Wednesday, January 19, 2011

dishwater therapy

I don't own a dishwasher.  I don't think I want to at this point in my life.  I've never had a dishwasher because my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp.  Off and on, over the years, I have wanted a dishwasher.  But now I see the almighty had different plans for me, and that's ok.

You see, washing dishes is therapy for me.  It is a mindless task, I don't have to really concentrate on what I am doing, so my mind wanders.  To problems I am facing in my life, or to something funny that has happened, or just nothing.  Sometimes thinking about nothing is good, if you can actually do it.

This morning I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep, as often happens at my age.  I am not a do dishes at the end of a workday type gal, and Steve does the cooking, so I clean up.  On my terms.  Which usually means dishes at 5AM.  That may sound heathen to some of you, but it is a routine that has worked well for me.

While I was washing dishes this morning, I looked at what surrounded me there at the sink.  I didn't do it consciously, but I had surrounded myself with some of the things that have the most meaning for me. 

I looked at the small apple salt and pepper shakers that belonged to my Grammy.  I saw the wine glasses that Steve and I have collected on our weekend winery excursions.  There beside the glasses sat a cup with the corks from some of my favorite wines.  Hanging in the window was the prism with a small polar bear given to me by my friend Pat in Alaska for my birthday. 

 And hanging off the sides of the cabinets was the cutting board my sister Dooj sent me when she lived in Hawaii, and the wooden salad tongs shaped like bear claws that Steve and I got in Anchorage. 

All these things held memories for me.  Years of memories, held inside and occasionally brought to mind to relive with happy thoughts. 

And as I washed my dishes for the thousandth time, I thought about Grammy and Grandma.  Two totally different woman, two different kitchens.  Grammy's kitchen was quiet, and my clearest memories are of sitting at the little dinette table to the side of her kitchen and watching her wash dishes, and whistle to herself as she did.  After a lifetime of dish washing, the water was so scalding hot I couldn't touch it, but she would put her hands right in, and her dishes were always squeaky clean.  (Read more about my grams here.)
Then there was Grandma.  Her kitchen was the center of activity in the house, because the door opened right into the kitchen.  There were always adults sitting at the table, and Grandpa owned one chair in particular, and by that I mean NO one sat in Grandpa's chair.  No one did dishes in Grandma's kitchen either.  She said it was because her kitchen was too small, but I believe it was because she wanted her dishes washed a certain way, and preferred doing it herself.  She always put the dishes to soak in the sink after a meal, and usually wore a net on her hair, and never let anyone wash their hair in her kitchen sink.  My sister Dooj tried one time when we were teenagers, and barely survived.

So that was what was on my mind this morning as I washed the dishes.  The cycle of life in the kitchen.  Family.  Love.  And that is how I meditate.  My thoughts take me to a better place, and prepare me for what the day will bring.  It is my therapy.

And that is why I will never have a dishwasher.


  1. Who says writing about dishes is boring? It's lovely that your kitchen is so full of memories- I'm only slightly jealous. But I definitely have photo-envy!
    Josie x

  2. Hey Josie girl!
    Hipstamatic app with iPhone...using the Dali and Melodie lenses and the Dreamcanvas film, and I think the cadet blue or lemon laser flash on a couple... I am an app freak :D and don't have to photoedit it when the app can do it for me :D
    PS...when you comment on my blog...please add the link to yours...I enjoy it so much and I am betting some of the people who read mine would enjoy your adventures! xo

  3. Lovely memories Cath... kind of makes me want to do one about the difference between my two Grandmothers lol

  4. Thanks Kath. Funny how this started out as something different then went in that direction. Writing is an adventure for sure, eh? :D I am sure this won't be the last time I talk about the grands. They were a big influence on me. xo

  5. Ok, thanks Cath. Um, I'm a bit of luddite. . . took me years to appreciate a mobile phone, and i still don't connect my to the internet. . . you'd think someone who blogs would be a bit more into it, like you insomniamaniacs. Actually love that term, I will steal and appropriate it now. Thanks!
    Alas, I don't have an iphone either, so can't get any of those cool apps. . . or maybe I can. . .
    Josie x

  6. Hm, speaking of being a luddite. . .my link doesn't appear to be linking. . . will think about that later when it's not midnight, must go and be a pumpkin now. . .

  7. I learned by trial and explosion Josie. I've blown up more computers and gone through more electronics that you can imagine, and every mistake I made added to my experience...I see electronics as a challenge, not a frustration, a puzzle to be solved...
    wonder why it didn't work? hmmm...let me give it a try...

  8. didn't work for me either :D...I am no html genius for sure...

    well, any of you who see this link, just highlight, copy and paste it into your little ol' browser address bar at the top, hit enter, and awayyyyy you go... to some marvelous reading... :D

  9. Oh, I loved this. So full of love and warmth, it brought a lump to my throat. You and I are really on the same page here~