After many years of failed attempts at journaling, I decided to try again. It has always been my goal to record my thoughts daily so I will have something to read over later in life but thus far I haven't been very consistent. I have boxes of half filled journals from various moments in time. However, since I type much more quickly than I write by hand, perhaps a modern form of journaling will be easier to keep up with.
In addition to basic journaling, I hope to record my ups and downs as I move on to the new career of a professional homemaker. I am very excited about staying home full time and taking care of my house and husband, but I do worry a bit that the days will all begin to blend together and soon I will look back on a year and wonder what I accomplished. At least this way I will have a record of the small triumphs and minor catastrophes in day to day housewife life.
So, what brought me to this point? (This is something I always feel like I must cover when I first start a new journal. Bear with me. It might get a bit long.)
I grew up on a lovely green piece of property in northwest Washington state. My parents were happily married and joyfully welcomed me as their first child. They were a bit surprised however, to discover that I deviated from the family tradition of brown hair and instead had "peach fuzz" (red hair). After several idyllic years I was blessed with a little brother, then tragedy struck and my father passed away due to a brain tumor. Although heartbroken, my mother carried on and did a fabulous job as a single parent. She is truly an amazing woman.
As a child, I enjoyed school and learning. Anne of Green Gables was my favorite book and I loved playing outside in the woods. In high school I continued to study hard and spent many hours participating in choir and drama. Through some luck I was able to attend a summer fine arts camp in Alaska and because of that experience I ended up attending The Seattle Conservatory of Music on the weekends my junior year. I had taken voice lessons for a few years but at that point I became much more serious. I had got it into my head that I should become an opera singer - even though I had never seen an opera. At the end of my junior year, discouraged by driving an hour and a half to Seattle each weekend, I applied and was accepted to Interlochen Arts Academy.
I spent my senior year of high school out in the woods in Michigan living in a depressingly concrete building next to a beautiful lake. I had both academic and musical classes and learned that I didn't like singing well enough to pursue it full time. I also learned that it is hard for me to live in a dorm that is full of passionate artists. With all that passion around, my love of singing didn't seem very persuasive. So, instead of applying to conservatories as all my neighbors were, I applied to a variety of colleges and universities and ended up at Tufts University in Boston.
At Tufts I did a bit of singing, however, an allergy to some mold growing in the very old and scary music building gave me a six month case of laryngitis so I gave up singing by my second year. Instead, I focused all of my energies on my other love - molecular biology. My high school biology teacher was excellent and from her I learned to love DNA, cells, and PCR. I took as many biology courses as I could and worked part time in a yeast lab on campus studying the affects of various proteins on the fragility and stability of a tract of DNA associated with Huntington's disease. It was a fabulous experience and was one of the happiest times of my life. Yeast really are amazing creatures! However, by the end of my second year I was tired of the cold Boston winters, I couldn't find affordable housing for my junior year, and I was just a half unit course away from completing the requirements for my biology degree.
My mother was eager to have me back on the west coast and had repeatedly sent me transfer applications to Stanford. My brother was applying to go there the following fall and she felt it would be perfect if I could join him there as a transfer student. Of course, I had no intention of actually applying... at first... But one day I woke up and saw that we were getting a new flurry of snow which I felt wasn't at all appropriate since it was already the middle of March. I figured the weather would be much better in California so I picked up the Stanford application and filled it out. I started it on a Tuesday and it was due on a Friday. I hurriedly put everything together and ran it to the post office - arriving just minutes before they closed on the final due date. After I left the post office I put the application out of my mind and finished up the school year. I left Tufts that summer fully intending to go back the next fall.
I spent the summer after my sophomore year out in Seattle doing an internship with foamy retroviruses at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. It was very interesting and I learned a bunch of new techniques. However, I also learned that I had been accepted to Stanford and that worried me because it meant I had to make a decision. I decided to go to Stanford for a visit, since I had never been there before. I visited and decided it was nice enough that I should try it out. I figured I could always head back to Tufts if I didn't like it.
That fall I joined the small herd of transfer students at Stanford and promptly joined the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band or LSJUMB. With all of my experience singing you would have thought that I could play an instrument but I couldn't. However, in the LSJUMB that didn't matter a bit. When I walked in the door at the beginning of a rehearsal they asked me to pick out an instrument and told me they would teach me to play it. I glanced around and saw the tuba section. The sousaphone definitely looked like the most exciting instrument so I picked it and joined the Toobz. A week later I was on the USC field "rocking out" during a half time show. I hadn't yet learned how to make any noise with the tuba, so instead I focused on running hard and dancing wildly during the pieces (the LSJUMB being of the more progressive "scatter band" type).
The other main focus of my time at Stanford was dancing. Stanford has a fabulous social dance department headed up by the amazing dance historian and teacher Richard Powers. I joined his classes my senior year and as I learned to dance I also met the quiet, nerdy guy who would later become my husband. For six months we chatted and learned about each other as we moved to all sorts of music. We learned the swing, polka, waltz, cross-step waltz, hustle, schottische, mambo, merengue, tango, rumba, club two step, west coast swing, lindy hop... When summer break started my guy and I decided we should date. We have now been together three and a half years and married for a little over half a year.
At Stanford I continued on studying biology but learned that they would require me to take many more chemistry and physics classes for my major - things that most students fulfill during their freshman and sophomore years. I realized that if I went down that route I would have to spend all my time studying physics and chemistry and I wouldn't have much time for biology - my real passion. So instead I dropped out of physics and took a variety of upper level molecular biology courses my junior year. My senior year I switched to psychology as a major and rapidly filled my schedule with as many psychology courses as I could. After five quarters of psychology classes I completed my degree.
As I left college I was blessed with a job right away through a connection with a family I had nannied for during my senior year. The day after I finished my last final I started full time at Picaboo. It was a lovely little photo book company that had just launched their software a few months before I joined up. Needless to say, they are much larger now and provide an excellent product. I worked in marketing and learned all sorts of fun computer skills. It was a great change from school and I enjoyed learning and making money at the same time. I worked for them for roughly three years, although I cut back to part time after I got engaged. In fact, I just recently stopped working there in order to pursue a new goal: becoming a birth and postpartum doula. (That and the fact that the slumping economy has made things difficult for growing photo book companies.) So as of last week I am now at home full time.
Through all my many ramblings and educational pursuits I have always held a desire way down inside to be a housewife. However, whenever I would mention that to friends at college they would say, "Why the heck are you working so hard to get a Stanford degree then??" It's funny, being a housewife is a very hard profession to aspire to. Unless you are extremely fortunate, it is a very hard thing to manage on your own. And I wonder how fulfilling it would be to be a homemaker on your own with no one to bake and clean things for other than yourself. It is amazing to me that it is even possible for me to stay home full time. I really am incredibly blessed.
I have sort of skipped over the lovely story of my romance with my husband but I will revisit it a different day when I'm not running out of time (as I am now). Suffice it to say that he is a lovely old fashioned sort of guy who really wants me to stay home as his housewife (provided that is what I want to do - which it is). He was raised on a steady diet of classic movies from the 20's through 50's so we get along well as far as our desired husband and wife roles go. Also, we are very blessed in that his income allows me to comfortably stay home so I can dedicate myself to housewifely tasks without the stress of needing a second income (although, it's always nice to have a little pocket money!). So here I am at home. I hope to be a good classic housewife. I want to bake bread, keep a tidy house, perhaps have a garden, sew quilts, make pies, and volunteer in the community. We shall have to wait and see if I can actually accomplish all that. Hopefully it will make for an interesting journey.