The Real Blog Challenge

Fresh off successful completion of the 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge, I joined the Writers of Kern Blog Challenge completing the first round of eight posts. I signed on for the second round but fell behind because of another challenge.

In 2007, I began blogging with a WordPress hosted blog. WordPress is a publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to publish online. The WordPress platform powers millions of websites and comes in two formats: the fully hosted version available at ‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘WordPress.com and the self-hosted version available at ‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘WordPress.org.

At WordPress.com, bloggers don’t have to download software, pay for hosting, or manage a web server. Instead, they focus on creating content and letting WordPress handle the rest.

Self-hosting a WordPress blog requires some technical knowledge and places more responsibility on the blogger. The WordPress software is downloaded for free, but it must be installed on a web server before it will work.

I began with a WordPress hosted blog and made the move to a self-hosted blog after a couple of years. The self-hosted blog gave me more control over my blog’s access and appearance.

Recently, I wanted to make major changes to my blog’s structure and presentation elements. I explored installing a new theme. A blog’s theme is its skin, its public appearance. My search did not turn up a theme I liked as much as the theme I had. When I looked into revising the theme, I discovered it was no longer supported by WordPress. I contacted the foundry that produced the theme. They had an updated version they said I could revise by creating a child theme.

Whether performing a minor “tune-up” or a major overhaul, creating a child theme is the safest and easiest way to modify an existing blog theme. A child theme inherits all of the templates and functionality from its parent theme, but allows the blogger to make “non-destructive” changes to the parent theme because code in the child theme overrules code in the parent theme. However, looking at my theme’s code told me I was in over my head.

Web design interests me. I took a couple of web design classes a few years ago, not because I wanted a web design certificate but because I wanted access to the web design knowledge base. At this point in my life, I didn’t want to start attending classes again. What to do?

Answering the question  led me to my favorite computer software application site, lynda.com. The lynda.com Online Training Library  is a learning platform that teaches a growing range of computer skills in video format to members through monthly and annual subscription-based plans. Looking through the lynda.com course catalog, I found two recently published courses on WordPress: WordPress Essential Training and WordPress 3: Building Child Themes.

Both courses provide excellent information on the latest version of the WordPress platform. Diving into the second course, I spent a week going through the course videos several times. I applied each modification, meticulously following the course author’s step-by-step instructions. I finished with a theme that, in the words of the course author, takes my blog to “new levels of awsome-ness.” It was more work than I anticipated; but, I loved doing it because it’s challenging as well as creatively rewarding. Now I can change the theme any way I want.

So, it’s not just blogging. It’s blogging for the pleasure of blogging; and, the pleasure is intensified by knowing a blog’s beauty is more than “skin” deep.

I once heard of someone who, when asked the time, replied with instructions on building a clock. Asked about blogging, I would focus on content, not give instructions for building a blog theme or creating a child theme. For me, knowing what goes on under the blog’s hood is the real blog challenge.

Boxes, Bins, Bags. Stuff

Boxes, bins, bags. Stuff. Where does it come from? Stuff expands to fill the space. And when we run out of space at home we rent storage units. I wonder at the number of storage facilities I see springing up everywhere. Who stores all that stuff? And what is it?

Does anyone, besides the owners of storage unit facilities, consider the cost of storing stuff that is not used? Does storing stuff represent some form of security?

I mentioned the storage unit syndrome to a friend who noticed the same thing. “My in-laws have three storage units,” he said. “I asked my father-in-law, ‘Why do you keep all of that stuff?’ Know what he said? ‘I might need it.'”

“Spoken like a child of The Depression,” I said.

The eighty-three year-old father of another friend is a book hound. Every room of his large three bedroom house is filled with books, magazine, and newspapers stacked from floor to ceiling. The book shelves are flimsy and unstable. “Dad is not going to die from natural causes,” my friend said. “I will go to his house one day to find him crushed to death under an avalanche of books.”

When our mother had to be moved into a memory care facility in the last years of her life, my sister, brother, sister-in-law, and I sorted through her belongings. We divided up the things we wanted, certain memories for each of us. We set aside things we were certain Mom would want her grandchildren to have. Everything else we hauled off to Good Will. “I can’t get past the feeling,” I said to my brother, “that Mom is going to snap out of this. And then there will be hell to pay.” We laughed uneasily. There was a lot of stuff we couldn’t figure out why she kept. Maybe it is true: one woman’s treasure is another’s trash.

None of these is a scene I want to live out in my life. The disarray of my garage is minor compared to the situations described by my friends. Still, I am concerned about the possibility and determined to do something to prevent it.

I want less of everything. I want more time and freedom to enjoy not being tied down by stuff and the worry of storing it.

I decided to make this a project: Project Lighten Ship. This morning I made a trip to Good Will and left off two bins of kitchen stuff I no longer use, a large plastic trash bag of rags accumulated over years, a shredder that is jammed and no longer shreds. Good Will is happy to receive my stuff. I drove away feeling lighter. At home, I checked off another task on my “Lighten Ship” To Do List.

I’ll keep a record of my progress and check in periodically. I wonder if photos might offer an incentive for progress.

My iPhone. It’s Not Just a Habit

Last Wednesday I blogged about rituals. After publishing the post I continued to think about rituals. What is the difference between a ritual and a habit, I wondered. A ritual, as I wrote in the previous post, is a customarily repeated act or series of acts. Habit, on the other hand, implies an act done unconsciously and often compulsively.

Grocery shopping is a ritual. It begins with making a shopping list. Before making a list I plan what I will eat. For many years I had a list of favorite recipes tacked to the inside of a kitchen cupboard door. “What would you like to eat this week?” I would ask myself. To answer the question, I consulted my cupboard door. Now I keep a binder with recipes taken from magazines and newspapers or printed from the internet. The recipes are organized by category. Having decided on what, I make my shopping list. The shopping list is organized by categories in the order in which I push my shopping cart through the market.

Arriving at the market, I take my reusable fabric shopping bags from the bin in the trunk of my car. I retrieve a stray shopping cart from the parking lot, put my shopping bags in the kiddie seat, and head for the entrance to the market.

When I leave the market, I load my groceries into the trunk of my car and return the cart to a designated cart return area. With only a couple bags of groceries, I take them from the cart, return the cart to the shopping cart storage bay at the entrance to the market, and carry my groceries to the car. I don’t leave the cart in the parking lot, cleverly hooking the wheels over the curb so it won’t roll into the traffic lane or damage someone’s car. I push the cart to the “PLEASE RETURN SHOPPING CARTS HERE” sign in the parking lot or return it to the area adjacent to the market entrance. Grocery shopping is a customarily repeated series of acts. The grocery shopping ritual.

Keeping track of mileage is a ritual. I used a small spiral notebook to jot down beginning and ending odometer readings. At the end of the year, I went through the notebook and tallied business, medical, and charity mileage. The mileage tracking ritual.

Tracking fuel consumption is a ritual. In another small spiral notebook I recorded the odometer reading, amount of fuel, cost per gallon, and total cost each time I  refueled. The fueling ritual.

Managing my money with Quicken is a ritual. I rarely write a check. Online banking simplifies everything. I know where every dime goes. Organizing reports for my accountant at tax time takes no more than an hour. The Quicken ritual.

Use of an iPhone, like all cell phones, is a habit. Reaching for my iPhone to check email, text messages, Facebook, and Instagram is an unconscious, if not compulsive act. The magic and wonder of “apps” makes a ritual of what appears unconscious and compulsive.

Shopping List organizes my grocery list. I scroll through the list I developed over a couple of years checking the items to buy. As I walk through the market, I check off items as I add them to my cart.

Tracking mileage is easy with Trip Cubby. It stores frequent trip information. All I have to do is to enter the beginning odometer reading. It does the rest. At the end of the year, I export the file to an Excel spreadsheet, sort it by category, and produce an itemized listing of deductible travel.

Mileage Keeper makes fuel consumption calculations a snap.

If it weren’t impossible to find a pay phone, I could easily give up the habit part of my iPhone. The rituals? No way!

Rituals

‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘coffee-ritualsA ritual is a customarily repeated series of acts. A couple of days ago, while leafing through The Daily Writer, I read about the rituals of writing. The piece didn’t speak to me; but, the idea of “ritual” stuck.

The LA Times crossword puzzle is a ritual, an act, repeated every morning. Little, if anything, disrupts morning coffee and the crossword puzzle. Repeated acts have come and gone; but, morning coffee and the LA Times crossword are ritual.

Laundry on Monday is a ritual, as is changing the sheets on my bed.

I walk Robbie every day, rain or shine. Ritual.

Bridge nearly became a ritual. I realized it was eating my life. Bridge is not a ritual

Cleaning house is not a ritual. I wish it were; but, it’s not.

Ironing is not a ritual. Dress shirts go to the laundry. I iron sport shirts and T-shirts. Recently, however, I got behind. So, I took a stack of twenty or so sport and T-shits to the laundry to be pressed only. It cost $83.00. That definitely will not become a ritual.

As I walked toward my motel on Colorado Boulevard last Monday, I passed a laundry/dry cleaner. A man parked his car right in front and walked into the shop. I was impressed that the only customer in the shop found a parking place on a busy Pasadena street in front of the business he wanted to patronize. Is this a repeated act, I wondered.

I’m working on making writing a ritual—an act I do everyday. Anne Lamott says “put your butt in the chair and write.” Some rituals begin with finding a parking place.

My Best Boy

‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘robbieRobbie, my nine year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever, was my gift to myself on my sixtieth birthday.

I made the decision to get a dog after not having had one for a number of years. I wanted a Lab and thought always of a female yellow Lab who I would call Maggie. I am not certain how or when it happened; but, suddenly I fixed on a Chocolate Lab. Male. I began referring to him as Robbie. The name was inspired by the character in Stephen Sondheim’s musical, Company. “Robbie. Bobby. Baby. Bubee.”  That’s what he’s called. Or, “Robert Brown.” Or, “Robbie Brown.” When I get down on the floor with him and he cuddles up to me with his head on my chest, I sing “You’re My Best Boy” from Mame.

I began looking for Robbie early in March. A breeder about fifty miles from where I lived had a litter on the ground; but, the pups were going to be ready too soon. I was off all summer and didn’t want a puppy until the end of May when I could be at home full time with him. The breeder referred me to two other breeders. One breeder I couldn’t reach. The other turned out to be a gem.

To make certain I would be a fit owner of one of her puppies, Robbie’s breeder put me through a rigorous screening process. We talked several time on the phone before she agreed to sell me a puppy. “I think I know what kind of puppy will work for you,” she said at last. “I wonder if you will let me choose your puppy?” I agreed.

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The kennel is in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The breeder’s husband makes bi-weekly trips  to the Los Angeles and delivers puppies if there are new owners in the area. Robbie was as cute as could be; it was love at first sight. We’ve been together for nine years with never a problem. He’s well behaved—well, I spent a lot of time and money on obedience training. And, he passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

I thought Robbie might make a fine therapy dog after his first visit to the assisted living facility where my mother was at the time. He loved those old people who were so pleased that he came to visit then. Unfortunately, Robbie was too enthusiastic for therapy dog work. Even at nine, he is enthusiastic. “Labs are always puppies,” another Lab owner told me early on.

One day last January, Robbie stopped eating. That is unusual for a Lab. They are chow hounds. I took him to the vet. The vet discovered Robbie’s bladder was engorged. He wanted to keep Robbie to collect a urine specimen and to take an xray. He called after an hour. “This is serious,” the vet said. “We found blood in his urine and the xray shows a mass of some sort in his abdomen. I think you need to take him to a veterinary medical surgical practice where they can perform an ultrasound.”

I picked up Robbie for the drive to Ventura. We walked to the car. Robbie hopped into the back seat as he always does. When he turned and looked at me with his beautiful brown eyes, I lost it.

The med/surg office was a nightmare. They first wanted to run endless tests at a phenomenal cost. “No,” I said. “My vet ordered an ultrasound and that is what I want.” They did the ultra sound.

“There’s good news,” the young vet said as she came into the exam room where I’d sat for the past forty-five minutes. “The ultrasound shows a large lipoma in Robbie’s abdomen,” she said. “There is no cancer and the growth does not appear to involve any of his organs.”

“That is good news,” I said.

“The surgery is quite risky,” I was told. The cost took my breath away.

“I am going to take Robbie home,” I said. “I’ll check with my vet tomorrow and see what he says.

Dr. Willis had the reports from the med/surg practice when I got to the clinic the next morning. “This is routine surgery,” he said. “I am confident I can handle it.” I agreed.

The surgery was scheduled for the following morning. At two o’clock the next afternoon, my phone rang. “Robbie came through the surgery with flying colors,” Jaimie, the vet technician, reported. A twelve pound lipoma, the size of a basketball, was removed from Robbie’s abdomen.

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Robbie is back to his usual happy self, eating with gusto.

 

Route 66 and the Art of Radiator Repair

‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘uss-nereus-as17I received orders to the USS Nereus, AS-17, a submarine tender stationed at Ballast Point, the submarine pier, at Point Loma in San Diego. I had just completed a twenty-four week electronic technician training course at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. A native Californian and unaccustomed to winter, I was grateful to leave behind the western shore of Lake Michigan and the bitter cold of winter in the Mid West. The lure of the sea called me. Like young Ishmael, I was ready to “sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.”

‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘buick-roadmaster-1956Al Bickel and Mike Rader also received orders to ships in San Diego. Rader had a 1956 Buick Roadmaster.  Together, we drove from North Chicago to California, sharing the driving and the cost of fuel.

The drive to San Diego was a forty-eight hour non-stop lightning tour of the “Main Street of America,” the “Mother Road,” U.S. Route 66. We drove southwest from Chicago, across the Mississippi River into St. Louis, Missouri, continuing to Springfield and Joplin, then across Oklahoma on the Will Rogers and Turner Turnpikes into the Texas Panhandle.

In Amarillo, the Roadmaster overheated. We were fortunate to find a radiator repair shop a block from the main route. The radiator had to be flushed and several leaks repaired. Because I was not old enough to drink, Bickel and Rader left me at the radiator shop while they went off to a nearby tavern to enjoy a few cold beers.

The radiator repairman was a soft-spoken, heavyset, friendly old man with white hair who wore bib overalls. He kept up a steady stream of conversation about life in the Panhandle from the weather to the best place to eat in Amarillo. The conversation was interspersed with a running commentary on the steps in the radiator repair process.

Seated on the upturned side of a wooden Coca Cola crate, I watched as the repairman lowered the radiator into an acid tank where it soaked as he scrubbed its outer surface with a wire brush. Removing the radiator from the acid bath, he carefully inserted a spring steel leaf into each radiator tube, gently reaming out rust colored silt. He inspected each tube for leaks that he repaired with solder. Having no idea about the construction of a radiator, watching the radiator repairman work was like watching a master craftsman give a demonstration in his studio. It was an education.

The radiator repaired, we left Amarillo and headed across New Mexico, into Arizona and across the Colorado River to California. When Bickel and Rader figured we would arrive in San Diego earlier than planned, they decided we needed to make a side trip into Baja California. We stopped in Calexico, rented a motel room where we took showers and changed clothes. From there, we drove across the border into Mexicali.

Bickel and Rader drank. I was the designated driver. After a couple of hours in Mexicali, we headed back toward the border. At a four-way intersection, I was stopped by a Mexicali policeman because I hesitated when I misunderstood his signal directing me through the intersection. Gripped with fear and certain of landing in a Mexican jail, my heart raced, my palms sweated, and my teeth chattered. Approaching the car and seeing me behind the wheel, I think the policeman sensed my fear. He motioned me on with a smile.

It’s time to part company with Bickel and Rader, I thought. “Let’s just go straight to San Diego,” I said. They agreed.

Two hours later we were in San Diego where Bickel and Rader left me at the Armed Forces YMCA on South Broadway. Inside the “Y,” I inquired about transportation to Point Loma. Soon, I was on a city bus headed toward the USS Nereus and a new life at sea.

Intellectual Curiosity

‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘intellectual-curiosityWriting allows me to explore the landscape of my life. Intellectual curiosity is an important element of my life’s landscape.

Working in college and research libraries gave me the luxury of indulging my curiosity almost any time. My library reference skills are a valuable asset. Maximum service is my reference service philosophy:  Do everything possible with available resources.

“Mr. Dennis,” said Sadri, a skinny, dark haired, young student from Iran, “I heard in CBS news last night. Banisadr is in prison. How can I know?”

Abdulhassan Banisadr was elected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1980, following the revolution to overthrow the Shah. Concerned about their families at home, Iranian students at Taft College followed carefully the news from their country. They kept track of the political situation by watching the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite every evening.

To answer Sadri’s question, I checked that morning’s Los Angeles Times. Finding no mention of the incident, many of my library colleagues would have stopped at that.  But, I had not exhausted available resources. I picked up the phone and called the CBS affiliate in Bakersfield. They were no help. I called CBS in Los Angeles. Again, no help. Next, I called Directory Assistance in New York asking for the number for the CBS Evening News.

I dialed the number. “Good morning. CBS,” a female voice said.

“I need to verify a story reported on last night’s Evening News,” I said.

“One moment, please,” said the receptionist. I waited, briefly, while the extension rang.

“CBS News,” the next receptionist said. I explained, again, the purpose of my call.

“Please hold,” said the receptionist. Another extension rang.

“Mr. Cronkite’s office,” a woman’s voice said.

“I need to verify a story reported on last night’s program,” I said, trying to recover from the shock of being so close to Walter Cronkite.

“Yes, of course,” she said. “I’ll pull the script. Please hold.”

“Thank you, I said.

“Here it is,” said the woman returning to the line. She read the report from the script. I thanked her with reverence.

I reported my findings to Sadri. He was pleased. I felt good. I used all of the available resources and answered the question.

I researched anything of interest to me. Some searches arose from reference questions, others came from my own interests and reading. A question arising in a conversation sent me to find an answer. A quotation sent me on a search for its source. Sometimes, it was simple curiosity and a desire to learn something I didn’t know. Working in college libraries for nearly forty years served me well, making a significant contribution to the landscape of my life. I loved the library environment and flourished in it.

Light and Sound

My satellite radio is tuned to classical music. Soothing. Not intrusive. Classical music represents beauty, harmony, peace. Passages of music catch the periphery of my consciousness. I know this piece, I think. The fourth movement of the Sibelius second symphony. I greet it as an old friend.

The music fades into the background like the Whittington chimes of my grandfather clock that sound every fifteen minutes. I often don’t hear the clock chime. Sometimes I hear the clock’s whisper soft ticktock.

My neighborhood is quiet. I don’t hear noise from neighbors. I rarely see people walking in the street. Few cars pass by. Occasionally, the faraway wail of a siren, the roar of a diesel truck.

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Coming into the Indian Wells Valley for the first time. I was impressed by the barrenness of the High Desert landscape. The majestic vistas bathed in brilliant sunlight. Three hundred thirty plus days a year. The Sunshine Capital of The U.S., proclaims a sign greeting people driving from the north into the little town of Inyokern. I can live in this valley, I thought. And, I did. For ten years.

Arriving like an unwelcome guest, a ferocious wind from the north, hissing and roaring, mindless of boundaries, blows a seething cloud of particulate from the dry bed of Owens Lake. The wind shatters the quiet. The particulate hangs in the sky like a gray pall, a mass of depression, heavy and dense, obscuring the brilliant sunlight.

“People know what they do; they often know why they do what they do.
What they don’t know is what they do does.”
Michel Foucault

A conversation with my muse

Sarah Siddons as Dennis' Muse

Sarah Siddons as Dennis’ Muse

Dennis: There’s a story I want to write. But, every time I begin, it never goes anywhere. I’m not certain if it’s a novel, a memoir, biography, personal essay, what. But, there is a story. I know there is. It keeps nagging me.

Sarah: When it nags you, what do you do?

Dennis: I avoid it.

Sarah: Because?

Dennis: I think I see the whole piece—the finished project—in my mind. And then I figure I’m not up to it. It’s driving me crazy.

Sarah: Oh, Dennis. Don’t be melodramatic. What makes you crazy?

Dennis: Avoidance. I’m annoyed that I keep avoiding it. Keep putting it off. I want to write it but I don’t know how to start. And I feel guilty for not writing. I don’t know what to do.

Sarah: Do? What to do? Write, of course. Just sit down and write. Let it come and see where the story takes you.

Dennis: I knew you’d say that.

Sarah: I’m serious. You don’t need anything special. No props, no writing courses, no degrees in writing. Nothing. You just need the desire to write. And, you have to make a commitment to write.

Dennis: Well, that’s easy for you to say. I’m not even sure the story is worth writing. I think it is; but, I’m not sure. That’s why am here talking to you. The whole thing makes me crazy. Worst case, I guess writing is good therapy. Like telling you.

Sarah: What is a muse for?

Dennis: Then there’s the the silence. When I sit down to write and nothing comes. What about the silence?

Sarah: The silence can be as productive as writing. How do you feel in the silence? What are your thoughts about the silence? Just because you think what comes doesn’t have anything to do with the story you want to write doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. Maybe the story you think you want to write is not the story you’re supposed to write. The fact is, you don’t know. And the not knowing is where the story is.

Dennis: That’s good. I like that. Hard to do, though. Just sitting down and writing. It’s too much like taking dictation. I’ve done that. What comes out is garbage. I don’t like it. I don’t want to do that.

Sarah: The writer doesn’t have a choice. The writer has to write what comes. You have an idea about a story you want to write. Once you begin putting words on paper, the words are no longer yours. The story is no longer yours. The story belongs to the universe. The universe dictates the story. The universe knows the story it wants to tell; and, it has chosen you to tell it.That’s a difficult concept, I know. It’s difficult because it requires trust. Trust in the process. There is nothing more you can do. So now, why don’t you tell me the story. How does it begin?

Metaphor, Mindfulness, & Simplicity

Sometimes life hands you a metaphor.
—Cheryl Strayed

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‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘cheryl-strayed-wildIn talking about her bestselling book, Wild, at the San Miguel Writers Conference in February, Cheryl Strayed said, “some times life hands you a metaphor.” The idea struck a chord. I made a note.

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Three days later, I tripped and fell. I skinned my face, my hands. I scraped the left lens of my glasses. My right eye turned black.

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People helped. My friend, Annis, blotted bloody knuckles, scraped chin, swollen eye. A woman gave me arnica tablets—twice—to manage the swelling. Hotel personnel offered to take me to a doctor or to a hospital.

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When I got back to my apartment, I put ice on my eye. I cleaned my skinned knuckles. I had band aids but no neosporin or peroxide in my first aid kit.

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What’s the metaphor, I thought, as I pondered the event. A few things came to mind. Watch your step. Don’t rush. Be mindful of what you’re doing. Buy travel medical insurance. I hadn’t bought travel medical insurance. Not a wise choice. Maybe the metaphor is “be prepared,” I thought. It could have been much worse.

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‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘cluttered-garageMy garage began nagging me about two months ago. Not that it’s dirty or even suggests out of control hoarding. The problem is the boxes and bins of stuff I stacked in the garage three years ago when I moved into the house. There are filing boxes of materials for projects. There are bins of art supplies. There are storage boxes of  photo albums. There is a large box filled with  carousels of slides my mother took when my sister, brother, and I were growing up. There is a bigger box of kitchen stuff I don’t use. I simplified my diet four years ago and no longer cook in ways requiring specialized equipment.

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It seems whatever I need involves going to the garage, moving boxes and bins, and sorting through their contents to find—or not find—what I’m searching for. The problem even crept into the filing cabinet in my studio. Full of papers in file folders, I have to go through every drawer to find a particular folder. My closet is full of clothes I don’t wear. The china cabinet is full of china I don’t use.

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I should get rid of some of these clothes, I thought this morning as I dressed. Someone else could use them. Then it hit me. Sometimes life hands you a metaphor. The nagging garage. Of course. It’s a metaphor for simplifying my life.

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I spend far too much time thinking, worrying, planning about my stuff. That I call it “stuff” is a problem. Too much of everything. I don’t need all that I have. I don’t need the burden of keeping it. I need to focus time and energy on the things I love. I love writing. I don’t need much to write. In fact, my stuff detracts from writing.

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Simplifying means letting go. Passing on the things I no longer use clears the way for a simpler life. I need to simplify. But how?

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First, there is the issue of attachment. Am I attached to my stuff? Is attachment to my stuff holding me back? Holding me down? If I don’t use it and I don’t think about it, is that attachment?

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So, is this about letting go? I don’t want to be attached to stuff. I don’t want to struggle with stuff. There are many things I think I want; but, there are very few things I need. And what I need I want accessible.

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It’s true. Sometimes life hands you a metaphor. Am I man enough for the metaphor? I wonder.

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