I just finished reading a book called Le Ménagier de Paris. I don’t speak French so I had to read the English translation The Goodman of Paris. It has been absolutely fascinating to read this primary source document and ponder on the social realities of medieval Europe.
Here’s the plot. It’s 1393 and a rich, older man of 60 decided to get married again. His bride is around 20. The modern woman in me is a bit shocked with the age difference. The historian in me understands it was common practice for men to be older than their wives. As a present, he writes a book for his new bride on how to be a good wife, take care of the house and live without him after he dies.
The first few chapters are all about religion and how to live a moral life. It paints a picture of the role of faith in medieval Europe. Christianity and religious festivals were their life. The next chapter discussed how his new wife can make him a happy man in the bedroom. I’ve read the Bible enough to understand exactly what the Goodman of Paris was talking about when he said his bride needed to “know him”.
This man had a lot of opinions on everything. The rest of the book explained how he thinks his manor should be organized. He explained how to to boil water, cook soup, skin a chicken, hire household staff, argue with temporary workers, do needlework, prepare medicinal herbs, keep the pots clean, get stains out of clothing, keep the gossips in town from ruining her reputation and a bunch of other things that were critical for life as a 1393 young woman. Some of the advice was actually pretty sound and still applies to modern-day life. For example, there was one section that said tradesman like to take advantage of female buyers. He recommended that his wife get two opinions before agreeing to any household repairs. I’ve had car mechanics try to cheat me before so this advice is still valid. Some of the advice was ridiculous. I rolled my eyes when I read the section on how to wear pious, black and white wife clothing in public. Really? Why can’t a 20-year-old wear purple? I love the color purple so I would have made a terrible medieval wife.
I got a little teary-eyed when I read the chapter on why the The Goodman of Paris wrote his book. He expected to die before his bride did. He wanted to make sure she could make it in a world ruled by men. He may have been a man of his time in many ways, but I got the impression that he did love his wife and desired her happiness.
Overall, I would recommend Le Ménagier de Paris. It was very informative. I got the added benefit of feeling like a scholar while reading it. I also learned a few useful skills that will come in handy in case of the Zombie Apocalypse. For example, I now know how to skin a chicken and hire a maid to do my laundry.
What’s in your book bag?
I think my alarm clock is against me. Take a look at this picture.
The Snooze button is huge. It’s larger than the button I press to get going for my day. My alarm clock does not want me to get up. It wants me to keep sleeping. It wants me to be late for work. This realization made me giggle this morning. I added it to my joyful list.
The conspiring alarm clock is my #311 joyful moment since I started this blog. What made you joyful today?
My Aunt and I went to the royal wedding this morning. You might have heard about this wedding. It’s been on the news for months. Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle forgot to send us an invite, we did our best to enjoy the festivities on a teacher’s and an artist’s salary. (In case you didn’t know, I’m the teacher and the Aunt is the artist.)
We watched the ceremony on the TV while sitting on my hand-me-down couch. We wore plastic tiaras that I bought from the dollar store. We ate pastries on my thrift store china and toasted the new couple with sparkling apple juice that was purchased with a coupon.
We both oohed over the wedding dress. It was simple and beautiful. The news said the dress is estimated to cost 100,000 pounds which is around $135,000 US dollars. Given that the average American worker has an income in the $40,000’s, you would have to be pretty rich to afford a dress like that. The social justice side of me started calculating how many school lunches you could buy for disadvantaged children with that kind of money. The “Happily Ever After” side of me started imagining that it was my wedding day with a beautiful dress, adoring groom and enough money to never have to worry about paying the bills ever again. The last part about having enough money to never have to worry about bills sounds very nice.
It was a lovely wedding. The couple seems to really like and love each other. I enjoyed watching the little glances between them. There’s something sweet about watching a couple in love. You feel hopeful for the world. The real star of the show was the Episcopalian minister. He was delightful. Reverend Michael Curry gave an amazing sermon. I said Amen a couple of times when he was talking. I completely agree with him. God is love and we can make the world a better place by treating each other like brothers and sisters. He was also just plain fun to watch. He was so animated and passionate about the word of God. It was like I was sitting in a revival meeting and not a wedding.
This is what the Esteemed Duchess of the Dollar Store looks like at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. I’ve got frizzled hair, bags under my eyes but I’m still smiling.
Her Royal Highness Princess Aunt Marla declined to have her 3:00 a.m. photo taken for this blog. There are some benefits to being an average American at times. Privacy is one of them.
It was a memorable royal wedding even though it was dollar-store style. I’m a little tired. I think I will go back to bed now for a much deserved nap.
I don’t like confrontation. I’m usually the one at the social event who finds a way to change the subject once a controversial topic comes up. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion on whatever issue you are discussing. I do. I’ve just lived long enough to see good people stop being friends with other good people just because they voted differently than them. I don’t want lose my friends so I bite my tongue.
The last few months my state has been in a huge debate about public education. I felt strongly about the topic of educational funding and I wanted to participate.
So, I marched. I participated in some of the events at the AZ State Capitol and the Stand Out to Stand Up event on Baseline Road.
I felt a change when I went to the Capitol. Yes, the rally was fun. The crowds had energy but the change inside of me was more than the change in the state budget. As I stood there with my sign and red shirt, I decided it was okay to talk about the hard topics.
Changing the subject may not always be the best idea. Especially if it is something you believe in.
You may have a different opinion than me on the Red For Ed movement. That’s okay. We can have an open and honest dialogue with each other and still be friends. That’s what I learned the day I marched.
This is the girl who was peacefully sleeping
Unaware that disaster was silently brewing.
This is the pipe that leaked in a wall
Where water was collecting for who knows how long.
This is moment the girl walked in the room
And felt a river of water and saw a gushing typhoon.
This is the valve in the front of the yard
That the girl pulled and then sat by to cry really hard.
This is the husband who was out of state at the time
Who got the phone call that the house was now slime.
These are the fans and the bills and demolition holes
This whole experience is vexing to one’s soul.
(A Note for my family and friends: Nate and I were able to file an insurance claim. We will be able to fix the damage. I am always happy to accept homemade dinners though. Just kidding about dinner. You are not obligated to cook me dinner. I know how to order pizza. Life is never boring around here. I hope I never see water again. It’s a mess to clean up.)
As most of you know, I have been tracking my joyful moments the last few years. I write them down in my little journal. The really funny ones I put on this blog. I just had joyful moment #305. I was doing my weekly shopping and I saw this.
That flake is gigantic. It looks a menacing alien who is trying to take over the Earth. It made the joyful list.
Happy Birthday, little blog. Five years ago today, I started this adventure called my13daychallenge. It’s been fun to share the comings and goings of my life. Here are the top six blog posts based on the number of readers. It’s crazy to realize that I’ve had over 8,000 views on my bog. At least, that is what the statistics page tells me. It is possible that 4,000 of those views are from my Mom and Dad, but I hope that at least one blog post has inspired someone somewhere to reach for their dreams.
- My Back to School Photo
- The Turtle and the Hare
- Boxes are not just for little kids
- Wonder Woman: Meet SJ
- Be Brave and Get Rid of the Dress
- Life Lessons from my Garden
Happy birthday, little blog and thank you to all of my readers. Go be awesome today, dear readers.
I love this time of year. There is so much excitement in the air. Paper and pens go on sale. I get a new group of young minds to mold. All of my friends post cute back to school pictures on social media. Here’s my back to school photo. This is what the teacher looks like after the first day of school.
It’s going to be a great school year! Cheers to the 2017-2018 school year.
It’s July. This should not be happening at the grocery store.
Way too early! We are skipping over all the other important holidays like Back to School Popsicle Day on July 25th and National Hot Day on August 26th. What! You have never heard of Back to School Popsicle Day? You poor thing. How did you survive your entire life without eating frozen sugar water on a stick every July 25th?
The candy display really made me think. How often have I missed the present moment, because I was too busy waiting for some future event? It’s really easy to say that you will be happy when a specific thing happens. I remember doing something like that in college. I told my roommate that my life would be complete when I had a cute boyfriend, a great job and $250 in my checking account. Guess What? Those happy events came and went and somehow my happiness bar had been raised. I didn’t appreciate the moment when I got that cute boyfriend, great job and $250 dollars. It’s okay to have goals and work on them just remember to keep those eyes open. You don’t want to miss the beauty in the every-day moments all around you.
Mother Teresa has an awesome quote that really sums it all up. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.”King Solomon in the Old Testament said it this way. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8)
Be present. Be here. Live in your season. You can plan for tomorrow but remember to live in today.
(In case you were wondering, National Back-to-School Popsicle Day is my own creation. I made it up as excuse to eat a treat. If any of my dear readers work at the popcycle company, you can send me a royalty check for the free advertising. After all, tomorrow is Send Amee a check day.)
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to share embarrassing, awkward and funny moments related to dating and crushes.
I was 15 and head over heels for a young man named Jeff in my Sunday School class. (names have been changed so I don’t get sued) I would stare at Jeff when the lesson got boring. Jeff always sat by the window next to the blue curtains and I would just imagine that one day he would turn around and say hello to me. One day Jeff did turn around and said in front of everybody, “Amee, stop staring at me”. I was mortified but I couldn’t let a cute boy think I was actually staring at him. So, I smiled and said, “I’m not staring at you, Jeff. I’m admiring the cute pattern on the blue curtains behind you”. Awkward! He just rolled his eyes. I wanted to disappear and a bunch of the kids in the Sunday School class laughed.
What’s your awkward love moment?