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September 11, 2007

Talky Tuesday

I never know what to say on September 11. I wish this day were a day of national mourning. It seems somehow wrong to talk about blah blah blah when it's such an important day.

Unfortunately, I also tend to be one of those people who at the worst possible times (i.e. funerals, hospital waiting rooms, citywide scary blackouts, days of national mourning) is abundantly equipped with the skill of distractionary chitchatting. I once remember being on a teensy little puddlejumper to Longview, Texas and I'm fairly certain the pilot was inebriated and I myself wanted to holler and cry and throw up but the little lady next to me was in A STATE and I was becoming gradually more afraid that not only would we perish, we would perish with her upchucking all over me. It was a very small space.

As a matter of self-preservation, I told her in great detail about a then-recent visit I'd had to the dentist where I'd had too much of the happy gas and couldn't go back to work and called my (then-woman) boss high on happy gas and talked her ear off for like twenty minutes then blah blah blah. This poor lady next to me was either so irritated or so distracted by my chatter, I do not know which, that she eventually ceased holding the barfbag to her mouth and was even shaking her head sagely at the end just as we touched down (safely) and she agreed that one should never, ever happy-gas-dial their boss.

So, just a few chitchatty Tuesday tidbits:

1) Eats, shoots and gets a mosey on
Thanks so much to reader Rosemary who emailed me a link to this great article about Southern grammaticals. I loved every word of this piece and want to possibly kidnap the authoress and force her to get tipsy with me and talk rural with me.

2) Hey, guess who is not Twiggy!
Just as soon as I got excited about the cooldown (read: "it is only 90 degrees outside!") we immediately find ourselves back in the hundred degree range today. I fully blame this on the fact that I did some fantasy coat-trying-on sessions over the past weekend. And by the way! Newsflash to me! As it turns out, even if I try on FIVE THOUSAND of those super-cute swing coats that are so in style right now, I still look like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade float. Yup, in each and every single coat. This whole swingy, A-line triangle shape may work for some of you folks but it took about three inches off my height and added about forty pounds to my midsection. It is NOT good news when you start to actually resemble your driver's license photo ... and ya'll have seen my driver's license, so you know I am not messing around.

3) Fung Shway
I am not sure if I did well with my Weekend of Feng Shui, although I will admit to placing a frantic call to Drew on Saturday afternoon because my TV was in the relationship corner and as much as I love the idea of harmony and happiness and all that, THE TV CANNOT BE MOVED BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE THE CABLE HOOKUP IS. So I was in a fine mess, just sure that the universe was trying to secretly forever put me in a relationship with The Weather Channel, who I love but not in that way. Drew calmed me down and assured me that a television set is actually really strong energy and also, please stop hyperventilating you weirdo. Apparently Feng Shui is supposed to bring peace, not Oh God if I put a mirror there will my neighbor die?

Drew told me that Feng Shui is largely symbolic, that you make harmony by uncluttering, which I have done a pretty good job of mostly, and by having things that are meaningful to you. He also stressed that it's not voodoo, it's just happy homemaking. I liked Drew's approach a lot better than my own (once an overachiever, always an overachiever... I was apparently approaching Feng Shui as if there would be an exam on Friday and I had to pass to get into Happiness College and I WAS GOING TO GET AN A+ IF IT KILLED ME. Or killed my neighbors.)

While I didn't end up moving the TV, I did address the one part of the TV setup that I just don't like. All those damn cords and plugs! I have my TV on this little rolling kitchen cart and I love it -- I used to have a big huge TV entertainment center thingy I'd bought for way back when but it was bulky and heavy and took up half the room in this house. Sold that sucker in a yard sale! I like the current TV solution for now ... this way I can roll the TV to face the treadmill or roll it to face the couch and I just like its simplicity, making the TV less a focal point in the room (also, one day I want to replace it with one of those sleek hang-on-the-wall TVs, so until then I'm just keeping things cheap & simple.)

Anyway, there is a whole mess of tangles and cords behind that cart, and if the TV is rolled forward a little the big mirror on the opposite wall reflects the tangled mess. And you could see the cords from the back no matter how much I tried to conceal them, and sometimes they got in the way of crucial rolling. So I found a wicker basket in my pantry that formerly held doodads (Price = FREE) and got out a few cup hooks and my electric drill.

I pre-drilled three holes in the back of the cart and added the cup hooks, then I smooshed the basket on by maneuvering the cup hooks in through the basket weaving. This project would have turned out better if I'd have had some big carpentry staples, but hey. You make do with what you've got.


Ok, that doesn't really show how much better the after situation really is. Here's a picture of the TV cart rolled back into my RELATIONSHIP CORNER THANKYOUVERYMUCH, now without any messy, ugly black cords and giganto powerstrip all tangled and catching cat hair:


Another thing I did in the Weekend of Feng Shui was to add some pictures of my friends to my house. I realized as I was doing this experiment in home improvement that I have almost NO pictures of my friends and family hanging up! I have a few on the fridge, but that's it. So I picked some of my favorite digital prints and printed them on good paper and framed a few. Here's Amber, Jennifer and Shannon in front of the Louvre's magic pyramids during our trip to Paris. I loved this moment -- I saw the gals walking ahead of me with their umbrellas and it was such a perfect picture. It makes me smile just looking at it!


Small but easy-to-achieve things like this make decorating feel do-able. And it doesn't cost a lot to have a nice thing in your house that makes you smile! This frame was about six bucks after I used my 40% off coupon at Michael's.

When I first started this house-to-home thing, I wanted to pull myself out of ... well, a bit of depression. I'd had a series of bad events and lost Roy and I was just amiss, puddled up and half morose.

I have to say this whole thing has worked wonders on my optimism, and I'm feeling back to my usual goober self. But I wasn't ready to stop piddling around the house, and after a while it became a challenge to see how I could make things nice without spending a lot of money.

4) All your sinks are belong to us
This old house has all kinds of little cubbies and spots, like this one above the sink:


It's not an essential part of the deep-cleaning I've been doing, but it's kind of a repository of not-quite-rightness and I see it every time I wash a dish. I like displaying my little collection of vintage glasses on the small shelf, but the top cubby has just been a hodge-podge of coffee cups and general stuff. I wasn't sure what to do with it, since I didn't want to add clutter but I wanted it to be useful, too. I have the smallest kitchen, so I keep my coffee mugs up there, along with tall things like the olive oil and vinegar that won't fit in the cupboard and the salt and pepper.

I can't paint or add wallpaper but I found a pretty sheet of thick, decorative parchment wrapping paper and I attached it to the wall with a good helping of double-stick tape. For all my this-n-that stuff, I found a smallish lazy susan that fit perfectly in the cubby for just $4.99! In the afternoon on Sunday I got the rest of the cup hooks out from my TV cart extravaganza and used them to actually hang cups instead of impromtu feng shui baskets. My newly decorated, moved-into cubby makes me smile everytime I walk in the kitchen. Total cost? $4.99 + $1.50 for the wrapping paper = AWESOME!



I know it's a small thing but it matters. You never know who I may be sitting next to at a sad event or precarious time and I'll need to tell them in deep detail about the time I got hysterical because my TV was in my relationship corner and so I wallpapered my kichen with wrapping paper and tape.

You just never know!

Posted by laurie at September 11, 2007 6:54 AM