Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cataloging my stuff

I don't know if it's some kind of teacher nesting instinct, but as the "official" school year approaches, I get in a very organizational mood. Because this is not something that comes naturally to me most of the year, at least in terms of "stuff," (as opposed to time, schedules, etc.) I have to take advantage of the mood while it is here.

In previous years, this mood has been very focused on my sock drawer. I guess that's because when cool/cold weather comes, I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for a matching pair of socks. Even in the winter, when I like to wear pantyhose for warmth, I still put socks over them to wear under boots.

This year, however, my efforts have been more expansive. It started over break when I started organizing my scrapbook stuff, including photos. Then I started organizing my bathroom stuff because our new, fancy master bath is almost finished, thanks to my husband's dedication and tunnel vision when involved in a project. He is a very good man, but an example of his focus is less than 24 hours after my (minor) surgery, he asked me,

"Hey, can you help me carry in a board?" (i.e. a giant piece of heavy wood).

"No,honey," I replied. "Remember that piece of paper they sent home from the hospital saying no more than 5 pounds?"

"Oh.Yeah." He thought about that for a few seconds, and said, "How long is that gonna last?"

Because I now have a Jacuzzi tub and a steam shower that plays music, he is forgiven these occasional slips. Plus my response was that it would last as long as I could milk it.

Anyway, back to organization. Here is the problem: I get somewhat befuddled when something can be classified in multiple ways. In going through the existing bathroom cabinet, I discovered I have a plethora of bath and shower gels, scented lotions, body butters, etc. I also have accumulated quite a pile of cosmetics, primarily because I go through periods where my use of them is quite minimal.

I divided the cosmetics into plastic bags of lip stuff, eye stuff, skin coloring stuff (foundation, blush, concealer). Then came the compact mirror. That would go into a new bag classified as "tools." That created a new problem...should the lip brush stay in the lip bag, or should that now go into the "tool" category? Same with the eye makeup brushes.

And do scented body lotions go with "stuff that makes my skin soft" or "stuff that makes me smell good"?

I had run into the same problem with scrapbooking stuff. I had long ago made a macro decision that most of my albums would be chronological by year, with special albums created for special events (big trips, milestone anniversaries, etc.) But I decided to organize my photos in boxes by person and person's descendants. The problem I ran into there was representatives of multiple nuclear families in some of the photos, creating a new subcategory of "grandchildren" or "nieces and nephews." And where do the photos of my now deceased cat go?

Then there are the accessories. Scrapbookers usually have cardstock and decorated paper in various sizes, stickers (pictures, letters, borders), die-cuts (pictures, letters, borders), a variety of adhesives, stacks of quotations on vellum, markers, chalks, stamps, dies for making their own die-cuts, etc, etc, etc. One can easily see the nightmare there. Do I put things together by what they are, and what are they? All stickers together, or all borders together? Or should I organize by theme?

I have actually discovered the cataloging class ("Organization of Knowledge") that I took last summer has been helpful in making this a little less stressful. I realize organization is all about retrieval, but I feel like I will forget my "micro" decisions and lose track of this stuff all over again.

However, that always results in the most delightful part of the organization process, wherein one says happily,

"Hey, I forgot I had this. Cool."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Big Folk Music Scare

I used to listen to comedy albums by Martin Mull or go to his concerts in the late
70s, and he had this line I loved before one of the songs: "Remember the big folk music scare of the 60's? That crap almost caught on!" I've always loved the line, but secretly liked lots of folk music. Like my love of mayonnaise-intensive salads (potato, tuna, egg, etc.) it's a dark secret I don't share with everybody (although I guess I just have.)

However, there are a few instruments that make me agree with the sentiment, chief among them the dulcimer. There is a folk festival going on this weekend in the town where my church is, and there was a folk group performing at the church itself. I love fiddles, harmonicas, banjos, etc. but I do not like the dulcimer!! I had a fantasy of going up and grabbing that thing and heaving it through the stained-glass window! (Not the one with the sacred images, no, no, no. I mean one of the abstract ones that are supposed to represent manufacturing and industry, according to the church historian.)

And of course, I would never, ever do such a thing, being pretty mild-mannered in general. And the windows are too high, and I can't even really throw a ball very well, so I couldn't even if I really wanted to.

I just wanted to express how listening to the dulcimer makes me feel. Clearly, I did not stay for the dulcimer workshop following the service.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A brief entry before I retire for the night

So I said I'd write every day during vacation, but I had to help with a home improvement thing. I really wasn't very much help, but it was time consuming. I just washed the fiberglass off of myself, and now I'm going to bed. We're more careful now since we found ourselves in a bed of fiberglass (not FULL of it, but it doesn't take much) a couple of weeks ago. NOT pleasant.

The good thing is I finished a book today and started another. I hope to keep up that rhythm throughout vacation. And now to bed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"Vacation" plans (such as they are)

As of yesterday, I'm on "vacation" for a couple of weeks--on the break between classes I teach as well as classes I take.

Except for a brief overnight visit "Up North" to visit our favorite restaurant by the bay on our anniversary, in a lovely little resort town, and gambling a little, I don't have traveling plans. However,I plan to do some of my favorite things: scrapbooking, splashing around in the pool,and spending time with friends.

Since I can't actually go to China to see the Olympics, I'm looking forward to going to an Olympics party hosted by my friend who lives and teaches in China, and who is visiting friends and family here now. She says she's having it not only because she's been inundated with "Olympic fever" for the past four years, but also because she has missed the past four Super Bowls.

I have been getting a head start on the scrapbooking over the past few weeks for two reasons: I had minor surgery which was a piece of cake, but the anesthesia left me with brain fog that left me useless to do anything but play with paper, glue, photos and scissors for a week (even though I had to go back to work and turn in a paper for two days after the surgery). Also, one of my many college roommates got in touch with me via Facebook and she is a scrapbooker. She kept talking about her Cricut, an electronic die-cutting machine. I ordered one on eBay and it is a lot of fun (but I'm glad I got it after the brain fog lifted. There is a sharp rotating blade involved.)

I noticed as I sorted through the "basket o'crap," a collection of ephemera I keep for "archiving" later, that despite my last post, I really did get out a lot. In fact, the collection of tickets, programs, invitations,photos and so on suggests an almost frantic busy-ness. I don't know why I have it in my head that I was such a homebody then. Maybe being home alone most of the time when I WAS home distorted the experience.

I also plan on blogging every day. I have been very remiss. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the blogging seems to complement the scrapbooking because it provides context to photos and such I may have forgotten about, or reminds me of dates or general time frames. Now, on with my vacation!