November 25th, 2012

The Tree is Up!

It has lights. It has ornaments. It is pretty. A. very much enjoys looking at it and pressing on buttons on ornaments that have music. We also put up the LED "candles" in the windows, which she also likes. She repeated her usual candle commentary ("It's very hot. Don't touch it."), but I told her they were toy candles and she could play with one. She is enjoying that.

A. and R. went to Idylwilde to acquire the tree. They went before 10 a.m. so it was apparently more or less deserted. This is about a week and a half earlier than we did this last year; hopefully, the tree will survive until at least Boxing Day, as we are hosting and it would be embarrassing if it died sooner.

And as R. noted in a comment on an earlier post, the broken Minnie ornament (along with a couple new Minnie ornaments and of course all the ones from previous years) is on the tree.

Today's Activities Include: decluttering

This has become sort of a reflex. I am unconvinced it is a good one, because it feels incredibly manic (R. concurs with at least the manic part), altho I get uniformly positive feedback from other people when I mention this is the current project.

Anyway. I poked at the upstairs hallway closet today, and saw a previously invisible pink dish bin, pulled it out and sorted through it. I was going to get rid of the dish bin, unfortunately, dish bins are so Useful, they are almost impossible to part with. So I cleaned it off and it's going to go up in A.'s room (which is pink) and become a corral-toys-while-appearing-decorative item for the bookshelf.

I have also been taking occasional swings at A.'s closet. There were numerous plastic crates stored there, mostly of clothing and shoes and so forth in upcoming sizes, but also some blankets and items in previous sizes and similar. The past tense items are moved along to the next step on the way out the door (trash in some cases, friends in others, clothing donation bins in still others). I'm down to two crates in there and still thinking about it. I pulled a leather duffel off the shelf in her room, finally accepted its probable unrepairability in conjunction with age (it dates from 1994 or thereabouts) and sent it along the way. It was _such_ a nice size, with really great organizing pockets, for a previous time in my life.

The laundry is ticking along, blondies are in the oven, T. is making a lot of complaining sounds in conjunction with a really serious attempt to play Angry Birds (he usually plays Rio, but this is the original game and I think it's harder) all the way through, and I'm working on a decluttering addition to my website. As part of the writing, I've been looking at various sites (books, etc.) and really starting to understand why they are the way they are, and why that annoys me. Which is good -- it means my thinking is becoming much clearer as a result of engagement with other people's ideas.

Yesterday, A. and I dropped off a rice mosaic at the framers. It's a square foot, which is pretty ridiculous when you think about it as a project for a 3rd grader, which I believe is when I did it. Very few people in the class completed the project; I did two, and I did them meticulously, lining up the rice in horizontal rows (except for hair, which went the direction of the hair, for example) and arranging the skinny ends of rice to match together and the fat ends to butt up against each other. I remember vividly doing this, even though I only have one of the mosaics (I have the Raggedy Ann and Andy one; the Snoopy one is presumably still in my mother's possession), and I didn't have it for the years between when I did it, and some time in my late 20s.

I did some googling to find out if this was a craft project that anyone still does. That's when I learned that a 6 inch square was considered a substantial project. That's also when I really realized just how obsessive my work was and how odd my choice of tools was (I used a toothpick to transfer the rice from the pile to the mosaic -- tweezers, a more typical choice judging by what people write about this, would have exhausted my hands but involved less precise technique). I asked R. if his teachers had them build toothpick houses; he said they used popsicle sticks. There was something really off about my teachers.

In any event, as I've been sifting through the contents of my closet (which has acquired things that are no longer sitting on top of my dresser, for example) and trying to figure out what to do with them (a Wonder Woman Pez dispenser that was given me as a gift. I probably should throw it away, but I might not get around to doing so for another year), I've been thinking more and more about converting some of these things that I like into decorative objects. I do not often have a strong visual idea, but this time, I do. I wanted a shallow, wall-hangable, hinged curio cabinet (where the whole front swings open). I found one on Etsy that was quite perfect but quite expensive and did another round of looking and turned up one even better for a fifth the price. It'll hold the silver punch ladle (it's much smaller than you are envisioning -- the bowl of the spoon is about a shot glass of liquid or a little less) from my first cousin once removed who I named A. for. It will also hold a few other odds and ends. I'm thinking one of the elephants from R. and maybe the pot with the lizard from I. Presumably other things will accrete -- that's how these things generally work.

I'm also trying to figure out a way to display R.'s typewriters, since collecting vintage typewriters has become Trendy while I was busy being glad that at least he wasn't collecting wooden console stereos from the mid 20th century or something similarly huge. It would be nice to have my punchbowl out, too, but that may be asking a lot. Figuring out a safe place to put a large glass object that is attractively visible but safe from two small children, well, that may be over-constrained.