Becoming Unhinged

When we first bought this house, we were enchanted by the leaded glass arts and crafts cabinet doors in part of the kitchen. It gave the area such charm. After a few years of dealing with them, though, Ed decided he would rather have open shelves, so he took the doors off and stored them in the garage.

One problem was in their construction. The glass was precariously propped inside the door frame. It was heavy, and kept in place with a couple of tiny nails. Every time Ed would open the door, he was afraid the glass would fall out.

The second problem was in their hinge setup. All the cabinet doors in the kitchen used special break-away hinges. If we opened the door to a certain point, the door would virtually come off the cabinet, and part of the hinge (spring-loaded) on the door side snapped back into place, and we had to get our extra-tiny screwdriver to dig the stubborn piece out of the hinge so we could rehang the door. It was a major pain, to say the least. If you can imagine how often one opens cabinet doors in the kitchen, you would be quite accurate as to how many times Ed lost his cool. It was especially hard when I was the door opener, because if I opened an upper cabinet and the top hinge gave way, I had to stand there holding the door while I yelled for help.

So you can see why, as beautiful as they are, the cabinet doors were exiled to the garage.

One of the first things Venise said when we showed her the leaded glass doors was, "These things have GOT to come back up!" We kind of expected her to say that. Since she promised to help us reinstall them, we relented. I told Ed that using those doors would be one of the many "inconveniences" we would have to undergo while the house was on the market. Venise suggested that we clean out the cabinets and then we would not even have to open the doors, and that made sense.

So before our workday on Friday, Ed and I went to the hardware store to buy more hinges, as he had thrown away all the original hinges from the cabinet side. Well, we right off the bat we learned that they don't make those hinges anymore. I guess they just didn't cut it in the market (wonder why?!). So we showed the hardware man the door we had taken with us, and together we searched for hinges of the same general type that would work. We spent close to $100, but we knew it was a good investment in getting the kitchen to look its best.

When Venise tried to hang the doors, nothing fit. The doors overlapped when she tried to close them. She voiced our options: Maybe have a carpenter come by who could either cut off part of the doors (we nixed that one) or could dig out some of the cabinet itself where the hinges were. The problem was that the hinges had a lip that was supposed to hug the cabinet. It hugged the cabinet all right, but that limited the position of the hinges to the width of the lip. Therefore, we couldn't move the doors outward so they would meet solidly in the middle.

So yesterday, Ed hung the rest of the doors on that wall, and as you can see, the doors overlap in the middle and are not straight at all. He said, "Well, if we have a carpenter come by, at least the doors will be up so he can see our predicament and figure out exactly what needs to be done."

Oh Joy, where are you with your knowledge and tools???? What a delicious challenge this would be for you!

Last night, after much thought, we discussed another option. The reason why regular old hinges never worked on those doors was the fact that with regular hinges, the doors would not close all the way. Well, they'd close, but then swing back a little. This resulted in about a 1-inch gap. However, on one of our cabinets, we have little thingies (that may not be the technical term....) installed on the bottom which click and hold the door shut. Ed wondered if we could take all the doors back down and install regular hinges with the "thingies" to ensure the door would stay shut. The old-fashioned, regular hinges would allow us to move the doors over and everything would be fine.

So back to the hardware store we go to see if our plan works. I'll let you know. In the meantime, I am packing up the expensive hinges and sending them to my sister, Joy. I'm sure she can use them in one of her many creative woodworking projects. As for me, it has been quite an experience.

Oh yes - Ed also got tiny plastic thingies (no relation to the cabinet thingies) to screw in place to hold the glass securely in the door frame. When I said, "If it was that easy to be able to hold the glass in, why didn't you do that years ago?" All I got was "the look." You know which look I mean. I imagine I'll be seeing that look more and more as we continue our house-selling venture!

Dream House

On my favorite medical transcription site, there is a discussion around this question: "If money were no object, what would you change about your house?" In other words, what would describe your dream house?

The interesting part of this discussion is that everyone's idea of her dream house is partly dependent on what stage of life she finds herself in. After I posted some pictures of our Victorian house, some posters unequivocably stated this house would be their dream house. Yet, our dream house is not anything like this one, at this time. There are a myriad of dream houses out there. (And, for some Katrinia victims, any viable house would be a dream house for them.)

There are a lot of magazine articles out there about Baby Boomers and their life challenges and opportunities. In my reading, I notice that there are some Boomers who are experiencing the empty nest and are downsizing, as we are. There are others who never want to get out of the race for accumulation. These people think that having less is not more and that the journey of upward mobility never ends. To them, it is a sign of failure if their next car is smaller or less expensive than their present one, or if their next house is not as ostentatious or in as wealthy a neighborhood as the one where they live now. This, of course, may be due in part to our society's insistence on labeling the worth of individuals based on their financial wealth and quantity/quality of possessions - after all, you could be extremely rich, but how would people know that unless your house, car, and clothes reveal your status to the world?

It's all in timing, I have discovered. This beautiful Victorian was our dream house when we bought it. We had 2 teenagers (and one live-in guest), and after all the tiny parsonages we had lived in, we were ectastic to be here.

But as we journeyed on, our situation changed. As our family has gotten smaller, it seems the house has gotten bigger. (Ed, who has lost 30 pounds in the last few years, definitely feels that he has gotten smaller and the house has gotten bigger!) Our needs change, and we adjust.

In the same way that financial experts advise you to take time every few years to reevaluate your investments, your insurance needs, and your financial changes, I think it is worthwhile to stop and evaluate your lifestyle options. Think about your priorities. Think about the hidden costs (not always financial) of your chosen lifestyle. Choose your path with integrity and thoughtfulness, not letting "the world" decide who you are. It may be that you need a smaller house, it may be that you need to use less of the world's resources, it may be that you need to spend more time with your family and less time at the office, it may be that you don't need that new item of clothing as much as you thought you did.

However, if, like our family in 1996 when we moved to Maine, you have several children who need plenty of room to hang out, or you need space for family and friends to visit - well, in that case, this is your dream house. Call our agent, Venise, ASAP!

The Urgency of the Matter

We had our new real estate agent Venise over today for an all-day work session. And boy, did she work! She brought her assistant with her and between the two of them and what Ed and I could contribute, the house got a makeover in several places today. No job was too dirty or difficult for Venise to tackle. She and her assistant took down screens, washed windows, hung doors, vacuumed, dusted, mopped, scrubbed tile - it was totally amazing and gratifying to find someone who wants to sell the house as much as we do!

When we lived in Tennessee, one of our favorite things to do was watch the cable channel A&E, and one of our most enjoyable shows was America's Castles. From that show, we learned how the mansions of America were built for names like the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and other lesser known but just as filthy rich families. A thread of poignancy frequently ran through the mansions' histories, however. So many times the rich old man would spend years having the best architects and craftsmen and goldmiths and engineers build his dream house, then he would move in and about a year or two later, he would die.

We joke about our own dream house, which exists so far only in our minds and in the detailed drawings of the Coastline Homes company, but Ed has mentioned a few times that his desire to start building it ASAP is due to watching America's Castles. He is so afraid that he will finally the get his dream house and then not live to enjoy it.

It is a dream house for us, even while we are living in a house which might serve as a dream house to others. Our future house will not be big, will not be grandiose or splendid in form or decoration. It will not have the most expensive flooring, won't have a hot tub or the latest "must-have" in the major appliance department. But it will be our castle, and we want to have many years ahead of us to appreciate it.

So time's awastin' - and after being stuck with Ed all day, listening to his endless stories, taking his teasing, "laughing" at his jokes, Venise now knows the importance of selling the house quickly, so Ed can live many years in his dream house - that is, if she doesn't kill him first!

Ode to Ed

We are on the last two weeks before the curtain rises on our house, so to speak, and I want to document here that Ed has worked like a crazy man. (Since he has always been a crazy man, he was halfway there to begin with.) Venise left us with a long laundry list of chores, and Ed has responded with alacrity. He has already packed up most of the extra kitchen dishes/pots/etc. He has cleared out the curio cabinet and moved it in preparation for taking it upstairs. He has moved the big leather chair out of the TV room and into the front parlor/dining room. He emptied out the shelves in the pantry. I had already boxed up my Christmas village houses and figurines, but he put all those small boxes into one giant box for me. Then he took all the boxes he had packed upstairs. In the midst of all this, he has been doing his usual cooking, washing dishes, walking the dog, and even did some of my laundry.

He mentioned to me that he wanted to "bowl Venise over with what two old people can do."
Bowl indeed - he is getting strikes at every turn! Go, Ed!

The Life of an Old House

Miss Meg from Georgia responded to my last post with this:

Do you feel pangs of rejection because others don't immediatly fall in love with your house? We have been here 28 years. Our daughter was 5 when we moved in and she now has a 6 yo, 5yo and one on the way. So much time passed, so many memories... and nobody seems to see the beauty of all those yesterdays as we do.

Oh, my, yes! The same feelings we had at our yard sale last year ("Why don't you want to buy our stuff? Are you questioning our taste, our judgment in buying these things?") were magnified many times when we tried to sell the house.

The above picture was taken last week.

A brief history of the house: Our house is a Queen Anne Victorian built in the late 1800s. It has 2 balconies and a wrap-around gazebo porch, parquet floors (beautiful, in need of some refinishing), sitting on a corner lot in a city of 5000 people. We have a picture of the house taken in 1903, which shows an addition of a carriage house on the other side of the picture above, extending at a right angle to the house.

We had lived our lives in Tennessee and fell in love with Maine on a vacation and for some odd reason just decided to move here. So the next vacation we spent here, we wanted to look at houses. We wanted an old, rambling, house with big rooms for the teenagers to enjoy, room to have their friends over, room for my sewing and quilting things, and a nice big kitchen where Ed could cook. We were living in a parsonage at the time, so we didn't have to worry about selling an existing house, and after years of living in rural Tennessee areas, we had promised Matt (who would be 13 when we moved) a neighborhood. We made our way to a real estate office in and asked to look at houses. We told them we had 4 days before we had to leave for Tennessee, and asked them to cram as many showings as possible in that amount of time.

Alas, the houses they showed us were not quite what we were looking for. The room sizes were not as big as we had hoped. After all, today kids have computers and TVs and stereos, and need more space than in the past. We had a four-poster bed with dresser and bureau and night stand which would not have fit in any of the rooms we saw.

Finally on the third day, we were sitting at the real estate office, once again trying to impart our vision to them when our daughter Rachel found a house picture on the bulletin board.
"Hey, Mom and Dad," she said. "Isn't this like what you are looking for?" We immediately fell in love with the picture and asked to see the house.

The next day, when Matt and I walked first into the front door, I remember distinctly looking at him and mouthing the words, "I want this house!" It just spoke to us. The charm, the history, the well-worn interior. How many children's footsteps had raced down that staircase?

We knew, however, that if we bought the house, we would want to build an addition. The upstairs area was fine for the teenagers, but there was not enough room for us. So we left town after making an offer, and went back to Tenneessee, not even knowing if the house would be ours.

The couple selling the house had recently been divorced, he had moved out, and she had stayed here with her 2 children. She really needed time to find another place. And, as luck would have it, we didn't need to move until a year and a half, when Rachel would graduate from high school. It was a win-win situation. We let her live here rent-free while she looked for another house and gave her kids adjustment time - and she was here in the house so our insurance company was satisfied that the house was been looked after and maintained.

During the time we waited to move, we had an addition built in the back, the bottom floor for a 2-car garage, the floor above that for the master bedroom suite, and the room above that for an exercise/laundry room. Now we had our private space, on the other end of the world from the kids upstairs and their music and friends. Yet, we still had the charm of the older home.
(Rachel used to say, "Yeah, the charm. How come we have to live in the 'charming old part' of the house and you get to live in the new part?")

We have lived here 10 years now, building a lot of memories in the process. The house has been good to us. We have always been well aware that we are but a few years' history for the house. We have improved parts of it and know that those coming after us will improve even more. We have left our mark, and when we leave, we will cry.

I just knew that every single person walking in here like I did would fall in love with the house. I was quite surprised and disappointed when that didn't happen, for whatever reasons. I know there has got to be another family out there who want to walk the old wood floors, touch the unique old masonry fireplace that has stood for well over a century. As they say, "If these walls could talk...."

Yes, Miss Meg, you have hit the nail on the head. I don't feel that we are abandoning the house as much as I feel we are giving another family the exciting opportunity to build their own memories in this house. And so far, they aren't willing.

Two more weeks and we will try again!

Exit Strategy

Yesterday we had our appointment with Venise, our new realtor. She is a self-confessed workaholic who loves challenges and is eager to start marketing the house. Just the person we need! She took us through the house, making a work list for us.

We had just opened the door to Matt's old room, where we are storing extra furniture, when she took a look and and turned to us in astonishment. "You're moving into a house half this size," she exclaimed, "and you still have this much furniture?!" Uh oh. Another wake-up call. Time to pare down again.

The problem seems to be that 1) we can't really visualize the size of our new house, despite the detailed computerized layout, so we don't know what items of our present furniture will work the best, and 2) we keep thinking about Matt and Sarah.

Matt and Sarah have been married for less than a year and live in a tiny apartment. One day, of course, they will have a house and they might be able to use some of this extra furniture. Where to store it until then, however, is the question. This is the "I may need it some day" syndrome that plagues downsizers. (Slightly modified to the "They may need it some day" syndrome.)

Venise is absolutely right, though. We did a lot of paring down this time last year before we first put the house up for sale. It's now time for the second paring, and believe me, it doesn't get any easier. Paring down means making decisions, an skill in which I have always been lacking, due to an inherent tendency to second-guess myself.

And from the fact that Ed spent a good 15 minutes in a diatribe about the validity of keeping several years' worth of quilting magazines stored in perpetuity, I can foresee that the next six months will be - shall we say - entertaining?

Deja Vu

Thanks to my exceptional high school French teachers, my life has been enriched because of my basic knowledge of French. This knowledge especially comes in handy in my capacity as a medical transcriptionist. The average person might be surprised at how many French words and phrases pop up in medical transcription. Peau d'orange is one. Petit mal is another. And deja vu is another. (There are supposed to be accents in there, but with this blog formatting, I apparently don't have the option, at least I can't find the instructions.)

There is a funny story in our family about deja vu. We were all eating at a Cracker Barrel restaurant a few years ago and Rachel blurted out, "Oh my, I just had deja vu!" To which my mother replied, "The bathroom is that way."

I'm getting that feeling of deja vu, because tomorrow our new real estate agent is coming to the house so we can sign the contract papers. Wasn't it this time last year that we went through this? I can look back and remember our feelings - we had so much confidence and hope. After all, the house is so beautiful, we thought it would sell itself. Then came the problems, leading to discouragement, leading to despair, and we took the house off the market with the sole intention of just surviving the winter and trying again in the spring.

So here we are, almost March. I wouldn't quite call it spring here in Maine with several inches of snow on the ground, but it will come eventually. And it's deja vu.

Of course, there's another French phrase I run across in medical transcription - it's jamais vu. The opposite of deja vu, jamais vu means "never seen." Last year we never saw a person or family who went to the bank for a down payment. Last year we never saw someone in love with the house who could also afford it. Most importantly, last year we never saw Coastline Homes break ground for our new house.

Yes, I've had quite enough of deja vu for awhile. Bring on the jamais vu - and bonne chance to us!

Time Warp?

Does time really warp memory? Now that I'm 51 and counting, I wonder how many of my childhood memories are real and how many are embellished by time.

Memphis, my hometown, had snow yesterday. My sister and her family were so excited, as snow is a rare occurrence in Memphis. Then why do I remember many snows from my childhood? We have home movies of my sister and me having snowball fights and building snow forts. Did Memphis really have more frequent snows when we were growing up, or did Dad take the home movies of them because they were so rare?

My general feeling of snow in my childhood is that it was not frequent, but it was not rare, either. I didn't look on it as a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence; I expected it every once in awhile. My son-in-law, Chris, denigrates the idea that Memphis ever gets snow. I had to pull out pictures to prove it. Yes, we had snow. Plows - no. Snow - yes.

So I decided to do some Internet research. I can research a medical term with quick success, but trying to track down the snow history of Memphis was quite difficult. Everyone assumes when you ask for weather information that you want the forecast. Even typing in "history" gives me things like "This Day in Weather History," not at all the information I desire.

I did come up with the history of snow in Memphis on Christmas Day, however, from a study at Oak Ridge Laboratories in Tennessee. Here is what they said:

Records that go back to 1889 show that Memphis had a measurable amount of snow on Christmas only once in 107 years. That was in 1913 when 3.5 inches of snow fell on Christmas Day (1.4 inches was on the ground at 7:00 a.m. that day). Trace amounts (only a few flakes - not enough to measure), fell on seven occasions - 1914, 1918, 1926, 1948, 1975, 1980, and 1992.

There has been a few times when there was snow on the ground Christmas morning (from previous storms). The greatest was 1963 when 10 inches covered the city Christmas morning; 1962 had 2 inches on the ground, and there were patches of snow scattered around on Christmas morning in 1966.

Now this research only covers Christmas Day, not whole winters, which, of course, would have had more snow than this. However, the dates are significant. The 1960s. I consider this the decade of my childhood, basically when I was old enough to create memories, but before I was inducted into the semi-adult world of high school. So, yes, those home movies were not some technological manipulation of my Dad and his film splicer. Those were real snows and I was really enjoying them. My memory is vindicated.

And the walk home from school was long, too. So there.

As for my husband Ed, I'm not sure about his memory. When we shared our first Christmas together, we pulled out the stockings of our childhoods. The size of my stocking was generous, with a wide opening and wide foot, enough room to stuff whatever Santa had in mind. Ed's stocking was limp, skinny, with a hole at the top in which I could barely stick my small fist.

At the very beginning, Ed let me know what "Santa" should put in his stocking. Fruit and nuts. Besides the fact that such a Christmas offering would make me gag unless there was plentiful candy and other goodies accompanying it, I couldn't understand how Santa had given little Eddie his fruit and nut delicacies when he had to get them through that tiny opening in his stocking. I did not see how it was physically possible.

Then I learned more - Santa had not only brought him oranges and apples, but the oranges had always been navel oranges and they were GIANT. Huge, oversized, heavy, juicy navel oranges. Now, it was hard for me to stick a regular little orange in his pitiful stocking - but no way had a huge navel orange ever resided there. Couldn't happen, didn't happen. Physics or whatever science supervises that area of space and size would not have allowed it. I maybe could squeeze a couple of small apples and one small orange into it and that would be it. His stocking would then take on the appearance of an engorged snake who had just eaten several frogs which one could see as bulging lumps in his body.

To this day, Ed swears he got those giant navel oranges in his stocking every Christmas when he was growing up. He can't explain how he himself can't fit even one big orange in there today.

Next time you hear about the "magic of Christmas," don't scoff. If there can be snow in Memphis and giant oranges in Ed's skinny little stocking - anything can happen!

The Knowing

As I've mentioned before, I love the Serenity Prayer - to change the things you can, let go of the things you can't change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

That last part is frustrating. The knowing. As you know, I've had an undependable cable Internet connection for a month now. It would go in and out with no pattern and no predictability. Well, of course, I assumed it must be something I had done. I unplugged everything and plugged it back in. I made sure connections were tight and secure. I unplugged the wireless router and tried different cords. I had my son-in-law walk me through Mac network configurations. I called Matt constantly, begging for help.

Oh, I had already made an appointment with the cable provider, Adelphia, but that was a week away and I wanted it fixed NOW.

I couldn't even estimate how much time I spent trying to figure out things to experiment with. I unplugged the whole system and tried to move it to the exercise room and plug it in up there. I tried everything. Still, the Internet would come and go. Once the connection came back on immediately when I did some re-plugging, and I thought, All right! I fixed it! Then, of course, in a few minutes it was out again, so it was just coincidence.

I even went to Radio Shack and bought another modem, thinking maybe that would do it. Alas, Adelphia somehow knew I was trying to hook up an "unauthorized" modem, according to the message I got on the screen. I returned the modem.

Adelphia finally came yesterday. I was disheartened to see that I had my Internet connection when he got here. I was so afraid he would say, "Well, everything appears to be working; I'm leaving." But he checked the system out and found out that the cable had come loose from the pole outside. He spent about an hour here and fixed everything. Yay - I have reliable Internet again!

The frustrating part of it all was that I did not know if I had the power to change the situation or not. In the end, there was nothing I could have done, other than climb up the pole myself.
I spent a lot of time for nothing, all because I didn't know.

Some things we just know we can't change. I can't change Ed's aggravatingly slow energy level, I can't be assured the house will sell this spring, I can't go back and rewind my life and live it better, I can't be taller. No use worrying and fretting over that stuff. Some things we know good and well we can change, but for obscure reasons we haven't attempted the change. Other things are cloudy - do we have the power to change something or not? Might as well try.

I think that's one of the hardest parts of the Serenity Prayer. Knowing whether or not the energy and time you invest in an action can really effect change or not. So much of life, it seems to me, is operating blindly. Some of our greatest heroes in the past have lived and died without realizing the difference they made, whether their efforts were worth it, whether their lives made any difference. Years later, we realize they did make a difference. Even without that assurance, they did what they felt they had to do, whether it was compose music or lead a movement.

I guess that's just life. We have no guarantees, and sometimes we just don't know exactly what we have the capability of changing unless we try. Sometimes we are disappointed, and sometimes we are flat out astonished at the results.


Ed and I have been reading What the Bleep Do We Know? - and it's taking us a long time to get through it because it is so deep - and intriguing, as it ties in quantum physics with theology and philosophy and biology - a fascinating read.

One of the chapters in the book discusses one incredible organ - the brain. Here are some random facts:

  • The brain is at least 1,000 times faster than the fastest supercomputer in the world.
  • The brain contains as many neurons as there are stars in the Milky Way - about 100 billion.
  • Number of synapses in cerebral cortex = 60 trillion.
  • A sand-grain-sized piece of a brain contains 100,000 neurons and a billion synapses.
  • The brain is always "on" - it never turns off or even rests throughout our entire life.
  • The brain continually rewires itself throughout life.
It was the last statement that gave me pause. Here is their explanation:

A fundamental rule of neuroscience is that nerve cells that fire together, wire together. If you do something once, a loose connection of neurons will form a network in response, but if you don't repeat the behavior, it will not "carve a track" in the brain. When something is practiced over and over again, those nerve cells develop a stronger and stronger connection, and it gets easier and easier to fire that network.

If you keep hitting the repeat button in the neuronets, those habits become increasingly hardwired in the brain and are difficult to change. As a connection is used over and over, it gets stronger, better established, like forging a path through tall grass by walking it again and again. This can be advantageous - it's called learning - but it also can make it difficult to change an unwanted behavior pattern.

Luckily, there's a flip side: Nerve cells that don't fire together, no longer wire together. They lose their long-term relationship.

I found that quite interesting. It does explain a lot, doesn't it? It explains how habits are hard to break, but it also gives hope that once a habit is repeatedly overwritten, it will eventually lose its power. This is called "rewiring the brain."

I've been thinking about connections recently because my Internet connection - my connection to the world, basically - has been in and out, in and out, no pattern, no consistency, and this results in a highly frustrating situation. I may have the connection for 5 minutes or 5 hours, never knowing when I start typing if I will be able to finish the post.

I really miss that connection to the world. And it's more than just paying bills online, shopping online, or checking today's headlines and comics. It's the connection with people, friends and family, that I miss.

I even miss being able to look up a piece of trivia. Ed and I will have myriad discussions on countless subjects, and there will come a place in the conversation (or argument!) where it comes time to prove whether I'm right or he's right - then Google here I come. At other times, we are both trying to remember a name or fact, and neither one of our old brains can come up with it, so we look it up. Those of you who are our age remember having sets of encyclopedias in our houses, which, of course, were out of date the moment they were printed. But it was the only way we had to look up anything back then. Now encyclopedias come on a single disk and they are updated constantly. And this is in addition to all the free information you can get from the Internet itself.

I heard on the news recently that, contrary to popular belief, the Internet has not made people less social. (A bleak picture had been painted of lonely, isolated people surfing the Internet instead of having relationships in real life.) Indeed, real life has emerged within the technology. It has in fact given people a wider group of friends from whom we receive advice, to whom we give advice, whom we encourage and support, with whom we cry and laugh and emphathize. The world-wide technological connection has not "depersonalized" us; it has widened our connection.

Well, I'm nearing the end of the post and I see the little lights on my modem are still bright green, and I haven't witnessed the dreaded "lights out" syndrome yet. Praise be! I do so like the connection!

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

I played piano for a few years at the local retirement home. My specialties were songs from the '20s through the '50s, as they are songs that I personally love and that the old folks appreciated too.

One of my favorite songs to play was "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered." I thought of that song this morning as I awoke in the wee hours of the morning: "Couldn't sleep, and wouldn't sleep..." as the song goes. So I got up, showered, made a cup of hot tea, and sat down to watch PBS and quilt. The song, as is the case for most of us, kept going through my head. I decided that is a description of my life. Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.

I am fascinated by the news. Yet, each news spot bothers and bewilders me more. So many angry people in the world! So much hate and intolerance! It's hard to fathom in my relatively quiet life. I'm bewitched - mesmerized - by all the stories and personalities. Every time I pick up a People magazine, I am bewildered again and again - because I don't recognize half the names of supposedly "famous" people. Ah, the difficulties of growing old and being "out of the loop."

Well, I can say I'm "in the loop" with my new cutting edge iMac. Now if Adelphia cable will just get by my house to fix my Internet connection....

I just don't know when to quit....

Matt and Sarah came by tonight to pick up the old computer and, of course, he had to sit down and check up on how my new iMac was going. It was a surprise to me, but apparently I had several applications open. I thought all I had to do was to click the red button in the corner and that was that. Apparently not. Matt patiently explained to me what the significance of open applications was and how to officially "quit" them, as he closed them one by one. All those programs were open yet not being used, taking memory and whatever else from my computer and not giving back anything in return.

Well, I guess I have the same problem in life. I don't know when to quit, don't know how to quit, and even worse, vacillate on whether I should quit. I'm not talking my job here, although I did harbor thoughts about that earlier this year. I'm talking about projects.

As I've said before, I'm the world's worst creator of UFOs (unfinished objects). I get great ideas and spurts of energy and go at something full force, but I soon put it away to start a new project. I don't "quit" - I just postpone. The project is still there, in my mind, and probably on a to-do list somewhere. UFOs like this can drain one's life force pretty quickly. I can name right now at least 4 projects that I have put away for "later" - and later never comes. Sometimes I just need to teach myself to give up, say, "OK, this is not apparently a priority in my life, nor is it very interesting at the moment. Maybe it's time to just let it go. Give it away. Use the materials for something else. Anything but let it sit in the corner or drawer, with my knowing full well I will never get around to completing it." There's a time for planning, a time for completion, and a time for outright burial. There's a sadness in quitting, but a release as well, I would imagine. I'll have to try it sometime. Works great on the iMac.