Reading: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children

Moving: NT 15', 3.1 miles, some weights

12 August 2001: Clutter?

On Beth's forum people've been talking about clutter. I don't really get what this is. Only very seldom is everything in my house, or any given room in my house, put away, but when it is away, it's away. Our studies excepted, of course. Or maybe I just don't understand what clutter is. I have a lot of stuff, but it's all stuff I want. I think of clutter as stuff you don't want. Maybe it's your housemate's mess? whereas what the housemate sees as your mess is clearly vital possessionry?

My bedroom:

This is the old bureau, in the corner. It's kind of Ethan-Alleny. It's the only thing in the back half of the bedroom but dust, a fan, and my exercise mat.

  1. I don't remember where I bought this little wicker box. When I look at it, I realize I don't like it, but it's functional so it'll take me a long time to replace it. It holds all those beaded necklaces I made and the tassels from my mortarboards.
  2. This picture.
  3. TJZ and I bought matching bowls and spoons in Chinatown, Christmas break freshling year, when we were going to be roommates sophomore year. The bowl now holds my watch and bangle.
  4. I have picked up Haitch's habit of collecting a rock from wherever I go. I think RDC brought me this one from Vancouver.
  5. A mirror I liberated from a box in my mother's house that I used to mark off my Classy Dressing Table area from whatever bureau I then used. I don't know why I still use it.
  6. Coin basket. Also ugly. Percy chewed a lot of the plastic laminate off it.
  7. A little photograph of RDC from our first Christmas together.
  8. Prescription sunglasses in my old glasses case
  9. Cowboy Junkies tickets for 17 August. After the show, my ticket will go in my scrapbook.
  10. The leaded glass frame EKH gave us for a wedding present. Still waiting, six years later, for a suitable black-and-white photograph. Also the budvase Granny gave me for my 16th birthday. This and the mirror are there solely out of habit. Also a stack of three or four little white jewelry boxes whose contents I should consolidate in something more interesting.
  11. A vaporizer RDC gave me. I fell in love with it in a store in Sturbridge (dutiful dinner visit with the aunt and uncle, maybe the first time I met them) and he drove back later to buy it. A square rose glass bottle in flower-worked silver. Behind the coin box, the puzzle box I bought at my first Ren faire with retired jewelry in it--a broken silver cuff, the lapis Tolkien ring, my high school class ring, the turquoise and jaspar ring Granny gave me. Behind it, next to the staff of jewelry boxes, is a stack of photograph frames that belong on the living room mantel but aren't there because we're going to paint it Any Day Now.
  12. This picture, atop the Lane cedar jewelry box that holds my passport, the spare car key, a handkerchief my great-grandmother embroidered, and other precious things that are unloseable only if they are in Only One Spot.
  13. This picture.
  14. This picture.
  15. The new jewelry box I bought, also lacking a photograph. A running theme.

The new bureau, in the front half of the bedroom.

  1. This picture.
  2. This picture.
  3. A nonfunctional wooden vase made of an Australian wood LEB gave us for an engagement present.
  4. A southwestern American Indian (Pueblo? Navajo? I don't remember) wedding vase SWBW gave us for a wedding present. Also belongs on the mantel.
  5. This picture.
  6. Glasses case I bought in the Seattle Art Museum
  7. This picture. I'm lying because I'm surprised I haven't scanned it. It's my sister and me, yes, not south of San Francisco in 1998, but on the short column that marked the corner of the stone wall that edges our road and the Boston Post. We're maybe five and two. The column was nearly solid then--this might be CLH's first day of kindergarten--but it, and much of the stone wall, is gone now.
  8. Pills
  9. Chains I removed from old jewelry. Blake loves to chew on stuff like this, but he's only allowed under supervision.
  10. This picture of my great-great-grandmother.

I have asked RDC whether he minds this being all my stuff. He says not. Plus he has his study upstairs for his stuff.

My nightstand.

  1. A stack of books: Under the Volcano, The Peppered Moth, The Biographer's Tale, and The Sparrow.
  2. A card RDC gave me
  3. Without lamps, there'd be no light
  4. An article explaining just what it is RDC does.
  5. A card depicting a kitten curled up in the well of an old typewriter that I meant to send Granny but have since ruined by using as a coaster.
  6. Monty, Boo, Hamlet, and Morse in the back.

The dining table.

  1. RDC's camera case and camera
  2. Sunday morning coffee
  3. RDC's laptop, tuned to
  4. My mammography results (I have breasts! Who knew?), nibbled by Blake.
  5. Parking ticket. I forgot to move the car. Also a tape for my French class.
  6. A letter to the editor of Westword about what a profound movie "Legally Blonde" is. It is now in the scanner awaiting immortalization. It might wait there a long time.
  7. Orange juice. Gotta have it.
  8. Passports! Mine! Both of them! They arrived Friday, valid and sound and unpanicworthy. The old one is now in the scanner but the new one is going to go into the Europe box, not to stir thence until my safe return to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. That's not meant to sound xenophobic, just travelphobic.
  9. RDC's glasses case and a tub of Burt's Beeswax. Also a renewal solicitation for membership to the Botanic Gardens.
  10. My working list of What to Bring to Europe (passports, cameras, chips, swank scarf Haitch brought me from gay Paree this spring, blank notebook CLH gave me after her first trip to Europe for mine. She gave me that in 1989.)
  11. A scrap of paper torn from something for Blake to chew on. I'll 'fess up: I bought a Weekly World News at the grocery store on Friday because of this headline: "Gay Corpses found in Titanic life ring." My son is chewing a tabloid.

Not seen in the corner: Lonely Planet London, Time Out Guide to Paris (both Lou's), France Best-Loved Driving Tours, Paris Hotels (CLH's), Fodor's Great Britain, Eyewitness Loire Valley. Not seen on the floor in the corner: the rest of the Weekly World News, covered in cockatiel poop.

The mantel in the living room.

  1. My sister's stack of material on France and Paris.
  2. Flowers Minne gave me because I'm such a trouper.
  3. Possibly the strangest wedding present we received became the one we use more than any other. An ordinary little basket that holds our keys, video membership cards, a pen or two, stuff like that.
  4. A planer, the window frames now having been painted enough that the removable storms and screens have to be scraped to fit.
  5. Clutter! Hammer, chisels, putty, and stuff to remake window trim with. Also the trim that's been ripped off, that has to stay to be a model for the new.
  6. Broken birdhouse. This is clutter until it's fixed and hung.
  7. Canvas shopping bag aimed for the car.
  8. Clutter! Cable wire. The house is pierced for cable at either end of the living room, in the bedroom, and in the front of the basement. Why haven't we removed it? Because we haven't worked on the living room yet.
  9. Plug for the fan that stands in the front door.
  10. A plug and the phone jack. The, singular, only phone jack. Praise be to wireless internet access. On the floor is the cordless two-line phone, home and work.

That fireplace just looks worse and worse to me.

My house is certainly dirty. And maybe it's cluttered because we should store the hammer in the toolbox unless we're using it and stash the birdhouse other than near the porch where it fell. It's seldom tidy, but when it is tidy, things are away.

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Last modified 13 August 2001

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