoying it, though.  The images of Regency England costumes and countryside were elegant in two colors.

“Judy, dearest, how long has it truly been since you put iron to cloth?”


I’m always tickled by the look of despair on the faces of this family upon first sight of the house that represents their reduced circumstances:


Such a terrible pity!  Such a hovel!  The inhumanity!


At least they could still employ two servants…


who, presumably, did their ironing.



Tear Down This Wall!

Clump #29:  Take down the ironing board as a permanent fixture.

“Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere.  Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.”   –Barney The Purple Dinosaur


Quite a while ago, here, I set the goal of clearing out my bedroom as a statement of self-worth.  Historically, I’ve given cleaning priority to public areas that guests might see (anyone from dear friends to unknown repairmen). Meanwhile, I neglect the rooms where I and my husband, dearest person of all, spend the most time.  A force of instinct, not intention, but up-side down, indeed.  Time to align intention with action.

Through previous clumping, most of the room is staying clear, and with less clutter it’s easier to keep clean. (…Remarkable.)  However, we have an ironing board in our bedroom that never, ever gets Put Away.  Let me rephrase that: I never, ever Put it Away.  This might not seem like a big deal, but it has now become our own Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany. *  On one side is my newly-clear Zen space; on the other is the flotsam and jetsam of a previous, unresolved clearing-of-public-area-of-the-house effort.  Lots of shoes and boots and other dreadful, stubborn stuff.  More like a toxic oil spill!

Keeping the ironing board out is also a subliminal message saying I am never finished with ironing.  Yes, when rushing to get something pressed, it’s a lot easier to have the board right at hand, but the psychic toll is too high.  Putting the ironing board away declares a clear and definite end-of-task.

Wow … I can’t believe I’m posting this photo to the world.  The shame!!


My husband and I were on a plane recently and he was reading the book, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar … Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.  His shoulders were shaking from laughing silently, so he handed over the following story for me to read.


“On a transatlantic flight, a plane passes through a severe storm.  The turbulence is awful, and things go from bad to worse when one wing is struck by lightening.

One woman in particular loses it.  She stands up in the front of the plane screaming, ‘I’m too young to die!’  Then she yells, ‘Well, if I’m going to die, I want my last minutes on earth to be memorable!  No one has ever made me really feel like a woman!  Well, I’ve had it!  Is there anyone on this plane who can make me feel like a woman?’

For a moment there is silence.  Everyone has forgotten his own peril, and they all stare, riveted, at the desperate woman in the front of the plane. Then a man steps up in the rear.  He’s a tall, tanned hunk with jet-black hair, and he starts to walk slowly up the aisle, unbuttoning his shirt.  ‘I can make you feel like a woman,’ he says.

No one moves.  As the man approaches, the woman begins to get excited.  He removes his shirt. Muscles ripple across his chest as he reaches her, extends the arm holding his shirt to the trembling woman, and says, ‘Iron this.’

Here’s another book, courtesy of my husband, who spotted it in a book store.   (I must note, he did not purchase it.)  Further proof of the coming extinction of ironing  as a woman’s domaine.  Also of my feeling like a dinosaur (see above; even Barney has a more evolved view).


*In the time I’ve been writing this post, I saw a film clip of Ronald Reagan’s famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech while visiting The–wonderful–National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Then, on June 12, I happened to hear on the radio that it was the  26th anniversary of the speech.  Phew …  synchronicity strikes again!

Ironing Deficiency

Clump #27:  Ironing pile, take two; ironing solution, take one.

This is an update on the previous post.  Yes, I vanquished the towering ironing pile of yore, but that herculean effort did not cure the underlying problem.   Articles of clothing in need of ironing quickly started attaching themselves — like barnacles — onto a chair in our bedroom.  Just reading the last sentence makes me laugh … as if I had nothing to do with the situation at all.  That naughty laundry!  Here’s a photo of the barnacle-like accumulation.  The longer ignored, the stronger it’s adherence.


When I pried the pile off, this is what the top of the chair looked like.  Crushed (fake) velvet.  Ouch.


Okay.  No further proof needed.  This is, indeed, a very bad plan, if you could call it a plan.  No more!   I am now dedicating this laundry basket to ironing, using the small but powerful talisman(men) of labels.  I love labels.  This one says: Let it be known throughout the land: the ironing pile now has a home of its own … I command!


I cleared out a little bit of cluttered closet for its new home, no longer an eyesore in the bedroom, or an impediment/detriment to furniture.


As proof that good things come to those who declutter, I found my old dictionary in a pile of books in the closet.  It was part of my going-to-college supplies … oh, about a million years ago … back when people looked things up in books, not computers.  The sight of this old friend loyally waiting beside me on my desk is a comfort.


Guess what?  While I’ve been focused indoors, Spring is busting out all over, outside.  Here’s a glimpse.  I love the one fully-open little bloomlet in this picture saying,”Wake up — time to open!” like the power of one clean spot in the clutter of a larger closet mess.


Happy Spring!