Better than food

We headed over to watch a movie with a friend recovering from hip replacement surgery. On the way out, I grabbed up my knitting — a scarf-for-a-serviceman project I want to finish soon.

Our friend’s new wife is one of those hyperkinetics who needs to be doing.  All the time. Generally this takes the form of plying guests with mountains of delectables far surpassing any adult’s actual nutritional needs.

I refused to be fed.  Three times.  I’d already had lunch.  I got out my knitting.

She began to watch. “I don’t know how to knit,” she admitted.  Yet the fascinating movements had caught her attention.

Quietly, deftly, I pulled out a second pair of needles and a fresh skein of yarn.  “Oh No,” she demurred.  But she was hooked.  She took hold of them.

Under the sounds of the movie, without words I began to cast on. Her eyes glued to my hands.  She began to get the motion and soon she had cast on fifteen stitches.

Picking up my own work I knit a stitch in slow motion. She made her own first stitch, then with great focus made her way through her first row.  Talking softly to herself about the necessary motions, their objectives, and improvements to her technique, she knit two more rows.

I asked my husband for the car keys…

…drove the two miles home to snatch up remnants of pink and maroon, a complete skein of variegated white, fawn, and gold, a spare pair of my grandmother’s old needles and an extra carrying bag for it all.  I returned to see her triumphantly display a little rectangle of very neat stitches.

By the movie’s end she’d latched onto her new needles and the pink and had begun to make herself a scarf.

Clutter to treasure!

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Dispersal Dramas

We drove friends and a few dozen books for a birthday celebration trip to Modesto, CA.

As we have done before, we offered the books for credit at Yesterday’s Books and were rewarded by several of them being taken in exchange for a $48 store voucher.

So each of us got to pick out a new book we wanted.

For our household the net gains were: twenty books gone from the house, welcomed birthday presents for our friends, fun for all and $15 remaining on our credit account.

And something new happened this time. Five of the books returned to us bore a note, “Try again.”

What’s this?

Oh!

Yesterday’s Books knows it can sell them but has too many copies on hand just now.  Ahhhhh yes.  We’ll shoulder the warehousing.   We’ll bring them back the next time we’re out Modesto way.

The featured picture is of the left over books I donated to the public library this afternoon.

 

Day Eight. Finished clearing the lower level

Attention please.  I’ve cleared the bed.  I’ve emptied the giant bookshelf.  The carpet is visible from east to west.

Friends came over today and fell in love with half the stuff in my Rummage Sale pile.  It went home with them.

The boxes full of my husband’s jumbled trash and memories are hidden in storage….

The theory and sometimes the practice is that my husband can approach one box at a time without overwhelm.

If he doesn’t have to look at all the chaos at once, he says he will pull one box from storage every week or so to sort it and throw out most of the contents.

Here is the first box he’s pulled.  And he’s sorting that new stash of National Geographic magazines to collate with the old one.

Meanwhile I have living space to spread out my bigger projects.

Hats and Thrift Stores

For the Fourth of July, we drove to the bay and took in the annual picnic fundraiser at the Governor (1903-1907) Pardee Home Museum where they garnish the event with live music and open the house for guided tours.  Folks dress in suggestions of period costume, overt combinations of RedWhite’n’Blue, or not. Straw hats abound…

We traveled with a couple new to the proceedings; indeed the wife is new to the United States so I stowed two summer hats for ladies in our weather gear bag, just in case.  It turned out that the extra (a hastily acquired replacement for one previously mislaid) matched the lady’s outfit perfectly.  Her husband crowed in delight as she tried it on; my closet was immediately decluttered of one hat, she looked lovely and would be well-protected from the afternoon sun.

During the drive we learned that the couple had spent the previous day shopping local thrift stores for home decor and essentials to adjust her new home to her own housekeeping style.  Lots of dust and dross and a few treasures.

For me, the high point of our annual excursion is the Home Tour.  The George Pardee family was full of collectors who “kept everything.” For now, the curators have it all gathered on side tables, in closets, on shelves, in glass-fronted cabinets.

My inner kid loves to stare at a cluster of carved miniatures, say, from all corners of the world: to admire the colors, imagine the craft of the toymakers, then fantasize a story for each item in turn.

Of course I want to examine every title in the library and every scrap of needlework in the place.  At the tour’s end, I determined to gobble my lunch and rejoin a later party.

I turned to my new friend to ask how she’d enjoyed the house tour.

“Just like the thrift stores,” she sniffed, and trotted off to ask permission to pluck lemons from a tree in the garden.

Soap and service in the undertow

If there’s one thing that’s come out of the current American — yea global — political maelstrom it is that every woman jill of us had better get very clear about what she believes and what she holds dear and exactly what she’s prepared to do to hang onto  those beliefs because the times they certainly are fast a-changin’ and whatever we love may be gone, or become unrecognizable, in the twinkling of an eye.

So, it was high time for me to apply some more elbow grease to the building up of some face-to-face relationships in my not-so-new-anymore home community.  No effort, l believe, and no wealth is worth much unless it’s done to build and serve community.  That is the heart of my faith.  I had already found a knitting group and a parttime job; I settled on a church to try out.

Lo and behold, the council announced a February drive to collect all the soap and shampoo samples folks had likely gathered during hotel visits over the years for distribution to folks who could put them to good use Right Now.

And so another shopping bag filled from the pack rat’s hoard walked out of our house yesterday morning.  As always, may it prove to be a blessing.

 

Daily Prompt: Value

via Daily Prompt: Value

I thought I would try the “Daily Prompt” today.  Mostly because “Value” fit the snippets about which I had been planning to blog anyway….

Although we’re not emptying the house of clutter at anywhere near the rate we had been, every now and then we can log a few more instances of trash-to-treasure (or maybe hidden horde-to-shared treasure.)

We took a boxful of old bubble wrap and a bagful of styrofoam peanuts, that were stuffed into our deep storage who-knows-how-long-ago, back before I married my husband, back when the household practiced a Save Everything It Will Eventually Be Useful philosophy, down to Pac’n’Copy.  Open space and freedom of movement are the valuable commodity for us these days.  But for Pac’n’Copy free packing material is of value.

The sweetest tale of late was my discovery of a small box of keepsakes from my husband’s grandmother, also stuffed into deep storage after she died about thirty years ago.  How tender to hold an ancient baby shoe, a commemorative pin, a gilt heart-shaped necklace…

We have no children ourselves so we dispatched them to my husband’s niece who was delighted to receive mementoes of the family’s legacy.

When we took the box for Pac’n’Copy to mail for us they asked about insurance.  “How can you place a value on a package of irreplaceable keepsakes?” we asked ourselves.  And decided to forego the insurance.