40 Bags: Day Eleven

Originally posted on The Backpack Press:

February 28. 2015

When we moved into our current apartment, the place we call our house, I decided to splurge a bit and install six professionally designed closets. Our closets were all really large, but they were built in 1941 when I suppose people just hung clothes in them. We, on the other hand, put luggage and bags and shoes and boots and hiking gear and costumes, …

Well, you get the picture.

I emptied the shelves and started to toss and organize all the files of paper and sheet music I had stashed in my closet. I have a set of shelves that line the right hand side of my closet and I guess when I moved, I ran out of logical places to put things and I put them in the next best place – a completely illogical one, my clothes closet. And while I don’t just hang…

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40 Bags: Day Twelve

Originally posted on The Backpack Press:

March 1. 2015

Just tosses a big bag of Vogue Knitting magazines from the 1980s! I’ve knitted since then, but I never got so good at it that I could follow anything past “Beginner” patterns. And the magazines only had one “Beginner” per issue. I loved looking at the intricate patterns and the beautiful yarns, the stories of remote places to buy supplies – all that. But the idea that I could suddenly become knitter enough to manage any of those patterns is humorous at best.

My music library is coming apart now too. I finally, after almost five years, have started in on pulling out all the duplicates and Xeroxes to leave just the real sheet music. Once that’s done, I’m going to see who could use all the beautiful songs I just don’t sing anymore. German lied, French chansons, Italian songs – such fabulous stuff, but I’m done…

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Thursday Thirteen

Originally posted on Scrambled, Not Fried:

13 Literary Near-Misses

1. The Snobs of Kilimanjaro
2. The Way Of All Flush
3. Gorilla Mockingbird
4. All The King’s Meds
5. Go Sell It On The Mountain
6. The Sound and The Furry
7. The Bun Also Rises
8. The Naked and The Read
9. Sometimes a Great Motion
10. A Farewell to Harms
11. Finnegan’s Wait
12. Lord of the Fries
13. The Postman Always Brings Rice


You can’t miss if you visit Call Me Cate at:SHOW MY FACE


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40 Bags: Day Eight

Originally posted on The Backpack Press:

February 25. 2015

It’s been a week now, so I want to take a moment to acknowledge my inspiration:


Today I bought boxes to cart out my books and the stuff from my linen chest. And I found a way to declutter some of my bathroom things too.

When I travel, I love to collect the little hotel bottles of shampoo, lotion, and conditioner. But they tend to languish at the bottom of this plastic box and I am less likely, over time, to ever use them. On the one hand, I hesitate to leave them in the hotel bathroom, but on the other, I tend not to use them.

I have a solution that I implemented today. Since I see lots of homeless and very poor people asking for handouts on the train, I want to do something – other than give out money, because I really can’t…

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Refilling the Jug

Originally posted on A View From the Hill:

I’ve suffered from writer’s block lately. It’s hard to create when your trying too hard. So I ignore the advice to write anything, and let myself replenish the jug.

During my rest time I read. Most of the time I stick to one book at a time, but I decided to create a tasting menu of different things. I am reading bit by bit, Anne Lamott’s Small Victories. I’ve highlighted certain passages and make some notes about some of the ideas that come to me as I mull over her wise, funny words.

I am slowly savoring a simply wonderful book that was recommended by Katrina Kenison, called The Shape of a Year, by Jean Hersey. Written in 1947, Hersey’s writing is slow and mindful. Her descriptions of the land surrounding her home in Connecticut stir the imagination. The simple illustrations add charm to her monthly reflections on how the…

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Vintage Blouse

Originally posted on From the Laundry Room:

I like old things.

Which is weird because I don’t like wrinkled paper.  I always flip to a new clean sheet.  I can not tolerate pens with the ends chewed or a pencil sharpened down to a nub.  I like fresh pencils and if a pen has a missing or mangled cap, I throw it out.  Those are just pens and paper.  Disposable.

Pretty much everything else, I like old.  Old doors, creaky cabinets, aged barns, rusted keys, and hotel silver.  It’s weighted.

The idea that others have come before me is comforting.  I’m not as scared knowing that women have done this before.  They have raised children, gotten older, wanted more, loved and died.  Old things remind me of that.  They help me feel solid, in my place and somehow peaceful.

There is an energy in aged things.  Maybe it’s the spirit of the people that used them before me, but there is…

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I’ve Got This

Originally posted on A View From the Hill:

It all started with a cereal bowl. The bowl, inched closer to the edge of the counter as my husband wrestled open a box of cereal. We were standing on opposite sides of the counter talking when I noticed the bowl was centimeters away from crashing to the floor. I reached over and moved the bowl out of harm’s way.

I’ve got it under control, was my husband’s response. In shorthand- I don’t need help.

I’m not criticizing- I utter something to that effect when he steps up to help me empty the dishwasher, or put the leftovers away or strip the bed Saturday morning, “I’ve got it.”

I began to wonder, while stuck in traffic, why do we infer so often that  we don’t need help. 

Why can’t we accept help? It seems to be a problem for independent people.

I’ve been doing things for myself since I was…

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Short Story- The New Wife (draft)

Originally posted on A View From the Hill:

When Clay brought his wife home the first time, he told her, “just be yourself, hon. They will love you.”

Taylor wasn’t so sure.  She had met Clay’s mother at their wedding. His mother Alice, was somewhat offended that the wedding had taken place out of town at a historic inn and not at home in Charleston. Clay and Taylor had not wanted a big to-do. This was Taylor’s second marriage.

Clay and Taylor worked at the same law firm. Taylor was a paralegal and Clay was a junior partner. They had worked together on an environmental law case, and Clay was smitten. Taylor, newly divorced had no time for romance. She kept all men at arm’s length, but especially dangerously handsome men like Clay with his deep, blue eyes and hair the color of corn silk. Clay, however decided early on that Taylor was the woman he had…

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Mixed Colors

Originally posted on From the Laundry Room:

I found something called a Color Emotion Key while I was wasting time on Pinterest  writing my book that should have been done yesterday.  It lists colors and the corresponding emotion or meaning.  “The colors you are drawn to tell a great deal about your emotional state,” it says.

I’m a sucker for this stuff.  I am always wondering what makes me “me.”  So, my favorite color is orange.

Orange is the color of psychosis.  Psychosis is “an abnormal condition of the mind.”  Hmm…not really the answer I was looking for.  Wait, there’s a dark orange and a bright orange differentiation.  Yay!

Dark orange is the color of suspicion.  Sigh…bright orange?  The color of curiosity.    Better.  There’s nothing wrong with curiosity, except what it did to the poor cat.  This color business is not giving me what I need, seems sketchy.

Hold on, I like orange, but I don’t wear a…

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Originally posted on From the Laundry Room:

A drunk woman sat in front of me on the plane last night.

I’m sorry.  I can’t be kind and just ignore.  This needs to be documented.

It’s important to set the scene.  We had just arrived in Seattle from London and this was the last stretch of a long day of flying.  The plane was small, two seats on each side, little scooch sideways aisle.  We board, I sit next to Maggie and Michael is on the aisle across.  In front of Michael sit two woman, professional golfers.  In front of me sits a young guy, I learn shortly into the flight that he knows the other two women and he too is a golfer.

Enter drunk lady.  Black Juicy-type sweatsuit, huge rock, dress flats and a very large purse.  In the fifteen minutes it took from boarding to the plane reaching for the sky, here’s what I learned.  Her shoes…

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