Prairie View

Friday, June 28, 2013

People and Their Stuff

I freely admit to having issues with dealing with stuff.  I don't shop much, and I don't beg, borrow[permanently], or steal, so I'm not sure where all my stuff comes from.  I do know that what I have is not very easy to part with if--

1.  It was given to me by someone I love.

2.  It was a blessing when I got it.

3.  It's beautiful or it makes me smile for some other reason.

4.  It's still in reasonably good shape.

5.  I've seen it sell for good money somewhere.  (Like the retro swivel chair that Shane resolutely carried off to the dumpster today.  It was in perfect condition, but he was sure no one would ever want it.  Not my taste, or his, but someone's, surely.  Big gulp.)

6.  I can visualize it being re-purposed.

7.  It reminds me of happy events.

8.  It is functional, and helps me accomplish something I need to do.

9.  It symbolizes something I'm passionate about.


Hiromi can, with no remorse, get rid of anything--

1.  With a purpose he doesn't recognize.  (Me:  Do you know what this is for?  Hiromi:  No.  Pitch it.)

2.  That needs cleaning.

3.  That is relatively inexpensive.  ("I can get another one.")

4.  That doesn't work perfectly.  (The small coffee maker that requires forcing the switch hard to the left, or it won't turn on.)

5.  That is ugly.

6.  That is not being used for its original purpose. (The whipped cream tubs I use for seed starting.)

7.   That takes up too much room.  (With a perfectly straight face, he said the other day that he thought we should just get rid of everything that was still left in the farmhouse, because we already had enough stuff here.  None of the closets or storage places had yet been emptied out.)

8.  That looks like too much work to deal with.


I've concluded that some people in the world will never venture into any area of endeavor that requires resources or equipment if their current circumstances (time, space, or finances) can not easily accommodate such things.  Others are driven to explore a wide variety of endeavors, even if limitations are significant.  They are carried along by a sense of optimism and adventure that makes them willing to adjust their expectations as needed, but they go forward somehow, making do as best they can.  When they finally are able to acquire what they knew they needed in the beginning, they are deeply grateful.  Without realizing it, they might even continue to collect such things after the supply is adequate.

It's the second kind of people, of course, who end up with a lot of stuff.  It's not necessarily classy stuff, but good stuff because it helped accomplish good things, marking answered prayers and triumphs of innovation along the way.  Here's where Hiromi and I find common ground, although for him and me the collection of stuff looks very different.


Quote for the Day:

Shane:  When William and Elizabeth moved [I was picturing our long-ago neighbors, until I realized I was on the wrong track.], their boys made a big bonfire and disposed of a lot of stuff they thought shouldn't stay around.  William was mad for about three weeks, but after that, he really didn't miss much of that stuff.  I think there's a lesson in that.  Short term pain is sometimes necessary. . .

Poor William.  He has my deep sympathy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Quotes for the Day 6/27/2013

On Facebook, my  nephew Benji shared this quote by my Mom before I got it posted here:

"The eventuality of me falling hasn't borne down upon us before has it?" - Grandma after falling on halfway outside the house. She is not supposed to leave the house without someone with her and was trying to convince Mom that it had never happened before (it has) using an impressive sentence.

Encroaching dementia has clearly not rendered my mom totally devoid of verbal skills.  Lois, who lives next door first learned about what was happening when their neighbor Jolene knocked and called out that "Mary fell."  She helped Lois get her up and into the house.  She was not hurt much.


On moving day:

Grant (getting a little impatient) :  Mom, you don't have to give the history of everything before we move it.


Yesterday, while we were working to clear out the remaining things in the farmhouse:

Hiromi (to me):  Here's a trash can.  Whatever you don't need, you can just throw in here.

Me:  Those are two different things--trash, and what I don't need.  Not everything I don't need is trash.  Some things have value, even if I don't need it.  I'll pass those things on to someone else.

Hiromi:  Today those two are the same thing.

I was not convinced.

This moving business can be a real trial for bears of very little brain.  Winnie the Pooh and I both know this.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Oppositional Behavior Disorder

At our place, it's the resident male cardinal with oppositional behavior disorder.  He reveals it by repeatedly attacking his own reflection in whatever window is nearby.  I know he's at it again whenever I hear the sharp ping of his beak against the pane.  If I walk to where I can see him, he'll  be flying up at the window before his beak makes contact, and he falls back for a moment, forced to concede defeat.  Not for long, though.  His mate was waiting in the Locust tree by the patio this morning when he was engaged in his concerted efforts.  I wonder if she thought him foolish, or if she was proud of him.

Grant and Clarissa had told us about this cardinal.  That was the explanation for the big sheet of cardboard taped to one of the living room window panes.


We have several other troublesome residents here--inside the house, and not nearly as beautiful as the cardinal.  I find some of them around the light over the kitchen sink in the evening, and destroy all that are too slow for me.  I always also prepare a final bath for them by putting an inch or two of water in the sink with a small squirt of Basic H.  In the morning I morbidly count the tiny floating carcasses and then dispose of them.

The other unwelcome residents appear in the form of gray shadows darting across the floor.  One of them was very small and confused enough when Hiromi spied it yesterday morning that it sat still while he went for a fly swatter to dispatch it.  We'd been warned about these pests too.

One warning has not yet proved to be a problem for us:  the mockingbird's singing at night.  I see the mockingbirds and am so happy they're here.  I hear lots of birdsong during the day, and assume it comes partly at least from the mockingbirds, although robins and kingbirds and orioles are contributing also.  The brown thrashers are no doubt doing a performance similar to the mockingbird's, being another member of the mimicking bird family.  It's been warm at night, and we have the air conditioner running and the windows closed, so that explains why the mockingbird's nighttime singing does not disturb us in the least.


Overall, I love the quiet of this place.  At the farm I had a nice sitting place on the front porch, but it was in plain sight of any passing traffic.  Here, I have a small patio off the dining room, and I can sit there in my bathrobe and no one will see me.  The locust tree we planted almost 30 years ago shades the area perfectly and the shrubs and trees we planted between the house and the road shroud it in privacy, except for the wide-open view toward the east, where the sunrise beckons, and the green and gold fields spread a rich patchwork of color.

At my computer, I look out on the honeysuckle-covered mound of earth covering the cave cellar which serves as a tornado shelter also.  (That is, it will, just as soon as the door and stairway get replaced.  Right now getting there would entail a flying leap that I'm not sure even a tornado could force me to attempt.)  Sphinx moths and white butterflies feast on the honeysuckle blossom nectar.  I know they have nefarious roles otherwise (their larva are cabbage loopers and tomato hornworms), but I like watching them in the honeysuckle.

The bustle and liveliness of the farm had lots of appeal.  It was an inhabited place, full of productive farm animals, and growing crops, and the coming and going of their caretakers--an easy stopping off place for my dad and brothers and sons and nephews going to and from their farm tasks.  Even the passing traffic provided a welcome window on the world.  But this quiet contemplative atmosphere is welcome too, and I plan to enjoy it.

If my biggest problems here are cardinals at the windows, I'll be just fine.

Keys for a Successful Transition

On Saturday I trundled in to town to do some shopping--not one of my favorite activities, but it had to be done.  Hiromi was not about to risk getting an unsatisfactory upholstery fabric for the dining room chairs, so it was up to me.  When I saw the yardage price for the upholstery fabric, I remembered one of the reasons I hate to shop.  $30.00 a yard is a lot of money, and I always feel guilty about spending a lot of money.  The other reason I'm not fond of going to town is that I usually end up doing something that makes me feel stupid.  I told Hiromi this before I went, knowing it was probably revealing a flaw in my character to feel this way, but it's best to be honest.

The stupid moment came right after I exited Lowes and tried to unlock my car.  I don't nearly always lock my car, but after stowing away $100.00 worth of upholstery supplies, I didn't want them stolen, so I had checked carefully for the ignition key in my purse before leaving the vehicle.  It was right where it should be, and I knew I was all set.  Stupidity would be held at bay, due to my diligent foresight.  Moment of truth:  the ignition key did not unlock the door.

Then I remembered a second key which I had left inside the car.  It was for the trunk, the latch and lock there having been recently changed.  Could that also have been for the doors?  It didn't really make sense, but nothing else made sense either.

All this key business is about the Mitsubishi Eclipse that we recently purchased from Joel.  I now had one more gripe against the vehicle beside the mismatch between its sporty persona and my unsporty one:  the keys were complicated.  I don't do keys very well at all, or complicated little things in general.

I tried to call Hiromi, standing there in the parking lot with my bamboo expandable silverware tray in a bag on the top of the Eclipse.  He was out mowing and didn't answer.  Next I called Joel.  Things began to look up fast at this point.  He was only a mile or two away on the Ken Kennedy Parkway headed in to town instead of 30 minutes away in Partridge.  Best of all, he had a key on the floorboard behind the front passenger seat, and he thought it was probably for the Eclipse.

He soon showed up, but not before I had wildly waved to someone in a car that looked like Hilda's car--making sure they saw me in that big parking lot.  It was the wrong car.  It was a man alone in a car with a dealer's license plate.  Second stupid moment.

Joel's key fit the door lock.  He explained to me that he had at some point had to have the ignition switch replaced in the Eclipse.  That's why the ignition key does not fit the door locks.

When I got home, I found a key ring and put all three Eclipse keys on it.  This puts us one small step closer to having our lives together in this transition time.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Moving Observations

--If your husband is scary ruthless about throwing things away, it's best to pay no attention to what he's doing when he offers to sort through anything at all.  If it's the bathroom,  the following will still survive the purge:  Eight anti-itch products, 22 unused dental floss dispensers, and 15 boxes of gauze or band-aids.  You'll be glad to learn, however, that he did not throw away all the new toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste that five people have accumulated over years of seeing the dentist every six months.  He put them on a "donation" pile. Your faith is partially restored.

--When you count 30 loose-leaf binders, mostly filled with research notes fitting into categories with the following labels:  Greek, Hebrew, or Akkadian, you get a glimpse of one family member's passions.  A newly-constructed eight-foot-wide shelf unit sits on top of two other tall bookcases to accommodate the binders.

--Dealing with "stuff" is incredibly tiresome.

--Sleek kitchen cabinets along two walls in a galley kitchen are wonderful, but they don't embrace nearly as many well-loved/used items as does a kitchen full of furniture, shelves, and blank walls for hanging things and providing a surface for things.  I'm a lot more French country and a lot less minimalist/modern than I used to know.

--I have a multitude of electric kitchen appliances--only some of which I chose or asked for.  I wanted the Kitchen-Aid mixer, the Vita-mix blender,  food processor, electric skillet, grain grinder, bread-machine, and crockpots in several sizes.  In our cookware set, we also acquired an electric indoor grill, and a liquid-core four-quart kettle.  I'm not sure of all the occasions calling for the purchase of an electric knife, griddle, rice cooker, toaster, turkey roaster,  2 coffee makers, coffee bean grinder, meat slicer, waffle irons, hand mixer, and non-stick electric saucepan.  Let's just say I have a husband who loves to provide and use such things.  Several were gifts or pass-along items.

--I wish I had more vision for using ebay to move unneeded things along.  I'm still trying to decide if working up the motivation and acquiring the skills would be wise.  I'm thinking especially of all those shelves of books that didn't survive the moving cut, and the dishes I may not need.  Advice?