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Archive for the ‘Just Rattling On’ Category

Nope, I haven’t been blogging, not since Christmas 2009. The first six months of 2010 brought massive changes. I left my full-time job at F+W Media; I gave up my apartment and moved in with Mom. I’m trying to build a freelance business, albeit slowly. I opened a showcase (i.e., my private set of shelves for selling antiques and collectibles) at Ohio Valley Antique Mall to sell off some of my massive accumulation of “stuff.” About all I haven’t touched on yet as I explore my new life is opening an ETSY shop or trying otherwise to make and sell crafts. That may come. I haven’t been idle. Not making much money, but I definitely have been staying busy.

Since I’m going on vacation tomorrow with Diamondqueen and the Hooligans, I thought I’d get the old blog up and running again. Diamondqueen is bringing along her little computer thingy (a pink notebook contraption she calls Pinky Tuscadero) and we’re supposed to have WiFi for at least part of the trip, so for the first time I’m going to attempt to post daily updates on our adventures. I’m also going to Twitter, so updates should appear along the right side of this page.

We’ll see how it goes…

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That is, the final post of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). It wasn’t nearly as exhausting or challenging as NaNoWriMo, but it gives me a certain level of satisfaction to have blogged every day for a month. This is especially considering how little I’d blogged this year up to November 1.

Although I registered with the official site, I never went back and logged in, so there’s nothing official with this effort. No kudos or certificates of merit. That’s fine. Production was its own reward. Now that November is finished, I won’t be dating my blog posts any more, which was annoying.

No, I won’t be attempting to blog every day from now on. There’s too much of the written word in the world already, most of it not being read. I’m not motivated to simply generate words, but if I have something I want to write about, no matter how insignificant in the larger scheme of things, I definitely will blog about it.

I’ll just close with a realization: I am two years older than the Grinch. “For 53 years I’ve put up with it now…” Oh, that does make me feel old! Not being 55 and rounding third toward 56, but being older than the Grinch. If I looked younger than him, it wouldn’t be so bad.

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Tonight I helped put up a Christmas tree for the second time this week. This one was Mom’s tree, with the Hooligans “assisting” in their way. For some reason I find tree-trimming very tiring; doing it twice in a short period of time pushes me to the saturation point.

I think I’m going to wait until next weekend to put up my own tree, although I usually regret waiting when Christmas rushes up and I feel I haven’t enjoyed my tree nearly enough. However, I’m still doing some straightening around the apartment, which I’d like to get finished up before holiday trimming. Also I usually store my regular knickknacks and collections in the cartons from which I’ve taken the Christmas things, and I think I’d rather get the shelf decorations put up and the regular decor pieces put away before I get into the tree.

I suspected I wouldn’t get as much cleaning and organizing done as I’d imagined this past week, but I did pretty well. Latest treasure recovered: my digital thermometer, which I found along the baseboard by the vanity (where the donations for Goodwill had been languishing for months).

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I much prefer thinking I’m spending my time off this week “treasure hunting” rather than just trying to clean and organize my apartment. I spent a LONG time going through an IKEA bag full of stuff to either sort or shred, and I sorted through some other things as well.

The biggest treasure I uncovered so far is my long-lost DVD of Les Miserable highlights, which I’d just gotten for my birthday in April and had seen all the way through only once. I also found the hook that had broken off a kind of stand Mom had bought me, a star-topped rod with a base – the little hook was for hanging a wreath or small piece of needlework. I’m going to see if I can solder the hook back on, although my attempts at soldering haven’t been very successful so far.

A treasure that wasn’t so much lost as unrecognized is a couple of sets of thread color sample cards of Kreinik fibers, from metallic threads to braids to silk floss. My managing editor at work had picked them up at an industry show and later asked me if I wanted them. I discovered that there were about 6″ of each color wound around the sample card. Not enough to really make something big, but plenty to add touches of metal or color to a project or to stitch on silk gauze. I spent most of the evening unwinding the threads and sorting them by general color group. Maybe some of them will make their way into a Christmas ornament or the like.

It wasn’t all cleaning today. I did a little shopping, bought some things at Hobby Lobby with the gift card I got for Aunt Nancy Day (including a rod to make a quilt hanger for my whole cloth lap quilt I hand-quilted over the first six months of this year), and dropped off a small load of stuff at Goodwill. For me, overall, a productive day.

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This evening I watched a repeat of an “American Experience” program called Oswald’s Ghost. I didn’t read or hear much about the anniversary of JFK’s assassination today, but it’s not one of the big anniversary years. I wonder sometimes if every baby boomer who is old enough to remember the events thinks of that day on November 22. It’s becoming longer and longer ago for me – quite a span from nine years old to 55. It’s very strange to hear media experts or historians or professors of popular culture explain the assassination, how it was covered by the media, how the American people reacted, etc., in such an objectified manner, as if everyone who lived through it is already dead and gone. I suppose everyone from every generation has felt that way hearing those who weren’t there “explain” their history, whether it was the Civil War or the Great Depression or World War II.

I recounted my recollections of the day here two years ago, so I won’t go into all that again. Watching Oswald’s Ghost, I thought about all the theories and wondered if it’s to be a perennial mystery that will never be solved, like who the real Jack the Ripper was. I’m also amazed at how openly clinical everything is now about the assassination, with videos of the Zapruder film on YouTube and the Internet full of the autopsy photos from a couple of angles. All of that was shielded from the public in 1963. At that time, I don’t know how people would have handled it, even the adults. Now, everyone watches the CSI shows and similar programs, including real life series on cable, and we’re all less naive about what happens to the human form during trauma – and during autopsy.

I also kept seeing ghosts of the recent dead through those video clips,  particularly Ted Kennedy, Eunice Shriver, and Walter Cronkite. As I tally up all of the dead from those old clips, I have to remind myself that the assassination was 46 years ago. Maybe because they were so young at the time, Jackie and JohnJohn and the surviving brothers and even some of the media, it feels as though everyone died way before their time. In some cases, obviously, they did. But others enjoyed long, eventful lives. Time simply pushes you off the stage eventually.

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If you look between those two sheep I talked about in this post, you’ll see a small cup. This is one of the many little treasures I own that I purchased on eBay. It’s a child’s graniteware (or enamelware) cup. The transfer design is a spray of flowers, although saying exactly what kind is beyond my knowledge of horticulture. Judging from the style of the art, the cup appears to be from the turn of the 20th century. It doesn’t show in the photo, but the cup has a thin enameled metal handle on the right. I like to think this cup is from a very special set of child’s dishes.

Items like this always set my imagination in motion. I want to know who the little girl was who received the dishes, what the occasion was (Christmas? birthday?). Did she also have a doll as elegant as this cup with whom she shared tea parties? What happened to the set of dishes? What happened to that little girl? Was she from the United States or did this cup travel from across the ocean? How did this lone cup manage to survive all these years and wind up on a shelf in my kitchen?

If only material things absorbed what is happening around them and we could read the vibrations with our fingers like a kind of psychic Braille. Or imagine being able to sharpen our hearing so that we could put a cup like this to our ears and hear echoes of a child playing over one hundred years ago.

Some psychics, I guess, are able to do just that, receiving information about the past from a scene or a room or an object. I wonder if some future technology will be enable us to interpret transmissions stored in material things? I’d be blown away just to see or hear a few seconds of some totally common moment from a century ago – like a child playing with a flowered enamelware cup.

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This evening I was shuffling through a pile of stuff on top of a small chest of drawers, looking for a check my mother says she gave me in June, but it hasn’t cleared her checking account yet. I didn’t locate the check, but I did find two silver souvenir charms I bought on vacation – in summer 2008. There were also two small wood shadow boxes, my autumn metal leaf basket that I’d been looking for (apparently I never put it away last November), a bunch of thimbles that I’d bought on eBay to get one Halcyon thimble I really wanted, plus a few other scrappy odds and ends.

Because I’m so untidy, my life is a perpetual treasure hunt. Or rather, I discover treasure when I’m looking for something else. It’s always such a nice surprise. Naturally, I find forgotten money in pockets and wadded in the bottom of my purse. But  there are also the goodies I completely forgot about, like the silver charms.

What’s frustrating, though, is when I know I have something and can’t fathom where to even start looking for it. I’m not talking just about the check. There’s a whole raft of things I know I’ve purchased over the past six months and I can’t imagine what I did with them. Sometimes a small gift will go astray, or some crafting essential that I really needed to complete a project and I don’t know where it is.

The next couple of weeks should be interesting. I’m determined to get at least the living room in order, and God only knows what I’ll turn up. Especially promising and rich is my big dining table, absolutely buried beneath flotsam and jetsam and bric-a-brac. When I finally get things sorted out, I’ll post about the best treasures I uncovered. (I really AM going to tidy up. Really. If I can just locate that darn vacuum sweeper…)

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