Posts Tagged ‘Coziness’

Book Fetish

In books on June 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm

*editors note: this post was originally written a few weeks ago on the way to the race at Whip City. Before you ask for the make and model of my car, I was in the passenger seat. But for the record, it’s a lime green 1970 hemi ‘cuda.** in the post to follow I allude to my book hoarding issue as being my only real compulsion. That’s a lie. I also get an assignment with a two month timeframe and wait until the week before the deadline to even call a source. (ok. AND I’m a hyper vigilant hypochondriac. And sometimes I lie. But this isn’t Dr. Phil, people.)the point is, I haven’t posted this post because I’ve been busy un-bleeping the ripples of all of last week’s almost missed deadlines. But it’s a good thing i didn’t because I had a really good idea…

I am lucky enough to be alive in a time when every action, whether noble or perverse, can be ascribed to a psychological condition. If you do something bizarre that you would rather not take credit for, all you have to do is blame your condition. I’m not trivializing these issues either. I’m just pointing out the convenience of being fluent in them. And it’s nice to all be in the same boat. The other day I was out to lunch with two of my dearest friends, Sandi and Alterna-mommy. (AM) Sandi was updating us on the progress of someone else’s OCD.

“Shit,” I said. “show me someone who doesn’t have OCD.”

My friends looked wounded.

“I don’t,” they each said.

“Sandi, you clean and paint your house all day long. AM, you frame all your jewelry and hang it on the wall. OCD, my friends. You’ve got it. And I hoard books. So there. We’re all crazy.”

Then we did some eating in silence. I envisioned my books. When I say I have at least a thousand, probably more, I am not even dipping my toes into the river of hyperbole. Our house is roughly 2,000 square feet, counting the garage. That means at least one book for every other square foot. My family lives in a used book store. We laugh at the library and the Internet when we need to research a paper.

Since Scott does not like to read unless it’s something that’s been posted on Craig’s List, sometimes he makes little sighing noises when a stack of books restricts his movement in some way. I tolerate the sighing, but when he escalates into suggestions that I donate a portion of my collection to the trash can, I kindly draw his attention back to the 25 bicycles that occupy the garage. We are all crazy.

Who cares about rooting around for the source of my crazy? I love to read and I will never quit. If I go blind, I’ll learn Braille. I loved to smoke and I quit doing that for all the loudmouths in the world like my doctor. A little complaining wont make me get rid of my books.

I’m certain, though, that I inherited book hoarding from my parents. When my father died, I also inherited his lifetime collection. He was an engineer and a computer geek. I donated most of the books, like the ones with titles I couldn’t even sound out, to the book box at the elementary school. Most of the espionage books went to Paul at Annies Bookstop in return for a lifetime worth of credit. But I kept the library books he forgot to return in 1957. I kept the books he read out loud to me like The Neverending Story, The Once and Future King and Pet Semetary. And I kept the ones that looked well loved. The ones he must have read between weekend visitations or during all the years we didn’t talk.

One day, Sandi was over marveling at the quantity of books. “Dawn, if you drop dead tomorrow, no one is going to know which you really loved because there are so many,” she said. That’s true. What if someone throws away my copy of The Phantom Tollbooth without thinking about how it kept me company when I changed schools in the 3rd grade? Of course, another psychological condition, narcissism, leads us to believe that anyone would even care. But I would have loved to know which my dad liked better: the dog eared Asminov or the dog eared copy of 2001.

Which leads me to my good idea! I’m starting a quest to weed my books down to the ones I love. That means cookbooks, self help books, and outdated how to build your own farm/robot/computer books as well as paperback novels. I’m going to read them all. If I don’t love them after 34 pages (I know, harsh.) I’m going to give them away or leave them somewhere for somebody else to love. It will be like a treasure hunt! And then, I will be left with the treasures.

So, let the games begin. I began with Frankenstein. Not the one by Shelley. The one by Koontz. I love Dean Koontz because once I sent him fan mail and his dog wrote me a letter back. She even signed it with her paw. And now I get a monthly newsletter from him. My dad loved Koontz too. There are a billion paperbacks in my collection. But Frankenstein will leave me later on today or tomorrow when I am finished with it. I will leave it somewhere secret and mysterious so that somebody can stumble upon it and say, “oh look, a book! The universe must want me to read it.” so, it’s not like I’m trying to cure my hoarding issue or anything. But I’m happy to share. Oh, and Scott? You’re welcome.

**a complete lie. It’s actually a rust colored Bentley convertible.


Winter Morning

In Life Lessons on February 5, 2011 at 5:11 pm

The other morning, as I waved goodbye to my offspring all bundled up and tucked neatly away in the carpool minivan, I thought about how smooth the morning had gone. First I woke up at a quarter to six– an anomaly fueled by the fever breathing husband panting his illness all over me in his sleep. The extra time allowed for the peaceful observation of the sun rise and the snow fall. Lunches got made, mouths got fed, mittens got secured all before carpool. And nobody got hurt in the process. The morning eased and stretched into my workday and thoughts about what makes the whole thing work tinkered around in my brain. I made a list:

  1. 1. Coffee on a timer. I don’t care if it is Pavlovian. The best part of wakin’ up is [Dunkin Donuts Brand Coffee] in your cup. I don’t exist until that first, curling tendril of coffee in the air.
  2. 2. Oranges simmering in pot. A few things happened for this discovery to occur. A) the cool mist humidifier mysteriously cracked its tank. When I say mysteriously, I should also mention that I found the cool mist humidifier disemboweled in the play room. I’m not blaming anyone, just saying. B) Scott became sick and congested. C) An arctic blast met my furnace and produced enough dry, static electricity in this house to launch it into orbit. D) the oranges I wanted to put in the lunch boxes looked like they’d sucked on their neighbors, the lemons. So I put the oranges, a cinnamon stick and a few cloves into my grandmother’s big soup pot, put it on the stove, brought it to a boil then lowered it to steaminess.  The result was warm and Christmassy-cozy on a January morning. And Scott got that nose a- going again.
  3. 3. I’m all about keeping it simple. Not really. I’m actually all about over complicating. But sometimes I can’t help but be a powerhouse of simple efficiency. Like when I get the crock pot full of oats, apples, cinnamon and water before bed and we wake up to breakfast. It’s like having Alice in the house without having to see her or pay her or listen to her go on and on about the butcher and his meat. Also, the aroma of “baking” mixed with the aroma of coffee mixed with the aroma of simmering oranges is so precious that the offspring can’t help but spring from their beds with joy.
  4. 4. And since they are happy, I am happy and I brew them a pot of chai, which they love.
  5. 5. Speaking of Alice, I like to get all my appliances going in the morning. At least the washer and dryer. I think it sounds productive — like the house is busy and participating in the world. Since I work from home, I get thrill from feeling like part of the team. Even if that team comes from Sears and breaks every third month. (In the spring and summer I hang laundry on the line. Please don’t judge me. I care about the planet as much as the next guy. Woman. Many wet clothes grace my banister too because I’m all about the green living. )
  6. 6. And here I slide into…affirmations. No, I’m serious. I don’t care who laughs at me. If I tell myself I’m going to have a good day then I AM GOING TO HAVE A GOOD DAY. AND SO WILL YOU. But, really, there are so many thoughts happening in that bucket of gray jello. They roil and surge and sizzle without any…well…thought. Heart thoughts like “Altogether now, on the count of three, BEAT!” and breathing thoughts like, “breathe in, breathe out.” And bad habit thoughts like, “Eat that. C’mon do it. You aren’t getting any younger. EAT THE CHOCOLATE! What if we die this afternoon and never get to eat again?” And so on. I feel like at some point I oughta take back my thoughts. At least for a few minutes. And you know what? Science agrees. Just for a few minutes, at least, I think good thoughts.
  7. 7. And while I make the lunches, I think good thoughts about the people who will soon sink their milk teeth into them.  With each smear of peanut butter I think, “I love you.” I know. It sounds SO RIDICULOUS on-screen. I do the same thing when I’m pulling the daily batches of jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts right side out. I try not to think, “why in the hell do you people not put your clothes right side out before you throw them on the floor? And why do you ALWAYS leave your chapstick in your pocket?” Instead I think, “I love the little arms and legs that go here. And I love the little lips that will now be chapped because the waxy crap that would have protected them is instead heat-fixed in all the laundry.”

One could argue that I rely too heavily on my feelings. Ask the fire breather.  But when I use my powers for good instead of evil, synergy results. Feel makes a great barometer. In the autumn and winter, I like the morning to feel cozy. In the spring and summer, I like it to feel fresh.  In all seasons, I like to feel a little bit of love in my heart, no matter what the day throws my way. And now I feel corny. Peace out.

PS….Feel free to click on my links up there!!! Fun stuff. It’s like looking into my brain without needing to wash your scalpel.