Early Lessons

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Nobody was in the car at the time.

When I was sixteen years old, I babysat of a couple little girls in the neighborhood. One Saturday, I took care of the youngest one, while her sister was at a birthday party. Their mother asked me to pick the oldest up after the party and instructed me to use their car to do so. After I brought the girls home, we went inside and played with dolls. A few minutes later, a neighbor was at the door to inform us that the car had rolled into the lake. We ran outside and watched it slowly submerge. As I watched it go, I envisioned that I would be paying the owner back with minimum wage jobs for the rest of my life. * This event taught me the lesson of always putting the parking break on when leaving the vehicle. Even when I am parking in a flat lot in a flat state like Illinois. Even when my daughter makes fun of me for doing so.

I am holding the thought of how that one event imprinted my behavior 40 years in the future while I am helping my mother clean out closets and drawers in her home.

My mom grew up in the depression. At times, they had little more than their clothes and a few dishes. It is hard for her to let go of anything. But she is getting better. She gave me permission to give away the heavy antique wooden ladder. We have a nice aluminum one that I can move by myself. She didn’t complain too much when I showed her the pretty wine bottle stopper my sister-in-law had given her and asked if we could discard the 25 or so wine corks she had saved. She let me recycle the plastic bottles she has been saving. She gifted me my grandmother’s slips so I can make them into dresses to sell.

I had a dream/nightmare about a week ago that I had created an Etsy shop to re-purpose everything in the house that she is willing to let go. It would be interesting, but it would be a full-time job for the next ten years…..and I’ve got other things to do.

* the story of the the drowned car has a somewhat happy ending. A few months after it happened, I ran into the girls’ mom at the store. She said that she had left her husband, that she had never liked the car, and that the insurance company had replaced it before she left. She thanked me for putting her car in the lake.

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Total Eclipse

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When the sun is 95% obscured, the leaves make these crescent shaped shadows.

The last total eclipse of the sun in the United States occurred in the late 70’s in Washington State. Being in the path of totality has been on my bucket list for 36 years. Imagine my delight when I discovered that my new home in Missouri was in the path of the total eclipse on Monday. I was thrilled! I invited just about everyone I knew to come share it with me. People had to work, not everyone was excited as I and the traffic to get to a place experiencing totality was terrible. Bumper to bumper on the freeway.

All I had to do was go outside and put on my eclipse glasses.

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The Boor family, celebrating with me.

My brothers and their wives came, mom watched with us.

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The horizon at totality.

It didn’t get as dark as I thought it would, we could not see stars–but it was Awesome! Worth the wait.

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Taken with an old phone camera.

Would do it again.

Decluttering Photos

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Boy in a Box

I have mixed feelings about photos. When I worked as a hospice nurse, I used the pictures that people displayed in their homes as conversation starters. It was a good way to learn more about the people I was caring for.

I enjoy looking at photos of my own family once in a while, but I don’t really like to see the same image, whether it be art or photo, day after day after day. It’s too static. I do like the digital photo frames that have a variety of pictures on a reoccurring loop. I may get my favorite photos on one of those someday.

Recently, my youngest son gave back to me all his childhood photos. He didn’t want to take them to college. I used the opportunity to go through them and discard poor quality pictures and duplicates. The stack of keepers was one-third the size of the stack of discards.

Photos are a kind of clutter that is hard to resist. There is a historical quality to them, and once lost, can not be replaced like a sofa or a corkscrew. That said, it was easy to discard photos that were blurry, or that recall sad or bitter memories.

Sometimes It Is a Big Thing

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My family has been tolerating my minimalist counting game for years. They know that if they gift me an object that I will either make it one of the 100 things and add it to the count, or re-gift it. I just do not need/use that much stuff. So over the years, they have learned to give me consumable gifts like coffee and books. It makes me happy that they respect this little quirk of mine.

Imagine the increase in happiness experienced this week when my brother gifted me with 60,000 frequent flier miles in honor of my retirement. And several bottles of wine.

I’m over the moon.

Sometimes It’s the Little Things

Cleaning out the closet of my new room at mom’s house, I found some old clothes of my dad’s. (He died in 2002.) Pajamas, a paint shirt, khakis.

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These clothes were probably 20 years old before dad died.

Some of the fabric was worn thin and some paint splattered. I cut the usable fabric in rectangles and hemmed the edges.

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Frugal cleaning cloths.

Benefits:

  1. this keeps a portion of the fabric out of the landfill for a bit longer.
  2. these will be used instead of paper towels, keeping that waste out of landfill and maybe saving a tree.
  3. the entire time I was hemming the fabric, I was remembering dad.
  4. these fabric pieces are just the perfect size for holding, scrubbing, wiping. This makes them a better tool than just throwing the whole clothing item in the rag bag.
  5. there was no cash outlay for this project. I used thread I already had.

I’m holding onto the khakis for now. I may make a rug out of them.