Category Archives: Clutter

One man’s trash

… is another man’s treasure, isn’t that the saying?  That little set of six glasses, espied through the window of a vintage stuff & art gallery called Hudson’s at MassMOCA in North Adams, was priced for $25.00.  I have a set just like it– maybe?

The set belonged to my mother, and she picked it up for some cheap price at some church white elephant, because she had notions of what kinds of things one was supposed to own in order to maintain a proper household.  When she moved to California to express her displeasure that I wasn’t giving her granchildren find her bliss in the sunshine, she pushed them off on me along with other sundry glassware, some of which I wanted because it had been my grandmother’s, and most of which I thought was just junk.

I say maybe I own something like it, because I really cannot recall if it’s sitting, wrapped in a box in the basement, unused with my grandmother’s china and other still-wanted possessions, or if I took the chance of leaving my husband to give it to the AIDS Action Committee thrift shop for them to sell to someone who might think that six tiny pressed-glass cordials or whatever the hell you call them would somehow make your life more complete than if you just bought some all-purpose lowballs at Ikea or Crate & Barrel.  Who knows?  Maybe the owner of this shop bought this very set from the Boomerang in JP, and it’ll bring someone else way more use and pleasure than it ever brought me, cluttering up the bottom shelf of the hutch full of shit I didn’t use and had had foisted on me by family insisting on the right way to set a table, entertain, put on a spread?

Seeing that set in the window got me thinking about the things that we keep and the things we discard– not so much that I’m going to go hunting downstairs through my stuff– but in terms of the trash versus treasure conundrum, and how invested we get in other people validating our treasure, and telling us how lovely it and therefore we are. Failing to take an interest in the same things as you is taken as a wholesale rejection of you as a person (and heck, sometimes it is but I do have some manners and usually manage to be polite, but asking for pom-poms and a brass band is too much).  That perceived rejection is a cause for drama, accusation, pouting, shaming, guilt or outrage (I don’t know your family, I just know mine, all those options are possible, sometimes within the span of five minutes), and if you dare state anything as inflammatory as a disagreeing opinion, you’re a terrible person.

You’re trash, in a word, for rejecting someone else’s treasure.  (Though you haven’t, you’ve just said you don’t want any yourself.)

People mistake the collections of objects they amass for pleasure and success, and project that mistaken impression of accumulation of happiness via stuff onto you, in a nutshell.  Go your own way, and you’re telling them that you think they’re all wrong.  It’s not that, necessarily (though sometimes it is, and sometimes it only becomes that after our progenitors start insisting you follow The Old Ways) but changing the arrangement and type of objects is deeply unsettling to some, and the lack of stuff is even moreso.  When I tell people I don’t have a TV or a car, it earns me these looks– and when I look at the house I have only one room in and think– the things I could do if I could get rid of all of this stuff– well.  I’m sure it’s crazy to some.  But I like not having to deal with the weight of so many things (or wanting them, any more) physically & mentally taking up space that could be better spent swinging into warrior pose, or spreading out in a sunny patch on the rug with a shelf-space conserving Nook.

In the two years that most of my stuff has been in the basement, there have been maybe four times when I’ve needed something.  Maybe it is time, in fact, to go down and unpack– not for keeping’s sake, but shed to even more.

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True confession # 376

Or something like that.  I have previously confessed my love of uber-artificial “foods” like spam and velveeta.  (Insert Monty Python voice saying “Spam!” here).  So why do I feel kind of dirty confessing that I am currently rockin’ out to a shuffle mix of all the Bon Jovi in my iTunes?

Right now in the rotation?  “You were born to be my baby.”  Yeah.  Love it.  Although really, in the end, I’m more of a “You Give Love a Bad Name” kinda gal.

Now I just need to download lots and lots of Van Halen.  (I’m an ecumenical VH fan– DLR and SH are both fine with me, so long as Sir Eddie’s on the guitar.)  And maybe, just maybe, some Whitesnake.  (And yes, “Appetite for Destruction” is already loaded– but not those other albums, they are teh suck.)

Now where the hell is my hairspray?

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Here, chez BLC, it is national pie and stuffing patties with fried eggs and gravy for breakfast weekend.  (With many thanks to backlist for the idea.)  We did leave the house for several hours yesterday to do such things as go to the store for mops and brooms and other cleaning items I somehow managed to forget the other seven times I went to the store in the last two weeks, as well as to feed the SIL’s cats, but I have been in all other ways, a complete couch potato since Thursday.

Which is awesome.  I caught up on my Reader, did some back end work here on the blog, did some writing, caught up on some sleep, and now am enjoying the sedentary joys of loading CDs into iTunes on my new laptop.  Because internet radio?  Meh.  All Cake, or Feist, or Moby, or whatever else I feel like listening to, all the time?  Yeah.  Plus, it takes time to load those puppies in, which means more time on the couch.  Huzzah.

But tomorrow?  Water and low carbing and all that nasty exercise stuff begins.  Ugh.  I wish I was a bear sometimes, it would mean more gravy and stuffing and pie for me.  But I have clothes, not fur, to fit into.  Life’s so unfair sometimes, you know?

Oh, look! You’re taking pictures of food again!

“Oh, look!  You’re taking pictures of food again!”  Hah, hah, Better Half, very funny.  Or not.  I’ve been doing all sorts of things I used to do again.  Like, oh, say, cooking dinner.  And then taking pictures of it. For that to be “normal” is a judge of how far off I’ve been.

As far as dinner goes, this is really a mish-mash, a “holy crap, I need to make room in the fridge for Thanksgiving” kind of dinner.  Frozen tuna steaks, thawed and baked in a mayo/lemon zest/lemon juice/black pepper mush (a rip off of some “preserved lemon aioli fish bake” I saw in last month’s Food and Wine, I mean, come on, aioli is mayo), with some TJ’s brown rice/black barley whole grain blend, and some baby spinach tossed in hot olive oil until wilted in a saute pan with a whole mess of chopped parsley, red pepper flakes, and the tail end of a jar of capers.

******

I am grateful for the little man who sells hot-popped popcorn at the entrance to the subway station near my work.  I don’t always buy it, but it always hits the spot, and at $1.00 a bag and a sweet smile as he scoops it all in, who cares if you finish the bag.

******

Overheard on the train today.  “Yeah, that’s the problem with child support, man.  They’re always after your Lexus.”

*****

Is it pathetic that instead of just tossing these trouser socks I was wearing today that kept falling down, and wearing my shoes barefoot all day (after all, I wasn’t going to be seeing clients), I actually got out some rubber bands and slipped them over my socks to make them stay up the rest of the day?  I made sock garters, internets.  It’s either pathetic, or a sign of how badly my work neighborhood needs a drugstore with a hosiery aisle.  Maybe both.

When’s soon?

Wide solemn eyes,
contemplating the chocolate bar he’s chomping on,
cross-eyed.
His towheaded pageboy tops an oversized
blue oshkosh hooded sweatshirt.
As he munches his chocolate bar,
he kicks his small feet in sandals so large
his toes are nearly invisible.

“When does the train leave?”
“Soon.”

A pause.  Another bite of chocolate.

“When’s soon?”

Random thoughts and drunken etcetera

258 photos at the Ferry Farmer’s Market– less fattening than Cowgirl Creamery Cheese.

* * *

The Ferry Farmer’s Market: like heaven, just foggier.

* * *

BLC (out loud): (To guy nearly kneecapping me with his cane) Hey, watch it!

BLC (internally): Oh, shit. Another blind guy.

* * *

I’ve never been afraid of heights before. But I tried to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge today, and only made it as far as the first tower before hyperventilating. Wind + lots of traffic + wide expanses of incoming tide = hyperventilation. At least I got some good pictures. And the BH, trooper that he is, went to the middle of the span for me to finish out the photos.

* * *

“None is more wondrous than man.” (Sophocles). I don’t often think this, but something as artificial, as ingenious, as scientifically and aesthetically designed as the Golden Gate Bridge? It makes me change my mind.

* * *

I should have done a photoessay: “Glasses of BlogHer.” There were some seriously cool specs on offer this weekend. I love girls who wear glasses.

* * *

Two new verbs from the Better Half this weekend:

“These [Zuni Cafe] fries are so good, I am going to invent a verb. I am going to ‘cookie monster’ these.”

“I don’t know what I want. I am going to just ‘Stevie Wonder’ here until I do.” (File under “going to hell.”)

* * *

Re: this morning’s crack-of-dawn cable car ride: “I love the smell of steel dust in the morning.”

* * *

There’s a blues/rock band on the corner, and marijuana smoke in the air. Sunday night in Union Square.

* * *

The laughter and spit takes after finishing a bottle of wine? More than worth the fact that we’re too drunk to f*ck.

* * *

BLC: I never regret it [drunkeness]– I never remember it.

* * *

BLC to BH: That reduced liver function whinge? It might work better if it wasn’t because of a bad McDLT.

BH: Yeah, but are you going to write “contamination by fecal matter” on your blog?

BLC: No, I don’t want the google hits.

(Ooops. Well, too late.)

* * *

You did NOT just lick the crema out of your cappucino cup, did you?

Subway Scenes

A little boy, Japanese, barely bigger than his backpack, clad in a mish-mash of colorful prints I’m sure he picked out himself, accompanying his dad, weighed down himself in front by a platter of takeout from the sushi place.  As the train bends and sways, the boy tips back, dad tips forward.

* * *

The new turnstiles on the T, with the clever electronic innards, mean nothing– at least to the fare-jumper whose arms are long enough to allow him to lift his pack, up and over, and wave it in front of the exit motion sensor.  The doors part, the alarm sounds.  By the time any help arrives, the fare-jumper has sauntered into the throng.

* * *

The clown?  The storyteller? in a yellow T-shirt, red plaid pants, All-Stars and a bowler– telling the tale of Androcles and the Lion to a group of disinterested travelers, waylaid at Downtown Crossing.  He takes advantage of my passing to cringe, mouselike, in my lion-like presence.

* * *

The college-aged girl, heedless of others, as she sobs into her phone, describing some lover’s spat to the friend on the other end of the line– she may be unconscious of surrendering her privacy, or of simply not caring that others must hear, but I’m embarrassed for her and for us that our sense of privacy and public dignity is so eroded, by whatever means, that the rest must sit by, unwilling party to her halting, crying “whys?”

* * *

A group of high school kids, ending their after-school-programmed day, still wound up.  Yelling, singing, dancing, laughing at the top of their lungs– with looks they think are sly toward adults sitting near, ignoring them.  They’re hoping we’ll be shocked.  Instead, we’re amused, or merely bored, since we remember our own callow youths.

* * *

Everybody’s reading, chatting, plugged in.  No one just looks, just watches the trees pass or the lights dip and flash as pre-summer dusk sets in.  It’s late, they’re tired, and focused on home, soon, not here, now.