27 June 2009

That's Embarrassing

I've been busy tidying up my house, so that my cousin will be able to get to the bed in the guest room and reach the love seat in the living room and sit at the dinner table. When I thought we were going to Palm Desert, I'd bought a number of things for the house and piled them all in the guest room. And I'd been collecting cardboard boxes and bubble sheets and other packing material from all the stuff I'd bought, like new smaller clothes, in the living room. Fortunately for the sake of the house, I have to get rid off all this before my cousin arrives.

I have completely filled the recycle bin four or five times in the last two months. Once I even borrowed the recycle bin from the folks across the street and filled it up, too. Handling all this cardboard has been painful, as I've managed to give myself a number of paper cuts from it. Such cuts are more painful than dangerous, of course, but they're always on the hand, which means they hurt over and over again as I use my hands. The living room looks great now, although one end of the dining room has boxes stacked across it, to go down this fall.

I'm putting the family photos into bins to take to Palm Desert. My sole remaining uncle lives nearby and has promised to help me identify the people and estimate the dates of the photos of my maternal family. One of my cousins is a photographer (he was a newspaper photographer for years, before he drifted into management at a printing company) and he has been scanning family photos onto disk. His mother was my mom's sister; it appears that the women of the family were the custodians of the photos. We have plans to merge the two collections and distribute copies to all the cousins.

Pat and I gathered up all the books in the house and boxed them in categories. There's Knitting, Cooking, Nonfiction (mostly beading and paper crafts), Read, and Unread. The last is the embarrassing part. I've got nearly twelve cubic feet of unread books sitting in the hall. Actually, they're not all unread. Quite a number are books I really want to read again.

I also have hundreds of unread books on my Kindles. I downloaded a bunch of books when I first got the Kindle 2 in late February. My buying has really tapered off markedly. Now that I've organized my actual books, I'm probably not going to buy any more books until I've read a few cubic feet of the books I already have.

Unfortunately, I discovered that I could fill in the gaps of my silver flatware on eBay, at prices much lower than buying new. As a result I've gotten the iced tea spoons I needed but hadn't wanted to pay list price for, as well as a number of serving pieces. My pattern, Royal Danish by International Silver, came out in 1939 and is still in production. It's very popular and there are all sorts of fancy little serving pieces, like a sardine fork and a corn-on-the-cob butterer. I bought the former, purely out of curiosity, but passed on the latter. I figure any meal that includes corn on the cob is too informal to require any flatware more formal than plastic. I have now stopped looking at new flatware items on eBay. If I don't see it, I can't bid on it.

Gordo the Wonder Collie broke a Corelle bowl last night. It was sitting on the pull-out board of the microwave stand, perched on top of a box of snickerdoodles. He was after the cookies, of course, and knocked the whole pile on the floor. The bowl hit just right and shattered into hundreds of razor-sharp pieces. I was really worried that he'd step on one and cut his pads badly, but luckily he didn't. He spent the rest of the evening in his crate, first to keep him away while I cleaned up and then to make a point. He was quite chastened, but had returned to his normal ebullient self this morning.

I'd started out by first dropping a container of mushroom risotto that I was reheating for dinner. Then I knocked the tub of freeze-dried beef liver bits onto the floor and had to scramble to retrieve most of them before Gordo ate them. I don't know why we were both so clumsy last night. I remember once hearing a theory that news reporters' slips of the tongue were correlated with solar flare activity; there may be a similar astronomical influence on kitchen accidents.

I've got to finish the paper on in-flight simulation, as the deadline is looming over me. Since I'm no longer working at NASA, I have to do all the layout work that the Reports group used to do for me, like laying out and checking references. I always knew that they did a lot of hard work for authors and I'm really appreciating that again now. I've got to cut a bunch of photos out, which is really difficult, with renumbering references and captions.

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