At some point during the pandemic, I had a major breakthrough about the repetitive, quotidian tasks of running a household. I realized that I had been mistakenly conceptualizing my daily chores (laundry-folding, lunch-packing, dishwashing, drop-off, cleaning) as activities that “got in the way of” living life, and began instead to view these tasks as part of the architecture of my day. They may not always be stimulating (in fact, can be unpleasant and fatiguing), but they are substantive and immovable blocks of time, and they matter. They will not only continue to present themselves, but they carry our family forward and should be treated with the same deference and accommodation as any other task on my plate: phone calls, fitness, preparing dinner, etc. This mindset led me to aim, wherever possible, to make those times of day as pleasant as possible. If I am folding laundry or ironing, I will light a candle, put on an audiobook, and enjoy a cup of peppermint tea. If I am packing lunch, I will do it at a time where I am not feeling harried and flustered (e.g., not in the morning, before school). And if I am doing the dishes, I will turn on music that makes me feel good. (And usually pour myself a little wine.) For some reason, this past year, I have been obsessed with turning on “Short and Sweet” by Brittany Howard when I am first rolling up my sleeves to tackle a big kitchen clean up. It hits just the right balance of transportive and quieting — it is soulful, it is moving, it is comforting. The lyrics are thoughtful enough to spark reverie. It often has the effect of making quick work of a big pile of pots and pans.
Today, sharing my dishwashing music soundtrack. Great not only for dishwashing, of course, but for any repetitive, slightly meditative task — could be gardening, could be folding laundry, could be addressing envelopes, etc…
“SHORT AND SWEET” // BRITTANY HOWARD
“SINCE I FELL FOR YOU” // BONNIE RAITT
“YOU’RE NO GOOD” // LINDA RONSTADT
“MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT” // ELLA FITZGERALD + LOUIS ARMSTRONG
“NEW YORK STATE OF MIND” // BILLY JOEL + TONY BENNETT
“TON OF JOY” // OTIS REDDING
“MIDNIGHT IN HARLEM” // TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND
“RIGHT ON TIME” // BRANDI CARLILE
“STRANGE” // CELESTE
“IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING” // WILLIE NELSON
“AT LAST” // BEYONCE
“I LOVE YOU” // NAT KING COLE
“EV’RY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE” // SARAH VAUGHAN
“CES PETITS RIENS” // STACEY KENT
“DEARLY BELOVED” // TONY BENNETT
“4 AND 20” // JOSS STONE
“BYE BYE BLACKBIRD” // JOE COCKER
“TIME WILL DO THE TALKING” // PATTY GRIFFIN
“SPARKS” // COLDPLAY
“SAY HELLO, WAVE GOODBYE” // DAVID GRAY
“FALLING SLOWLY” // GLEN HANSARD + MARKETA IRGLOVA
“DREAMS” // FLEETWOOD MAC
“I’M ON FIRE” // JOHN MAYER
“MORNING SUN” // MELODY GARDOT
“BABY” // DONNIE + JOE EMERSON
“ARE WE IN TROUBLE NOW” // RANDY TRAVIS
“HARVEST MOON” // NEIL YOUNG
“BY YOUR SIDE” // SADE
“INTO THE MYSTIC” // VAN MORRISON
“VINCENT” // JAMES BLAKE
+”The people I love the best // jump into work head first // without dallying in the shallows // and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.” (Excerpt from a favorite poem by Marge Piercey.)
+Planning to order these Isabel-Marant-esque boots but can’t decide which color — black or brown?
+You know I’m a note-taking and list-making fiend. Have heard really good things about this brand of notebook — thick, high-quality paper (has been compared to Rhodia). Fellow paperheads, jump on this!
+Another great everyday dress for fall — this one under $100.
+This mini is in my cart.
+This popular sherpa coat was just restocked in all sizes!
+This belted trench from Madewell is fab!
+I must again extol the virtues of this shoe storage situation for out-of-season or not-worn-as-frequently footwear! Obsessed. Very sturdy and cleverly designed.
+Perfect under-$100 wedding guest dress for fall.
+Now these boots. THESE BOOTS. Extra.
+Well this jacket is fabulous.
+SunHouse children just launched some adorable fall pieces for littles. I love this dress! A great go-to-Church-then-run-around-outside-with-friends piece.
+Just ordered these magnetic puzzles for my son — perfect for car, Church, etc.
+It’s been a minute since I raved about our Tonies box. I cannot believe the longevity and use of this in our home — my children almost ALWAYS have it on, and it’s not unusual for mini to fall asleep listening to it. My MIL has now gifted this to some other children. Great gift from a grandparent!