I'll make best use of giveaway, kijiji, freecycle, and our city's versatile recycling facility as I go. All these things carry my memories, so in honor of each I'll release them with their story.
Tea. Lots of tea. Don't get me wrong; Kirkland green tea is great. First of all, it's green. It also keeps it's delicate aroma even with vigorous steeping. The only problem with this tea is that there's just too much of it. We had enough green tea to serve us to the next millennium. This is the insidious threat of Costco, that profits from managing in bulk, then shoves the attendant storage and usage problems downstream. I put aside a reasonable number of bags for our own use (which will still last us through next year), and set the rest aside to donate. I'm thinking of dropping them off at the Mosaic Centre. Re-purposing this tea opened up a box-sized spot on top of our pantry.
Fifteen years ago I came across an auditor's report on the American Military's warehouse operations, that compared usage rate against supply on hand and found that for some consumables, there was enough materiel on hand to supply the army for over a hundred years. The auditor recommended a complete overhaul of the warehouse management system. Last I looked, the military was obeying this recommendation with dragged heel. The auditor was challenging a hoarding culture, where the military's first goal is to be prepared for any contingency. In that culture, a few crammed warehouses here or there are a minor affair. A retiring sergeant helped me understand this. During the first Golf war, there were fears of chemical warfare. Until manufacturers could respond to this emerging demand, soldiers were issued gas masks squirreled away from the Second World War. Something is better than nothing.
I am sure something similar is at work in the mind of the household hoarder. Who knows when that tea bag may come in handy?
Fifty-eight forty-fives, the second contribution from hubby. I found these stashed among my crafting supplies and brightly suggested they might be traded in for store credit? After all, we'd done the same with the LP's. Of course special ones can be set aside. It was a pleasure to let Kyle pick out his favourites. We will be taking the rest to Revolver in Londonderry mall.
Books I will never crack open again. I preserve their memory on www.goodreads.com. "I was a High School Drop-In" has survived several purges as it is a fascinating read how an adult illiterate can fake it in modern society. Facing his failure was a special kind of courage. "101 Home Based Businesses for Women" was one of those books that made me so angry I couldn't finish it. By comparison "On Walden Pond" challenged me and intrigued me so thoroughly I argued with the author throughout as he steadily built his argument. What was wrong with 101 Home Based Businesses? It was endorsed by Focus on the Family, offering ways for mom to stay at home and raise her brood. But in the very introduction it warns the budding entrepreneur that the budding business is as demanding as a new child and the entire family will have to be prepared for sacrifices.
As in, you know, mother's time and attention.
Kind of blows the whole "have it all" philosophy, don't you think?
I am convinced a far kinder path for a single parent is to find a salaried position with a big company that offers extended health benefits and if it is particularly enlightened, on site day care.
New York is changed in the past fifteen years; the travel guide can go. I haven't cracked a paper dictionary in I don't know how long. I kept my concordance. Indexing is an individual art, and the author of this index appeals to me.
Nate from Value Village cheerfully took all the books off my hands, giving me a run-down on the many ways my donation helps around the world.
This is a good time to promote safe expired prescription disposal. Your local pharmacist will take them. www.rxa.ca. I am pretty sure they all end up incinerated at a terrifically high temperature at the Swan Hills plant.
I'm not discarding half finished bottles as I figure the least environmental damage comes from using them up, but I'm resolving now to do so.
Odds and sods from days of rummaging. I have binders, a plus size raincoat, a wind-up clock, skewers I picked up myself from a garage sale, and a plastic table cloth.
I'll take this moment to boast on the http://inkindexchange.ca/ a unique service perhaps in North America. This shop and warehouse provides furniture and office supplies, gently used, to member non-profits. We all like to see our donations go to the work we intended, and services like this help to keep down overhead. I'll see if my binders are wanted.
Vintage books from my dad's childhood and mine. I remember reading Uncle Remus Stories. Some may be politically incorrect. The Metropolitan Museum of Miniatures, 1950. To save on color printing costs, miniatures of the Masters were shipped as postage stamps, to be glued in by the reader. Similarly, there's a boxed set "Around the World Program", produced around 1957. That my grandpa kept these books and that dad passed them on speaks to their respect for knowledge hard-gained. I'm going to try and find them homes through Abe Books.
- a watercolor of a field near Innisfail; I lived there at the turn of the century.
- Ada boulevard with a view of downtown Edmonton, watercolor. Even older than the Innisfail painting.
- Innisfail again, with a view to the foothills. The blazing fall colors of the rolling prairie; oil on hardboard.
- Alberta Legislature, oil on hardboard, plein air.
- Wetland grasses, oil on hardboard.
Which reminds me; have you heard of the Holiday Closet in Europa Boulevard, WEM, collecting for the Bissell Centre? It takes donations until December 22.
This is one of my grandfather's cameras. Before YouTube or the Internet, grandpa belonged to a camera club who would compose slide shows to regale their friends and neighbours with stories of exotic locales. Grandpa composed slide shows of a grand trip to the Yukon from his home in Renfrew, Ontario, and also his visit to our home in Trinidad. I'll talk more about Grandpa on day 23.
Everything but the kitchen sink. The season, and the plethora of projects I have on the go, is taking it's toll. I watched the Lynne Singers last night, letting myself be transported by their enthusiasm, while fighting relentless exhaustion. Too many things on the go and not enough sleep. And niggling in the back of my mind was how I was going to find sixteen items to pull. I found my second wind when I got home, and tackled the collection under the sink. A Swiffer duster that's seen better days. Three out of my four scrub-brushes. A worn-out stainless steel scrubbie. Rags. Funny-cutty scissors.
I left the stool in the picture for a reason, even though it is staying. Dad explained at my last visit why the humble stool was his project for the furniture design class he took at the U of A. He told me there is precious little recorded history of the stool, even though it was used widely by both gentry and servant. Ubiquitous, it fades in to the background. But it kept slippered feet off cold stone floors and of course, is handy for a quick step up.
Introverted and quietly helpful, I have gained new appreciation for my dad's furniture of choice.
The rags are going straight to recycle. I decided to keep all my odds and sods of cleaners. I'll be kinder to the environment if I use them up for their intended purpose.
On a quiet spring day in 2005, dad invited me over to the house to help him pack up the kitchen. He'd lost his vivacious wife, too soon, to cancer. I'd stayed in the background through the grinding illness and the funeral that followed, so I was glad to help dad out. Dad picked the child and the activity that would be most meaningful, and he offered me a few collections that would mean more to me than him. This included fifteen Norman Rockwell mugs that Myrna picked up over the years.
These mugs traveled with me over a thousand miles and several house changes, but they haven't been used. They're a cherished memory, and it's not right that they be packed away out of sight. Let them find a new collector and a new home to be loved.
Myrna was a force to be reckoned with, and I hear her voice to this day, reminding me to be beautiful.
My paintings, fourteen of them. On day 10 I started posting them to #artAdventCalendar on Twitter. This is my second biggest purge and it does feel like a watershed moment. I no longer worry about losing my art because it lives inside, ready to come out and play any time. It evolves, it does no repeats, and that is fine.
The Skirt of Shame, story left untold.
I got this idea from another minimizer. This is a purge of my jewelry box. Only a few orphans it turns out. The snake ring is from an Ardene grab bag; I'll never have an occasion. The lanyard I made at the Native Awareness camp, run by Aseniwuche. Which gets me missing the people. And the mountains. Take Billy for example. When he gets warming up to a story you better be ready to set a while. My city backside begins to wiggle and my mind starts noting all the undone checks on my to-do list. But then Billy's story goes somewhere and I realize I have not met a single soul in the city like Billy, who will hop in his pickup and come help if you need it and give you a good scolding too if you need that. It's the open caring I think that catches me every time. That and the mountains.
There are many more great people in the mountains too and because there are not that many there is time to get to know every one. Billy and the mountains just seem to sum up the place for me.
Recap: The feather earrings and the lanyard are going to my friend Christine. We chummed together in Junior High. The rest are packaged for Goodwill.
King's Crib and Ginny-O were my brother-in-law's games, also now lost to cancer. Remember Movember, and men, don't brush off your annual. Wesley loved to prove himself at cards.
I think I was the only one who loved Balderdash and the chance to play with words.
This morning I realized by letting go of these materials I am shedding some history; decades of dietary vigilance, really. I had gradually gained weight year by year, eventually acquiring insulin resistance then type two diabetes. I attended all the classes offered by our health care system. I portioned out my food as recommended by the Canada Food Guide. The watershed moment happened during my stay in the mountains, where I gained yet another ten pounds. The regimen of pills was no longer working and we were talking about insulin. That was when my doctor asked me if I had considered signing up at the Weight Wise clinic? The past three years it has been a life transformation.
I have shed a burden, and it has lightened me.
Day 9 - Loyalty pins
Day 8 - A simple day; donation to the Strathcona Food Bank. The employees of Opus are running this drive.
Day 7 - Event t-shirts, evidence of my newly active life. I've got Corporate Challenge, Grande Cache Coal, Mud Hero, and Run for the Cure. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. There are other ways for me to hang on to these memories as the trimming gurus remind us. I've got a brag board I will show off early in the new year that will be spared the trimmer's shears. Grande Cache' remote, wild places call to me. The mine is struggling with the price of metallurgical coal so low.
Day 6 - Storage tubes saved from Biosteel packets. My plan was to save enough for a feature wall. I saw some-such thing made from L'eggs when I was a younger, and the image stuck. I bought the Biosteel to annoy my daughter, who prefers all-natural. The powder turns my workout water hot pink, naturally, by way of beet extract. Besides, pink workout water makes me feel righteous.
This weekend ended up being a massive purge and clean exercise, and I've already re-purposed two of the tubes to hold my bookmarks; my downstairs book and my upstairs book. I am with my books as Doug from King of Queens was with his upstairs wife and his downstairs wife; one of my favourite episodes.
Day 5 - Evidence of debt cleared. This is a special sort of house-cleaning, facing our mounting debt and getting a handle on it. In a city where wealth flows freely, this happens more often than we may want to admit. With free flowing funds we find new temptations. Hubby and I faced those bills and asked for help from Money Mentors, a provincial non-profit service back in 2014. They also offer workshops monthly. This debt will finally be cleared in the spring of 2019. I'm booking a party.
So the day five discards are old bill reminders. This does feel clean.
Day 4 - I managed to convince hubby to hand over a pair. He's contributed a Miami Dolphins winter jacket, a Philadelphia Flyers jersey, and a pair of Calgary Cannons (1985-2002) promotional balls. Thank you, hubby, for stepping up to the plate. As you can see, his choices are eclectic. Just to be contrary, all you can count on is that he won't be following any local teams.
Day 3 - Penny collection I've been saving for my granddaughter Naomi and her two friends. The penny project was launched in 2012 by these three girls racing around the neighbourhood, harvesting the little coppers. I saw the day coming, and promised the girls these little discards would be worth something some day. They cheerfully indulged me, and then I web traded to fill in the collection. Did you see the special condition of penny 2001? My daughter found this in her washing machine's pump, along with many more.
Day 1 - City of Edmonton Coloring Book, mint condition. A compulsive swag grabber, I picked this up at the CityLab event on November 8, a free showing of the movie, Urbanized, at the Metro Cinema. I am sure this will be a collectors item one day.