Unbelievable

I have a thing for books.  All kinds of books.  I have how-to, self-help, fiction.  I have classics and pulp fiction paper backs.  I have beautiful books, cookbooks, ancient books.  Children’s books, art books, coloring books.  All kinds. 

Several years ago, I thinned my books and donated them. I regretted getting rid of some of them.  I bought them again, mostly used, on Amazon or at the local library’s annual book sale.  I think I got rid of them for the wrong reason.  I felt I “should” get rid of excess things thanks to my overindulgence in self-help books about getting rid of things. Since that time, I have been reluctant to thin again. 

I have a selection of books I call my hands off collection. No one can borrow them.  If you are my friend and want to read them, you have to come stay with me while you do.  You can get comfortable on the porch or on one of the beds in the back bedroom.  I’ll even cook for you. 

I don’t know what has clicked with me recently, but I found myself thinning my books.  Not the hands-off collection, but other books.  Especially the “self-help” ones. That has expanded to even more topics.  Some craft books and home decorating books have made it to the out pile.  I have enough in the pile to make it worth going to the second-hand bookstore that buys used books. What they don’t want, I will gladly give to the Salvation Army store. 

I think when I found I could buy Orchids on Your Budget on-line new or like new, I felt some release.  I actually bought three copies.  Now, that may seem silly.  I’m purging books because I bought three copies of a book I already have in the hands-off collection giving me a total of four copies.  That title is one of two books I have that will go in my purse if I have to evacuate.  The other is Headhunting in the Solomon Islands (not what it sounds like).  I can’t explain my love for them. They are both non-fiction from the 30’s.  The first is about living cheerfully and well on a budget.  The second is about two women who go to the South Pacific to capture sketches of the natives before they either became extinct or “modernized”.  Who knows what would happen if I find more copies of the second one?  I might really unload some junk.  (I haven’t look, yet.)

In the interest of being transparent, I have a long list of books I want to acquire with an idea to read them and a pile of books recently acquired from used book sales, with an idea to read them.  I am not quitting the book business.  I am trying to quit the keeping business.  Keeping for the wrong reasons.  I have new courage to face other areas of the house now that I have done the unbelievable and purged so many books with more in the target zone.  Still, I tried to face the scarf collection this morning without success.  Too much too soon. 

I will not give up on my process.  I will try to expand on this line of thought and work in the coming weeks. The reasons for all the keeping and the reasons for trying to stop keeping.  I do want to say now, though, I don’t have all that much.  I don’t have a lot of things in the attic.  I don’t have a garage or storage building or rented space.  I have only two or three medium size tubs of Christmas decorations.  I could pile all the items I have stored on shelves or closets in the middle of the living room floor and still be able to walk around it.  But, too much of it is stuff I don’t really use over the course of the year. Too much is stuff I acquired for the wrong reason. Now that I have done what I consider unbelievable, I will be challenged to do even more unbelievable things to prove myself to my own self.  That is the only proving I am interested in these days anyway……Unbelievable. 

Dilemmas

The weekend is past again.  As usual, I had opportunity to see friends and go with him adventuring.  I even had a full day to lie on the porch with occasional thunder rumbling in the distance.  One of my favorite things to do.  I took time to read for pleasure.  Fiction.  I haven’t allowed myself to do that much over the past twenty years or longer.

I had a brief conversation with an acquaintance about allowing one’s self to do things.  She has retired from a long career.  Children long grown and gone.  She said it took her months to get to a point where she felt it was okay to work on projects held dear but long undone.  We were not in a situation to have a real discussion about the topic.  I certainly can identify with the feeling.

I am not retired.  Working full time and keeping up with his lifestyle takes a lot of time and energy.  Though I rested yesterday, I am tired this evening.  I have a general idea of what I should change to feel better.  I know some very specific things I should change to feel better.   But, there is a big difference between knowing what could be done and actually doing it.

I am trying to get my brain to work out a plan.  A plan and a schedule and the corresponding data to eat the right way, drink the right amount of the right things, get the best type of physical activity, follow proper sleep hygiene and so on.  The first thing is to deal with the constant pain and to get the right foods in my lunch kit.  Then, by drinking enough water and less coffee I may be able to get off my duff and get the exercises done to increase my strength and energy.

Adding to the dilemma is the coming autumn.  Why does that cause a dilemma?  The holidays will be upon me too quickly.  The leaves will be falling and I am anxious to keep up with the raking.  The plants will need to come into the house.  And my out of kilter sense of things will tell me, the trees are losing their leaves so I need to lose the clutter.  For me clearing and cleaning needs to be done in the fall.  Before the brightness of holiday lights and the brilliance of elegant glittery ornaments, the ravages of summer heat must be swept out.  Living in the subtropics, the flora and fauna overrun everything in the heat and humidity.

Additionally, I tend to go through waves of collecting and accumulating then purging and tossing.  Inevitably the outgoing wave happens in the time of shedding summer.  (I have a different mood for spring when traditional cleaning happens.  Then, I can’t get enough flowers and sunshine.  Forget cleaning.  The dirt needs turning over in the garden.)   Fall is upon the doorstep now.  On the stage in my mind, I see the props and costumes needing to go.  No longer appealing or needed, things must go to make way for other things.  Pumpkin tea set, then cornucopia baskets, then the traditional antlered floral monstrosity he loves to see on the dining table.

Summer costumes pulled from the closet must be evaluated.  Do I really want to see them next summer?  Do they go into the giveaway bag or into the storage bag?   Winter costumes pulled from the storage bags must be evaluated.  Do I really want to don them for another winter?  Do they go into the closet or into the giveaway bag?

Trivial things in a simple country house.  The life I have created for myself is indeed simple.  The drama in my life stays at work.  Enough intensity and danger there.  When that red gate closes behind my car coming in the drive, I want simple trivial things.  I want to have dilemmas that I can go to sleep on and forget about in the morning light.  I want to have dilemmas such as trying to get the goldfish still long enough for some good photos.  I want to have dilemmas such as wondering what to take to lunch tomorrow.

I have had the dilemma of wondering if I would ever shed tears again.  I had cried them all out losing Mother.  Cancer can be a long drawn out affair.  Knowing the end was coming.  Not knowing when or what it would be like when it happened.  Six years of nearly constant chemo after 2 years of nearly constant radiation.  Daddy needing hospitalization for bipolar manic depression several times through those years.  Raising two children along with it.   All our parents and grandparents have passed as well as other dear family members and friends.  The illnesses and the passing have been mourned.  But, the living our lives without them will never pass.  The dilemma of needing to hold on to hope will never pass.

That is perhaps why the little ones are so terribly important to us.  They are hope.  They are proof of our faith that the tragic dilemmas can be weathered.  They are the dream.  Ultimately, my desire to be filled with enthusiastic energy and to accomplish the tasks here at home are about them.  A place to celebrate. Full of love and magic and hope and laughter and mystery and marvel.

They are the reason I deal with the fish tank.  Maybe they will enjoy the fish.  They are the reason I don’t have certain things in my yard.  Southeast Texas has everything poisonous and venomous and stinging and biting.  I do not want structures that encourage their habitation here.  They are the reason the carpet must be removed from the porch and the floor redone.  The dishes must be sorted and realigned to make room for things children like and can use safely.  The rooms must be arranged for safety and space to play.  The yard must be diligently kept to deter fire ants and stickers.

The list goes on.  The dreams go on.  A new stage must be set.  A stage for hope and laughter.  A stage for silliness and play.  A stage for games and parties.  A stage for magic and love.

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Eight giant goldfish in a huge fish tank illuminate our living room.  Already I am wondering how to decorate them for Halloween……………they are orange…………maybe some black cat silhouettes on the front of the tank to terrorize them????   Bwahaha!   I know one little girl who might laugh at that!  Dilemmas, dilemmas……….how to set that magical stage moment……………