Tag Archives: candles

Artifacts to Memories: Things I Can’t Let Go

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There is a lot of stuff in my life. I was hoping for a more delicate term, but “stuff” seems apt. Gifts, purchases, hand-me-downs and inheritances. Sixty-four years worth of accumulated belongings. Enough to divide into several categories.

There are the things I hold on to for their sentimental value. Ranging from drawings and cards that my young daughters made more than thirty years ago, to photographs, to little gifts from friends and family, to my very first hard-cover chapter book, to my dining room table. The table was a junk store find that my Dad brought home, that was used as our clothes-folding table and extra-seating-at-holiday-time table for most of my life. Then, moved out to the garage, it was my brother David’s work and party table (the surface gained a few cigarette burns and saw marks from that phase), my sister Sheila’s table to relax with a book and a beverage…and finally my dining room table.

There are things I keep because they are necessary, or because they seem necessary to me. Most of my clothing fits this category…but so do many books, plants, baskets, candles, art supplies, art work, and a large collection of flat, round stones. I know there is too much. I go through periods of purging and paring down. These “necessities” are spared, because the thought of losing them gives me heart palpitations.

Then, there are the items I hold on to, because of an – often unrealistic – idea of the person I would like to be. A collection of beautiful yarn waits, in a basket with crochet hooks and scissors, for the day when I am transformed back into the woman I used to be: a young mother, making gifts and treasures from bits of yarn. Other baskets, boxes and suitcases hold fabrics, embroidery floss, needlepoint canvas, rug-making tools and accessories, and quilt squares. My life doesn’t have room for the activities associated with all of this “stuff,” but I can’t give up on the idea that it will.

That young woman that I was, along with a Katherine Hepburn/Jo March/Martha Stewart-esque vision of a person I would like to be are evident in excesses throughout my house, from bookshelves to closets to kitchen cupboards. I would like to be someone who drinks tea, does yoga, listens to cool jazz, wears hats, raises chickens, grows all of her own food, reads the classics, and hosts lovely dinner parties…including trifle for dessert. I am not, but many of my belonging would lead one to think so.

That is the crux of the problem, when faced with getting rid of things I don’t use. I love that young woman that I used to be, with a dozen projects going and a whole lifetime ahead to finish them. I can’t seem to let go of her, yet. I still picture myself with chickens and a big garden, doing yoga, jazz music coming from the stereo, James Joyce on my nightstand. Until I give up on the person I was, and the person I want to be, I can hardly give up her accessories!

 

The 52 Lists Project #11

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List the ways you can rejuvenate your space:

  • Oh, fresh paint would be so nice! I think white this time, all the way through, ceilings and walls the same. Not stark white, though…white with just a touch of warmth.
  • Flooring, to cover the painted particle board that has worn to show the paths I take from room to room and that holds on to sand and spills in every crack and crevice. When it was first painted, it was a wonderful improvement over the plain particle board which, when it was new, was a huge improvement over the icy cold, cracked and chipped, painted cement slab, which was a slight improvement over the plain old unpainted cement slab that filled the air with cement dust every time I swept it…but I’d like a real floor. Because the floor is “on-grade,” meaning no air space below it, hardwood flooring is not recommended. Because it isn’t level, sheet vinyl or tiles would require the added expense of plywood under-layment. Because the house is small, I’d like the flooring to be consistent throughout. That means it has to be suitable for bathroom and kitchen as well as other living spaces. That eliminates many of the click-together floors that have an MDF base.Carpeting would never be a good choice for me: too much sand, too many spills, and I’d never want a carpeted bathroom! Because there are probably no options that I can install myself, I have to figure the cost of a contractor, too. All of these things are contributing reasons why I still have no real floor, though this house is more than thirty years old. It sure would spruce the place up! I’m currently considering vinyl plank flooring.
  • Light fixtures. Right now, in the living room and dining room, there are rims to light fixtures, but both of the globes broke, so the twisty compact fluorescent bulbs are exposed…and not the most elegant look. The entry has a different type of fixture. It’s globe is intact, but its rim has totally rusted out, a casualty of the many years I used an unvented propane heater. It caused every bit of uncoated metal in the house to rust: curtain rods, hinges, door handles and light fixtures. Even the refrigerator shows rust, under it’s  white enamel. The kitchen and laundry room have simple porcelain light fixtures that hold bulbs.
  • Woodwork. Baseboards where floors meet walls, trim around doors and closets and windows…that would really spruce things up!
  • I’m thinking of painting my front door some unexpected color, just to liven up the entry.
  • Outside, this year I’m going for bales of hay and a big load of mulch to get my gardens back in good shape. Mowing, trimming, weeding and pruning will help, too.
  • Beyond that, I bought a new used tablecloth at the re-sale shop last week.It is washed, pressed, and ready to go.  As soon as the weather signals spring, I am putting it on the dining table, along with a couple bright candles in clear holders and a bouquet of the earliest daffodils. That is rejuvenation at its best!