Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cara's Major

I got a really fun new homemaking book.  I didn't realize it when I bought it, but it is actually a book for home economics teachers on how to be better teachers.  Cool!  I was stumped by the first chapter, though, when it told me that in order to be a certified home ec teacher, I need to have an education degree with a home economics major from a reputable institution.  A home economics major?!?!  That was a possibility?? Where was I?  I could have taken COLLEGE CLASSES on how to be a good housewife?

No.  As it turns out, I could not have done that.  I checked MSU's website, and their whole home economics (AKA "Home Ecology") department has been shut down for years.  Not only is it no longer a major, but there aren't even classes covering the topics.  I can take a class on the life cycle of a fly, the literature of the Lord of the Rings, scuba diving, or the history of Lao, but I can't take a class on cooking and cleaning?  That's ridiculous!  Isn't college supposed to prepare students for their future?  Most students are going to do much more cooking and cleaning in their life than traveling to Lao, so I think practical classes in homemaking should definitely be offered (possibly even required...but that's another argument altogether).

Anyway, I got pretty heated up about this injustice while talking to my friend Elle.  She said "You should give MSU a piece of your mind!"  She was most likely being sarcastic, but I thought that it was a fabulous idea.  I first decided to write them a strongly worded e-mail, but who wants to wait for a reply?  Plus, I wasn't confident that they would reply at all.  I decided to give them a call.

I, as a rule, do not lie, so I had to come up with a good excuse to call.  Here is what I came up with:  "Hello, Admissions?  My name is Christine.  My little sister Cara is looking at possibly to coming to MSU, and I'm helping her explore her options.  Do you offer a home economics major? Like, where you can learn to cook and clean and such?"  Of course, the answer was no.  The person on the phone sounded like a student, and she also sounded like she thought I was nuts.  I asked why they don't have a home economics major anymore, and she answered that they've never had one.  I replied with "Actually, yes you did.  Mary Mayo started it, and now you have a residence hall named after her.  I'm just wondering why there are no longer any ways to study this topic at your university?"  The snarky student said, "Well, I don't remember ever having a major like that."  Oh, really?  You don't remember it?  Well then, I guess it never happened.  Michigan State University has 40,000+ students and hundreds of majors.  Is this kid really so pretentious as to think that she knows all MSU majors past and present?  I responded with, "Well, sorry you don't remember it.  It wasn't a major while you attended school, but it used to be one.  I'm sure of it."

Now certain that she was dealing with a crazy person, the admissions girl gave the only logical answer she could think of:  "Ummm........I'm going to transfer you to the registrar....."  Okay, you do that.

The lady at the registrar was older and seemed to have more time to deal with me.  I explained my situation, and again I got the same answer: no home ec major.  She, at least, admitted that there used to be one.  I asked if there were even any classes pertaining to home economics subjects.  Nope, none.  Then I asked the question of the day: "Why?  Why are there no ways to study such a practical field?"  She didn't know.  I pressed further: "What causes classes to be discontinued?  Was there low enrollment?  Did people feel it was outdated?  More importantly, how do we bring back a class to study these things?  My sister needs this class!"  The registrar lady didn't know, didn't know, and didn't know...  What are these people good for?  Why can't they answer my questions?  And most importantly...

Where am I supposed to go to get my masters degree in homemaking?

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Apron

I love aprons.  I started a collection of them before I even started this project, so I guess that should have been a heads up that I really belonged in another decade.  Most women today use aprons for decoration rather than function, but I really like them.  I read an article on the history of aprons, and I liked this quote from it:

"Magazines from the 1940s and 50s feature apron-adorned women in nearly  every advertisement that is related to housework or cooking. It was a standard uniform that, at the time, was not frowned upon. Aprons were a selling feature for irons, kitchen appliances, food products and more.
The 1950's brought out the half-aprons of highly starched cotton,  
feedsack  and sheer fabric trimmed with lace for special occasions.  Two piece aprons and short smocks of bright cotton prints for every day use were popular."

So the half-apron started in the 1950's.  Who knew?   It made me happy to read that because I just got my first ever half-apron for my birthday!  My in-laws gave it to me.  I figure I will put a couple of pictures of it in this blog for you to see since it's so cute.  For those of you who care about brands, it's Vera Bradley. The acquisition of this half-apron makes me one step closer to being an official fifties housewife.  I'm not a forties or thirties housewife....don't you see my half-apron?!  That was popular in the FIFTIES.  It wasn't even around before then.  Now I can have the functionality of an apron in the kitchen but still be able to sit at the table and look sophisticated and put together from the waist up.  What a good invention.  Apron makers everywhere were probably so excited about that trend.  They got to use less material and still make the same amount of money.  Someone certainly had their thinking cap on.

If I ever find a time machine, I'm zipping back to 1953 and donning my new apron so that I will be the most fashionable girl in town.  My in-laws rock.

Here is a picture of the apron.  The picture below it is the box it came in.  The box was shaped like a small oven, and when you opened the oven door you could pull out the apron.   How awesome is that?!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Guilt Trip

I have discovered a fatal flaw in my plan to be a perfect housewife.  The books tell me that I have to have kids, and I don't want to.  Here is the way I see it: I have kids all day long at my job.  I love them very much,  but I like the part when they go home at the end of the day and I can have some peace and quiet.  What's so horrible about that?  Everything, apparently.  Check out this quote from one of my books:  "Couples who marry without any intention of having children, even though able to do so, are often motivated extremely selfish desires which, in themselves, defeat marriage, since marriage assumes love, the opposite of selfishness."

Rude!  Why can't I be a selfless wife if I don't want to be a mother?  It's not like the reason I don't want to have kids is because I want to have extra time to sit on my duff eating bon bons and watching Jersey Shore. I don't watch Jersey Shore, and I've never eaten a bon bon in my life.  I don't want to have kids for a lot of reasons.  There's the work reason, there's the fact that I like having extra time to write children's literature so that I can enrich the lives of children all over the place, and there's the fact that my doctor said that considering my current medical conditions, a pregnancy could result in many health difficulties for me and for my baby.  So really, I just don't want one.  Rex and I have prayed many times that God would give us a desire for kids if we're supposed to have them, and so far we don't have that desire at all.  So basically, we were okay with that conclusion until I read page 209 of the book Your Marriage and Family Living.  I took a picture of that page for you:

Bad news, Rex.  We have a 70% chance of divorce because we don't have kids!!!  Forget the fact that we love each other, constantly sacrifice for each other, and are best friends.  We don't have any diapers to change, so we're screwed.

Except..........  does this graph look weird to anyone else?  SEVENTY percent of marriages without children fail?!  That simply can't be true, especially back in 1946 when this book was written.   I tried to do some extra research on this issue, but unfortunately there aren't many online articles about divorce rates in 1946.  I can tell you, though, that 1946 was before birth control was widely available, therefore virtually all families had children.  I'm sure the divorce rate was lower then than it is now, but I doubt it was as low as 8%.  I just think these stats seem very strange and unfounded.  I wish they would have told me a bit more about where they found these numbers.  Frankly, I think they're bunk.

***EDIT***  I did find some research on divorce rates in 1946.  They were at roughly 20%, which was "deplorably high" and "an indication of an unstable society."  So yeah, I think the stats in the book were dumb.

So I guess I'll put page 209's advice with the previously referenced asbestos article on my list of "Rules I'm Not Following."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

RIP Monopoly Iron

The executives at Monopoly have chosen to remove the iron from their repertoire of player tokens.  Instead of the iron, they are adding a cat. 

When you stop hyperventilating out of shock, proceed to the rest of this blog post.

Dear Monopoly Executives,

You and I are in a fight.  Why did you decide to stop making the iron!?  Was that really the piece that you needed to vote out?  I think the wheelbarrow is definitely more pointless.  I've been playing Monopoly for twenty-four years, and no one ever wants the wheelbarrow.  Or what about the boot?  No one wants the boot!  I take your rejection of the iron very personally.   

Without the Monopoly iron, girls of the future are not going to be able to iron their Barbie clothes.  If they never iron their Barbie clothes, they'll never encounter the spark of joy that leads to become a domesticated woman.  I used to iron each space that I landed on when I played Monopoly.  It was very satisfying.  Now what am I supposed to do??  Is this a feminist plot to make women more modern?  You may be removing our tiny irons, but I assure you:  we will find a way to teach our children the fun of pretend-ironing.  Don't even try to stop us. 

Also, you didn't choose to replace the iron with another domestic item such as a broom, mop, skillet, or monogrammed serving spoon.  You chose to replace it with a CAT.  What's up with that?  You already have that cute little scottie dog to represent the animal kingdom.  Now you have two pieces representing the animal kingdom and zero pieces representing the housewives of the world.  That is rude!  I will not stand for this discrimination!  Who was behind this switch, a feminist at PETA?  Down with womens-lib-tree-huggers!  Up with irons!

As a personal protest, I vow to never use your new stupid cat piece.  I will get my own iron (my full size iron), and use that as my game token.  It might cover up a few spaces at a time, but hey - more properties for me.  You should have left me with the small iron, and I would have been more inspired to play fair.  Now all bets are off.  I hope the new cat gets run over by the racecar.