Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Things You LIKE First

For me, with people, it's obvious.  You put the people that you love and like first in your life.  But I have come a lot slower to that understanding with things.

I suppose my new consciousness of it started with silverware.  For everyday silverware, I had inherited my mother's things, when she broke up housekeeping.  And I had gotten a new set when I was married.  All of these jumbled together.  But then a lot of "my" set of spoons got lost.  I call them "mine", not because they only belonged to me, but because I chose the set and my husband and family had no interest in their choice or their design.

My husband, thinking that the simple design of "my" silverware meant that it was not the "good" silverware, put many of the spoons in the kids' lunches.  (Yes, he usually fixed the kids' lunches, so I am grateful.)  So we used a lot of Mom's silver, mixed in with mine.  Then, for some birthday or anniversary, my mother asked me what I wanted and I told her I really longed for a nice set of silverware - with all of the spoons.  I knew it was extravagant; I didn't REALLY need it, but I wanted it.  And she bought it for me.  I put it in a beautiful silverware case and the set sat there, waiting for company.  But company doesn't come that often and the beautiful case remained closed most of the time.  

So, one day, I decided to take away all of the old mishmash of Mom's silverware and mine.  I put Mom's and my silverware in an extra drawer and took my new set OUT of its beautiful case and put it in the regular silverware drawer.  And now, we use the new set every day.  It comes as a surprise to me that I enjoy that little thing so much.  No, we don't have a beautiful set reserved for company, but company can enjoy the simple and elegant set we use every day.

And now this corruption of saving things for special occasions has spread to my wardrobe.  Anyone who would take a close look at what I wear each day would notice that, for some reason, I seem to favor white turtlenecks or white short sleeved knit tops as a first layer.  But I had a hard time finding ones that fit.  Many of the ones I bought seemed OK at first, but after I washed them, the arms of the long-sleeved ones were a bit too short.  And I have never had the inclination to remove them after washing and line dry them.  

So I have accumulated a lot of white (and other color) turtlenecks that are still serviceable, but don't quite fit right.  Then, I found a turtleneck that REALLY fit, that I could wash and dry, and it STILL fit.  And I did something right:  I bought 5 or 6 EXTRA ones of this brand (Hanna Andersson, in case you want to know).  But, I was still trying to "use up" the ones that didn't quite fit right first.  Once I wore them out, I would use the Hannas, the ones that REALLY fit.  

But just a few weeks ago, I decided to apply the silverware strategy to the white turtlenecks.  Now, I wear the Hannas FIRST.  If and when they wear out (they seem to last forever, by the way: outstanding quality), I will use the ones that don't fit as well.  Most likely the reason that I will have to retire a Hanna is not because of wear, but because I tend to stain them.  And, I still have 3 brand new Hannas sitting in their wrappers on the shelf in my closet, so it may be a while until I have to wear the turtlenecks that really didn't fit.  

Maybe I can even recycle some of the things I am not using any more.  What a novel idea!  

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Living Spaces

Pursuant to our discussion of choices about living room furniture and where to put the books, these are candid pictures of my living areas. By candid, I mean that I probably should have cleaned/straightened up first, but I didn't - I just took the pictures as is. I apologize in advance to my husband, who likes things much more tidy, and would think this is completely weird.

Starting with the mostly east wall of the living room: You see the chair I usually use (the brown one), much in need of re-upholstering. Then the chair my husband uses the most. Behind are the three heavy bookcases. Note the overflowing stacks of books to be finished.

Next is the mostly south-facing view. On a clear day, you can see the Alaska Range. It is too cloudy in these pictures to see the mountains.

Then moving toward the west, there is the view of the dining area, with an extra table to collect stuff.

There is a closer view of where I sit in the kitchen.

Back in the living room, there is the half wall that encloses the steps going down to the lower level. The cats (Calvin, the orange tabby and Hobbes, the Maine Coon), love the half wall. It is their territory. You can also see one of my favorite toys, the jigsaw puzzle globe. Unfortunately, I think the company that made them is no longer in business, so I only have update number 2.

You can also see the cat's cat tree. This is a most favored spot for playing.

I skipped the entryway and the closet, which are basically pretty boring.

This is my work area in the upstairs bedroom. I am not the tidy one in the family.

Just to the right of my computer, there is this view.

And finally, a better view of the "boys".

Weird Ice Cubes

My refrigerator has an ice cube maker, but it has never worked. We could have looked into getting it repaired, but, since we aren't sure about our water quality, we have used ice cube trays instead. One of the interesting things about using these trays here is that a good percentage of the time, we get strange ice cubes, ones that stick up, rather than are flat or rounded. Even more interesting to me is that these upward spikes don't all go in the same direction. They are at crazy angles. I think someone explained to me once that a small jolt during the freezing process will cause an initial protuberance which then extends as the water is drawn upward along the small protuberance, like the meniscus on a glass of water. I am not sure if I completely understand it, though. Here is a picture of one of the ice cube trays. Yes, I do know how crazy it is to take pictures of your ice cube trays. Sigh.