Fashion

Everything that goes around really does come around, especially fashion. Bell bottoms, skinny leg jeans, hip huggers, mini-skirts. Some are worth recirculating, others are not.

Platform shoes had only a brief come back, thank heavens! They were stupid in the 70’s and even stupider 30 years later. Impossible to be graceful with a brick strapped to each foot, women stomped around like Clydesdales.  Those aren’t shoes, they’re weapons! If you have to commit a fashion faux pas with footwear go with socks and sandals – it might make you look like a priest but at least they’re safe and quiet.

Palazzo pants (wide leg pants) first made an appearance in the late 1960’s and were reminiscent of the wide leg cuffed slacks the avant-garde set wore in the 1920’s and 30’s. They give the overall appearance of an evening gown and are akin to wearing your bedroom drapes, and unless you walk with your legs wider apart than you typically would the excess material bunches up attractively just under your backside, giving the illusion you just filled your pants.

Belly tops – those skin tight waist hugging tops that end 2 inches above your navel are fine on anyone who is a size zero, but if you boast any kind of excess around your middle they are a frightening advertisement for a healthy appetite and its’ trademark muffin-top.

Ah, the ever popular mini skirt! Timeless and tiny, these get shorter with every generation. Sporting these means you cannot bend for water at a fountain or to retrieve a dropped item. In fact, you can’t bend at all, ever, because doing so would expose ¾ of your derriere. They invite catcalls, whistles, and a host of mouth-sucking sounds from men on the street, and they’re drafty, excessively so.

Leggings have made a comeback and unlike the older fabrics that had no give, leggings now stretch and move with you, thanks to spandex and other elastic materials. The downside is that they also ‘grow’ with you so it’s no longer easy to sense those excess pounds creeping on the way we used to when our clothing felt tight. To combat this designers have launched oversized shirts and sweaters to hide the multitude of growing sins.

Maybe I’m just conservative. I think people should dress for their size and their age but apparently good fashion sense is rarer than one might think. Just look around you. What possess some people to leave their homes looking the way they do? Do they not own a mirror? And if they do, what are they seeing in their reflection, cause it can’t be reality.

If you have a belly, belly tops are not for you. If you have a healthy rump, steer clear of palazzo pants unless you want to look a circus tent. And if you have to wear a mini skirt you’d better be under 18 years old and a size zero. And if you have no fashion sense, take heart, because no fashion sense is still better then bad fashion sense.

There’s nothing wrong with dressing to enhance your look – we all have beauty so go ahead and advertise. Vanity is a good thing. It just means you care about your appearance and we all have different ideas about what attractive is. I do however, think dressing suggestively, provocatively, or even for the shock effect, is a cry for attention, and the sad thing is that this kind of attention is generally pity, not the admiration or approval the wearer is seeking.

Fashion

Me, myself and I

There are those in this world who are loners, introverts even. They’re not anti-social, they simply prefer to be somewhat anonymous; they are the observers versus the center of attention. I am not one of those people but I do understand their need to be alone.

I love a party, I love a crowd, and I try to keep a steady stream of friends coming through my house because I so enjoy being social, but there’s one person, above all others, whose company I enjoy most. Mine.

I love time alone with me. I talk to myself. I sing really loud. I crack jokes I find so funny, I laugh until I cry. In short, no one entertains me as much as I do and I thoroughly enjoy my own company. A well-educated gentleman I worked with years ago caught me talking to myself in my office one day and commented that he’d read that highly intellectual people were noted for ‘talking to themselves’. A little embarrassed at being caught enjoying myself with me, I was flattered but let’s face it,,,,,I’m no genius. When I walk in to a room people don’t generally say, “Wow, I bet she’s really smart!” They might, however, say “She’s really fun?” (jeez, I hope so!)

You know the crazy, thing about all this is that I rarely feel lonely. I like the company of just me, myself, and I. The three of us have a ball! We laugh and we talk. We dance, and we sing. We have the same taste in music, so whatever I play, we all enjoy,,,, go figure! We crack open a bottle of wine (because I hate to drink alone) and we have a girls night, just the three of us. It’s a wonderful friendship and necessary for me, but it does run its’ course. After a couple of hours of revelry I need real people again.

Solitude may be a state of isolation or seclusion, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. In fact, quite the opposite. Being alone with you is a good way to really get to know yourself. You’ve no one to impress, no airs to put on, so the real you emerges. What a great way to get to know who you really are!

It’s human nature to be social, we crave the company of other people, but I think it’s just as important to feel comfortable with yourself just you, alone. For many this is a grim prospect. They’re not comfortable in a solitary scenario. It makes them focus on their ‘aloneness’,,,,, suggesting what, unpopularity? It also causes some to dwell on why they might be alone; perhaps they have somehow pushed away the company of others. You couldn’t be more wrong! (ok, there are exceptions here. There are people who are just plain unpleasant to be around so if you find yourself alone too much, it’s probably you)

For most, time alone is time well spent. We all need to regroup. Time to think. Time to talk…to no one, because ‘no one’s’ a better listener to you, than you. And no one understands your thought processes, no one knows your vulnerabilities, better than you. Who better to spend quality time with? No pressure, no judgement, just an interested non-threatening participant.

Maybe I’m crazy. Fortunately I don’t care what others think in this regard because for me, time spent alone with myself is therapeutic, enlightening, and fun….which reminds me, I have a great joke to tell myself later…. it’ll kill me, and myself, and I….all three of us’ll really crack up!

Me myself and I

The Pity Party

We all have those days when for no reason at all we just feel a little blue or out of sorts. There’s nothing that actually triggers this feeling of despondency, we’re just not ‘elated’ with life today.

I woke up a few days ago with this feeling and I automatically assumed it was going to be a low key day, a ‘downer’. In an attempt to bring myself out of it I decided to go for a long walk. Maybe a solitary stroll would clear my head and give me a positive perspective. I started out head down, staring at my feet as I walked, focusing on the steady rhythm and eventually letting my mind wander. What was my problem? Life, for the most part, was good, great in fact. I had my health, my home, my family, my friends. I’d suffered no setbacks, so what did I have to feel blue about? And yet I did,,,,, so I forced my thoughts into a deep analysis to find the source of my malaise.

A quick review of past days revealed no concerns; no issues had arisen to warrant a shift in mood, and while the immediate future held no planned excitement, it also held nothing to dread. In fact, it held nothing at all. Was that my problem? That life was mundane and uneventful? Ok, there are worse crimes in life than monotony and this dawning made me angry with myself, resentful even. What right did I have to mourn a boring existence when there are people in the world with legitimate issues to cry over?

I wandered for a while reprimanding myself for this self-indulgence and then it hit me. What’s wrong with a little self-pity?  Everyone has the right to wallow a little. Life isn’t always thrilling. Each day doesn’t dawn sunny and bright with the promise of joyful events. Some days are cloudy and grey, and we’ve nothing good to anticipate other than our continued existence. Ok, so what’s wrong with that? Well for starters, some days I want just a little more. How human of me!

As I allowed this revelation to sink in my stride increased. In fact, there  was a definite spring in my step now and I decided I liked the direction these thoughts were taking me in….it absolved me of any responsibility for my mood  (I like that best of all…pass the buck!)  Like most, I’ve worked hard, still do, and for the most part my life is good, very good. So if I want to indulge myself in a little ‘pity party’ who’s to deny me? I’m entitled. I’ve earned it. And as long as I refrain from inflicting my mood on others, who am I hurting really? Allowing myself to host my own pity party gives me the opportunity to take stock. For the things in my life that go wrong I cry a little, or rant a lot. And for the things that go right, I celebrate. Either way, I’m letting it out and in doing so I’m dealing with life, even the boring parts.

After letting this sink in I felt better. My mood had lifted and I was happy again. And while I wouldn’t recommend dwelling on the things that make one blue, I also wouldn’t recommend ignoring them. Indulge yourself in a little self-pity. Wallow a little; hell, wallow a lot! You’ve earned it. But once it’s over (the party, that is) it’s over; move on to all that is good in your life.

Now I find myself looking forward to my occasional pity parties because I’ve come to realize that without these ‘low’ days I’d never recognize or appreciate  the ‘high’ ones, both giving me cause to celebrate… they’re therapeutic and, thanks to the addition of a nice merlot, they’re also much more festive than they used to be.

We all feel blue, often for no reason, and next time you do, crack open a bottle of wine and have yourself a good ole fashioned pity party. It’s good for the soul.

Pity party

Man of the house

The role of the Matriarch or the ‘woman of the house’ is sadly (still) undervalued when compared to that of her male counterpart. For starters our mandate is bigger, much bigger, and we manage to accomplish more with fewer resources, and in less time. We also do not expect constant applause for everything we accomplish – we just get the job done….. because somebody has to do it, and women won’t typically wait to be asked, unlike men.

I’m a ‘doer’. I see what needs to be done and tackle it because it’s easier than trying to find someone else who is willing. My husband, on the other hand is a ‘don’t do it if you can find someone else to’, and he has perfected the art of this search. You would think this strategy would backfire on his reputation but it hasn’t. When, and if, he completes a chore, family and friends rally around him with such accolades and recognition, you’d think he won an Olympic gold medal. It naturally follows then, that such a positive reaction would spur him on to do more, but no. He’s ok with his ‘moment’ in the spotlight, then comfortably retreats to his lounger and a good book, or more often than not, a nap.

The woman of the house on the other hand, does the laundry, cleans the home, buys the groceries, cooks all the meals, plans and prepares for the gathering of friends and family, including holidays, diarizes and reminds the man of all family birthdays so when he calls to wish them a happy birthday everyone says, ‘Isn’t he sweet? He remembered my birthday!”, when the truth is he can barely remember his own. And we do this every day. (Maybe that’s why we typically live longer – lethargy is a killer)

I suppose to some degree we do this to ourselves. Women don’t need to be told that the laundry needs doing, or the house needs cleaning; we see it, clearly. Men appear to be oblivious to obvious chores because they’re ok living with dust and dirt, and if they’ve run out of socks and underwear they just recycle the same pair until clean stuff miraculously appears.

What would it be like if we traded roles for a month? Men would adopt the role of housekeeper, caregiver, nurse, secretary and janitor;, in short, nothing would get done. Women would……oh God, wait now, it’s coming…..help me, what….what would we do? I mean after we play 18 holes, we’re spent, and must retire to our lounger, then what? We could change the beds, or tidy the washrooms, or walk the dog, or get the mail, or vacuum the rugs, or cook the meals……wow!, that’s a lot of important decisions to make….we’d better rest while we mull this over……and if we time it right, while we’re snoozing somebody else will tend to all those chores. Ahha!  OK, now we’re thinking like the man of the house!

Maybe our roles are what they are because we’ve made them so. I love it when my husband helps around the house (it does happen on occasion) but truth told, I usually redo what he’s done because it doesn’t meet my standards. (you know, if he did it more often he’d probably perfect the effort…but I suspect that’s part of the strategy….don’t do well the things you don’t want to do at all) 

I’m always amazed at peoples’ reactions when we entertain. I spend days planning the menu, cleaning the house – I want everything perfect. Twenty minutes before guests arrive, my husband screeches into the driveway (from golf) and runs upstairs to shower. He emerges just in time to ‘set up the bar (this involves taking glasses out of the cupboard and placing them on the counter) and arrange the music for the night, and when guests arrive he’s front and centre welcoming them with just a slight hint of exasperation to reflect his preparation efforts. He makes it look so easy. 

After a life time of doing what I do I realize I do it well and that’s what gives me satisfaction. I go to sleep each night content with the knowledge that I’ve made good use of my day. I suppose it all comes down to expectation. I expect a day of hard work and production from myself, and I expect my husband to mow the lawn, bash the bugs, and play a respectable round of golf. I guess we should all just stick to our strengths!

Man of the house

Super Woman and me

 

There’s a secret society of women and mothers                                                                              Who’ve sacrificed all for the better of others

So if you’ll consider I’m sure that you’ll see                                                                                       We’ve so much in common Super Woman and me

If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t be here                                                                                     So for just this one day please lend me your ear

From the day you were born I was your biggest fan                                                                    And each day with you fashioned the woman I am

When you couldn’t sleep I walked with you nightly                                                                      When you needed comfort I held you more tightly

I bathed you I burped you I saw you were fed                                                                               I sang to you daily and tucked you in bed

The day that you started your first day of school                                                                            I ran home and cried like a big hopeless fool

I took you to swim class I watched every game                                                                              I got to know all your friends and I knew them by name

When you started driving and would head out the door                                                          I’d spend my nights worrying and pacing the floor

The night of your first date I watched from afar                                                                      And I wondered if they knew just how lucky they are

The day that you graduated for me was the proudest                                                             And when they called your name I cheered the loudest

You got your first job and moved out on your own                                                                 And I smiled with pride at the seeds that I’d sown

Then I met the one who would soon claim your heart                                                             And I knew that our life path was destined to part

Because life is a lesson and as we all know                                                                                 We need to move on if we are to grow

My support for your happiness is unselfishly driven                                                              And I trust you’ll use wisely the freedom you’re given

Because the raising of children is a labour of love                                                                  And believe when I say you’re a gift from above

That said it’s not stress free raising a child                                                                              They could make your life easy or they could run wild

And just when you start to enjoy the seeds that you’ve sown                                               They pack up their stuff and move out on their own

So while a mother is loving and tireless and giving                                                                   It’s the children they raise that make her life worth living

We don’t wear a cape and we don’t strut our stuff                                                                    And we don’t sing our own praises nearly often enough

But if you should take stock I’m sure  you’ll agree                                                               We’ve so much in common  ……. Super Woman and me

 

wonder mom        happy mothers day

Children

I remember the day each of my three children was born. They came in kicking and screaming and from the moment they arrived their personalities were firmly established. As first time parents we were so sure our children would be different, perfect even! We would teach them how to behave; manners, how and when to speak, who to play with, what to play with, and what they should aspire to when they grow up. (we refused to allow our son to play with guns – only ‘educational’ toys would be allowed, until he figured out how to make one with lego, then proceeded to blow the heads off his sisters Barbie dolls) Oh yeah, we had it all figured out.

Unfortunately, so did they, and we learned quickly that children are born with their own personalities. There’s no way to mold little minds and those well behaved little darlings don’t always behave so well. Makes you wonder who’s raising who!

As the youngest of three I was somewhat anonymous. My brother, the eldest and only boy, was worshipped because he ‘carried the name’. He was given free reign throughout his teen years, and eventually he was given a car because a man needed transportation. My sister, the middle child (and don’t think she doesn’t play that card at every opportunity) was fiercely independent. Strong willed and determined to ‘raise herself’ she challenged my parents, causing enough of a distraction for me to slip under the radar, so I was quite innocent to the antics of kids……until I had my own.

Now that all three of my children are grown and starting families of their own they feel more relaxed about sharing stories of their youth and I’m more than a little surprised to see what I missed.

I recall one wintery day when returning from a walk I noticed footprints in the snow that wound around my house. Concerned some thief might be casing the joint to attempt to rob us I followed the tracks through the snow and eventually stumbled upon a case of beer chilling in a snow pile outside my back porch. It never occurred to me my wholesome, innocent children could be responsible – I just assumed would-be thieves were planning a party under my porch. Little did I know my under aged son was preparing for a party. I later found out that the little darling was also the one who bought beer for his under aged friends because he always looked older and could get away with it. (this kid had hairy legs and a mustache in grade one so by age 10 he could easily pass for ‘age-of-majority’. Needless to say he was a popular kid in high school) I just couldn’t believe my innocent babe would do such a thing.

My younger daughter used to suffer with migraines in her youth. During one supposed bout she was flat out and recovering in our basement rec room, under the diligent care of her older sister and a friend. It was years later I found out it wasn’t a migraine at all.  Apparently she and her friend were drinking at a friends house (under age, of course) the night before, and over indulged. She called her older sister for help getting home, who came to collect her with her boyfriend, in his fathers car. The motion of the car wreaked havoc on her churning stomach and she proceeded to vomit all over the back seat. The kids all pooled their money to have the car professionally cleaned but the smell was so firmly entrenched in the upholstery the parents eventually had to sell the car. How’d I miss that?

The kids laughingly recite these stories (and many others, I’m shocked to discover) now, in their adult years. They said they made a pact in their teens to always bail the other out if it was needed. Apparently it was needed a lot. I just can’t believe I was so naïve to think my kids were different, or worse, that I could be so deceived by them. What a shock to discover they were like everybody else’s kid,,,,, normal!

My only consolation is that everything that goes around really does come around (and if it doesn’t I’ll help it) My eldest daughter is now raising two girls, both ‘spirited’, and she too is discovering the challenges of an independent mind. You think they’re a handful now,,,, wait’ll those teen years sister. (I didn’t drink until I had children) I had a friend who joked that she’d come into a room to break up a fight between her kids and would fling her slipper at them. It didn’t matter who it hit because it didn’t matter who was at fault, she’d say, “ eventually they all do something wrong”.

Now, well past the danger years where children do stupid, reckless things, I have the luxury of simply observing. I was lucky because despite my apparent naiveté, my kids turned out ok. I didn’t have issues with drugs or police, no serious infractions (at least none they’ve confessed to yet) so I’ll watch with interest to see if they do any better. The tables have turned.

Angel vs Devil

 

You get me

My circle is small and I like it that way. It includes a handful of very dear family and friends, and of those I’d hazard to say only one or two really ‘gets me’. They know how I think, why, and how I’m likely to respond, and that is both a comfort and a curse.

On one hand I love that you ‘get me’ because I don’t need to explain anything, and you’re not likely to say or do anything you know will negatively affect me, i.e. you protect me, and it’s easy to be around you because I don’t have to work too hard. (so maybe I’m a little lazy?) On the other hand it unhinges me because when you really ‘get me’, you also ‘see me’ the real me, the inner me, and that makes me feel too vulnerable. Nobody wants their innermost feelings exposed.

So why is it some people can seem to see right into our souls? It’s like they can predict our reaction to a situation or anticipate our response in a conversation and all they have to do is make eye contact with you to confirm they’re reading our mind. It makes me feel predictable and I’m sorely tempted to do or respond in way so unlike me just to mess with them.

Now the folks who don’t get me are interesting. They don’t understand how I think and why I do what I do. We are polar opposites in so many ways, yet we are drawn together. Could it be that opposites really do attract? Maybe our appeal is based on our differences and it’s the allure of the unknown that drives the friendship. Or maybe it’s just a way to keep from being bored – who wants to be with someone like themselves?

As I age I strive to change those very traits I see in myself that are predictable. I now want to surprise and entertain those in my company, after all spontaneity is what makes life interesting and I want to be interesting.

I will continue to act responsibly, because that’s too innate to my character to change, but I won’t cave to old habits. (I’ve always been much too conservative in my eyes) I’m gonna shake things up! I will dance all alone, sing my heart out with the windows wide open, (ok, I already do that) and choose play over work. You won’t recognize me (ok, maybe you will cause I can’t keep the pace forever) but if you start to read me again, back off, I need space to twirl!

So while I really do love that you know me so well, maybe once in a while you could pretend to be surprised. Let my spontaneity catch you off guard. Just don’t expose me for the ‘Village crazy lady’ that lives in my soul, cause even I enjoy her company once in a while.

cutting loose

 

Easters past

Easter has become much like Christmas, a widely celebrated event marked with the gathering of family and friends, sumptuous meals, and of course, the much anticipated appearance of the Easter bunny. For most it’s also signaled the arrival of spring and an end to the long dreary days of winter.

I remember as a child waking up Easter Sunday to find a small basket on my bedside table and in it would be a few small chocolates, sometimes a fruit scented lip balm, nothing big of course, Easter is not a gift giving kind of holiday. My mother would roast a turkey and my grandparents would come bearing sweets. It was always the same, always fun, and it made me smile.

When my children were young I too would prepare each a basket of goodies and inspired by the whole idea of an egg hunt, I would make them work for their basket. I’d hide clues all over the house (and sometimes outside) that would have them searching for a good hour (this bought my husband and I another hour of much needed sleep – these kids were up at the crack of dawn!) Their last clue would inevitably lead them to a crossword puzzle I created for each, personalized to their specific interests. My sons focused on hockey, one daughters on soccer, and the other, who was a reader, on books. On each crossword there were select boxes of a different colour. The letters within these boxes then needed to be unscrambled to spell the location of their basket. It took us weeks to get this organized and a good hour for us to hide all the clues the night before but we so enjoyed the anticipation, and it made us smile.

That was many years ago. My children are all grown and gone and there’ve been no Easter hunts for some time. Recently I was going through some old boxes and came across a set of clues from an Easter past. I can’t imagine why I kept it but finding it brought back so many wonderful memories. If I closed my eyes I could hear the squeals of laughter and the sound of little feet running room to room, and I had to smile. Those were magical times and they passed too quickly.

The arrival of my grandchildren brings the hope of rekindling these old traditions, or maybe starting new ones. After a period of ‘no children’ over the holidays I now find myself longing for the childish delight that warms the Easter celebration. My granddaughters are still too young to manage an Easter hunt but they happily enjoy their little basket of treats and it’s only a matter of time before they grow into a more challenging tradition. Time to fashion new memories, I tell myself….and I smile.

Happy Easter

The Addled Mind

When I was growing up my parents were good friends with a family that had two daughters. Both were several years older than my sister and I so we had little in common from a ‘play’ perspective, at least as far as the elder sister was concerned. The younger of the two, Ruta, was older than me in years but because she had Downs Syndrome her mind was very much in tune to mine. In my own childish little world I saw nothing wrong with this child/woman. She wanted to play dolls with me, she thought like I did, and she was fun. That’s all an innocent kid wants.

As I aged I obviously came to see the situation more clearly and eventually when we’d visit the play would stop, not by Ruta’s choice. I simply outgrew ‘play’. Ruta however, did not, and never would. When we arrived she’d greet us at the door with the same childish enthusiasm, eager to bring me to her room full of toys but I no longer had interest in playing with dolls. I was kind and patient; she was a sweet gentle soul, but I somehow didn’t fit in to her world anymore.

The visits eventually stopped; I married and moved on in life and I never saw Ruta again. I heard recently that she passed away in her early fifties some years ago.  After her mother passed, her older sister took her in and cared for her lovingly. She’d had a good life. Maybe even better than I could’ve imagined.

Ruta’s condition reminded me of others in my life whose minds were somewhat addled, not by the same illness, but the end result was the same. I’ve written at length about my own mothers’ battle with Dementia. Her brain has been so ravaged by the disease, reducing her to a simple minded and fragile being. She is not unlike the child Ruta was all of her life. The only difference is that I remember my mother when she was lucid and of sound adult mind. I suppose that’s what makes dealing with her illness so difficult – it has changed her so much, but only we are aware of that. That’s the beauty of her addled mind – she is completely unaware of all she has lost. She too, plays with dolls, giggles like a toddler with her friends, and gazes with childlike wonder at a bird outside her window. As painful as it is too see, you have to acknowledge that she is not suffering at all. For that matter neither did Ruta. My mother lived a full and accomplished life. That her later years have to be spent in a childs fantasy world is a problem for me, not her. She could be in pain, but she’s not. In fact, physically she’s in excellent health.

I’ve little knowledge of Downs Syndrome and I know it is only one of many brain related illnesses but in my experience it is not debilitating, at least not like tumors or neurological disorders. The children born with Downs can go on to live relatively normal lives within their scope of abilities, and they can live functioning lives. They have ‘jobs’, belong to groups and communities, and they can be happy with their lives. There is a blissful innocence in their world that, on one hand, makes you grateful for their addled state, and on the other almost makes you envious. They are happy because they don’t know anger, or violence, or poverty, or corruption, or stress, or worry.

I spent many years feeling sorry for those who suffer some form of brain deficiency because I didn’t see things from their perspective. Maybe an addled state of mind isn’t so horrible – they certainly don’t seem to think so. They’re happy in their own little world. They appreciate everything and everyone. They don’t judge, they simply accept, and they love unconditionally. Maybe there’s a message here for the rest of us. Life in whatever form it comes to us is precious and any perceived limitations can be overcome with a change of perspective.

Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.

I love stuff!

Is that a crime?  Is that a female thing? I love to shop (it just feels good!) and I always manage to find something new to bring home, whether I need it or not. I wasn’t consciously aware of this habit until the last few years, as I got older, when I felt the need to minimize on the clutter (and yes, I do see the irony here)

If I see a nice throw pillow that inspires me I’m tempted to buy it, then redecorate a room to match it. Now that’s not a bad thing to do every decade or so because every house needs a refresh periodically. My problem is that I could do it every season (I think I need a hobby that doesn’t involve shopping)

Since retiring I have grudgingly started to filter through my clothes to eliminate what is ‘business attire’ because I don’t need it anymore. The problem for me is I have a hard time letting go of my ‘stuff’. I really like it, and the fact that it is no longer useful to me is irrelevant. I like it and I want it, and this wouldn’t be a problem if I had unlimited space in which to store it, but I don’t.  I already forced my husband out of our walk in closet and had another storage closet built in my basement for ‘off season’ clothing, mine. And when my children moved out, I slowly started seeping into their rooms with my stuff until finally I had to buy more hangers because I had none left in the house (is that a bad thing?)

And it doesn’t stop with clothes. I also collect shoes and handbags because I can never have enough. (walking into a shoe store is like returning to my mother ship) I love them, all of them – they are my ‘thing’ and while I will eventually force myself to start to relinquish clothing and household items, I will never give up my shoes and purses. I just can’t.

I have countless placemats, napkins, table cloths and candle holders because I love to set a nice table and merchants keep producing new and interesting things I can’t resist. When I run out of room to store them all I find a dresser or closet (not mine of course) to empty out to accommodate my ‘stuff’.

When my vacuum needed more bags I bought another vacuum cleaner that didn’t need bags citing we’d never need to buy bags again. (practical, yes?) Then I realized, this bagless vacuum is upright and doesn’t easily do stairs so I still needed my old vacuum after all….oh, and some new bags…..until…..I found a handheld portable vacuum perfect for stairs AND it can do the car, so I bought it. (Surely three vacuums is enough?)  It turns out the portable vacuum runs on a charge that doesn’t last long enough to get the stairs done. (buyer beware) It’s in a closet somewhere.

I have countless throws and ornamental pillows stored in my basement closet because over the years I’ve redecorated and they no longer match but they’re too good to throw out. I have rice makers and ricers, blenders, mulchers, juicers, two mix masters, and a variety of food processors but I still cook rice in a pot, mash potatoes by hand, and dice my vegetables with a knife. You’d think then I could part with my gadgets, but no. I rearrange them every so often, test to make sure they work, and make countless resolutions to put them to good use. Then I put them back on the shelf and ignore them for another season.

I realize all these things could be of use to someone and would be better served elsewhere, yet I can’t bring myself to let go. Everything I have was acquired for a reason, and it wasn’t just ‘want’. The shoes I wore at my sons’ wedding. I’ll likely never wear them again, but how can I give them away? (isn’t there a museum they should be in?) I guess as long as we deem something to be useful or sentimental we are reluctant to release it, until we’re forced to because we have placed a value on it that renders it priceless.

I know that one of these days we are going to move from this old house and that will prompt a major purging (one I’m not looking forward to!) Or, I could just stay here until I die and let my kids deal with it? (this brings about visions of a trail of dumpsters filled with my treasures parading down the street) Somehow I don’t think they’ll be as attached as I, to my ‘stuff’.

Now as I scan my overflowing cupboards and closets I feel overwhelmed at the task before me. Where do I begin, and how do I steel myself to do the unthinkable? I need a plan, I determine. I need to think this through, strategically,,,,, and nothing clears my head like a little retail therapy…so I call my friends (rally the troops) and arrange a shopping day because I need to buy some hangers, or pillows, or something……

cluttered room