Thursday, November 24, 2011

30 x 30: Da Challenge is Done & Done

Good morning on Thanksgiving Day!
And good-bye not so good page of llama sketches from Llama Magic booth time last May. Yup. This page was number 900 - more or less - really more - of the 30 Day Challenge to rid home of at least an average of 30 things for 30 days. All noted on reused sheets of paper folded and stapled for just this purpose. Two days and four pages for more cleansing and recollecting.

Note - some artists/journalers would balk at the tossing of a sketch or 12. Judgement? Well, a llama's gotta go when a llama's gotta go. There ARE other drawings of the lovely creatures, & photos & memories. And this sheet of drawings didn't scream "Nooooooo!!!!" as it headed for the waste-basket. That is always a sure test. I have ripped bear drawings into quarters - a ritual sort of thing for drawings-to-go-away - with my saying "Sorry, Steve, ya didn't make the cut." And the bear crying out - silently - in chunks - as it headed for the trash. This sheet had no soul. Again, Judgement on my part. A llama fan may have disagreed, or may have tossed the drawing months ago. We will never know.

A month of appraisals and considerings and choices is coming to an end. I'm glad to have done it, and glad to get onto a different 30 Day attempt. Stuff will continue to be culled, and new things will come home. Some cleaned and organized spaces are yet to be touched. Do I fear the spell of un-hoarding will be broken? Will we put something in those newly opened spaces soon, or ever? Should I take photographs? Which areas still need attention, and will we budget the time? Christmas is coming. A time for getting, yes, but maybe a time for the givings to outnumber the gettings. THAT might be an on-the-side Extra Challenge. Hmmmmm. To have the house emptier, on purpose, at year's end? "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave away...."

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. No fighting - no biting. May the best team win.

- Sue

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 x 30: Day 26 - Records Are Made to be Sorted

30 x 30 Challenge is taking me places I seldom go. Like into the shelf in one closet holding a shelf-worth of semi-vintage vinyl. One stash among several, but an easy one to tackle.

Let's see who might be hiding in their jackets. Hello, Johnny Cash. Hi, Steve Goodman. Hey, Steve, thanks for making our college Metals studio time so much easier to survive. Karen of NZ & I could still harmonize on a bunch of your fine tunes. Don't worry - all your big old platters are safe here for some while. Same with your singer/songwriter compatriots, John Prine & Neil Young. Cat Stevens and Gordon Lightfoot, too. Can't get rid of the words or the tunes. Got me through the many days of old teenage and young twenties. You were all doubled up on 8-track or cassette tapes; some munched by the '66 Metallic Blue Mustang, sorry, but still in fine form as records.

Cat and Gordon accompanied me on those daily trips back and forth from Gurney to Hurley. And Bill Withers, too. Holiday Inn maid days. Years and years on northern Wisconsin's part of U.S. 2. Could push the 8-track tape buttons just so - repeat, skip, skip, repeat. The interior of a Ford Mustang is not very big and the speakers really could fill the air with solid sound. No, I didn't speed much... but the engine was always whispering that it was able if I was willing.

But back to the reality of records. With the invention of CDs, well, our large vinylly buddies starting showing up at garage sales not in small stacks but often in large boxes. Kind of like their friends the complete set of whatever encyclopedia your family could afford. (Our family never afforded any, but that's a whole other story.) Well, if I could get a box of records for almost free or FREE it was time to ad to the collection. In fact, the availability of wide types of music led to my increased interest in same. I had heard of Lionel Hampton and Buddy Guy and Charlie Parker but our family's taste ran to Johnny Cash, Andy Williams, and a children's version of "Robinson Crusoe" that right now is playing in my brain. We were brought up on Kitty Wells and Eddie Arnold. Now I can listen to lovely Ella and Duke and Pete Fontaine. But also Winnie the Pooh and The Point and many many Miles Davis and Dave Brubecks. Thank you, thank you, garage sale folks.

Anyway, on to the sorting..... "Christmas at Liberace's" with a lovely piece by his mom, Frances, on the back cover - keep. "Christmas with Colonel Sanders" - go. All the Dire Straits - keep. Most of the Bill Cosbys - go. Duplicate Blues Brothers? One can stay, one can go. Every albun touched, moved, sorted, debated. About twenty have been chosen to go. And yet I have mixed emotions. Maybe a semi-hoarder's sense of history, or potential use, or, heaven knows...... Gotta fight the hoarder that is hiding for a moment. Gotta cultivate the organizing get-rid-of-er.

Total Challenge Stuff be-goned to date: 888

Then to chose another Challenge or continue to the end of the 30 days or over-lap the two.
We shall se what we shall see.

Enjoy some tunes!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 x 30: Day 24 - Over 800

Sunday, Nov. 20 , 2011

Today I attacked the CD music basket. Judge and jury. Sorry, Irish Tenors - we won't see you on the flip side. Bye bye, "Santa & His Mighty Elves" - still sealed in your plastic. Toodle-loo, Telemann. Sorry, Pinky Zukerman. Will send these and eight other discs to more appreciative homes - cross fingers.

Safe are some Bachs, Stevie Ray Vaughns, and even a few operas. Oddly, I didn't have many CDs. Since childhood I have stayed true to the big black vinyl things - the things with grooves that needles read. Record players, from Mono on live solidly in memory, and the darned decent system found years ago at a garage-sale still does the trick when I want music old school. In fact, I have way too many albums, and duplicates of Dire Straits, Johnny Cash, Moody Blues, and others because at garage sales and fleas I go into protective mother hen mode. I must save this plastic from a worse fate then being stacked next to Walter Brennan and Paul Harvey in their own odd albums. Miles Davis and Lionel Hampton share shelf space with Winnie the Pooh, Oblio and Arrow. Just because.

Art magazines also took a hit today. I was thrilled that the stack brought to the latest Van Gogh Cafe all went to new homes. A new stack of old magazines is being assembled. Yes, a few articles were culled, but most of the periodicals are being offered intact. Because basic techniques and tips seldom go out of date most of the magazines should be of use to someone. Whew. Even included some Art Calendar issues - out of date in part, but still inspiration-filled.

So.... drumroll......... Today's thirty items bring total to: 811. 811. Yup. And you'd never know a thing was gone. Does make one aware of just how much a normal 3-bedroom split-level home can hold. Even one room...... even one drawer..........

Keeping a written tally has been essential. I know exactly what IS gone. I know what has been judged un-needed.

On to tomorrow. Harder? Easier? Each item debated is different. But at least it's being considered. On to the sorting. Dare to begin?


Thursday, November 17, 2011


one day
I was walking
home from the Farmers Market.

The mind was on other things.
Pondering parts.
Enjoying the the walk.

Perfect Fall mornings don't happen every day.
The sign said Holcombe.
What the brain picked out was be.

I was
We are

Maybe take a walk
instead of guilt
make time for joy


Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 x 30: Day 14 - Taking It Easy

Excuses, excuses......?

Actually, no.
Yesterday's tally came to 20 items - including a long black velvet skirt, one pair of heels from long ago, and a bunch of ancient receipt books from the early art fair days.

However, I admit to taking it easy. Will plead ill health and major day at dentist on Tuesday. "You have longer roots than most people," she says. Oh goody. Thanks to iPod, lots of Glenn Gould playing lots of Bach, and other forms of relaxation, I am now again able to think unfuzzy thoughts concerning items stashed in house. Today the thoughts are papery.

Paper. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (you get the idea) and lots of paper. "My name is Sue and I am a paper-oholic." Since the days of salivating over the sounds of Captain Kangaroo removing thick sheets of construction paper from his own art supply stash, I have been in love with the stuff. Any size, any weight, and color. Doesn't matter. If it's big enough to mark or glue it's good enough to keep around. We (I?) have paper in filing cabinets, under the bed, under couches, in doors, drawers, underneath and on top of tables. Paper in plastic bags, paper in portfolios, paper in everything except a large flat file. Boy, I would love to have a large flat file.... Cheap copy paper to expensive printing and watercolor and pastel papers. Handmade paper from Todd's college days to handmade paper from excellent artisan paper makers. Paper that too good to use - hahahahahahaha. Sigh. And those used mistakes or scraps still too good to toss. AND those pieces still in progress from 2000 and 2005 and 2009 and yesterday. Oh, and THE JOURNALS and SKETCHBOOKS. Filled, half-filled and new.

So.... today's easy little treat was sitting down in from of the card drawer in one hutch and pulling about 60 pieces out to toss or give away. Charity holiday list packs, orphaned envelopes, etc. Gone and gone. Can you tell? A little. This drawer will gladly give up quite a few more pieces. However, it also holds some lovely greeting cards purchased from artist friends, and beautiful commercially-made cards to share with friends and family. Another 30 Day Challenge? Actually write to a person, attach stamp to envelope, and send a greeting to a far-away (or local) someone???? Hmmm.

Anyway - Day 14's tossing came to more than the 38 listed, but we will go with 38.
30 Day Tossing/Giving: 511

It's time to reflect on first half of challenge and rest up for last half. Yes, I know that this challenge could go on for the next four months, but that sounds like Drudgery. I don't like Drudgery. I like paper. And for now I like moving a few hundred pieces somewhere other than here.

Clean Happy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 x 30: Day 12

No, I haven't been typing here.
Yes, the ridding home of 30 things a day has merrily - ha - been going on.

Work desk drawer is almost pretty. Adhesives/tape shelf is all organized and neat.

File cabinets were attacked early this morning. The recycling bin got a nice work-out, and there's lots of paper left to the task.

One item that was hard to part with was a large colorful hardcover cookbook. Titled "The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking", it was edited by Charlottle Turgeon and published by Weathervane Books. It looks like I probably bought it at Savers for $2.99. A long time ago......

It's a wonderful book - filled with 2000 recipes and 800 full-color photos. Says so right on the cover.

I don't think I ever cooked or baked anything from a recipe in this tome. However, in son Tyler's pre-school days, we spent many hours turning the pages and playing "Yuck and Yum." Soda scones? Yum. Birthday cake on page 125? Yum. Pickled mackerel in a lovely glass jar? Definitely Yuck. Most often we had similar tastes, but differed on green pea soup (page 645) and ham hocks in sauerkraut ( page 412). This book holds many more Yums than Yucks and if I come upon another in a bookstore or antique shop I'' certainly give it a knowing pat.

Total to date: 441

On to the next -


Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 x 30: Day 6, 7

Greetings -

Days 6 & 7 were not the greatest for the tossing and the ridding.
They were spent mainly prepping for, and delivering stuff to a large holiday boutique.
Not a bad thing, but not a keeping-on-task thing.

But because of 30 x 30 the bookcase is no longer in my bedroom closet, there are fewer un-used cookbooks in the kitchen, and I am more aware of Stuff. And duplicates and triplicates of Same.

Though not lots of stuff has moved physically, it HAS been in the mind lots. Even while working on other projects I think about particular spots in the house, or particular things, and debate merits of keeping or ridding. This is important. Often we get things, put things in a place, and, well, there they stay. Enjoyed? Maybe. Maybe not. They become part of the house's landscape (house-scape?) and blend into the daily indifference. I don't really know what's in that stack of magazines. I only know that they where important enough to keep - at least once upon a time.

Times change. A ba-drillion years ago I owned years of magazines relating to horses, miniatures, miniature horses, quilting, art, more art, bicycling, farming, & other far-flung interests. If I really wanted to hoard particular things they would probably be magazines. But through life's moving on most of these magazines did, too. Parting with the paper was not easy, but now the paper is seldom missed. It helps to remind ones-self of items no longer possessed, and even miss them a bit, but then smile and know that they were a part of living one chunk of life. Life holds so many chunks.

So this weekend holds lots more debating, choosing, and recalling. I hadn't known how much time it takes to simply think about A Thing, much less Thousands of Things. Maybe I will photograph a few goodies. Maybe photographs will be some of the stuff chosen to go....

Just for fun, even if not in the mood to be moving stuff on take ten minutes to just look carefully at your won goodies and wonder if they are usually ignored, tolerated, needed, enjoyed, or loved. And Why. Your awareness of walls, shelves, drawers, and doors will be changed for the experience. Thinking about The Stuff.

Total stuff moved on: 250


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 x 30: Day 5

Greetings -

Day 6 of the Adventure is upon our little home. Oddly, I have kept "on task" for five whole days. Even with work obligations, yes, heading out to drink coffee now and then, and watching a weekend of football, the 30 plus items per each day have been chosen and relieved of their house-al duties.

And even more.

Individual papers and bits remain a joy to toss, but a guilt to count. A semi-happy medium gets figured into every measure into trash. If and when you decide to do the ridding you will have to do the choosing. It's interesting to weigh the importance of the sheet of stuff to how it figures as A Thing. You will have to be The Decider.

A Miracle of The Ridding: Riding Boots. Once upon a time I rode horses. Semi-seriously. Over low fences and through basic dressage tests. Some day we will write about Seat Bones. Anyway, two pair of boots existed in my universe. But where? No sign of them for many years. In fact I thought that only one pair was still around. But where? I even told Tara she could use them because they would be her size. Didn't really matter, though, because we could never find them. So.....

While ridding bookcase in bedroom closet of, gasp, books, I had to pry open the doors on either side of shelves. Right side door? Early edition of "Native Son" with dust-jacket? Check. Pry open left hand door. TWO PAIR OF RIDING BOOTS. One vinyl, one leather. Doesn't everybody store riding boots in the bookcase in the bedroom closet? Tara tried on the no maker but made in England pair. Fit! Old vinyls didn't whisper of their long-ago Fargo, North Dakota daily horse-y dramas, Blood, sweat, tears? Ya sure, you betcha. Both pair are sitting in the kitchen now. Found and found.

Now to decide about The Bookcase. I'd not considered moving this bit of childhood home out of life. Todd did. Argh.

On to our daily choosings and decidings.

Five day total: 232

On to this one and only Nov. 2, 1011 -