Monday, January 16, 2012


I can't watch TV without reading, web-surfing, or doing something. I spent the Giants-Packers game sorting through more than a year's worth of papers that had accumulated around my desk — in teetering piles or stuffed into little shopping bags, a file box, and the laughably small metal organizer that was supposed to hold everything. Once again, my desk was taking its inspiration from Hoarder Barbie's Dreamhouse, I must admit.

I filled a brown Trader Joe's bag with trash, which felt great! But I still have to deal with a couple of big tubs of ancient papers under the bed, there will be plenty of filing and shredding before I'm done.

This is the beginning of my winter decluttering project. I'm slowly filling a large shopping bag with random, respectable stuff that's lying around, which can go to Boomerangs Thrift. I plan to be ruthless in the bathroom, where I have enough travel sizes of this and that to stock a small hotel. I need some drama in kitchen, too, since I can't put away these longed-for Anthropologie bowls that my sister gave me for Christmas:

I figure that, once I get this tiny place feeling a little more spare and roomy, we'll find somewhere to live that's two or three times bigger. But that's okay; I don't want to move with anything we don't need or want. I don't plan to fill up a bigger space with anything much except some extra pieces of furniture, more books and bookcases, and maybe a few more cats. Oh — and a nice old piano. I'd like there to plenty of room to roller-skate, if you know what I mean.

Among my papers, I found lots of things I'd forgotten I had, including scraps ripped from magazines with various things I always want to remember. Rather than lose them again in some file, I'll share them here:
Once I'm Dead
Once I'm dead, I won't mind being dead.
Why worry? I don't want to say goodbye
To everything, to me — the voice that said
"Once I'm dead, I won't mind being dead",
The words are comforting. But I still dread
The day that we must part, myself and I.
The voice may still be heard when I am dead
But not by me. I will have said goodbye.
                                            — Wendy Cope
Cheerful, no? I love poems about death. This one reminds me of another favorite, by Sara Teasdale. If I had to teach an impromptu high school English class, we would compare and contrast:
I Shall Not Care
When I am dead and over me bright April
   Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
Though you should lean above me broken-hearted,
   I shall not care
I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
   When rain bends down the bough;
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
   Than you are now.
I also kept this quote from T.S. Eliot, which gives us the essence of families, which we all know, deep down, but rarely think about or express:
        There's no vocabulary
For love within a family, loved that's lived in
But not looked at, love within the light of which
All else is seen, the love within which
All other love finds speech.
This love is silent.
Then there's this photo torn from the pages of a Tufts alumni magazine, showing their veterinary clinic and one of the most fantastic kittens I've ever seen. Look at this face:

He was adopted by the time the magazine arrived and I spotted him and called. But I never forgot him, and he was actually the inspiration that led us to our splendid Possum. I keep his photo to remember that there are other soulful little tigers out there who need homes. 

I hope Possum won't mind having a young companion or two someday, when we've moved. He's gotten awfully lazy these days, which is not helping his girth:

Wendy, having a more "feral" nature compared to Possum (I'd describe him as more of a dandy), likes other cats, so I'll bet she won't mind more furry friends. And Snicky and Snalbert will likely just throw up their paws and roll their eyes, as they did when those two arrived two years ago.

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