Pumpkins, Piss N’ Vinegar

Clump #245: Work through inner, inner paper pile; day three of NaBloPoMo.

Oh my, my.  I just caught myself starting to read an article entitled: How to Stop Procrastinating — For Good, while procrastinating writing this post.  I really didn’t even notice for a while; the irony is pretty thick.

Here is a great tip for hapless housekeepers: invite a neat-nick friend over once a week.  My dear friend and fellow The Voice t.v.-show-watching partner came over again tonight for the show.  One week ago she set off the clump that I’m finally peeling back to its essence.  Funny thing about last week: I dumped all sorts of paper in an ugly pile, stashed it in the corner of our study, turned the light out, and pretended that it didn’t exist.  But sometime during the Adam-Blake-Gwen-and-Pharrell-fest I wanted to mapquest a destination for this friend.  She came with me into the study where our computer is, I turned the light back on, and, well … my clumping shame was exposed.  But she came back again this week.  By the end of the Voice season our house should be immaculate. Or maybe I’ll allow myself to relax and be okay with the way things are.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this dichotomy between the public and private self/home.  The pumpkin I carved for Halloween made for an unexpectedly funny illustration.  Private, raw, and untamed:


Public, neat(er), smooth, and composed:


Dark night of the soul:


Put on a happy face:


I got through a bunch of phone calls today from the inner, inner paper pile that I had been putting off, but when confronted, felt very good.  I vented my spleen (where in the world did that expression come from?).  I was full of piss and vinegar (again…?) by the end of the paper pile calls. Not as big and grand as the mammoth herding of newspapers and catalogs of a few days ago, but in terms of sense of accomplishment, it was great.


Small, but far-reaching in impact.

A Mixed Bag: Books, Bravo, and Bulbs

Clump #180:  Send son second list of book titles.  Day five of the 30-day, 30-post Bedroom Blast Challenge … moving clutter and chi.

The second box of books included 33 titles.  I have a dream that one day this basket will be used for laundry again:


The journal on top has the quote below on its cover.  Pretty nice to consider while assessing a load of books; we tend to look outside ourselves for wisdom.


On another note, I’ve mentioned a few times my guilty pleasure of watching The Voice.  Last night my fellow Voice enthusiast neighbor and I went to see former contestant Matthew Schuler perform locally.  He was known as having the fastest four-chair-turn in the history of the show, and his rendition of the song “Hallelujah” made it to the top of the iTunes charts.  The photo below was taken when he sang “Hallelujah” at the show.  Amazing!

Such a fine young man, and great to hear that his experience on the show was positive.  I even got to talk to his parents who were manning the merch table.  I knew them, too, from the show.  They are both ministers and were super nice.  I asked his mother how she handled the experience of her son going through the incredible ride of the show. Her answer was, “I just said, God, have your way … cover him.”  The concert benefited The Peacemaker Center, a non-profit mental health counseling organization.  Bravo Matthew!


And today I passed a chorus of crocuses on my way to my mom’s.


It was difficult to adequately capture how gorgeous they were.


Each little grouping was more beautiful than the next.





Wooden Sticks and Warriors

Clump #119:  Finish shopping (?) and print Christmas newsletter.

As the bag says below, the printing of Ye Old Christmas Newsletter was, indeed, “easy” … after it was written, reviewed, edited, and returned to me by four other people.  When I was at Staples I remembered to get some Ticonderoga pencils, “The World’s BEST PENCIL.”  And maybe not the worlds BEST stocking stuffer, but certainly up there, in my book. I love giving practical gifts like socks, nice soap, lint removers … what a fun mom!


Seems like only yesterday that it was Thanksgiving and we were enjoying our friends’ bonfire.  Where did the time go?!  iI haven’t been sharpening too many pencils, but I have been doing a bit of procrastinating.  Below, my younger daughter was throwing some old, decrepit matches, from the avalanching-cabinet-cleaning-clump, into the flames.


Appropriately, it was the same weekend we saw the movie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  As an aside, I discovered many similarities between it and the Disney animated movie, Mulan.  Finding this picture made it all the more clear.



Both are about strong female characters forced into battle, where brains win over brawn.  In both movies the leads get dolled up in fancy dresses (Katniss in The Hunger Games gives new meaning to “a dress to die for”), designed for marriage, not by choice, but by expectation.  The warrior-woman character in each film makes a stunning move at a moment when they turn their gaze upward, as opposed to the expected ground level.

Enough movie and culture analysis … let me just say that I feel like I won the battle of the present list today.  I’m a mall and catalog warrior … hear me roar!  Timely tip for those still in the heat of battle: I read that tomorrow, December 18, is a day when over 1,000 retailers will be offering no-cost shipping, guaranteed to arrive before Christmas day.  More info at FreeShippingDay.com.

I think it’s important to give yourself a reward for clumps conquered.  My recent guilty pleasure of choice is The Voice.  And don’t think I haven’t drawn comparisons to The Hunger Games, a game played to the death, like the Romans feeding the Christians to the lions.  (Coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton make the show.)


Tonight is the finale of season five.  For anyone interested, here’s my prediction:  1st place: Tessanne Chin (right); 2nd place: Jaquie Lee (left); 3rd place: Will Champlin (center).  Fingers crossed!  Go Tessanne!