Sept Sights & Sounds

The sights and sounds I’ve seen so far this month:

Lots of clouds this past week, and periodic sprinkles, if not full-out rain. The ripe grain crops are still in the fields; since we have sunshine today the farmers will likely be tuning up their combines.

I was quite amazed to see a hummingbird visit our feeder a couple of times the day before yesterday. The nights haven’t been very cool, so I guess she felt she could linger at the sweet-shop a little longer. I haven’t seen any yesterday or today, though, so maybe she’s left us.

I heard the first cricket chirping yesterday afternoon. A nice note for fall, but still…

And in the Dept of Wretched Rushing, we’ve seen:
— Halloween costumes displayed in Cosco several weeks ago. Ridiculous, IMO!

— Yesterday we were in Walmart and I saw they’ve started putting their Christmas decorations out for sale already. Mo-o-o-an!

The smell of too much, too long?

Mess.Mrs Brown
MrsBrown – Piixabay

I’ve had that “drowning in stuff” feeling again lately, so I pulled out my favorite how-to books: Clutter’s Last Stand, by Don Aslett.* If you haven’t seen this book, you should. Not only is the prose well done and inspiring, but the text is matched with the hilarious illustrations of Judith Holmes Clark. This book is worth looking through just for these! Even people who can’t read English will get the picture — pun intended.

*Writer’s Digest Books, *Copyright 1984 by Don A Aslett, author of Is There Life After Housework?

On the first page is Mr Aslett’s promise: “You’ll immediately lose 100 lbs without dieting.”Now that has serious appeal.

Yesterday I opened a cupboard door and pulled out my quilting magazines to lend to a neighbour, and took out Mom’s old recipe binder as well. Confession: I haven’t used one recipe from this book since we brought it along when we moved her in with us back in 1999. But it was MOM’S! How could I possibly toss it? Alas, its pages are very musty and I had a sore throat after looking through it.

Day One of my 100-pound weight loss plan:
This morning I pulled all the old knitting, crochet, craft, and folk-art magazines and books, and Writer’s Digest mags, out of that cupboard and now have a pile to shred, a pile to go to Value Village, and a stack of Grandma’s recipes for my daughter to look over. (She’ll probably toss them, too. You can find so many online these days, with quantities geared to our smaller families.)

At least five pounds lighter now, I can take a little break and blog. My folk-art painting books and a few chosen craft books I’ve set outside to air before storing them again — just in case I ever give up blogging and want to do some knitting, painting, or crochet project. (We’ll visit this issue again in a few years. 🙂 )

I’ll never get to the scene below, but there is a happy medium somewhere.

Clean.StockSnap
StockSnap – Pixabay

And that’s where I’m at on this lovely fall day: a slightly stuffy nose, a bit of a sore throat, a pile of paper by the shredder, golden leaves wafting down on our lawn, and Angus asleep in my computer chair — a year-round sight.

I hope you’re all having a great day.

A Dollar Per Member

I’m happy to say my project for this winter — reorganizing my DropBox files — is well over half done now! All Articles they go the ART section, anecdotes in ANEC, book reviews in BOOKS, etc. Hindsight being better than foresight, I should have done this from the get-go.

I’m also working away at the “paper mountain” I’ve accumulated over the years, typing in all the snippets, articles, and scribblings I’ve saved in a “Deal With Someday” tub. Which means I’m getting a lot of little poems finished up and ready to post. And our shredder’s about worn out!

Here’s a little human interest item from the new ANECDOTES section in my Dropbox. This was posted March 2014, so very few of you will have read it yet.

One Dollar Per Member Per Month

When the mission work of the church began to spread in Haiti and small congregations became established, It was decided that each member should give a tithe of $1 per month toward the expenses of the national church as a whole. Money to pay the expenses of a general conference would come out of this as well as other administrative costs.

So everyone tithed their dollar a month and things went fairly smoothly, but you know how we people are inclined to procrastinate. Eventually the question came up at a yearly conference: how were some of the very poorest members going to pay this $12 per member per year? Many Haitians had very limited opportunities to earn; it was more than some could do to buy food every day. A $12 yearly “conference tithe” seemed impossible.

The issue was debated back and forth until one elderly brother rose to his feet and addressed the group. “I guess I don’t know what you people are talking about,” he began. “I don’t remember that we ever decided on a $12 per member per year tithe.”

Members looked at him in surprise. “Of course this was our decision.”

“No,” he countered. “Our decision was ONE DOLLAR per member PER MONTH. If you leave it until the year end and then try to come up with $12 each in your household, it will be a serious hardship. It will be a lot easier if each one just pays the one dollar per month. That’s not an unmanageable sum, is it?”

And they all agreed. That wasn’t such an unmanageable sum after all.

Most major projects are a lot easier to accomplish when you take care of them swiftly and in small chunks.

He Calls It Clutter

Marcel Makes A Sale

Danny and his wife Lyanne were strolling through the art exhibit when he saw something really unique. They approached the artist and Danny asked, “Uh, what exactly is this supposed to be?”

Blob

Marcel quickly explained, “This painting represents the busyness of life, the rat-race we’re running, cluttering our world with stuff, yet always wanting more.”

Danny eyed the painting. “Yeah. I can see Clutter.”

“Hey, look at it this way.” Marcel used his most persuasive tone. “This is the perfect gift for that someone on your gift list who already has everything.”

Danny gave the artist a rather bemused stare, then his eyes lit up. He pulled out his wallet and handed Marcel his VISA.

Lyanne put a hand on his arm. “Whatever are you thinking?”

He gave her a silly grin. “I know exactly who to give this to.”

On January 3rd VP Harold walked into the Sales Manager’s office…and froze. He pointed to the picture. “What on earth is that supposed to be!”

Randy looked at the painting and sighed. “Christmas gift from my brother-in-law Danny. His little joke, I guess. ‘Perfect for a car leasing exec,’ he says. The artist has titled it Clutter.”

“Yeah. I can see that!” Harold leaned on the door frame and laughed.

Randy rolled his eyes. “Dan and Lyanne will be popping around tomorrow. He said they want to see how it brightens up my drab office.

“I hope you’ll be donating it to charity after that. Because it looks like you let your grandchildren play on your wall with a marker and a ruler.”

“Donate it to charity? Not on your life. Danny and Lyanne’s son’s getting his own apartment in June. This is going to be his housewarming gift. He’ll probably love it—and they’ll get to see it every time they visit him.”

“The gift that keeps on giving, eh?” Harold chuckled as he left to check out what other gifts might have turned up in the company’s offices after Christmas.

I’ve expanded this tale from a Friday Fictioneers story I posted several months ago. My thanks to the artist who posted this image on Pixabay.com.

Housekeeping the DropBox

Good morning, World!

I woke up very early this morning — 3:45 to be exact — and finally got up just before 4am. For the past few days I’ve had a cold and have been taking medication to clear up my sinuses. Makes me sleepy in the daytime and I had a couple of long naps yesterday, so I guess it’s fair if I can’t sleep the whole night.

Of course as soon as I was awake, so were the cats, and Pookie wanted to go outside. Yesterday was a milder day, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt him to take a small jaunt outside. But when I opened the door I felt something you don’t want to feel here in February: rain. More like spitting than real rain, but enough to give the roads a nice coating of ice.

The rain has since turned to snow. Checking with Environment Canada I see the temp in Saskatoon is -1C or 30F right now and supposed to drop a couple of degrees during the day, so I’m very glad we don’t have any place we have to be early this morning.

I didn’t get up and start the vacuuming or the laundry, such as one might do. I’ve rather spent the last three hours doing housekeeping in my DropBox files. Over the past six years of blogging I’ve amassed this huge assortment of poems, stories, articles, etc. — and I’ve filed them all by name. Note to new writers and bloggers: this is a NO-NO — unless you don’t write that much or have a fantastic memory.

I’ve spent precious hours searching my thousands of files for a story or poem I once wrote, either to reblog it or to include it in Silver Morning Song — and never could find it. The fact that I have 300-400 haiku mixed in among all the other files hasn’t helped. Maybe a year later I open a file with an unfamiliar name, and here’s the thing I was looking for. Why did I name it that?

So for the past month or so I’ve been renaming all my files — with category first. That way I know if I’m looking for a poem I’ll find it in POEM, the stories I wrote are all in the STORY section, articles in the ART section, etc.

Oh, to have done this all along! As the old saying goes, “Little and often makes a heap in time.” Take a tip from one who’s learning her lesson late in life: when you don’t do that little bit of organizing every day you end up with a big heap to sort through.

“A place for everything and everything in its place” may be an old cliche, but the older I get the more I see the golden glow in this wise advice. I’m battling memory loss now as well as general clutter issues, which means I spend far too much time wandering around the house looking for something I need RIGHT NOW, trying hard to remember where I last used it.

So I consider the past three hours time well spent and I haven’t made a lot of racket to wake my husband up. My next organizing project is to redo our two main bookcases with books placed alphabetically by author’s name instead of loosely by topic. (Yesterday I resolved to get started with this project, as I was looking for a book by Francis Schaeffer and couldn’t spot it on the shelves.)

It’s 8am now and the sky has turned a pale blue. So nice to see our daylight hours getting longer! The snow is fine, but it’s really coming down. Now I’ll go have breakfast and then probably take a long nap before I tackle any more housekeeping. (I did. 🙂 )

Note:
When I went to post this, I discovered we had no internet. 😦 (Heavy clouds often block our internet access!) So, better late than never…

The Tasks At Hand

I hope you’re all having a happy day of rest and reflection.

My New Year started with a phone call early this morning. I stayed up to welcome the New Year in — and read an interesting book. (Book review to come.) Then I crawled into bed and was dozing off when the phone rang at 1:10 am. My cousin in Alberta, forgetting the one-hour time difference, was calling to wish us a happy new year.

I listened to her message, then went back to bed, but was restless with my left leg paining quite much. So, up to take more Tylenol, and finally to sleep again.

This morning I arose from my bed and could walk. Joy, joy! What a blessing to be able to get up and walk around without that hobble!

In retrospect I don’t think my problem was gout, seeing there was no heat, redness, or swelling in the knee joint. Rather, I must have over-stretched something in my back when I made my bed and slipped a disk out of place. This morning the nerve down the back of my leg is still sore from being pinched, but the disk must have slid back in where it should be and the nerve isn’t being pinched anymore.

End of painful hobble. I am so delighted!

Now I can get back to my New Year’s resolution to sort out my house. I’ll start out easy by going through the top drawer on my side of our dresser. Over the years this has become my catch-all for everything that has no other place and serves no useful purpose. Skin cream samples and half-tubes, old bookmarks, a scattering of hairpins I never use, old eyeglasses I intend to donate to charity. (Wait a minute! The lenses in my old glasses are all scratched up and the frames obsolete. What charity will want them?)

I’ll try walking a mile in my daughter’s shoes. I’ll go through this drawer, asking, “Which things will she throw out when I’m gone? Which will she think are worth keeping?”

Do you have a “catch all clutter” drawer like that? What rationale do you use for sorting through stuff you’re keeping “just in case I need it someday”?

It’s time to get on with my day, so I’ll close with a New Year’s blessing to all fellow writers: 🙂
May words flow from your veins
in an unblockable stream;

may your mouse never freeze
in the middle of its tale;

may your power never blink
before you’ve hit “Save”;

and may your anti-virus preserve you
from all invasive microbes.

Germ.jpg