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Monday Morning Coffee with Kloefkorn

Mowing the Lawn for the Last Timekloefkornphoto

I do it shortly after sunrise,

after the first hard freeze,

each swath a shredding

of leaf and of blade and of frost,

each swath so green, so perfect

I pause time and again to look

down the row to inhale as well as

to see it, to take it all in.

And the sound of the mower: a red

Piper Cub against a blue sky,

circling. Which is why I do not hear my wife

at first when she calls me.

We sit on elm stumps drinking black coffee

from thick white porcelain cups

left from the days of her dead father’s

café. I remember the waitress

whose face, it was said, could sour

milk, how the regular customers

loved her. We hold the cups

with both hands, leaning our faces

into them. The morning

for a few moments with us

stands still. We are very happy.

– William Kloefkorn (1932-2011), Nebraska State Poet (1982-present)

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Declutter/Minimalist Challenge (a.k.a. The Minimalist Game)

This month I am determined to declutter.

My house isn’t a clutter-fest, but there are corners and some rooms that just have too much stuff in them (my office mainly). It seems as though when no one knows exactly where something goes, they put it in my office. My office has accumulated an array of items from broken sunglasses to a couple of gallon bags of seashells, from leftover charging cords to Christmas wrapping paper. Many a day I have sat at my desk wondering why this stuff is in here.

While G and I were in New York, she told me about “37 Things,” a system to declutter one’s wardrobe. The day after we returned home, we drug everything out of my closet and whittled it down. I love the results (I will be writing a post about that adventure in the near future) and was describing the process to some friends of mine when they told me The Minimalist Game, a challenge of sorts to declutter and reduce the stuff in one’s life.

The idea is to get rid of a number of things that coincide with the day of the month, so day 1 throw away, sell, or give away 1 thing; day 2 throw away, sell, or give away 2 things; day 3 throw away, sell, or give away 3 things; so on and so on for 30 or 31 days. By the end of the month, 465 (or 496) things should have found their way out of your house and out of your life forever.

I want to play.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been eyeing things in my house in preparation for the Big Toss that starts today, June 1st. What is going to be the first thing that I toss, sell, or donate?  I identified some things, but I then notice that the one thing is really a part of a group of things that can actually be tossed, sold, or donated on one of the larger numbered days, which I’ve read, is when most people lose the game. I don’t want to fail on one of the big days because I broke up a group of things. I’m trying to think ahead and plan my attack. I don’t like to lose!

Last night, I finally found the first thing to begin the game: an empty box.

I bought a Photive HYDRA portable Bluetooth speaker and was planning to repurpose the box as packaging for a future gift. Socks or a couple of scarves would fit perfectly inside this sturdy little receptacle.

wpid-20150601_092258.jpg

That is exactly why I need to throw it out. I have a lot of empty boxes intended for repurpose floating around my office and closet. I’m tired of them, and they make my office look ugly. Into the recycle bin that well-constructed beauty went this morning.

It felt good – really good – to toss that box. I feel supercharged! I want to start purging everything! My eye has lit upon several things that I have continually moved from place to place on the kitchen counter and never thought much of until now. Now I look at them with a suspicious eye, giving them a silent warning that I’m calculating which day they will be next. Nothing in my house is safe anymore. Everything is held suspect: it has the reset of the month to prove worth or be tossed.

There are three shoe boxes I have tagged to go on Wednesday morning. I’m still on the look out for what goes on Day 2.

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Writing Challenge Day 22: Worst Habits

Yelling, by far, is my worst habit.

And speeding. Speeding has gotten me into a bit of trouble. I have taken the STOP class 6 times. Dad, 30 years old, Houston, TXMy license has been suspended twice, I think. Two insurance companies have dropped us from coverage (the second one wasn’t all my fault. my hubby helped with that one), and I am currently being a 5-mile-an-hour-over-the-speed limit driver in hopes to work my way out of being considered high risk.

I, of course, blame my bad driving habits on my dad. He taught me every thing I know about being a sucky driver. I detail some of the absurdities in Weekend Theme: Blame Dad.

Come to think of it, I picked up yelling from good ol’ Dad, too.

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Writing Challenge Day 19: My favorite movie

There is no contest.  My favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz, hands down.

 

Wizard of OZ

Honorable Mentions: anything with a great story line that has an applicable moral to it.

1. Little Women 

2. Remember the Titans

3. Harry Potter (all)

4. It’s a Wonderful Life

5. Schindler’s List

6. Radio

7. Fiddler on the Roof

I’m always on the look out for great movies, so please leave your list of favorite movies in the comments below!

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Writing Challenge Day 13: What’s inside my fridge

OMG, DON’T LOOK IN THERE!

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Remembering is a Slippery Slope

Memories are tricky things.

One never knows what is going to set off a memory, or once the memory is in motion, where it will lead.

While I was consolidating three bags of frozen fruit into one resealable bag this morning, I thought of my mother consolidating multiple nearly-empty boxes of dry breakfast cereal to make one full box.

We never knew when opening a box of cereal if we were actually going to get Kellogges Rice Krispies or Mom’s Crunchy Munch Frosted Oh-lie O’s with marshmallows.

That boxed stayed on the shelf a long time.

Then I remembered how my mother did this with bags of chips, too. This lead me to think about other odd things she would do out of practicality, and although what my mother did might be odd, what my dad did was crazy.

He wasn’t practical. He was insane. Or so I thought.

When I was little, I remember him walking through downtown Evansville wearing a paper bag on his head for a hat and eating a fried brain sandwich because “how many times in your life do you get to eat a brain sandwich?”

Then I remembered saying these same words to my own kids. Not the eating a brain sandwich part but the taking of chances part.  And how, even though my kids may be nervous, they take chances that, as a kid, I was way to timid to take.

This made me think about how proud my folks would have been of my kids.

This made me cry. I miss my folks.

And then I mourned their absence in my kids’ lives, and how I wish my kids could have experienced the odd practicality and the adventurous insanity.

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Monday Morning Coffee and a Marmee Quote

Marmee Quote 2

Whom is your favorite fictional character to quote?

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Monday Morning Coffee and Christopher of Canterbury

Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo Progress

Everyday.

Writing something.

Everyday writing something.

Writing something everyday.

Writing something.

Everyday.

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Random Thoughts Friday #17

The following is not so much a random thought as it is a random rant.  What started out 4 years ago as an oddity grew into an irritation and has matured into a pet peeve, which almost always requires the involvement of a rant. A verbal spewing, if you will.  This is my spewage, and this is your chance to leave or be spewed upon.

Okay, you’ve had your fair warning, and you can’t ask more than that before 10 o’clock in the morning when it really isn’t a good idea for me to interact with anyone before 10 am – caffeinated or otherwise.

Drivers in west Tennessee annoy the crap out of me, especially in the morning.  West Tennessee drivers do not know the meaning of gradually when it comes to increasing or decreasing speed. Heading into town from my house, the speed drops from 55 mph to 30 mph (which reminds me of another annoying conversation that I had with a police officer – they can be so technical *eye roll*), drivers slam on their breaks at the “Reduced Speed Ahead” sign, going from 55 to 30 in less than a millisecond  instead of just taking their foot off the accelerator and slowing down gradually. This requires all the vehicles following to slam on their breaks resulting in a lot of screeching tires and a near pile-up.  When traveling home, the drivers wait, literally, – absolutely no exaggeration here, seriously – until the tip of their vehicle is perfectly parallel with the increased speed limit sign and then they cram down on the gas pedal as if they are the pilot of a 474 preparing for take off. To everyone else, the vehicle instantaneous acceleration resembles the launching of the space shuttle, dust and exhaust included. (West Tennesseans don’t like to take care of their truck’s oil problems. I think they think it looks cool to have all that black smoke pour out the tailpipe. Red necks. *eye roll*).

I’m not sure if taking off like a bat out of hell is an unwritten rule, taught in Driver’s Ed or actually written in the TN Driver’s handbook, but almost everyone participates in this ritual.  I just shake my head when this happens. Is such drasticness needed?  I wonder if they are aware that they look idiotic (Is that too judgmental? It is before 10 am).

Is this normal?  Is this how people drive in other states?  I was taught to take my foot off the accelerator and gradually slow down and meet the reduced speed requirements and, when there was an increase in the speed limit, the driver should gradually increase speed when the sign for the increased speed zone was visible. I could be completely wrong about this, and it wouldn’t surprise me considering I was taught a ton of stuff that ended up being incorrect (see this post).  Is it not acceptable to law enforcement for people to gradually increase their speed between the signs?

I don’t know. I’m going to lie down now.

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