Category Archives: Series

Declutter 2018: 32 Dan Bern posters

I went to see Dan Bern on Saturday. (That’s my head on the left!) Before I left I thought about the pile of Dan Bern posters [1] that were sitting under my office sofa. I didn’t need more than one each so I decided to take them to the show and give them away.

I placed them on the merchandise table. The table had a sign to pay what people wanted to pay for the items there, so hopefully Dan made some money on the posters.

Declutter 2018 count 50:

  • 32 Dan Bern Posters
  • 2 crystal unicorns, broken
  • 9 letters from Sue
  • 1 Loon Magic sweatshirt
  • 1 shedding scarf
  • 1 pair of fingerless gloves
  • 1 wool underlayer shirt
  • 1 birthday poster from Sue
  • 1 baby shower thank you card from Chris and George
  • 1 Christmas postcard from Auntie June and Uncle Harold
Notes:
  1. many years ago I volunteered to put posters around town advertising Dan’s shows — I was a very bad rep since I had so many left over []

Declutter 2018: 3 pieces of correspondence

Today I went through a box of letters. I found three that I could toss. One was a birthday greeting from Sue, one was a Christmas postcard from my Auntie June and Uncle Harold and the last was a thank-you card for a baby shower gift from the first friend of mine to have a baby [1].

The correspondence went into the fireplace and burned in a glorious blaze.

 

Declutter 2018 count 18:

  • 2 crystal unicorns, broken
  • 9 letters from Sue
  • 1 Loon Magic sweatshirt
  • 1 shedding scarf
  • 1 pair of fingerless gloves
  • 1 wool underlayer shirt
  • 1 birthday poster from Sue
  • 1 baby shower thank you card from Chris and George
  • 1 Christmas postcard from Auntie June and Uncle Harold
Notes:
  1. A note on that last one — I saw her a couple of years ago at my high school reunion. She was in a wheelchair (fuck MS) and she and her husband had just moved in with the child whose shower I attended in 1977. []

Declutter 2018: 4 pieces of clothing

Clare left a few days ago and took with her some items of clothing that I could have kept, but also was also okay giving to her.

  1. Loon Magic Sweatshirt — bought years ago, possibly in Wisconsin, because I loved loons. More recently I discovered a fellow bird-loving Twitterer, blogger, Facebooker had the same sweatshirt. Even more recently I learned she died and whenever I put the sweatshirt on I sadly remembered that I’d unfollowed her on Facebook because she was a little annoying.
  2. Shedding scarf — I bought it at Traditions in Olympia. Most of the items I have bought there have either fallen apart or were otherwise less than perfect. When I wore this scarf I wondered whose dog I’d brushed against because my black trousers were covered in long blond fur. It turned out to be my scarf from Traditions. Thank you Clare for taking it away.
  3. Fingerless gloves — Also purchased from Traditions in Olympia. They were fine, but they did not have fingers. I didn’t mind giving these away at all.
  4. Wool bottom layer from REI — I went to the new REI store in Bethesda/Rockville during a sale. I was buying clothes for my upcoming trip to Olympia  where I worried I would be wet and cold. It was November after all. A sales person showed me a sale on Smartwool bottom layer clothes and I almost bought them, but worried about the wool layer being next to my skin. I wandered around and found another bottom layer long-sleeved shirt and decided to buy it and a turtle neck of the same brand. It was not until I was about to fly to Seattle that I realized that, not only did I spend a lot more on the bottom layers than the items offered in the Smartwool sale, but they were also wool and meant to be worn next to your skin. Someday I will tell you about my abhorrence to wearing wool next to my skin in cold, wet weather when there was a possibility of someone smoking nearby and if my hair might not be washed. Oh, I guess I just told you that. Never mind. Clare wanted an undershirt so I gave her the wool bottom layer.

Declutter 2018 count 15:

  • 2 crystal unicorns, broken
  • 9 letters from Sue
  • 1 Loon Magic sweatshirt
  • 1 shedding scarf
  • 1 pair of fingerless gloves
  • 1 wool underlayer shirt

Declutter 2018: Two broken unicorns

Back in my youth I collected many things including crystal unicorns. Most of them were broken in an incident involving a bookshelf, a child and a stool.

Dean just had Clare go through her many boxes of memorabilia in the attic and she pulled out two crystal unicorns, both broken. I am pretty sure she pulled them out for me, not her, but I don’t want them anymore. I don’t care about crystal unicorns and these are broken.

They are sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be tossed tossed in the trash [1] as long as Clare doesn’t want to keep them.

Now that I look at them, they resemble the Moonlit Merry-go-round horses a bit.

Declutter 2018 count 11:

    • 2 crystal unicorns, broken
    • 9 letters from Sue
Notes:
  1. they cannot be recycled, can they? []

Declutter 2018: Letters from Sue

I met Sue in 1974 when we were scheduled to host British high school students for a month, then go to England to be the guests of our hosts. We hit it off right away and are still friends, although we have not seen each other in 15 years. [1]

Back before email I wrote a lot of letters and received as many in return. Sue was one of the most prolific writers of letters and I still have a few of them, mostly from her days at the University of Illinois. She went away to school, but I didn’t so I loved reading about her experiences. She wrote about studying for exams:

“…so this weekend will be very busy, besides beginning to study for my comprehensive exam in zoology on Tuesday.”

attending concerts:

“Last night was the Beach Boys’ concert. I had the most wonderful time. I even danced! There were more than 8000 people there… I really wish everyone I know could have been there to enjoy that concert! We were in the 18th row in the front and middle! We could see them perfectly! I just love the drummer (Dennis Wilson) there. What I would give for a guy with his looks, his talents (his money!!).”

and romance:

“My Mister Right has not yet come along. However I am dating a really good looking guy named Tom. We’ve been going out for a couple of weeks. In fact last night we went for a 2 hour walk, tonight we’re going to a movie, and tomorrow we’re going to see Dimitri, a famous pantomimist and clown in the auditorium. He’s (Tom) a year younger than me, and he’s been going out with a girl for 3 years (marriage is more or less understood). She goes to Bradley and they both go out with other people to be certain they want each other.”

I’ve written Sue a late Christmas letter and am going to enclose the letters she sent me so many years ago. I figure she will get more out of them now than I would — and I didn’t want to throw them away after keeping them for over 40 years.

Declutter 2018 count: 8 9 [2] letters from Sue.

Notes:
  1. even though she lives less than 4 hours away for goodness sake! []
  2. Added one more because I threw away her Christmas letter, having answered it []

Declutter 2018: 2018 things

Last year’s declutter project was haphazard at best. I didn’t count how many things I tossed, gave away, recycled or donated, but I know it was a lot. If you count everything that I wanted to take from my mom’s house that was sold, given away, recycled or donated — that’s even more.

This year I hope to be more organized and keep track of what leaves the house. [1] Thanks to Kate/Indigo Bunting, I now have a chart on my refrigerator that will track how many things leave the house in 2018. The goal is 2018. Because I am still going through my mom’s stuff, I am pretty sure I can meet that goal.

My rules are simple:

Nearly anything other than food or meaningless scraps of paper counts. Letters, photographs, old Christmas cards in addition to more substantial items such as furniture, clothes and other objects count.

Notes:
  1. I am also trying to not buy things that I don’t plan on eating or using. I admit to having a small addiction to the website Woot.com and have bought items that seemed to be exactly what I needed, but were exactly what I didn’t need. []

Declutter 2017: Letter from Julia

When I was going though a box of correspondence from my mom’s house I came across a small, folded note in an unmarked envelope. Now, my mom kept pretty much every piece of correspondence she received, so it was not unusual that she kept this, but it was a surprise to me and made me very uncomfortable because 1) I didn’t know anything about it and 2) it put me in a very bad light.

It took me a while to figure out that the note was from Julia. I thought, at first, that there was someone I’d been unkind to named Pat Knight who I’d completely forgotten, then I realized it was from Julia.

Readers of this blog may recall that I briefly had a roommate from England shortly after I moved out of my mom’s house and it ended badly. She was beautiful, blond, British and outgoing. At the time I felt much inferior to her, appearance-wise. We’d go to a bar and guys would be lining up to meet her. There were times guys seemed to want to get to know me because they wanted to get closer to her. To put it bluntly, I was envious of her looks and ease with men.

I actually looked forward to her returning to the States [1] as my roommate before she arrived; and I know we had some fun together. The part about me only allowing her to come back to the States because I owed it to my parents is not right — I may have said it, but that was easier to say than admit that I was jealous of her looks and accent and how guys acted around her. I also was not jealous of the relationship she was growing with my family [2].

I know I was difficult to live with, but at the time I felt as if I were the injured party. I paid the rent and she didn’t always have the cash for her part of the rent. I paid for her medical bills when she went to the doctor because she had no insurance. I did the housekeeping and did our laundry. I definitely resented her for a lot of things and I am sure it showed.

There were other things that I won’t mention here, but both of us were on shaky ground based on societal rules (and U. S. and state laws) of the time.

The part about the letter is probably true. I don’t remember writing it, but I hated how I was acting, I hated the jealousy I was feeling. I’d long felt that there was something wrong with me because I had such a short fuse and would explode at the slightest provocation.

For years afterwards friends and family members would ask me if I’d ever heard from her or knew where she was living. I didn’t until I got in touch with her brother, and then got in touch with her in 2010. This year we became friends on Facebook.

And as I told Julia in an email nearly 8 years ago — she’s why Dean and I are together. Dean and I dated a few times in 1979, but I wanted to date someone else. A year later Dean, who  was a client of the salon where Julia worked, had her for a hair washer. When he heard her talk he asked if she knew me. She said yes and that he should call me. He did and the rest is history.

Notes:
  1. She’d spent a few weeks with us during the summer, then returned to England to get a visa so she could stay longer []
  2. well, I say that now, but perhaps I was. I know I was jealous that my mom talked to Marcia about things that she would not talk to me about []

Declutter 2017: Book House Books series: The Chart

Finally, the publishers of My Book House Books enclosed a Child Personality and Character Chart for the parents to fill out about their child(ren). My mom filled it out twice. Once in November, 1961 shortly after receiving the books and again in February, 1965 when I was 9. My scores were as follows:

Section 1st Analysis 2nd Analysis
1: Confidence 85% 84.5%
2: Cooperation 83% 99.5%
3: Emotional Stability 80% 85%
4: Mental Alertness 88% 81%