May I Have Fun Too?

Clump #278: Power through bunch of online orders; day six of seven-day holiday kick-in-the-pants challenge.

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Here’s a secret: I really don’t like spending a bunch of money all at once, which is part of what most of us have to do at this time of year. Thank goodness for this blog and challenge.  I forced myself to sit down and order some gifts I had been putting off.  In two cases the items were on back-order. Drat!  I have known I wanted them for quite a while.  Why did I wait until peak shopping time?

Don’t be like me!

And speaking of that, I’m still simmering about this advice from Martina McBride in last week’s People magazine.  You’ll notice at the bottom of the page: “Tip No. 1: Plan ahead so you can have fun too!”

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So many obnoxious comments flooded my head: “Really?”… “Thank you Captain Obvious”… “Ya Think?” … Sorry to sound snarky, and I’m sure Ms. McBride is a wonderful person and country singer and holiday hostess, but … she might as well have written: “Rewire your brain!”  It’s not so easy for some of us.  And the idea that everyone else is having fun while you are stressing and slaving away sounds sad, but often so true. Thanks for listening.

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P.S.  An astute reader of this blog correctly identified the elegant white flower in the previous post as a gardenia (not jasmine). Thank you!  I’m still thinking of (and posting photos from) Longwood, and won’t even guess at the name of the pretty puff flower pictured above.

Bag O’ Barbies

Clump #276: Deliver Barbies to food pantry holiday giveaway; day four of seven-days of holiday to-do list.

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Today I got rid of … gave away … a bag full of Barbies to the local food pantry’s annual gift giveaway for people in need. Interestingly, when I went to the register at Toys R Us, the woman who was ringing up my purchase was obviously interested in why I was buying so many Barbies.  I told her that I was donating them to the food pantry’s giveaway, and she said, “Oh, I use that food pantry.”

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She tried to allow me to use as many coupons as the register would, well, register.

I’ve heard that Barbies are losing popularity to Monster High dolls, which sound weird, except for their body proportions, which makes Barbie the more unnatural.

Here are some “Fast Facts About Barbie” from the Barbie website:

  • Barbie® doll’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts
  • She is from (fictional) Willows, Wisconsin where she attended High School
  • Barbie® doll’s official birthday is March 9, 1959 – the exact date she was unveiled to the toy industry during New York Toy Fair
  • Barbie® first appeared in the now-famous black-and-white striped swimsuit
  • Barbie® doll’s debut look was polished off with her signature ponytail – a hair style representative of the times (1959)
  • Barbie® doll’s first pet was a horse named Dancer
  • Barbie® doll’s signature color is Barbie™ Pink (PMS 219)
  • Barbie® doll stands 11.5 inches tall
  • The best-selling Barbie® doll ever was 1992 Totally Hair™ doll, with hair from the top of her head to her toes
  • The Holiday Barbie™ Doll continues to be the number one selling Barbie® doll year after year. In 2013 the annual collectible line celebrated its 25th anniversary
  • Barbie® doll has had 150+ inspirational careers
  • Barbie® recently announced she will be celebrating women in business with her new role as entrepreneur
  • Barbie® first broke through the plastic ceiling as a business executive in 1985
  • Barbie® traveled into space in 1965, four years before man walked on the moon
  • Although she has never won an election, Barbie® has run for president 6 times since  1992
  • Barbie® has been a muse to many artists over the past 5+ decades – including Andy Warhol and Peter Max.

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I love the fact that her middle name is Millicent.  She traveled to the moon before man, but still hasn’t succeeded in winning a presidential election.  Even with 150 inspirational careers!

Paper Chains

Clump #225: Tackle box of swept-up papers and other clutter; day 21 of 30-day challenge.

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I must confess to a Clump A Day roadblock.  I was dreading clearing out this container of (mostly) paper all day today.  The task was especially onerous because much of it was culled from previous clearings … a core clump, one might say, dense in its stubbornness.  One might say many other less polite things, but I’ll just add that I spent most of the day doing anything else to avoid it.  (“These plants need watering … immediately!”)

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I finally got it pretty much sorted out, but there are a few piles I’ll need to consult with other family members about, and a “Do” pile, which will take a bit longer to make go away.  More work for tomorrow.  But two full bags of paper for recycling are inspiring.

This continues to be the hardest part of my Clump A Day journey: I perform a herculean paper purge, feel victorious, and then the tide comes roaring back … and I’m pulled under again.  It’s been especially challenging this summer to keep up with the paper flow while away on vacation.

One such trip was to Boston, where my older sister and I spent a wonderful day at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  In a fairly new “Monk’s Garden,” pictured below, circuitous paths — almost labyrinth-like — wound through beautifully varied greenery …

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evoking lessons learned over and over again in an endless (?) loop.

Antiques, Oddities, and Pretty Flowers

Clump #223:  Comb through and recycle ancient file folders; day 19 of 30-day challenge.

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The photo above of a blue poppy (from a botanical garden in Stavanger, Norway) is for two-year-old twins who, I was told, viewed this blog today.  Crying “purple pretty flowers” over and over for five minutes while resisting a nap is the best “like” I’ve ever gotten.  Babies were the theme of the day, like this shop sign my husband and I passed by, both sweet and creepy:

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But then, it did go along with the general Antiques and Oddities motif of the store:

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So … to the clump!  An old, old, yes, antique, box of file folders, hideous in their out-of-date-ness.

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They contained quaint things like preschool contact lists and actual written directions (before the day of the GPS):

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I saved so many magazine and newspaper articles I know I won’t ever reread.  A good lesson for the present and my continuous clipping habit. And speaking of clipping, a bit of sweet and creepy of our own: hair from our older daughter’s first hair cut (Awww):

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And, finally, the box is empty and a pile of papers is ready for the recycling bag.

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I vividly remember having tried the sunflower house, above.  The idea was to sow sunflower seeds with morning glory seeds to make a cozy little house.  I believe there’s a reason it is shown in a drawn illustration. It never looked this dense and wonderful, just leggy and ratty.  Unlike the flowers that grow wild.

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Purple pretty flowers!

A Broken Record

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Clump #202:  Deposit son’s coins; glue catch-all; keep emotions in check.

I was on the verge of tears several times today.  I could blame it on the weeping cherry tree, clinging onto its last flowers today, that grows beside our Quaker Meeting.

Next, I saw an old photo featuring our son when he played a wise man many years ago in the Christmas Nativity (a poor photo of a poor photo). Ahh, with the little impish grin, he bears the gift of sharp nostalgia.

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I watched a recording of SNL Shorts, short films aired on Saturday Night Live through the years.  The show ended with scenes of people meeting each other at an airport, set to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.”   Cue the waterworks. (The only place I could find it was on “BUCKNACKT’S SORDID TAWDRY BLOG.  Not sordid or tawdry at all!)

Today’s clump was depositing coins in our son’s bank account … over thirteen dollars!

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They were stored in a broken, molded vinyl record he had been using as a catch-all.  I thought I’d have to throw it out …

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but I got some krazy glue and put it together.  The last little piece almost had me in tears … and my fingers have a gluey coating now, but I finally succeeded.

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Not perfect, but still useable.

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Two dear friends generously gifted us with lovely cut daffodils. The ones below resemble clusters of yellow butterflies.  In the corner, looking on, are the remnants of the other, earlier gift.

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I know I have a bit of a problem holding on to things, but you have to admit they do possess a different kind of beauty.

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My broken record message is: life is fleeting!  Told vividly by kids, trees, flowers, even money.

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Soak it up while it’s here.

Study Purge, Take Three

 

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Clump #199:  Clear out accumulation of clutter in study; throw out Christmas flowers.  (Yes, that’s Christmas flowers … stay with me.)

The study … you know, the subject of several previous clearings and relapses?  This week it was the receptacle for sorted piles from our son’s room.  Oops … I did it again.

Three non-family members visited today, two repairmen and a friend. Wouldn’t you know both visits required time in this cluttered study, the least picked-up room in the house?  Groan!  I decided to rid the room — again — of all the piles.

First up: the exploded bag of shredded paper.  Ugh.

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The day before yesterday was Earth Day and I’d picked up this hand-decorated bag at a local grocery store.  Good tips!

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It heroically contained the mealworm-like paper shreds and saved both the corner of the study and my temper.

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Funny how the presence of outsiders makes you see things you can’t believe you’ve let go.  Case in point: a pot of paperwhite bulbs given to us at Christmastime.  I guess I was so grateful for their promise of spring, fragrance, and life, even when dried out.  Out they go.  The pot is soaking in water with white vinegar, which will clean it right up.

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Also going out, the poinsettia.  I’m tired of the dropping leaves, even as beautiful and shell-like as they are. (Photo taken on the top of the stove.)

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It’s daffodil and tulip time now, after all.

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Now You See It…

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Clump #196: Sort son’s shoe collection; day 21 of the 30-day, 30-post Bedroom Blast Challenge.

Simple, straightforward and swift was this clump.  Our son was able to eliminate three pairs from the remaining shoes in his room.  I put up his shoe holder and placed the keepers there.

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Done.

The beautiful eggs I documented in the last few posts are now just a memory.  I took this photo right before clearing and cleaning the plate.

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It brought to mind Buddhist sand art.   While googling the images below, I found this description on Wikipedia:

“The Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand.  A sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.”

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This, in turn, brought to mind some flowers I’d photographed at the dentist’s a few weeks ago…

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One blossom looking finished, the next in transition:

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Enjoy me now!