AudreyII

Stuffed

I’m living in utter luxury. I’m working at the federal building in Denver, and I found a nifty AirBNB (under the lodging per diem) just a block away. This one bedroom is twice the size of my dream cabin, with all sorts of modern conveniences. The food per diem is more than enough for me, including odds and ends, like buying more prep bowls. I can even make cookies with what's supplied in the kitchen.

But what makes this truly luxury is that it’s not cluttered.

This gives me new determination to get rid of the unnecessary in my current living space. Any space can be luxury for me, if it’s not filled with Things™ crying out to me — overwhelming me.

I’m going to take the stuffing out my life; I’m hungry for less.

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY TAKE ON TOPIC 1 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11 — Second Chance Competition.
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Edited to fix links. Darned smart quotes.
bundled up, walkabout, snow

The air is the air

While sleeping under a ceiling fan may not cause death, it can contribute to a dry air morning sore throat. I put up with the sore throat because still air makes me feel stuffy. I've lived in a lot of places with high humidity, and moving air just feels like the natural solution.

Some of this is experiential, but I know at least some of it is in my head. I remember reading a scifi story that included, just as a sort of throw-off scene, a dramatic demonstration of the need for positive air circulation in space. The theory is that even when there is enough oxygen in the air, the pocket of carbon dioxide you exhale stays around you and grows and keeps the oxygen out. Something about hot air not rising in free fall?? I remember the idea was presented as a prank to scare a newbie: one would light a match and watch it extinguish, then claim oh no! low oxygen levels! After the newbie panics a little, then the science would be brought out.

I integrated the scene into somehow always feeling hotter and hotter when I sit still without a fan blowing on me. Ok, so sometimes I'm actually getting hotter. whatever.

Northern Europeans have such tight-built homes with radiant instead of forced air heating, that stale air is a common concern. Thus the habit of open windows even in the dead of winter.

All of this feels more psychological than real to me. Especially my mom never letting me or my brother fall asleep in "the bomb." When we lived in Iceland, we bought a used car from a departing serviceman, one in a long line of sales. There were holes in the floorboards, and maybe in the exhaust system? (Probably responsible for the nickname.)

Anyway, mom was convinced that if we fell asleep in the car, then we would die of carbon monoxide poisoning. We had to keep the windows cracked and stay awake anytime we were riding in the bomb. I'm pretty sure the fresh air from the windows was the important factor, not our consciousness state.

We now return you to much more entertaining reading in the Real LJ Idol.

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY TAKE (home game edition) ON TOPIC 13 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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Bullwinkle

Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

Failure comes only to one unwilling to adapt and keep looking forward.

My marriage ended last year.
I’m not a failure at relationships; I’m now more experienced at recognizing change.

I’m 12 days behind on my daily devotions.
I’m not a failure at consistency; I continue to grow in accepting God’s grace.

I missed the deadline for part 2 of week 11 of LJ Idol.
I'm not a failure at competing; I’m signing up for the second chance competition.

I am God’s perfect child; He’s just not finished with me yet.

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY TAKE (home game edition) ON TOPIC 12 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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bundled up, walkabout, snow

Thoughts like scattered feathers, fine as down

Annie Potts; give me a hard one. Oh right — telling apart the skinny, pale redheads. Um, it’ll come to me.
House’s cancer doctor friend, otherwise known as not Peter Scolari. Oh, that was Peter Scolari. My bad.

Ken Berry and Dean Jones and that other guy on Disney films that only I think looks like the other two. Which one was Minding the Mint? Jim Hutton

John Candy or John Belushi or that guy that always yelled?

I’ve always been rotten on names and able to find similarities in faces based on chins or brows or frenulum -no wait -that’s the philtrum.

On the other hand I can tell you that Marvin Belli was a “famed defense attorney” and that Lee Meriwether was a Miss America. TV Guide always had the same episode synopses.

But which slender brunette is that?

I can still describe the story, given a TOS title, but can I remember which adorable Australian animal poops cubes or what the six countries were whose flags flew over Texas (and was it the fleur-de-lis or stripy French flag)?

My memory is getting more and associative with the associations more and more eccentric.

Sometimes I can chase down the word that was on the top of my tongue with a Google search. I still don’t remember which b&w movie had the baby in the cradle and was it the woman or the man who didn’t have the range for the lullaby when not in full voice?

But more likely, I end up on a fantastic journey through botanical references and finding the story about the Geese who stuff themselves and make the best tasting foie gras because they’re still wild and they think the abundance of food is temporary.

They think they’re wild, but they don’t migrate in the winter: the farm is nice, with tasty figs and acorns and a variety of herbs mixed in with the grasses. No cages: the only fences are to keep the coyotes out. Which he only did after he figured out how to electrify just the outside of the fence; not the inside.

So why leave goose paradise?

And fortunately for me, I have masters of Deb-speak around when I lose too many words.


THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY TAKE ON TOPIC 11 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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Snerk

Milkshake Duck

I’m living in an apartment building here in Cleveland. Temporarily. So many firsts. It’s in the playhouse district — not exactly downtown, but definitely urban. Sixth floor. Elevator. Security desk. Entrance locked at night — ever pushed against a revolving door that was locked? Weird feeling. Such a different soundscape.

Old habits have me searching for background sounds, sinking into the couch with the Hallmark channel or binging on my iPad.
But that way leads to time loss. Great chunks of timeless limbo.

But this is my extended me time. What about the exercise room, city walks, soaking baths, the actual paper books, the quiet?

Quiet. Right. Less than a mile from the hospital, echoey high rises. When is there not a siren?

I miss the cats. I miss the mess? Yeah, I remade that here. Albeit localized to one desk.

This building allows pets. I barely talk to people, but I inquire after each dog I meet, petting and conversing. There’s a medium sized handful on this floor; black and curly, and poodle mix with a cutesy breed name ending in -poo. All love and energy. She doesn’t bark, the yips I hear are too high pitched to be her. Most dogs get carried in the elevator. Except for the larger breeds.

She’s a chocolate lab mixed with a more slender breed. Well behaved, privileged to walk instead of being carried. Quiet. In the lobby she stands between his legs — comforted by his presence or simmering energy under his control? He seems like a nice enough young man. But is there something darker under the surface?

Her name is Girlfriend. “I’m going for a walk with my girlfriend.” “I love snuggling with my girlfriend.”

Sit Girlfriend. Heel Girlfriend. Girlfriend, Stand. Girlfriend, Down. Stay Girlfriend.

Girlfriend, Come.

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY TAKE ON TOPIC 9 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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Winter, Renata Snowflake

The Last Box of Wooster

Gooley looked around his room for the last time. He hated moving. He was never good at making friends. He hated starting at a new school — different teachers, different state history, boring subjects he’d already learned and impossible subjects that built on stuff he’d never learned.

But most of all, he hated packing. He understood that movers charged according to total weight and distance. He knew Mom and Dad couldn’t possibly move everything. So he had to pick and choose.

Mom had already sorted through all his clothes. Outgrown - donate. Summer weight - donate. Worn out - toss. She knew what he’d be able to wear in the new climate.

No, he had the hard job. Which books could he fit into his allotment of book boxes. Which collections could he bear to part with, and which were light enough or small enough to keep? How could he part with his investigations?

The leaves would have to stay behind. Too fragile to survive the trip, and who knows how long it would be before he saw a tree again? Same for the snake skins. Most of his books could be found in any library. Hmm, what to do during the long winter nights?

His astronomy books. His telescope. His film camera. Just think of the tight circles he could make in the long exposure shots. The northern lights. Pictures packed light; negatives even lighter. He’d be able to keep adding to this collection and keep it on the next move.

The miniatures. He’d hand painted them all, researched the war for years, found rare books about the man at yard sales. He could recreate the dioramas and replay the battles. Yes, this would fill his last box for the trip to Iceland. Time to leave Wooster for new adventures.

——
I was younger than Gooley when we moved from Texas to Iceland. My parents made all the tough packing decisions, and I found new books to read — even acquired a generously sized and widely eclectic comic book collection. I missed out on the night skies, because it was too darn cold. But I do remember the time as an adventure. I’d love to return someday.

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY TAKE ON TOPIC 8 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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Fall

There was a little girl . . .

Who had a little curl,
right in the middle of her forehead.

And when she was good,
she was very, very good.

But when she was bad,
she was HORRID.


That is the oldest lullaby I remember from childhood. My mom thinks she can’t sing, so I got nursery rhymes in lieu of lullabies.

I spent my childhood at the center of attention. I was the talk of the maternity ward. My mom couldn’t wait until she could go see the baby with the bright ginger peach fuzz. And the nurses brought me right to her.

I cried more than your average baby.

I was allergic to my formula and threw up every time Mommy fed me. I was 6 weeks old when I had my first earache. And after I was completely toilet trained, we moved. So I was a bedwetter before pull-ups.

Mommy bought a vase to catch my tears. (Psalms 56:8) That almost always worked to dry them right up before she fetched the vase.

My parents learned very early on that head injuries bleed more.

Back when children could play in the whole neighborhood, my older brother was usually tasked with looking after me. I’m not sure where he was when I pulled the car-top carrier onto me. Or when I tumbled into that brick basement air well. I know where he was (not playing with me) when I threw a marble at the window.

My first grade teacher called me a cat bird. Which boils down to wanting to be the center of attention.

I went from being the center of my parents’ attention, through a brief period at college with them very close by, to letting Matt take care of me for 38 years. I’ve never taken full responsibility for my own life.

So now I’m gathering up all my feck and enjoying the heck out of the challenge.

Freckles to feckless to future unknown. Life is a journey.

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN EFFORT FOR TOPIC 7 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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PLEASE CHECK OUT THE TOPIC THREAD.
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bundled up, walkabout, snow

Walk About

When he asked for volunteers I was one of two. It’s not that I didn’t think about it. It was just that I didn’t have to think very hard about it. “I’m a free woman now, I don’t have to check with anybody.”

Okay, the divorce wasn’t final yet, but I knew it would be soon. But I still hadn’t gotten used to the idea of living in a different family, not just perching on my good friends’ guest bed.

I mean yeah, I thought about what it meant to be gone for so long, but ...

So I called it my big adventure. And Mom kept talking about it being good for me to “get away from all of it.”

I volunteered in February for a “six or seven month assignment at a client site in Denver with start date TBD. “ Then, no information. In April and May I submitted lots of paperwork, online test accreditations and e-paperwork.

In July or August I found out I passed the Background Security Check required by the client, part of the Federal Government.

In September I had to retake one online course and submit the new certificate.

In October I found out we were going to Cleveland first, and BTW we start in three weeks, and BTW we need to fly you out here to Baltimore next week to get your PIV badge ‘cause they can’t make them in Cleveland.

I found out they pronounce PIV “pive” rhymes with “give,” not “pee eye vee” or even “personal identity verification.” I stopped giggling about it.

I’ve been so busy with information craving, then paperwork tedium, then packing worries and more new processes, new paperwork. I never slowed down enough to process.

Living on my own. Turns out it will be an AirBNB 1 bedroom apartment. More square feet than my future granny pod.

Lots of time to really think about where I’ve gotten myself and where I’m going and what I can shed.

A chance to find out what it’s really like to live where everything stays where I put it last, and every meal I cook only takes into account what I like to eat.

In a space close enough to work that I won’t even be driving a car.

Just walking.

And thinking.

I don’t wanna go?

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY TAKE ON TOPIC 6 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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Packing

I blame Cheryl Tiegs

By the time I was six, I had lived in five different houses. Packing was easy then. The big strong men came. In a whirlwind of efficiency, all of our belongings were encased in blank newsprint and tucked into plain brown boxes. I don’t remember furniture ever being carried around. I think maybe the furniture was government issued or came with the rental house.

Back when Holiday Inns were still motor hotels and they used the flashy sign with the star on it: Mom would pack suitcases for us. Moving always meant a road trip. If the trip was long enough, then Houston was “on the way.” Daddy always took back-to-back leaves on the cross-country moves, so we could take a few extra days there with Granddaddy and Mimi and Mammaw and Pappaw.

Fast forward through five more houses in the next ten years. By the time I was sixteen, I was responsible for my own suitcases. Deciding what to pack for the beach house until Daddy got a job and he and Mom picked a house wasn’t too hard. Four years in a school uniform meant I had a smaller mufti wardrobe than your typical teen. Pack the clothes. Enough paperbacks for a summer. Don’t forget my comfy pillow and Cookie Monster.

The efficient men had already boxed up and commandeered all the household goods and furniture — including the spare house keys and one or two full waste baskets.

Packing for school was no big deal since Mom and Dad lived within an hour’s drive. They even gave me a tiny TV for the dorm, which I don’t think I ever used. College was a no-TV phase for me. Unless you count Battlestar on Sundays.

I never really stressed about packing until that fateful talk show. I’m not sure which one — I’m told she made the rounds. Cheryl and her magical silk bag.

I remember she had this tiny clothesline with built in clips. Only one change of underwear: it only takes minutes to dry a string bikini after all. A bikini and all purpose sarong.

It must have weighed all of a pound. Maybe less. And she said it was all she needed for a week at the beach. This was before electronic books of any kind, much less devices that could display them on a beach.

Ever since, I’ve felt that no matter what I left at home, I was overpacked for that trip.

Five more homes and a lifetime later.

I have spent the last three years moving out of the “last” home, and I’m still not done. Packing up my share of 38 years and fitting it into one bedroom and my share of a garage storage space is an overwhelming task.

This last week I’ve spent packing for a two month trip to Cleveland. Winter clothes are bulky. Which coats? Which scarves? The big suitcase might easily top 50 pounds; don’t overstuff it. How will I choose to fill the downtime?

When we decided to go away for a weekend I didn’t think about how it pushed the timetable for laundry and altered the contents of my carry-on.

So Sunday I get to scurry around one last load of laundry, remember what I forgot and “pack/clean” the last (most stubborn) quarter of my room.

Then I begin my walk about. But that’s the next essay. Assuming I’m still playing.

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY OPEN TOPIC EFFORT FOR TOPIC 5 RESULTS SUDDEN DEATH RUNOFF OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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Diet, Renata on Scale

Sugar. Fat. Salt. Spicy.

My enemies are all too familiar. They're the ones who used to call me friend.

Sugar. Fat. Salt. Spicy.

From birth to 16, I was skinny as a rail. After my hips widened in puberty, it hurt to lay prone up on my elbows to read the comics. Not enough cushion beneath my hips.
I was a picky, slow eater who had to be coaxed into eating enough to keep up a healthy weight.

Years later, I’m currently 120 pounds overweight with GERD and without a Gallbladder.
I had gestational diabetes with each pregnancy and get my A1C tested annually. I’m hovering at 5.5.
I get to choose between eating my favorite foods after 5 pm and sleeping flat on my bed.
And, portion sizes for my age “serve only to arouse my appetite without bedding it down.”

Baby steps. Baby steps. In my sensible orthopedic shoes.

THE PRECEDING HAS BEEN MY TAKE ON TOPIC 5 OF LJ IDOL SEASON 11.
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