Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Volumes and Violins ( #AtoZChallenge )

The volume of stuff in our house is not disproportionately frightful in the sense of hoarding--right now everything in our house could probably fit into our living room with a comfortable pathway to other parts of our house.  But then there would be new space for more things.  That's where the scary starts...


      In a number of places throughout our home you can find volumes of books.  Most of them are encyclopedias ranging from child level to adults.  About half of these are in Spanish.  I wonder how many homes still have encyclopedia sets? 

     When I was growing up, we had a set of Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedias that I used from elementary school until college.  That old set sat on a living room book shelf for decades.  Over the years my mother added new encyclopedia sets.  It seemed like any respectable home forty years ago had at least some type of encyclopedia.

      Now I don't know that encyclopedias are an especially wise investment for most families.  After all much of the information one might research can readily be found on the internet.  Still, I find myself looking things up in our encyclopedias.  When that happens I sometimes start getting lost in the book as I read through entries that catch my attention.

       And when that happens I feel like a kid again.  Back when I was a kid the encyclopedia was one of my favorite reading materials.  My reading habits back then probably are partly responsible for my eclectic interests.  A couple of encyclopedia sets might not be bad to have around the house, but maybe we have a few too many.  Volumes of encyclopedias need to go.   Now to find the party who is looking for rather outdated encyclopedia sets that are in very good condition.

And Violins

       I've got a few violins around the house, but I could only easily find one for my photo.  One violin that I used to use in my juggling act is packed with the props in the garage.  My electric violin must be in my office closet, but I'm not about to tackle digging that out quite yet.  Also sitting out in my office are a mandolin, a keyboard, and two guitars.  I could supply a band.   

       Unfortunately, I rarely play any of these instruments any more.  I probably should take the time to fiddle around occasionally, but there are a lot of things that I probably should do.  Like my juggling props I consider my instruments tools of my trade.  No telling when having them around could come in handy.  The violins are staying and that's my verdict!

       Do you still own any encyclopedias?   Did you grow up with encyclopedias in your home?   Do you have any musical instruments that you used to play but haven't in a long while?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Uniquities and Ubiquities ( #AtoZChallenge )

    I want my home to be like a book with pages to be read and lots of stories to tell.  And indeed, my home is like a thick volume that can't be read in one sitting...


          Upon first entering our home, a visitor might not find anything particularly unique at first glance.   As with any of our dwelling spaces, the uniqueness of who we are often requires a closer scrutiny.   Perusing the artifacts of a home one is likely to see representations of family history, personal interests and pastimes, as well as those assorted oddities that might leave one scratching their head or could be the opening of an interesting conversation.

          The built-in shelf seen above gives a good idea of certain things that are ubiquitous in our home.  There are books, media (CD's, DVD's, etc), decorative items, and even a set of juggling beanbags.    In nearly every room of our house you can find these same things in an assorted array of formations.  Each room is like a variation on a theme.  My home is my personal symphony--or more appropriately a symphonic duet between my interests and those of my wife.  

           Our home is my comfort zone.  If I were to be plopped blindfolded into my own home I would immediately know where I was.  With a feeling of security I would relax and settle into that homey feeling.  But if my blindfold were removed and I were to find myself in a room at your house, please let there be books, music, or something to explore and wonder about.

          While in your home I want to see your uniquities and I want them to be ubiquitous.  I don't just want to know where I am, but I want to know who I am with.  Excuse me if I look at the things on your shelves or on your walls.  Tell me what this odd little mystery item means to you.

          Tell me a story.  What you have around you provides me the details, but you have to tell me the words.

          Have you ever visited someone and perused stuff they had on display?   Would you be offended if a visitor started looking at what was on shelves or on the walls?   What might the decorative items displayed in a house tell you?  

Monday, April 23, 2018

Traveling and Touring ( #AtoZChallenge )

        Once when I was a kid someone told me to "collect my wits"--that's when I started my collection of Mad magazines and joke books...


Traveling and Touring Things

         Travel mementos can be found throughout our house both in the open and stored away.  Refrigerator magnets, curios, pictures, or travel books are likely to be found in every room of our house.  While doing my garage cleaning I ran across a number of things related to my travels or just related to the subject of travel.

        As I've mentioned here before, I grew up in a show biz family who frequently traveled for our performances.  Back in those days I began collecting matchbooks, soap bars, and other freebies labeled from establishments that offered them.  Those items actually got used up after I entered adulthood, but I still have a respectable postcard collection that I started when I was a young boy. 

        Postcard racks used to be prominently displayed in restaurants, variety stores, and any other places that might be frequented by travelers.  When I was an avid collector and cards might be something like six for a quarter, I would buy several from whatever area we were in at the time.  I'd also pick up post cards from motels where we stayed and other places that offered free cards.  Over several years I accumulated a great many cards.

        The bulk of my postcards are in a box in my closet, but I often will notice postcards in drawers or other boxes.  When I was organizing our garage back in December, I ran across a lot of cards which I kept aside and placed in a box to be further sorted in the upcoming months. 

         The post cards are merely one more example of the travel things I have around the house.  In the garage especially there are a great many maps, travel directories, and tour schedules from my years on the road managing shows.    Most of this has been well organized and fairly neatly boxed--it will be easy to go through with some probably minor culling.  Old hotel directories will likely go as will a few of the maps.  Not all of them--but some of them.

         There were always maps in my life and I became a proficient map reader at a young age.  Map reading became a past time for me sometimes just for fun and other times because I was traveling and needed to see where I was going.  At home I can spend a good bit of time studying maps.  I enjoy studying how highways are routed and interwoven.  I like to think about the little towns where I may likely never go or remember the places I have already been.  When people used to tell me that they got confused and couldn't read a map I was somewhat baffled.  Now this response makes more sense.

         Now most of us probably use GPS for telling us where to go.  Sometimes my wife tells me where to go.   Still I like the visual aid of a good map.  And suddenly an idea popped into my head:   I should draw a map of my house and where the main cache of certain things (postcards for instance) are.   This would be good if I started  developing memory problems and needed a prompt.  It would also be helpful when I die so whoever was left could figure things out more easily.

         Not a bad idea perhaps.   But actually I hate thinking about stuff like that.

       Do you tend to collect a lot of souvenirs from your travels?   When is the last time you sent someone a postcard?   Are you good at reading a map?