Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Monday, August 29, 2011

On Papa Smurf and Hoarding

For the past few days, I have been cleaning out and rearranging kitchen cupboards.  It's kind of fun.  And I look forward to trying out the new set-up.  It's entirely possible I will be shuffling it all back to the way it was but for now, I'm hopeful.

As I go through kitchen items, it becomes obvious that we have too many of some items.  So, off to Goodwill they will go.  When I look at some, I'm not sure that Goodwill will want them even though we were using them until last week.  I use things for a long time because I don't like to waste things.  I don't want to send items to Goodwill that they can't use and which will require disposal.  It can be a tough call.

I also have a bit of a tug-of-war about certain items.  There can be the sentimentality factor and a strange reluctance to get rid of something that we've had a long time.  I have watched shows such as Hoarders and Hoarding:  Buried Alive lately though.  What I've seen and heard on those shows makes it easier to get rid of some items.  They help to alleviate guilt when that is a factor in keeping something.  After all, according to those shows, holding on to things we don't need is a terrible thing to do.

While those shows do make me consider some habits, I've learned it's important not to take the concept of purging one's items too far.  I am so glad that with one of my older items, I hadn't done that.

Recently, I went to see The Smurfs Movie.  I really enjoyed it and was envious of the Smurfs' happy lifestyle in their community.  And I had not known that Smurfs are three apples tall.  You never know when you'll need that information.  Anyways, watching the movie, I started to wonder if I still had the Papa Smurf stuffed animal that I won in an amusement park in the 80's.  I had been excited to win him on my own; none of my boyfriends in the pointless relationships that dominated my teen years had to do it for me and that meant something to me.

I knew that I had kept Papa Smurf a long time.  Well, I don't want to say a long time because that makes me sound old but, yes, it was a long time.  I also knew that I have been clearing out stuff lately.  I feared for the little blue guy.

When I got home, I went to the room where I thought he might be.  I felt really bad as I looked and didn't see him.  I knew then that we can go too far in ridding ourselves of our belongings.  I knew then that I had to put these thoughts in writing.

Happily, I found Papa Smurf.  I was so relieved.  It doesn't affect my day-to-day life that much to have him around but he is a piece of my past.  After enjoying the movie, it's even nicer to have a Smurf.  Of course we can't keep everything but we can keep some special things.

I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with the fact that hoarding shows are on tv.  I have watched them, though, and I might do so again.  They seem exploitative and some, maybe most, of the people profiled seem to be really troubled.  It must be a horrible invasion of their privacy to have family and/or friends, cleaning people and a production crew enter their home.  I hope I have the resolve to do better things with my time than watch more episodes.

These shows can also make viewers, or me anyways, fear that if we don't throw things out, our homes will look like the ones shown.  I have been made aware of some bad tendencies I have.  But I am not a hoarder.  Those people are very troubled.  We don't have to throw out all our belongings.  There's a big space between keeping a few too many things and not being able to eat in one's kitchen and normalizing bug and rodent infestations.

I believe it's good and healthy to keep something like my Papa Smurf.  And he is only three apples tall.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Mr. Jack Layton

Rest in Peace to Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP, Canada's Official Opposition Party.

I cannot honour this man adequately with a blog entry.  His letter to Canadians said it all so well.

I can't believe he's gone.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Winds Are Blowing

When the wind was strong last night, it seemed perfect.  The winds of change are blowing through the lives of a lot of people I know right now.  They're powerful winds.

Some people are going through painful change.  For some, the changes will be wonderful.  For all of us, these changes are new.

The greyness of today's weather seemed perfect too.  We cannot yet see the colours, the effects, the new scenery these changes will create.

Friendships will endure.  But lives will change.  They must.  We must.  I am excited and a little uncomfortable.  We are treading on new ground and we have to trust that it is stable beneath our feet.  And that it's o.k. to start walking around in this redesigned world.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Others Say

Today someone said things to me that I found strange.  They bothered me.  I've tried to sort out how I feel about them.

As the day draws to a close, however, I am realizing that the comments another person makes say more about them than they do about me.  No, it's not normal to greet someone after their vacation and tell them it wasn't long enough.  A week at a beach seemed just right to us.  But I have areas in which I can improve too.  I will not dwell on other people's issues.  Or not for long, anyways.

Oh and, yes, I know I got more freckles from the sun.  I also got a  healthy glow.  It would have been nicer to point out the glow. 


Monday, August 15, 2011

Isn't Travel Fun?

To avoid travel problems, it's best to stay home.  That way you wouldn't:

- find out your flight is delayed over 2 hours and that you will miss your connection and stay in a hotel in the connecting city for a flight at 7 a.m.
- stand outside a gas station in Durham North Carolina, terrified that someone in your party was having a serious food reaction
- wait for one and a half hours to get hotel vouchers in connecting city so that you are at hotel for less than 5 hours
- notice that only one of the three of you has an assigned seat on this flight and that the flight is overbooked

I can see that not everyone wants those things to happen to them.  And all of them have happened to my family within the last 24 hours.  But if we hadn't travelled, we would have also missed:

- a wonderful beach trip that included my parents

and, within the last 24 hours,

- a chance to talk to and cheer on fellow travellers as we all worked to sort out our travel issues and get on with our lives
- a little extra attention (and free breakfast) on this morning's flight because our tickets somehow indicated what we had been through
- a remarkably nice, albeit quick, sleep in a reasonably nice hotel
- the profound relief that there was no food reaction and a chance to view the rest of this situation in perspective

It was kind of my goal through the ordeal to get back to our living room.  I will go there and read through my mail.  But I don't want to stay in the living room too long.  There was a time in my life when I wore out a couch cushion from sitting on it so much.  That wasn't good for me or the couch (we had to replace it).  A lot of living happens outside the living room and if sometimes I end up tired and upset and a little frantic in an airport after 11 at night, it's just a part of the adventure.  But I'm glad we're home.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nature's Beauty

I understand that not everyone likes small animals, especially rabbits, as much as me.  Well, let's say I understand.  But whether one loves them or not, it troubles me to see people chase them away from their yards.  Yards are outside, rabbits are outside.  I think they go with the territory.  In a city, we are lucky to see wildlife up close.  I think it is sad and wrong to see it rebuffed when we get that chance.

A man who lives on my street really likes the outside of his house to be neat.  When he was chasing a rabbit away one time as my son and I played badminton on our lawn, I (somewhat) nicely yelled over to him that I like the rabbits.  He said nicely that he would like them too if they didn't dig holes in his lawn.  They don't dig holes.  They do create very shallow dugouts where they lie down.  And they use the same dugout repeatedly.  It's not a big deal.  And is it really that important to this man that his lawn be perfect?  It's not like he has a beautiful flower garden that's getting eaten or his family's vegetables are being stolen.  And I have colourful flowers that are low to the ground and very few get eaten.  I coexist with the rabbits.  I enjoy their presence.

I don't think I'm bothered about this just because I like rabbits.  Rather, I'm bothered because I don't see the merit in protecting perfectly tidy but boring outdoor spaces.  Flowers are beautiful.  Trees can be beautiful.  Nature is beautiful.  Animals are a part of nature.  When someone angrily tries to keep one element of nature away, there is less beauty.  When someone tries to manipulate their outdoor space with perfectionism, it's not natural.

JAHD - This piece is dedicated to Tom, the baby rabbit who lived outside our house for a few days.  Naturally.