TOO MUCH STUFF, REDUX

A couple of days ago, my new 60 mm Olympus macro lens arrived. I didn’t expect it so quickly. I’ve been lusting after this lens for years. Olympus finally dropped the price by $100. I bought it.

I unpacked it, attached it to the new Olympus PEN PL-6. I moved the 20 mm lens to a different camera and put the 40-150 zoom into a pouch because that’s the lens I never use.

I decided to put together a “grab and go” bag of Olympus equipment, but the bag was too small.

Camera bags

After a lot of pulling things out and repacking, I knew a full equipment reorganization was the answer. The big bag I’d been using for “spare parts” moved up to lead camera bag. Previous number one became the grab and go bag.

By the time I finished reorganizing the equipment, I was too tired to take pictures. But I took some yesterday morning — the camera bags and the fuchsia were taken with the new lens.

Today, Garry and I are on a photo shoot in Boston. 
Just to let you know, I'm off-line all day.

The good news? I found a place for everything, sort of. I’m careful with equipment. Every camera, lens, widget, and gadget has a clean, padded place to live. But it’s an incoherent solution. Too much stuff in too many containers. I need one large box with a lid to put cables, cords, wires, connectors, lens backs, flash attachments, filters in a place where I might find them should I actually need something.

empty equipment boxes

The empty box situation is out of control. In recognition that I need to deal with it, I piled the empty boxes on my desk chair. Each time I go in there, it will remind me to reconsider the box situation.

Alternatively, I could avoid the room. Just close the door. It would bother me only when I have to put something away or retrieve something. Which would probably be every day.

Or I could deal with the boxes.

I have the original box from every camera, lens, cell phone, and accessory I’ve bought since 2000, when we moved into this house. The theory is that original boxes make equipment more valuable on resale. Except, I’m not going to sell anything. I already know that. So what’s the point? Why am I keeping the boxes? For that matter, why do I have software and manuals from the 1990s?

Maybe I can re-purpose one of my sweater boxes for spare stuff. Even though I don’t need and won’t use any of it. Anyway, if I re-purpose a sweater box, what will I do with the sweaters?

I’ll think about that later.

My first macro shot. Not too bad.

My first macro shot. Not too bad.

Among the many things I don’t want to think about are trunks filled with doll parts and clothing for antique and collectible dolls. For that matter, one of the closets in my office holds a couple of dozen (small) Madame Alexander dolls from the 1950s and 1960s. In original boxes with tags. Properly stored, face down, so their eyes won’t stick or fall back into their heads. But the poor girls have no place to go.

Another macros hot of fuchsia buds

Another macro shot of fuchsia buds

I would happily give them away, but kids don’t want dolls like that these days. These are relatively common dolls, as old plastic dolls go. They aren’t worth huge money. Antiques and collectibles are the ultimate goodfer. I don’t suppose anyone out there collects dolls and would like a lot of dolls and related stuff? You pay the shipping and it’s yours. Free.

Then, there’s the crate containing books I wrote, the evidence I worked for a living. The books have no value — other than sentimental — because I’m never going on another job interview. Ever. I’m retired.

My office has become a closet. Not disorderly or dirty. Just full.

It comes round to the same point at which I started. I do NOT need another bag. I need to get rid of stuff. I can’t seem to do it. It’s a disease, a disability.

Is there a 12-step program?

TEXTURE: BASKETS AND FEATHERS

CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

Indonesian basket closeup

The baskets are antique Indonesian baskets. I love them, but have for some reason never taken a picture of either of them.

Indonesian basket

The feathers are a couple of medicine wheels that hang on the door of our bedroom, and a peace pipe I made myself. It used to live in my teepee.

multi lens feathers medicine wheel

feather peace pipe

These days, it hangs on the door to my office. They are all getting a bit old, but so am I.

Indonesian striped basket

WRATH OF THE HAG

I used to do stuff, but my son grew up and decided I was incompetent. He stole all my tools (which he called “borrowing”). Since he never intended to return any of them, I feel he and I need to reassess our language interface. I have managed to save a lightweight Dremel. I keep it hidden in the linen closet. I’m pretty sure it’s safe there. I have a hammer stowed in the silver chest where no one but me goes.

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I don’t have a screwdriver, staple gun, tape, glue, or nails. Nor thumb tacks. The son who took my tools is too busy to do the little jobs I could do and Garry is a 10-thumbs kind of guy. I knew that when we got married. I never expected him to be Mr. Fixit.

In our house, what gets broken, stays broken. Forever and ever, world without end. Limited as I am by age, infirmity, and a paucity of tools, when I heard for the umpteenth time another feeble non-promise, I blew at least three gaskets simultaneously. I had reached my limit for empty promises.

For all these years, I believed. Someone said “I’ll take care of it.” I assumed it meant he/she/they would take care of it.

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I have finally worked it out. Husbands, children, grandchildren, brothers-in-law — and paid contractors — make promises. More accurately, they say stuff I think are promises. They would be promises if I said them, but the words have an entirely different meaning when used by them. What they mean and what I hear are unrelated.

They are not breaking their word. They were merely making soothing noises. They never had any intention of doing whatever. Genuine intentions — real promises — come with a schedule. A plan.

“I’ll plant those seeds tomorrow,” is a promise. “I’ll plant those seeds … ” is not a promise. Tomorrow is the key word. Tomorrow afternoon is even better. Today, after lunch is golden. The narrower the time-frame, the more likely “it” is to occur. Otherwise, the words are meant to shut me up without saying “shut up.”

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It has taken a lifetime for me to figure out when words sound like promises, resemble promises, but are not promises.

After making this revelation, realizing I’ve been waiting for nothing, my Hag popped up. That’s the me who isn’t nice or forgiving. She doesn’t care about your other plans. Do it or face Her Wrath. There is nothing quite as pissed off as a granny who realizes she’s been duped.

computer gargoyle

Suddenly, the air conditioner is installed. Well, at least one of them. The other one is supposedly getting done today (still waiting). A new shower installation graces the bathroom. The front yard is clean and the walk is usable at long last.

Dave, the Well Guy, finally capped the well!

I’m on a roll. I don’t expect it to last, but in the meantime, it’s satisfying.


Flip Flop – I used to believe everyone. Now, not so much.

NINETY DEGREES

Eleven months ago, I bought a Waring Pro Digital Convection Oven. Basically, it’s a high-end toaster oven with an added convection baking function. I picked it because it has the features I wanted, it got good reviews … and it would fit in the space I had available.

These days, I cook pretty much entirely for Garry and I. We rarely have company, much less dinner guests. I figured I could bring our electric consumption down considerably by not using the huge oven in my electric, glass-top range.

waring mini oven

Since I bought it last June, I’ve used my full-size oven only once. I love this little oven … except that the design of the rack can make it very difficult to get the baking sheet out.

art waring oven multi lens

It gets stuck under the claws of the oven, which I believe it is designed to do. It has been the source of significant frustration for me, especially since I use it nearly every day for everything from baking chicken to frozen pizza.

Our electric bill dropped by 50% between last year and now, so I figured it was worth the hassle.

Today, I solved the puzzle. I figured out how to prevent the baking tray from getting stuck on the rack. What was the solution? I changed its orientation from east-west to north-south. In other words, I rotated it 90 degrees on the rack and the problem vanished.

waring mini oven trayFor eleven months, I struggled with the oven pan, trying to get it out of the oven without burning my hand. I have hundreds of little burns on my hands because the pan got caught every time I used it. Which, I remind you, has been almost every day.

In all these months, it never occurred to me I could turn it.

What point is there in having a high IQ if it takes 11 months of getting burned on an oven rack before you consider turning the pan in the other direction?

Garry said he was glad it was me, not him.

I guess I will never be too old to be really stupid.

PROTECT YOUR AESTHETIC HEALTH: CLEAN OUT THE MAKE UP BAG

Marilyn Armstrong:

Now, time for a laugh!

Originally posted on Stuff my dog taught me:

Unknown-1Experts recommend that you clean out your medicine cabinet once a year, to make sure there is nothing in there that might be past its expiry date and more apt to cause harm than good. I believe that this advice is equally applicable to one’s make up bag, or drawer, or for many women, the combined flat surface area of the bathroom and bedroom. (You know who you are and I am not judging… just sayin’).

I just did a spring clean-out and here’s what I tossed in the bin for the sake of my aesthetic health:

  • Perfume samples. One day… maybe next week… maybe next year… an occasion will arise where I want to present a scented version of myself to the world and, if these tiny vials of nasal stimulant are still available, I will grab one. Because they are super-small, the squirty thing will not work properly…

View original 276 more words

SNOOPING

Snooping is unlike eavesdropping. It’s just curiosity, expanded. In any case, I can’t help myself. When I visit someone for the first time, I must look at their books. Assuming, of course, they read.

I’m suspicious of anyone whose home has no books. My friends and I have exploding bookcases. Books on tables. On the floor. Everywhere. Old books. Paperbacks. Audiobooks. Kindles. Magazines. Newspapers.

Next, I look at their other media — movies and music. Naturally I look at whatever is hanging on the walls. I had a painter friend who ended a relationship because she couldn’t cope with his taste in art.

Next, I find somewhere to sit. Is the furniture comfortable? Have they traded comfort for style? It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is a statement about priorities and to a degree, age. There was a time in my life when I owned uncomfortable furniture because I liked the way it looks. I was younger then. My back didn’t hurt as much.

I do not snoop in medicine cabinets. Medical information is considered private. Fair is fair. Welcome to my little world. You won’t learn everything, but you can find out a lot if you know how to look.

Let the snooping commence.

NON SEQUITUR AND TRIUMPH

After a long string of relatively aimless, free-range days, yesterday came with a mission. I needed sunglasses and was determined to end the day with a new pair.

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I lost my prescription sunglasses during the wild and crazy weeks of October 2014 during which we were on the road most of the time. I don’t know precisely when they vanished or where. If I knew that, I could find them. I would not need new ones.

Did they fall out of my bag? Had I — as I am wont to do — shoved them in the side panel of the car door and they fell out along the way? Perhaps at a gas station or a diner? It has happened before, but always I noticed and retrieved them.

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I’ve been ultra protective of those glasses. I have worn the same frame for close to 15 years. Flattering. Comfortable. Elegant. I felt like a movie star when I wore them and I was sure I looked 25 years younger. And glamorous.

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Losing them was a minor tragedy. I have been in denial, sure they were hiding from me, but would appear magically somewhere I never thought to look.

But the days came and went … and as the sun gets brighter, I knew I had lost them for good. Like losing a friend with whom you share many memories. They’d been with me at Disney World. Ridden the Cyclone and Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens. Climbed hills in New Hampshire and Maine, and helped me take pictures up and down the east coast.

I swam with them in the azure waters off Haiti. They protected my eyes while I gazed, awe-struck, at the Grand Canyon. Now, they were gone. Mourning time was finished. I needed sunglasses.

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I couldn’t go back to Walmart because I’ve been banned … not by Walmart, but by the crook who runs the Vision department for having the temerity to report his crookery to Medicare for double … maybe triple … billing. Whistle blowers always take a hit, but this was not such a big hit.

I had to buy my glasses at Lenscrafters instead of Walmart. Some might consider it an upgrade.

Yesterday I discovered the gorgeous new Ray-Bans I ordered 12 days ago would never appear. My prescription was incompatible with the frames. Only slightly daunted, we hauled ourselves back the Lenscrafters in Auburn. Where I ordered new frames and lenses. I would only buy a frame for which the lenses could be made “in-house” because my patience for waiting while the glasses when out to a lab was all used up. I was feeling downright cranky about it.

I explained that I would end the day with sunglasses. No option B.

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Determination won the day and I have a lovely pair of Ralph Lauren frames. The lenses are not the pure gray I expected but have a hint of rose in them. I can tell by the sky, which looks so much bluer than it does with my eyes alone. Although I’m still grieving for those I lost, I will learn to love the ones I’m near.

In the course of this longest day in months, we found ourselves needing to fill a 4 hour intermission while Lenscrafters tinted and ground my lenses. Garry and I are not mall rats, but we had a list of errands, many of them long deferred — as in have been waiting to get done for years.

First, though, we took a long walk to the other end of the mall to by a couple of Annie’s Pretzels … the absolutely best pretzels anywhere.

As I limped along, I though about Pat at CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS. Pat has been taking daily walks, trying to regain her lost mobility. It has been working for her and she looks terrific whereas I look like a proper marshmallow. Thus I pushed myself from one end of the mall to the other and I though of her as I trudged along.

We are very close in age, similar in other ways too. If she can do it, I can do it. I kept walking. Remarkably, I began to feel better by the end of the walk. Maybe it is time for my long-delayed rehabilitation.

We ate our pretzels in the big massage chairs in the middle of the mall. Then we hiked back to the watch kiosk and Garry had new batteries put in his two favorite watches, neither of which has worked in a couple of years. Ticktock. Garry’s watches are telling time. Another check in the win column.

Three more hours to fill. In our senior version of mall hopping, we drove to Millbury where we hit PetSmart for dog food (bravely buying a different flavor — let no one say we are not adventurous) and biscuits to feed the ever-hungry pack.

One more stop.Target.

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It’s spring. The dust and the dirt of winter somehow seems dustier and dirtier than it did in February. I need to clean. And it’s long overdue for buying new mops, dusters, and various cleansers. Two and a half hours left to go. We went home to drop off all the stuff. Garry was bushed. Me too, but I had a bug in my brain. I wanted those sunglasses, damn it.

I called Lenscrafters. Ready!! Garry reluctantly hauled himself to his feet and off we went. Again.

I have sunglasses!

Our to-do list is completed. Exhausted but triumphant, we had survived our longest day. I’m ready for you, world. I’m safe from sun and prepared for the upcoming (or so rumor has it) warm weather with plenty of sunshine!

(Afterwards, the ballerina called her husband on a cell phone and told him to meet her at the two-story McDonald’s in the middle of Shanghai to celebrate ...)


Daily Prompt: Third from the Top 

ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE WITH GLASS TEAPOT

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #9

glass teapot - 2

This week’s pictures were originally illustrations for a different post. About tea, actually. Surprisingly, I just loved the way they came out … the clarity of the glass, the textures and tones. So, this week’s oddballs are about tea and a glass teapot.

Tea pot and canister - 2

brewing tea in glass teapot 2

All taken with an Olympus PEN PM-2, f1.8 45mm lens, without flash.