At least I found the scissors.

 

Answer: Three clothespins; a Christmas ornament; 8″ pair of scissors with lime green handles; a large barrette; 2 stitch markers; and a marble sized, rock hard, dog turd.

Question:  What did the Hippie Chick find in her sofa?

I’m sure a number of you will be completely freaked, grossed, and troubled by the last item in that list.  But if you have kids, pets, or even just live in your living room from time to time, I’m sure you occasionally find something similarly organic in your sofa – because admit it, no matter how well you clean up after that sick kid, watch the dog when you’re house training or it’s elderly, or even eat the occasional meal on your sofa, you’re going to miss something.  Something will fall between the cushions or get lodged in the springs, or under the arms.  And you will find that something at a later date.

That’s what happened today.  Our last dog, the Jasmanian Devil, had started to have issues with the nerves in her back legs and the vet had warned us that incontinence might become an issue as the problem progressed.  She died before that happened.  But occasionally, the urge to poo would sneak up on her.  Towards the end of her life we would find random single small turds on the stairs, in her crate, and yes, on the sofa.

I decided to vacuum the sofa today because I wanted to try and clean up and declutter my little corner of the living room;  and I was actually looking for a button – which I didn’t find, it’s fairly large, and metal, so I was hoping a “deep” vacuuming of the sofa would help me locate the button.  It didn’t.  The button is still at large.  (By deep vacuuming, I mean vacuuming while standing on the sofa so that the gaps between the base and the back are opened up and I can now see into the gap created by my localized weight and I can get the nose of the hose in there – which is how I found so many random treasures.)

Lately I’ve been noticing that without Jasmine the dog around, I’m getting “sloppy”, things are getting cluttered, my stuff is accumulating differently.  I can’t speak for The Goat, but for me, having a dog in the house meant I had to think about putting that drink on the table at the end of the night, or returning it to the kitchen.  I had to take the time to put my crochet or knitting projects away, or she would sleep on them (and consequently, unintentionally, often undo a row or two or mess up the piece).  I didn’t leave books and magazines on the sofa because she would kick them off of it so she could get cozy.  Clothes didn’t hit the floor as often, because she would search the pockets for “truffles” (used tissues) or walk/lay on them.

All of these little things have been adding up, along with my recent desire to declutter and remove the excess bits from our home.  How do all of my scarves end up in a chair in the living room?  Why did I leave our clean sheets on my dresser?  We have how many blankets? (Really!  How many?  I know I get cold, but I own a freakin’ yarn shop!  Why do we have so many fleece throws?  They must reproduce at night.)  Why is our address book still on the kitchen counter?  Why do I have 3 slippers by the bed – not 3 pair, 3 slippers; 2 left and a right?

Some days I feel like I’m taking one step forward and two steps backwards.  As I get a few things taken care of, tackle a larger task, or take care of the day to day stuff, new tasks are created.  So now I feel weeks behind in my housework.  I’m not so far behind that I can’t catch up with the day to day stuff – cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floor, etc.  And honestly, most people wouldn’t even notice, but I do.  And that’s what bothers me.  Why do I notice?  Until now, you didn’t know I had 3 slippers, or fleece throws that multiply like bunnies.

Needless to say, finding a petrified piece of dog poo in the sofa may be the highlight of the weekend.  If only because it reminds me not to become so consumed with my housework to-do list that I forget about the home and the beings that live (and have lived) in it.  Because at the end of the day, it’s having a home that matters.  (And the scissors.  I wondered where they went.)

 

 

 

Raggedy, Monsters, and Stuff.

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When I was a young child my sister and I would make our Christmas lists on Thanksgiving.  It was a family tradition, the lists went home with our Grandparents to be mailed to Santa Claus.  We put a lot of thought into those lists.  A lot.  We were told to make them long to give Santa options.  Remember, there was no internet then, this was a carefully crafted, well thought out and researched list.  Our research consisted of sale flyers, toy catalogs, and friends’ homes – what did we play with there?

Surprisingly, my sister and I were also pretty vague, at least by today’s standards.   I don’t think either of us ever put anything Barbie on it, and the “it toy” was a new concept when we kids.  By the time the Tickle Me Elmo craze happened, we were in high school, and old enough to laugh at it.  Our lists had thing like “bike”, “record player”, or “lace up boots” (I was a strange kid,  I wanted boots – like the ones Laura Ingall Wilder would have worn)

Even though we were told to be specific, except for book titles, games, and color preferences, I don’t remember often including a brand or specific toy, except the year my sister wanted Monchichi.   Most of the years I can remember, my list started out the same way, doll house, doll for my collection (this was an obligatory request by the time I started to be able to spell “collection”, since my grandmother had started a doll collection for me), books, and a Raggedy Andy doll* to keep my Raggedy Ann company.

I don’t know what it was about Raggedy Ann and Andy that held my interest.  I still have one of the books in my collection, so at some point, I know I read the stories, maybe we borrowed some of the books from the library, or had a record/book set, it’s possible I saw the movie or TV show too.  I really don’t remember; but I do remember wanting both the dolls, and now that I look back on it, it’s a good thing I didn’t want the camel, the dog, or any of their other unusual friends… Santa would still be looking for those.

At some point, as a very young girl,  I did get a Raggedy Ann doll, and she was splendid.  I don’t remember if she was a gift that then triggered my reading the books and watching the movie, or if it was the other way around.  Regardless, she was, from then on, a favorite of mine.  She was big, for starters, at least 24″.  She had a red heart on her chest with the words “I love you” in it, a painted face with button eyes, red yarn hair tied up in a weird sort of bun in the back and she wore knickers, a flowery dress, and an apron.

I used her as a pillow, she was one of the few things that was always on, and in, my bed.  I was not the type of kid that usually slept with dolls or stuffed animals, after all, they had their own bed!  I had a few that occasionally made the cut, and at one point, my grandmother was given garbage bags full of stuffed animals by a friend of hers, so my sister and I were overwhelmed with stuffed whales, giraffes, tigers, owls, and more.  But unless I was scared or sick, I usually didn’t cuddle with stuffed critters or dolls.  However, Raggedy Ann was always at the foot of my bed or leaning against the headboard next to me.

I did have an overactive imagination (still do, if you hadn’t figured that out) and the dark of night was a great time for my imagination to come up with some crazy ideas and leave me sleepless.  Maybe, after reading the stories of Raggedy Ann’s bravery, I thought she’d protect me from the monsters under my bed – they were big, had tentacles, and were friends with the humidifier dragon on the dresser.

At some point her seam split on the one side.  I remember my mom fixing her, Raggedy Ann had “surgery”.  I don’t even remember what  ailment we made up, but it wasn’t a life threatening thing.  After stitching her back up, mom put a fabric band-aid over the stitches – we had to use a fabric one, because the plastic ones wouldn’t stick to cloth!  Close to 40 years later, that bandage is still on her side.

When I was a teenager, Robby, our labrador puppy had a full on labrador frenzy in my bedroom.  Raggedy Ann became truly raggedy.  She lost an arm, part of her face and most of her stuffing.  By this point, I didn’t think I needed her protection from the monsters under the bed, but she was still manning her post on my bed every night.  So I re stuffed and stitched her back up the best I could.  Of all the shoes, bags, telephones and microwaves (yes, telephones and microwaves) that dog ate, I think the attack on my toys, and Raggedy Ann in particular, is what made me question why people love Labradors so much.  But that’s another post.

Despite her pitiful condition, I kept Raggedy Ann; and I still have her, as you can see by the photo above, in all of her well worn, worse for the years, faded gloriousness.  In addition to the missing arm, and ripped face, the elastic in her britches and cuffs gave out years ago, the ribbon on her apron is fraying, and her hair has matted.  Through college (she didn’t go with me), my first apartments, and even after getting married, I kept her.  She now sits in the corner, at the base of the stairs, still protecting us from the things that go bump in the night.

Recently, when I walk past her, I started wondering why I still have her and I think about getting rid of her.  I mean, she’s not worth anything to anyone in her current condition.  I know there are doll hospitals out there, and I could even try to find a match and frankenstein together one complete doll.  But I keep wondering if this is worth it to me.  Really, at this point, all she’s holding in her single hand and printed little heart are my memories.  Do I need her just for that?  Is there a monetary value in that?  No, not really.

We all manage to get attached to objects.  Some of them are small physical reminders -trinkets, jewelry, ticket stubs, things we can stash away in a cigar box somewhere.  Others are larger, but still “stashable” or hangable – bottles, framed photos, posters, things we can place on window sills, book shelves, or hang on the wall.  These are often the items in our homes that give our space that feeling of calm, a sense of belonging, and adds that extra bit of something that makes it uniquely ours.

But what do we do with our larger items?  Those things, like Raggedy Ann, that take up more space than a frame and are no longer of any real use to us?  How long do we hold onto them?  Why do we hold onto them?  Sentimental value is a very real thing, but it’s physically incalculable and nontransferable.  It’s like a coupon – no real value unless used, but it’s use is very specific.

I’m trying to purge useless things from our home in an effort to declutter, prioritize, and organize.  But things like Raggedy Ann trip me up in my efforts.  I don’t want to just box her up and put her in the attic, that will just delay the decision.  I wonder about reusing parts, but how?  I can’t donate her, she’s in too bad of shape – maybe if she were only missing an arm, I’d consider looking into donating her to a children’s hospital, as I’m sure that one armed little girls like dolls too, and some of them might have monsters under their beds.

When it comes down to it, she’ll most likely remain at her post for a little while longer as I try to decide if it’s worth finding the parts, patterns, and time to repair her.  Maybe as I find more photos of our adventures together I’ll be able to let her go.  So I shouldn’t be surprised if one day, I decide she’s just not needed anymore.  After all, it’s the memories she’s left me with that are more important, right?   Isn’t that true of all our stuff?

photo from rottentomatoes.com

 

*I did eventually get Raggedy Andy, when I was in my late teens and their popularity swung back around.  New, smaller, and from a different company, next to my well loved, but still two armed,  Raggedy Ann, he looked like an imposter.  I never took him out of his box to sit on the bed next to Ann.  He remains in his box in a trunk in the attic.

 

 

 

I’ve Never Liked Bullies.

I haven’t been actively blogging of late.  Mostly because I can’t seem to focus long enough on one theme to write something that  I feel is worth your time as a reader and mine as the author.

But today is the Inauguration Day for the 45th President of the United States.  And while a number of people are looking forward to it, many others have feelings of division, anger, hostility, disappointment, and confusion.  I can accept the outcome of the election, and the fact that the person I voted for didn’t win.  It wasn’t the first time that has happened, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.  But I admit, I fall into the confused, worried, and disappointed group.

I understand that a large number of people were feeling disenfranchised and forgotten.  I get why they would want change.  But understanding that a large portion of my neighbors felt abandoned by our government doesn’t mean that I am just going to suddenly agree with their choice and method of implementing change.  Don’t expect me to “get over it”.  I said I can accept it.  But accepting something doesn’t mean one rolls over and becomes a doormat.  Those of us that feel disappointed, and maybe even worried or scared, have valid feelings, even if you don’t share them.  While many were feeling neglected under the previous administration, many others were not.

The very things that get me labeled as a “tree hugging hippie” , “liberal”, or “leftist” are often the very things that many of my Christian and/or right leaning acquaintances profess to be conservative ideals.  Things like human rights, family values, and the dignity of life; education and crime prevention; conservation and protecting the environment.  It’s how we, as individuals, express these views that somehow earn us right or left leaning labels.  There are many examples, but I don’t want to turn this blog into something it isn’t intended to be.

Oddly, it’s this expression of our beliefs and opinions that has left such a huge divide between so many people who should, in theory, agree about certain issues.  So, before you start berating me,  or anyone else who didn’t vote for the new POTUS, or who speaks out against some proposed legislation or government policy you support, ask yourself if you really know why they don’t agree with you.  Don’t assume it’s just because of point A, or even points A and B.  If you don’t know, ask.  Ask!  Don’t start rattling off a bunch of sound bites trying to sway their opinion.  When has that ever worked on you?  Why do you think it will work on someone else?

Do I think things are going to change?  Absolutely.  Do I think the change(s) will be good?  It’s to early to tell, but my gut instinct is no.  The truth is, all change is stressful, and stressful situations can bring out the best and the worst in people.  Recently, we’ve seen so much hatred that it’s difficult to believe that the coming changes will be beneficial to the majority of Americans.  But if the changes are good, let’s remember that sometimes what’s considered good for group A is bad for group B and that even good things can create stress, uncertainty, and disruptions – think weddings or the first child.  Do things go smoothly when they change?  Not often.  And that has me worried.

Bluntly put, we’ve elected a playground bully, and that’s why I’m disappointed.  I’ve never liked bullies.  It’s doubtful that I ever will.  But I do love this country and all who call it home, including the urbanites, suburbanites, and the rural communities; the  Democrats, Republicans and all those who are “others”; the heterosexuals and the LBGT; the citizens and the refugees and immigrants.  So while I am proud to call this melting pot we call America my home, I’m not really proud to be an American right now.  I hope that will change.

 

 

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