Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Time Don't Matter to Me

I was listening to some song a moment ago while I meticulously checked accounts and balances to displace from seventeen other things. Until the computer decided that it was having trouble streaming a song. Anyway, there was a song about being a thousand miles from nowhere where time don't "matter to me." Dwight Yoakum's "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere" if you really want to know. I'm so not in that place. I'm in the displacing place. But it's a place of clock watching and calendar checking. A place where the minutes and hours count but I can't seem to make them count.

I took a picture of this sign somewhere on South Congress. Maybe on the side of Guero's. Do you think that the ravages of time have made this sign less convincing. Yeah.

Time is slipping away. I should be getting my files organized and figuring out how to make this move. But I'm displacing until it's time to do something else that will keep me from what I should be doing. I just keep consulting the 'to do' list and deciding to do something from it that is either easy or fun. Tomorrow it's May. I have to get productive. One minute I'm counting the minutes (it took me 10 minutes to do the crossword in the paper) and the next I'm wasting time blogging. I actually record the time it takes me to do things sometimes. I actually allocate time to a task sometimes ("I'll work on this for an hour..."). But for all that I'm stumbling through my days as if I were a thousand miles away.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Confused and Displacing

This picture (taken on South Congress in March) is here because I'm displacing from things I should be doing and because I'm in a confused state. Things are falling apart faster than I can organize them. It's enough to make you drink and watch TV I tell you.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Parts is Parts

Wires, phones, cords, adaptors, gadgets. I toss them or give them away and still they multiply. I took this picture a long time ago. This lot is most likely mostly out of here, no longer in my way, as the picture was taken years ago. But there is another couple of cubic feet in the storage room that I've assembled to get rid of. We've been having brief drenching rains so curbside mall is out. I was thinking maybe Freecycle or take the lot to the thrift store to see what they could make of it. Or have the computer guru drop it off at Goodwill. The trash seems irresponsible so I don't usually throw too much of this junk in the trash. (Never say never.)

I'm at great peril of being boring and repeating myself today for various reasons. I was awakened by a mighty clap of thunder and have been watching it rain (and some pea-sized hail) since. I appear to be destined for sitting in my chair with a cup of coffee and The New York Times crossword until time for a brunch we agreed to go to today for some cause.

As long as I'm rambling...we watched (on DVD) a movie called "Blame it On Fidel" last night which I liked very much. Even though I had to read the subtitles and couldn't read at the same time. [Ed: You allege knowledge of French. LB: Yes, and how clever of you to know the film is (mostly) in French as it is set in Paris with references to Spain, Cuba and Chile, and yes I recognize the occasional word but really, yeah, subtitles must be read sadly.]

Enough rambling. I'm going for another cup of coffee and the newspapers. If I doze, don't sue me.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Bizarre Feeling

I took this shop window reflection a year ago January on SoCo. While I was goofing off and finding and editing this old picture I noted that there are more entries in this blog labeled downsizing than shop windows or reflections (although not by much). I also wondered if I'd used this image here before and I think the answer is: not exactly. I used an image here that I shot a moment later. I am feeling bizarre and disconnected. I have a thousand tasks to do to sift, sort, trash, recycle, give away, catalog and generally contain my stuff. I have things I want to do, too. Some writing and reading. I've found I go slightly nutty if I don't do a few things I love. So I spent all morning at the club. First a couple of sets of tennis doubles and then a stationary bike ride for over forty minutes while catching up on some old newspapers.

But now I really must do some good, make some progress, handle some stuff.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Yesterday on the tennis court one of my companions was wearing a T-Shirt that said 'Bahrain.' My other companion (there were only three of us at that moment although someone came along later to play true doubles with us) asked "Have you been to Bahrain?" I answered for her: "She has rules. In bed every night by 8:30 and she'd never wear a T-Shirt if she hadn't been there." She agreed that those were indeed rules of hers. As we continued playing I was thinking that I had that rule about T-Shirts, too. But I was puzzling over something, some rule I had, that someone had found very amusing. Ah, yes, the postcard thing.

I always tried to only send postcards that showed things I actually saw, preferably from an angle at which I observed them and in the right weather and season. I know. Silly rule. And not always possible if you want to actually buy and send a postcard. Nevertheless. My friend Maggie of Cape Town took me in 1997 to Addo Elephant Park. We stayed in the park in a fenced area with a little shop, a restaurant, a bird hide and a swimming pool. We went on day and night trail rides and saw elephants, antelopes and eland, took a swim in the pool, saw beautiful little red birds (Cape Bishops) in the hide. In the gift shop, my friend Maggie picked up a postcard that was one of those collages of the sights of the place. She checked them off with her index finger...the Cape Bishop, the elephant, the swimming pool, etc. "You can buy this," she said. "You've seen them all!" I did. My friend Maggie, rest her soul, had a good sense of humor and of my rules.

The postcard here breaks my rule in many ways. It's just an image stolen from ebay long ago however. It's Houston, a long time ago with a blimp flying over. Weird, huh? But I wasn't going to send the image to someone with a 'wish you were here' greeting. If I'd wanted to do that (for Houston?) I would have wanted the picture to look like, you know, where I was! I can't remember the last time I was in Houston although I've been to Katy a couple of times in the last year or so. I used to go on a pretty regular basis when I worked and FFP and I have enjoyed some fun times there doing museums and restaurants and some performances.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm No Expert

Some time back in 2001 I shot this picture of collectibles and stuff I had in the spare bedroom. The shiny toy cars, I gave away. The battered Tonka VW still decorates our bedroom and I hope to take it along to the condo and find a book shelf or spot for it. The old Pick Up Sticks were given away, I think, but I'm not sure where. The Band-Aids with the South African flag motifs? I stuck those in the medicine in the spare bathroom along with a little tin of aspirin (remember those 'push both corners to open' tins?). I thought it would amuse those guest who open the medicine cabinet to see what's in there.

The flask with old Russian medals I think I gave to the thrift store or the Settlement Club garage sale. I saved the bendable posable figure because it is an old one. But I'm not entirely sure where it is.

I'm no expert on anything collectible but I know a little about bendable, posable (collectible) figures. The oldest you will find probably say 'Made in West Germany' on one foot or a leg or the back. Made there after the war and before the economy recovered. Then the manufacture of such cheap toys moved to Japan, then Hong Kong then China. Detailed painting (with lead?) disappeared along the way.

I'm no expert on much of anything, collectible or otherwise. I never got too deeply into the ins and outs of the things I was attracted to or collected idly. I would buy a globe or a toy because it was cool-looking or reminded me of something. I did buy books about toy collecting (as you can see here) but truthfully I just glanced through them and said 'cool' and then put them on the shelf. (I've given those away to my sister.)

And your point is, LB? Nothing. I'm no expert and I've no need to keep things unless I just like them. And, you know, have room for them.

I Once Shot Shops in Other Latitudes

I am so whiny. I know I got to go on my (blizzard-shortened) jaunt to New York not so very long ago. But now I'm wondering if time and circumstance will allow travel any time soon. (Not to mention gas prices and air fares.) It's sad to be retired and unable to travel. Of course, moving to a condo is supposed to be a first step to making travel easier. We just have to weather it, so to speak. It is clear, though, that we will be needing to get hired help for our parents to make those trips and who is to say that their circumstance might not necessitate our presence. Don't you laugh when you see those ads from financial advisers showing smiling and fit gray-haired sixty-somethings pursuing their dreams on beaches or in exotic locales. If you'd invested with some of those 'advisers' you probably wouldn't be smiling plus you wonder where the elderly, needy parents or the return to the next ne'er do well children are at that moment. (Fortunately I don't have children, but I certainly have younger relatives who aren't providing for themselves too handsomely.)

Maybe the young people are right...spend it now whether you have it or not, mooch off the older people if possible and HAVE FUN. Because you never know.

Yes, I know how lucky I am. And yet...I wish I were taking shop window pictures in Paris or Vienna or even Portland...where this one was taken.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I am transferring all my archives from my old machine to my new environment. For some reason I feel it is necessary to photograph the messy shelves arond my house. This picture was taken in 2001. A lot of stuff in this photograph is gone. Various books. The toy pinball machine. The shelves themselves are virtually empty and I have on my 'to do' list to take them apart so that they will be out of the way when we refinish the floors. We are putting that off until we are closer to being out of the house so we don't have a chance to mess them up again.

Today I got depressed going through ancient financial stuff. Even investments that worked out well weighed on me somehow in the sorting. Never mind the fiascos. I actually found the unused payment coupons from the year we moved from a house down the street to this house. They were IBM punch cards and the payments were less than ninety dollars a month. FFP thought that was very amusing. Life was simpler once, that's for sure.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Never Blog When Drinking

I'm not inclined to take my own advice, am I?

I've had various random things to say to my readers today, but life intervened. A Caesar Salad intervened because we had a surfeit of anchovies in a pantry that needed cleaning . Trying to build an environment on the iMac to please FFP intervened.

I wanted to say that we were trying to not just give things away, but use things up. Hence, the anchovies. I had FFP buy Romaine Lettuce so we could use the anchovies. And some fresh garlic. Just as I've had him buy apples a few times in the past few weeks to make tuna salad to use up the tuna. No more can goods until we move, she said forcefully. But FFP bought a jar of sweet relish because I used the last on the tuna. And so it goes.

We've been drinking up corners of whiskey, too. I finished the Woodward, the Jack Daniels Single Barrel, the Blanton's. (Not all tonight, I assure you. Over the last weeks.) I've moved on to some Canadian. We had a bottle of wine with the Caesar. It was a white and over a decade old but surprisingly good. With garlic and anchovies anyway.

I also wanted to say that I've come to appreciate wireless. See the picture? That's my old Sony tower sprouting wires. Of course, a camera battery charger and my laptop, charging, is there, too. My laptop is reflecting the green outside which I find amusing.

My new setup with the iMacs have fewer wires. Even though they are hard-wired to the TimeMachine, they still only have power and an Ethernet wire. They do wireless but backups to the TimeMachine are faster with the wire. One has a wired keybaord. Otherwise, sleek, sleek, sleek. We are looking for sleek. Having monitor, USB, keyboard, mouse, printers, it's less than sleek. I'm sure we will have too many wires in the condo, too, but we are doing what we can. We will have two printers. One will be on the Ethernet itself, though.

It seems I had other things to say to my readers, but I drank the wine and the whiskey. Not all the wine nor all the whiskey. But enough.

By the way, thanks for all the responses to my (it did seem needy, didn't it?) post about tens of readers. Actually, I don't care if you read and don't comment, folks. It's fine. In fact, the comments have to be moderated (or else there is silly spam because the blog is open). It's all just easier if you e-mail me when you really want to talk. Or we go to lunch or dinner or meet up at a charity event. (You know who you are.) And if you miss reading? Don't feel bad. I don't know why I blog, but it isn't to connect with you guys. I like to do that in other ways.

By the way, some strong boys who work for a charity came and took a four-drawer file cabinet today. And we did more shredding. And filled recycling bags. Progress was made, by golly.

Do the Illiterate Get Less Depressed?

This was a poster at the adult spelling bee we went to the other day. I have scant ability to spell out loud so while I enjoy words and even spelling them, spelling bees even with other people spelling words by pronouncing each letter make me nervous. Although the team of pirates who pronounced each R like a pirate relieved the tension somewhat.

Perhaps this entry should be in the Journal of Unintended Consequences because it gave me the kind of pause where I wondered how effective the startling statistic was when buses (in our city anyway) are so notoriously hard to navigate. First I just shot a picture of it because it had numbers. The City Daily Photo theme for May is numbers. I've decided to use a different shot for that. When I carefully read what the poster said, though, it did set me thinking. How well do you have to read to read a bus schedule? Is it harder in Berlin? In Russia? In Dallas? One of the smartest people I know rides the bus in Dallas. Or used to do. I rode the bus exactly twice in Austin (not counting a couple of Armadillo rides) and I used a WEB page to get the schedule. I had to be able to get on the Internet, of course. And read the menu for "Riding Capital Metro" and "Trip Planner" and "Starting Point or Origin" etc. It's not literature but yeah it's reading. Since there is a big dust-up here about parking problems for the Long Center/Auditorium Shores/Palmer Events Center I decided to have it calculate a bus trip from my house to the Long Center. All the trips they suggested left one north of the river and the shortest amount of walking, adding up from the house to the stop and the termination to the Long Center was .9 mile. (In fairness, they would let me minimize walking, but one shudders to think how they would do that and how many transfers would be required.)

So, yeah I guess you need to read pretty well to master a bus schedule. In Austin anyway. But I digress.

It would be depressing to not be able to read, but do the literate, fully able to absorb bad news about credit crises, death and destruction, war and such and drowning in the gibberish that most reading actually is (this sentence included), become more depressed? Particularly when encountering run-on sentences?

I've been a little depressed. So I've been writing in my journal and trying to exorcise the demons. I guess the illiterate can't do that either. Oh, and I calculated the journey to the Long Center by bus from our future home. If you are foolish enough to ask to be taken from just north of the river they will calculate the trip. I guess you'd have to transfer to use these from our current house.

I don't really have much to say today. I'm depressed. About real estate, moving, downsizing, the inevitable decline. (Watched "History Boys." Posner says "Nothing saves anyone's life sir. It just postpones their death." That says it, dun it?) [Ed: You like typing that colloquial dun, trying in vain to imitate some British accent or the other, because the spell checker is happy to accept it as a word. LB: So?]

Perhaps I'm not exercising enough to enhance my mood. (Posner is talking to the gym teacher in that scene. The gym teacher thinks exericse and Jesus Christ will save your life.)

[Ed. We are labeling this and wanted to know whether to include 'moving and downsizing.' LB: Is there anything else?]

Monday, April 21, 2008

Face the Music

The simpler life? I want it. Slowly, slowly we have less stuff. Bags of shredded paperwork for accounts long forgotten are collecting. FFP took another load to the thrift store today including some framed posters that we tried to give away. They were either too big for people's space or didn't go with their decor. The thrift store will find a home for them, maybe get a few dollars. I am getting nostalgic for this place. We've been out in the yard a few times lately to sit with a friend or 'show it off.' "Won't you mis it?" they say. A little maybe. We show people pieces of furniture we won't be taking. The silhouettes of dogs on the back of three of the custom-made metal chairs. The fourth chair doesn't have one. There was never a fourth dog. There are some posters in Forrest's office that I love. I am seeing more of them now that it is my office, too. I don't think there will be room for them in the condo. I am giving up some of my glassware 'collection,' too. I offered some cordial glasses from a small bar in the big room to a friend and have to pack them up. I have a dozen or so unique cordial and shot glasses that I prefer to take rather than these less interesting matched ones. I wonder when I acquired them. Maybe we had a party and served liqueurs so I bought a bunch?

I keep thinking that one day I'll look around and everything will be sorted, packed, thinned down...all the discards tossed and the give-aways in new homes and us able to float lightly to the tenth floor of the downtown high rise. Reality intervenes, though. Something needs to be repaired at my dad's house and I see stuff there that needs to be gone and I realize we have two other houses besides this one to worry about. And of course adding the condo to the mix before we sell this house is making it more complicated. But it's a path that leads to simplification. I hope.

Yesterday's flurry of comments produced seven readers. Hmmm, not tens. Not a score. A handful? It's a very impressive group of folks, though.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Life is Simple

Life is not complex, but computers are complicated indeed. Like us. The work of making a new computing environment continues. For reasons best not belabored both of the iMacs now have two keyboards and one has two mice. They sit side by side. Am I confused? Oh, yes. But this note to my readers is being produced on my laptop which is operating the XP client on the iMac.

Last night I told some friends that I have tens of readers of my blog. Then I laughed and said it was, perhaps, an exaggeration.

So, friends, check in and we will see if ten comments can be collected.

The picture? A quote written on the Oscar Wilde memorial in Dublin.

Friday, April 18, 2008


No, I'm not missing. But I am feeling a little lost. And this is likely to persist for a while. I remember when I was a small kid, maybe seven and eight. My sister and I had shared a bedroom in this little two bedroom house we had. There was a tiny screen porch, though, and it had been weathered in and my grandmother and mother were fixing it up as a room for me. They'd moved in a twin bed. There wasn't much room for anything else except there was a closet. Maybe they'd moved in a chest and a lamp or something. Anyway, they were trying to fix it up and I was impatient and wanted them to get out of my room. I wanted to have my space fixed up and use it and be alone in it. I've been feeling a similar way for a while. With the fix up that's going on and the ongoing mess and trying to move to FFP's office, organize a new computing environment, etc. I sometimes feel that I just want some space, fixed the way I want and to be free to be alone in it. Alone means just me or me and FFP. I never feel he's crowding me. We can be alone together is one reason we got married and stayed married.

The picture? It is the construction going on yesterday at the main lobby entrance to what will be our new home: the 360 Condos. Does it look like it will be ready for a grand opening in a little over a month? Even if this gets done and we get closed in early summer, the chaos will still reign. We will have painting and custom built-in furniture construction in the unit. We will still be trying to empty the behemoth that is our current abode. One day, all downsized and decorated, I hope to take a breah and, typing on this little wireless Apple keyboard looking out at downtown, I hope to declare that I have things pretty much ordered the way I want. I hope to be reading books instead of sorting them and managing my finances instead of shredding decades old documents. But you know how that goes...some disturbance comes in from left field and your life is moving toward entropy again. What can you do? Nothing. It's stronger than you are and you just have to make some forward progress to make up a fraction of the inevitable slide.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I'm sure I have something to say today. Or yesterday. As I type this it is exactly midnight. I was so weary earlier in the day. I just wanted to sleep and I had all these things that I should have been doing. I haven't slept a lot the last couple of nights. The picture is a reflection portrait of a very good friend who doesn't like to have her picture taken.

A cup of coffee and a party for someone who reached the age of 90 revived me and now I'll stay up too late once again. Life is funny, huh? I should go to sleep now.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

When Things Aren't As They Seem

What have we here? Two iMacs? With very Windows XP appearing screens. There are also more wires in this photo than I'd like. These babies operate wirelessly just fine, but when making backups to their time machine it's faster going over a wire. I really like the wireless keyboard and mouse except that there's no number pad. For that you need a wired one. (Oh, I could have tried my USB wireless number pad I suppose but it isn't all pretty and aluminum and all.) I didn't catch it in this picture but there's a camera wire peeking around from the back of the right one. Last time I bought a digital camera I made fun of people who would buy one with a wireless feature. (Now they also have SD cards with wireless built in, I think. Seriously.) Now I'm thinking...hmmm.

I found something the Apple OS doesn't support, by the way. (Besides a bunch of software I'm just used to and could probably 'replace' with substitutes.) It's a gadget called Times Reader which brings a facsimile of The New York Times to your computer. They only have it for XP and Vista. Unfortunately, it requires .Net 3.0 Framework for XP. This software seems to have made my VMware image of XP slow to restart (after a little hiccup installing where I had to give it a boot to the head). As usual, 'a version for Macintosh users is planned.' How very quaint, spelling out Macintosh.

I love the poster in this picture, by the way. It's a reproduction, but it's a great one and beautifully framed, I think. I think it works with our color scheme for the condo. Maybe I'll keep it until we prove we can't hang it there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Guess I'm An Opsimath

Word of the day: opsimath. [Confession: I'm spending lots more time upstairs now that all my computers are up here. There is a book of obscure words in the toilet.] For those of you not inclined to follow a link:

Definition: a person who becomes a student or learner late in life
Etymology: Greek 'late in learning'

Perhaps it is too late for me to learn to be organized. Perhaps it is too late for me to make sense of the Apple OS. If anyone needs someone to stress test Windows XP, I can put it into a tizzy. I'm trying to do everything on my condo-bound machine. Pretty well succeeded with some archives to move. But there were hiccups. And my VMware XP is no longer snappy to restart. Hmmm.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Sometimes I resort to a 'to do' list. Sometimes I put them inside my journal (a written one or one on this computer) or just scribble them on a pad in front of my computer. I keep little tasks in mind and when the time is right, I strike. Right now it seems very important to be focused and efficient. But it is very difficult. Today I have a 'day off' with nothing pixeled in on the calendar. So one would think I would accomplish a lot. Cross things off lists, solve problems, sort, toss. One would think I would do some cooking, some chores, get a long workout. One would think so. But my random scattered approach is much, much different.

But, really, is there anything more satisfying that scratching through an item on your 'to do' list (or putting a cute graphic check mark in a computer file)?

Write a Visible Woman Entry. Check. No, I don't usually put blogging on the 'to do' list. But sometimes I do.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Dad's surgery almost overwhelmed me. [This is an overwhelmed self-portrait, huh? What with the King (Elvis) on Velvet and the traffic that it looks like I'm in the middle of.] He took it in stride. Except in the recovery room they said he was 'in pain' and agitated. I spoke with a nurse on the phone and then she let me go into the recovery room to 'help wake him up' as his breathing was shallow and she had given him oxygen to get the levels up. She had given him Dilaudid. I ask if he was in pain. She said his eye hurt and then he had a headache. He said 'not too much.'

"He hasn't had anything to eat or drink since seven last night." I said. It was six o'clock in the evening.

"Would you like something to drink?" She asked him. She named some juice choices. Water. Coffee.

"Jack Daniels." he joked.

"He's joking with you. He's OK."

He swilled the apple juice but was less interested in a saltine. We got him up in a chair and got him coffee and more juice. They had an anesthesiologist look at him. Finally they let him go home. It was nearly eight. He had me stop at the grocery store and get him some take out fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Yeah, why not.

He seemed OK at home and I stayed a good while with him waiting to see if he could get back to a routine with his big eye patch. He was really sleepy. But that's one more surgery he survived and the surgeon said there was lots of scarring and it was hard to get the retina to take shape again but it did.

I was worn out when I got home. Still, I tried to look over my e-mail and respond to stuff and think what all I needed to take care of. And I treated myself to a Picon Bière, a drink I love that consists of pouring a light lager over a French liqueur called Picon that you cannot buy in the U.S. any longer. I watched a movie I'd recorded: "Six Degrees of Separation." I really liked it. My kind of movie, but I'd never seen it. I read a little in the newspaper. And so it goes. I stayed up too late. But today I have a tennis game, I take my dad to the doctor for patch removal and exam and I have a social event. In between maybe I'll get some of the things on my 'to do' list done. But I don't feel so overwhelmed. Hospitals are like that. Did I catch up on my reading at least? Not so much. I read The Austin Chronicle and my book about Krakatoa a bit and read the Monday Arts section from The New York Times and worked the puzzle therein. I tried to read my book in the recovery room with the beeping machines and me saying to my dad "Breathe deeply, Pop." "Deep Breath, Daddy." He looked old and fragile in the recovery room. (I was not amused when the gal who came to get me in the gift shop said she knew I was his daughter because I looked just like him.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Time to Read

Except for nodding off before bed and the (I confess) occasional bathroom read, I haven't been keeping up with reading. Partly this is due to the fact that I am missing in action in the gym. On the recumbent bike I usually catch up with the three newspapers we get every day (only the Wall Street Journal doesn't come on Sunday). Yesterday I did make it to the gym, but I read an article in The New Yorker that a friend recommended over dinner the other night. I thought he was talking about an earlier piece and then I thought that the piece was more serious than it actually was. Well, if you can say that a piece is humorous or 'occasional' if the author is not Woody Allen and the grim reaper is the subject. Anyway, I loved the article and I think I need to write about death again in the Journal of Unintended Consequences. But I won't be getting to that just now because I have to spend most of the day at the hospital with my dad and while I could take my laptop and hook up to their wireless and write something to entertain my four readers it seems like a lot of trouble and I think that I will, instead, catch up on my reading. So I have a backpack to take along with some of those pesky unread papers and a couple of books I need to finish.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

You're in Good Hands

Our reliable handy people won't be working after tomorrow for a while. (They are a couple. He has to have some serious surgery and she has to take care of him.) So we have to find some new people for window cleaning and painting and such. I like things to be fixed. I'm not so handy myself. (Although before we moved into this house we painted the kitchen cabinets ourselves because we were so appalled at the decorating travesties. Yeah, I used to paint. Perhaps not well but I painted.) Sigh.

Photo was taken on Second Street the other day. I think.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Further Confession of a Downsizer

I clipped this from a Parade magazine in 2005. I stuck it in a drawer (with stuff that needed to be sorted and downsized I'm sure) and it has floated around in my stuff as I moved out of my home office. Every time I came across it I laughed and stuck it in another box or drawer. I guess I have a bit of the pack rat in me. You think? But we aren't as bad as the lady in that picture.

And in further confessions:
  • I tend to stash stuff in my car or under the stairs as a temporary measure. My car has a bunch of audio tapes I'm listening too 'one last time' and spare clothes and such I convinced myself are there in case I'm at the club and realize I need clean undies or socks or jeans or whatever I might have forgotten. Naturally I store my tennis equipment, practice balls and new balls there. Currently I've stashed too lithographs I'm giving away and need to drop off plus one of the cable company's boxes I need to return. (Sadly, after I return this one, we will still have three. I returned another one the other day.)
  • The area under the stairs is a good cautionary reminder. While it isn't very high, it probably has almost as many square feet as our storage area will at the condo. It fills up quickly.
  • Books, precious and cataloged or unsorted and questionable, weigh a lot!
  • I have conned FFP into running the shredder until it overheats. (And starting again when it cools down.) Thankless work, shredding. We should do it in a more timely fashion. Checks from 1989? Yikes.
  • No matter how many folders and file boxes you buy or does not create organization.
  • I am typing this because I wore myself out moving stuff from one room to another. There was a purpose, however. The origin room has to have floors refinished.
  • There will be no garage sale. Everyone wants to know when it is. It is happening at our favorite thrift store. Or you have to put in your dibs for stuff to be given or sold to you directly. No. Garage. Sale.
  • Everyone has advice about downsizing and selling our house. And I'm really sort of tired of hearing it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Confessions of a Downsizer

Action, inaction? Truly doing something or just in motion?

In order to get stuff out of one spot, I have moved it to another. Eliminating and sorting some things, yes. Another pile has slipped off to the thrift store. There are things in my car to deliver to someone and people promising to come by for things we offered them. It seems to be wasted motion just moving stuff about, but it does winnow it down almost like water abrading rock.

I continue to find keys that open I know not what and yet no key for the locking metal cabinet I want to give away. I continue to make piles of old computer accessories, cables, coax cable, phone cords, etc. that I'm getting rid of. (Still a 'parts is parts' box is essential around here and I'm keeping a few things. The computer guy looked around the other day and wanted a couple of Cat-5 cables to wire the iMacs to the network to speed up the initial Time Machine operation.)

I continue to fill boxes with stuff for 'found object' projects for school kids and to find caches of office supplies. Sometimes I feel if I get all the like items together (a flotilla of flashlights, a storm of staplers) that I can decide what to keep now and what to keep for the condo. And, yes, I'm moved to wonder when we acquired all the stuff.

Some days I think of what is gone. Coffee tables, bookcases (at least six or seven), a flat file, a handcrafted chair, an old clock, a chair and ottoman, an antique dresser, two recliners, a decades old TV, a small TV, two couches, a breakfront, tables and chairs, many knick-knacks and books. A few things to the parents houses, but others gone on their way in the supply chain. And that's just recent departures. Over the years we have shuffled many more chairs, couches, tables and little items through our clutches. Piles of stuff have left via curbside mall, giveaways and the thrift store. Where does it end? Well, hopefully, the condo will be less forgiving about accumulation. We will see.

The picture is a reflection of the window of Hog Wild with the abandoned Action Lock shop across the way.

By the way, I don't have much time to blog. I started this yesterday and finished it today while pondering what to do over my first cup of coffee. Back to moving stuff around!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Losing Track of Myself

I'm losing track of myself (and my stuff). I still haven't gotten the stuff (never mind the furniture) moved out of my office. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. Some of this stuff is boxed up now, if not cataloged. In an attempt to move my stuff out of the office I have lost track of at least one box of stuff. I'm sure it's here somewhere! That always makes me feel lost and out of sorts. It wasn't anything critical, though. I know where my (unmailed) 2007 tax return is as well as the 1977 one I found. (Conveniently since it was the year we moved into this house and has the sale and purchase of principal residence stuff.)

I moved all the photo prints out of my office. Most of them are in archival sheets but not very well-organized. Some are in those old photo boxes and cheap albums. I'm sure I could 'reduce' this pile. But it takes up, I estimate, about six cubic feet of space. This is stuff that is hard to give up. But definitely there are some candidates for reduction. I'm going to have to make a big push to get out of that room by Monday. The storage area under the stairs is filling up again with full boxes. Plus I have piled the photos in the living room. And they have to move again to get out of the way of the floor refinishing. I swear it's like one of these puzzles where the numbers on the squares keep changing.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Out of There! TODAY!

This is picture taken in the middle of March of a bookcase in my office. I'm typing this from my desktop in FFP's office. But my old office is still full of books and stuff and I have to get out of there soon because the painting project is moving inexorably toward this room. Yikes. Well, tennis got canceled today and the oak pollen seems to have given me less vertigo this morning so...I'm going in! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dizzy Me

I have rocked and will rock again but today I'm mostly dizzy-style rocking. Allergic to oak pollen I'd guess. Yesterday I saw an actual green cloud of the pollen, like a West Texas dust storm, only green as grass. The fine pollen is covering everything. I guess it got in my head and caused some sinus irritation. So far no sneezing but just dizzy especially when I first get up. I've taken two generic allergy pills from Costco and hoping to be able to function properly soon.

I had to talk to the hospital pharmacist about Dad's drugs to prepare for his surgery and fortunately they could pull it up from his last one less than two months ago because I was feeling less than confident in spite of a printed list sitting in front of me.

Well, it's time to deal with financial stuff. I hope I'm competent to do that! My downsizing is stymied at the moment by a need to carry some full boxes around and bending over and picking up heavy things makes my head spin. Ditto going to the gym to lift weights although I've got to get around to that today.

The picture was taken in SoCo. Blackmail was the shop. Maybe. I think.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Shape of Things

The picture? From inside the giant tent erected for the festivities last weekend at the Long Center out to the 'ring' and the west terrace. Interesting light and shapes.

Lives take up a shape. Mine is now an ebb and flow of stuff, calendar choices and decisions. I had to think hard about priorities the last few days. Well, family comes first of course. Then health and well-being. (This includes the exercise that keeps getting pushed aside by lower priorities! What's up with that?) Then this whole shelter thing and its financial implications. Close on that? Social fun like eating out and the arts. Then...casual tennis. I love it, I do. Then my writing. Then competitive tennis. (I sub for teams that aim to, um, win. Not that I don't try to win every point in my casual tennis. I do. But it's different, the competitive stuff. And not in a good way.)

Stuff has been flowing around the house. Some goes out, of course. To the thrift store and to people who come by to get stuff. Into recycling. Into the shredder. But some stuff has just moved (and not by itself!) to another room or been boxed up and stuck under the stairs. I need to move out of my old office. But it is stacked with stuff I'm sorting from the spare room. What's up with that? As we touch stuff and touch it again, though, we keep getting more and more brutal. Time is short. Stuff still seems to be winning.

My dad will have to have two more operations on his eye. Family duties rise up. And they are, of course, most important.