Keeping Magazines, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Places People Live

Coming home after back-to-back trips —  the first one the longest vacation I’ve taken in years — gives me a fresh look at my surroundings. Sam’s condo has always been much neater than my house was when I was downsizing. I knew my piles of reading material were accumulating, but living here every day, I didn’t quite notice how much. It’s not just what I’m currently reading or even what I’m planning to read, I’m holding on to what I’ve already read and “might want to see again”.

Here’s a sampling from the stack in the corner…How old are some of these magazines?    *Blush* — um, decades.

First — Smithsonian, 1982.  “Yak caravan makes way back to Tibet after trading in Nepal.” I couldn’t possibly let this go, could I? Because: yaks!

Smithsonian 1982

I’m focusing on magazines. For books I (maybe) have better excuses. Some of these magazines are here because I found them in storage, brought them back to sort out and still haven’t let go; some are recently accumulated.

Utne Reader, 1992. Here’s an oldie, but somehow I can’t seem to move on. It may be from decades past but I still want to “free myself from consumer culture.” (I’m working on it)

Utne Reader 1992

 

Annals of Improbable Research, 1996. Bob used to take this magazine, and I found several in the basement.

Annals of Improbable Research, 1996

More on Improbable Research:  In case you didn’t notice, this issue’s cover photo features seeing an image of ET in a “ventral view of Capillaria (Nematoda: Trichinelloidea) from the epithelium of the tongue of a long nosed bandicoot” from New South Wales, Australia.

 

The New Yorker, May 1990. Clearly I should never subscribe, if I still have an issue after this long. Upon examination, it doesn’t have the article I thought I was keeping it for. (Maybe here’s one I can pass along after all)

The New Yorker, May 1990

 

Aura Publications, 1976. This is the oldest one in the stack and here’s a mystery. I remember having a photograph accepted in an exhibition called Aura, but that would have been a decade later.  I wasn’t taking photography classes yet in 1976. I have a list of publications somewhere; I’ll check that out next time it surfaces.

Aura Publications, June 1976

 

Writer’s magazines – at last, something contemporary. I’ve kept these to refer to, but shouldn’t I move on?

Writer's Digest and Writer's Chronicle

 

Star Trek cruise activity schedule, 2018. Technically not a magazine, but it insinuated itself into the stack. I kept it after our January vacation because I wanted to research a couple of the space and science presentations. Time to scan it if I think I still need to, and let this one go. See? Worf is glowering at me for keeping it all these months.

Star Trek cruise catalog

There must be a lesson here. (Besides the shout out that “Hey, writers and photographers, there’s someone out here who appreciates your work enough to hold on to it!”)

I also have clipped-out articles for how to do something, magazines with great photos, and other quirky things of interest — special thanks here to Bob’s 1980-90s stash of Smithsonians.  I’ve tried online subscriptions, with the result that I never got around to reading the issues. Apparently I need a real presence to pay attention. Last year I asked the library about donating subscriptions, then going there to read the magazines. Apparently that’s complicated, and I was not met with enthusiasm.

I could do a massive scan project, or maybe I just need to realize I can’t keep everything that interests me, and move on. Are you a keeper of magazines, and if so, how do you rein yourself in?

 

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and this week’s Places People Live

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Using my Car as a Storage Bin, Missing my Truck, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

 I’m still downsizing, even though I sold my house and moved last October. At least I’ve gone from three storage bins to two, but I seem to be stuck getting to one. Here’s what happens when I take stuff out of storage but I don’t want to bring it into the condo where it will be in the way…

My car - my storage bin

My car – my movable storage bin – and this is just the back seat. The trunk is full too. That Ohaus scale is a real oldie, once used for measuring out photographic chemicals. 

I got into this mode of movable storage when I still had my (beloved) truck. While parked in the garage at the house it was also handy for accumulating donations and recyclables, then for delivering them. I bought the truck in 1990, before moving to the Atlanta area. It was not so easy to drive in the city, but I still couldn’t seem to give it up even after buying a car in 2005.

My 1990 Nissan pick-up

Here it is last fall, parked in its foster-care driveway, waiting to be donated. It’s gone on to a new home now.

I need to get over the bad habit of car storage. On the night before I left town on a trip last week I noticed I’d sold a book on Amazon. Where was it? Oh yes, it was in my car. In the trunk. Somewhere.

Car Storage - Full trunk

Oops, where are the books? — a classic case of “Hello! This is the Universe; you really need to get organized.”

I trekked down to the parking garage at 10PM, pulled everything out of the trunk, found the book and took it along with me the next morning to mail on arrival.  What was the book?

Droodles # 1, by Roger Price

Droodles – “riddles expressed in visual form”

Here are some examples…

Droodles - Spider Doing a Handstand

The next page assures us it could also be “Total Eclipse of the Sun on a Stick,” ” Family of Worms Stuck in a Caramel apple,” or “Frightened Mop.”

Droodles - Fat Man Smoking

I think this one looks more like a turtle. Of course, that may be because I spent a good part of the morning watching and photographing turtles in the lake at Piedmont Park.

Droodles - Man in a Tuxedo

… or a turbolift, if you happen to be a Star Trek fan.

Now it’s time to start answering the call of the Universe and sort out some “stuff”. I’ve been trying to get organized for years now, so wish me luck on that?

P.S. Now, what’s stored in your car?

 

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Lofts, Stairs, Castleberry Hill, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

One of the things I love about lofts is that they can be so, um, lofty. That means they have stairs, and in many and varied forms. Here are a couple of my favorites from an October outing to the Castleberry Hill Loft tour.

Castleberry Hill loft stair

The ascending view, with a spiral staircase, colorful art, and a fabulous gallery wall above.

Here’s the descending view. I’m always leery of tumbling down, so I like to lurk about until Sam goes first, then I stop, catch my balance, and take a photo of him. 
Spiral stair, Castleberry Hill loft

Here’s another staircase, from another elegant and art-filled space.
Castleberry Hill - Loft stair ascending

 

… and the descending view.
Loft stair from top - Castleberry Hill tour

In transit between homes, we encountered this chicken, who had just crossed the road.

Chicken in the road; Castleberry Hill

Chicken in the road: no word on why he crossed it….

Do some lofts have a view from the top? Well yes. On this rooftop, Sam pointed out that we could see the building where he lives… here, it’s a tiny spire in the distance.

Rooftop view, Castleberry Hill loft tour

Now in an up-and-down-again, there-and-back-again, across-the-road-again way, the next photo is Sam’s view back toward Castleberry Hill. The stadium building (with the Mercedes sign, on the left in the photo above) is barely visible on the horizon in the lower right, below. It’s just above the red V-for-Varsity sign.

View south from midtown Atlanta

View south from midtown Atlanta

So we’re back again and ready for next year’s Castleberry Hill loft tour.

Do you have a favorite local homes tour?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

And, some information on next year’s Castleberry Hill Loft Tour

A Perfect Vacuum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge – Transient

It’s hard to be a nomad when you have to clean house every day. Why so clean? Here’s why —Home for SaleI’ve been downsizing for a long time now, but the last several weeks have put frantic full-time-focus on getting ready to sell. Finally getting a chance to get back to the blogging world is a good sign. I’m hoping my state of transience comes soon.

Staging is the rage for real estate marketing. Now, every morning I get up and set about obliterating all traces of my habitation. I polish the tub, shower, and sinks, sweep the hardwood floors, tidy up my workstation and put away all papers I had out the night before. Did I drink some coffee? Wash that cup! (or hide it in the dishwasher) Then, the very last thing — I vacuum the upstairs carpet. It’s new carpet, just installed June 5.

Here’s the thing — it tracks. I was so focused on getting a good neutral color that I didn’t even think about tracking. Now I see everywhere I’ve been. At first I cursed myself for not spending a bit more time to come up with a firmer weave carpet that wouldn’t show tracks. Then I realized, this could be an advantage.  When someone looks at the house, I can see where they’ve been!  Were they interested enough to look in the closets? Did they check the view out the window? Now I’m vacuum-obsessed.

Footprints in the carpeting

Bigfoot was here…(that’s me)

My staging-advisor asked what I was reading. “Get out an interesting book or two, put them on your nightstand,” she said, “make it look more home-like.” Mind you, this is after we’d de-cluttered like mad and (under duress) I’d sold, donated, or stored away most of the books. But, I’d hidden a secret stash in my car, so I took a quick look and came up with this —

Bedside Table: Vignette with Stanislaw Lem

Can you see the title on the bottom book?

Here it is in close-up —

How’s this for inspiration as I do my morning vacuum and step-erasure?

Wish me luck?

P.S. The top book is Chasing the Nightbird, by friend Krista Russell

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient

 

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Packing Up, Living Without Books, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

I didn’t realize how lonely I’d be without books. Here’s my living room, with the once-messy shelves of books all packed away to keep or stacked to donate (except the Amazon-sale ones stashed away upstairs). I had to pack up for remodeling, so to keep from packing twice, the keepers will stay boxed up until time comes to move.

Living Room with empty book shelves and no paintings

Living room all packed up, with no books & no paintings

My “library” room — Sam calls it the MCM room since it’s more Mid-Century than the rest of the house — is bookless now too. Here it is in a state of packing up…

Packing up the books

What to keep and what to go?…

And here are some of the keeper boxes … what will I do while they are inaccessible?

Books to keep, all packed up

Some books to keep, ready to be packed away until I can move.

I’m accustomed to walking in any time and pulling out something to reference. It’s time to say ‘bye books, see you later. Just for now, I’ll have to cope with the solitude of booklessness (and be even more thankful for the Public Library).

Have you ever been bookless?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

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A Way Forward, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

I’m not sure if this is a path or a dry creek bed (is that symbolic or what?).  Whichever it is, I see that the way forward is somewhat obscured and, like my own way forward, could use some decluttering.

Path or Dry Creek?

Path or Dry Creek? It’s tough going forward when you’re not even sure of the path.

Here’s the path over the path – a covered footbridge from yesterday’s walk. In this view, the library is behind me. I hope that’s not symbolic…

In this view, the library is behind me, I hope that's not symbolic

Here’s a quote I got through the Unclutterer, referring to a post on Declutter 101 about establishing “Clutter Preserves” — I love it!

“Accept reality by establishing dedicated clutter preserves. Like wildlife preserves, these are limited areas where clutter may live freely, so long as it stays within boundaries. In a bedroom, one chair becomes the clutter preserve. Clothing may be thrown with abandon, so long as it’s thrown on the chair.”            … from Declutter 101

And yes, my clutter preserves definitely need to shrink. But now I have a name for them. It’s surprising how much that helps. Once recognized, I can more easily establish boundaries, and with current clutter contained I can spend more energy on unpacking boxes and dispersing the archived clutter that’s been roaming freely throughout the basement for years now.

One problem with letting clutter roam free is that it’s then able to go forth and multiply. Here’s to birth control for clutter. Mine definitely needs it, does yours?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

Cabin Fever, Cabinet Fever, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

My fortune cookie said “Now is the time for peace in your life” but I can’t relax while I still have so many messy spots in the house. There’s still a long way to go from here to Hoarder Came Clean, but staying in on rainy days has been a big help. I’ll take every little victory I can.

My kitchen pantry cabinet went from piled up to somewhat organized… (in what universe do I need 3 boxes of cornstarch when I can’t remember the last time I used any?)

Kitchen Pantry Cabinet

Edited somewhat by the time I took this photo… and edited a bit more afterward.

Some pretty old stuff had migrated to the back — and why it was in the food cupboard is anyone’s guess. Here, for example, are the contents of a chocolate tin full of matches. My favorites here are like a story of my life.

Vintage matchbooks

Vintage matchbooks and boxes, and yeah, I’m pretty sure a matchbox won’t hold all my clothes.

Every place used to have matches to give away and apparently I liked to have them as souvenirs. Now I remember my onetime favorite Kansas City restaurants, long closed — The Souper, The Prospect of Westport; and restaurants from the UK, Athens, Amsterdam, New York City.  There’s Asti (NYC), where the waiters were opera singers and everyone waved white handkerchiefs and sang “arrivederchi Roma” when leaving. It might even still be there… ah, sadly, no, I just looked. It closed in 2000.

There are even matches from the Milgram’s grocery store chain, stores long since acquired. All this reminds me that I probably have a bigger collection of matchbooks somewhere. I presume they’ll show up in their own good time. As for now, I found a “lazy susan” in the basement and organized the cabinet so I can get to everything. I’m not sure what to do with all the matches. (Bonfire of the vanities?)

Here are my reorganized cabinets, upper and lower … oops, now I see I neglected to clear out the drawer between them. It’ll keep me entertained on the next rainy day.

Upper kitchen pantry-cabinet "after"They’re still too full. I’ll have to remember to cook from the pantry first, not from the grocery store. It’s past time to whittle down supplies. Meanwhile, I can relax a little, with one more corner at least semi-organized.

Lower pantry kitchen cabinet - "after"

Do you have any cabinets left to clean out? And can you relax until you do?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

And for opera lovers, more on Asti

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