I may be the only person I know who doesn’t enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. And yet, who would benefit from her obsessively self-aware, perfectionist ways more than I? I grumpily traverse a daily maze of psychic and material clutter. I trip over teetering stalagmites of to-do lists, notes from teachers, unmarried mittens and batteries of unknown origin and potency. I think (hourly), why can’t I be more like Gretchen Rubin? Why can’t I live in a well-run home and write biographies of presidents and self-improve over the course of a year, reflect on the process and write a book about it (and get a second book deal)? Why can’t I empty the dishwasher?
Once, not so long ago, a bizarre incident reminded me just how far I have strayed from my domestic ideal. It was an ordinary day until a dust ball appeared. At first we thought it had simply blown out from beneath the wardrobe but no, it became animated! It started hopping! We thought we were witnessing spontaneous generation. Our household filth had become intelligent household filth, or at least ambulatory filth. I moved closer, equal parts riveted and horrified. At the center of the disc of dust, cat hair, rubber bands and at least one Polly Pocket bikini was…a small frog. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a photo, since I was trying to get the amphibian out the door before the cat got wind of the most exciting thing that would ever happen to him. It was a living, breathing, hopping, metaphor for the laxity and entropy of my home. The frog blinked, sneezed (I think) and looked at me like, “You have got to be kidding.” I shrugged, and placed him outdoors in some mud where he sighed a tiny froggy sigh of relief at being shed of us. And then I did the only sensible thing: I baked.
If a frog materializes in your home, I suggest you bake something green. These Key Lie Cupcakes are so scrumptious.
And speaking of green, here is the smoothie I made the other day in an unfortunate attempt to elevate my level of health and bodily purity. As my brother reminded me, if you use more than a few leaves of kale it’s not a smoothie, it’s blended kale. The color of this is so gorgeous, but it was worse than I can say.
Stick with the cupcakes.
May you fight chaos! Or just give in and bake!