Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grounded by Whimsy

Thought for the day:  Ask me not what I have, but what I am. [Heinrich Heine]

Need help organizing your ... stuff?
There's a wide spectrum of attitudes about possessions. For the free spirits of the world, those who are more in the world than of it, possessions are regarded with a very wary eye. In a post a couple weeks ago, Suze described them as tiny strings, nearly invisible, strapping me to the earth when I yearned to float.

Lovely sentiment, isn't it?

So it goes without saying, (doesn't mean I'm not gonna SAY it) she isn't as likely to hold onto things as someone like me. Mind you, I'm not averse to floating, but I enjoy a certain amount of grounding, too.

What difference does it matter how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more. [Seneca]

Not saying I have a hankering to amass a warehouse full of worldly goods. I mean, who wants more stuff to dust, rightHow about you? You have a thing for ... stuff? Let's take a brief pause, shall we, to check out George Carlin's classic routine about... what else? Stuff.  [Warning: contains a teensy bit of language some of you may find objectionable.]


What I AM saying is I'm quasi-attached to some of the stuff I DO have. Not jewelry or furs. Not fine art or priceless musical instruments. Matter of fact, nothing of any particular monetary value at all. Just stuff I happen to LIKE. Whimsical things.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. [Epictetus]

Yeah, few wants. That's me. But I sure do treasure a wealth of whimsy. Wanta peek at some?

Aren't these adorable? I found them a couple weeks ago at a thrift shop/ antique store. Heaven knows, I didn't need another salt and pepper set, but who could resist? They're made in England, and for all I know, they may be quite common on that side of the ocean, but they were new to me. What can I say? They make me smile.



Okay, so I didn't need this soap dish, either, but it followed me home from that thrift shop, too.

Yeah, that antique shop probably had some real treasures in it, stuff worth a lot of money, and maybe even for an awesome price. Tough. I prefer stuff that makes me smile.


This salt and pepper set used to belong to my mother, and may even have belonged to her mother at one time. Made in Japan, nothing special about them, I suppose. Nothing special but the well-seasoned memories they stir.



This goofy cat belonged to my mother, too. It's another one of those things that simply makes me feel good.



This silly-looking clock was a gift from our daughter. The cat's eyes move from side to side, and his tail swings back and forth. (Much to the aggravation of our real cats.)


Another gift from our daughter. (She appreciates whimsy almost as much as I do.) This little gondolier's sole purpose in life is to hold a wooden spoon ... and to make me smile.



Now, who can look at THIS without smiling? (Not ME!) This belonged to my mother-in-law. My sister-in-law told me to take whatever I wanted from the house after Mom died this year, and I chose this.

And THIS. This used to sit on the windowsill in Mom's kitchen. Thanks to the little solar panel in it, the flower dances. The petals bounce up and down as if it were doing calisthenics. It just looks happy, and every time I look at it, I think of Mom.

My sister-in-law thought it was so funny that I wanted that Dollar Store dancing flower that she threw this in as a bonus. Let me tell ya, that hula dancer's hips really get a work-out on a bright sunny day.



This sign cracks me up. It used to be in my father's basement potty room. The tiny cubicle was lined with shelves, and all the shelves were stuffed with books.

This leprechaun belonged to my grandmother. It's napaware china, made in Japan sometime in the '50s. Cute, huh?





We are not the sum of our possessions.  [George H.W. Bush]

Thank goodness, huh? But I suppose the possessions we enjoy most reveal a little something about who we are. And who I am is a sentimental fool. I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.  [L. Vincent Majestic] And that is just fine with me.

Enough looking at my stuff. How about you? Do you have whimsical possessions that make you smile, too? A beloved treasure without monetary value, but with sentimental value beyond compare? What stuff matters to you?

Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions. [John Randolph]

                                           And our time is the most valuable gift of all. [me]

                                       Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.




35 comments:

  1. Don't get me started. We have a loft above one of our UK homes, that is FILLED with stuff. We are even planning to return to the UK for a year or so just to sort it all out.

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    1. Uh-HUH! So, when you fill one place up with stuff, you simply move to another house (or country) and start all over again. Sounds like a plan. Good luck with cleaning out that loft. We've decided that when we die, our kids will probably burn the house down rather than have to deal with all our stuff.

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  2. How timely. That was my summer... getting rid of stuff. You really got my attention. I found boxes and boxes....I could fill this whole space with that word....of things that you call whimsy. Mine had absolutely no useful purpose but if sentiments were valuable, I'd "be in the money." (You have to sing the last 4 words).Tough decisions.

    Now how could you ever part with the little leprechaun. He's a keeper. The bathroom sign has to stay. The girl in the bathtub is a keeper.Actually you have to keep all of them.
    Adios



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    1. It's funny how stuff seems to accumulate, almost with a mind of its own, isn't it? But I know I need to get rid of some of it, no matter how sentimental the attachment. I mean, do I REALLY need to hang onto artwork my kids did when they were children? Now, artwork from the grandchildren is starting to pile up ... something's gotta GIVE! (You can sing those last three words if you'd like.)

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  3. How about you? You have a thing for ... stuff?

    Speaking for myself I can honestly say no, I could easily deal with far less stuff and live in a much smaller house. But as in all matters of life there are complications as to why that is not possible.

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    1. Complications? Like for us, we not only have OUR stuff, we still have stuff that belongs to our KIDS, who are gonna move it out... "someday"... really they are. (Only THEIR houses are already full of their stuff and their kids' stuff...) Oh, and then there's the stuff our parents and other elderly relatives gave us when they were clearing out their homes... the stuff we got after they died, etc, etc. Yeah, complications. Oh yeah, and I'm married to a very lovable pack rat.

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  4. Hi Susan - I am now clearing stuff! Today is a big sorting stuff day ... loved this post and those whimsical items of yours are just wonderful to see - love them. I've always tried not to collect odds and sods as they then need dusting ... I have some African bits and bobs ...

    And now I have Hardwick - Mum's dog - ancient soft toy .. he's well worn poor chap .. and I have Happy Hippo from Lenny ... inheritance (Hardwick) and gifts are special ..

    Better get to the start of the day and clearing stuff!

    Wonderful story .. and I love your cat - (love him!!) and those salt and pepper pots - I haven't seen the like .. the little Japanese ones are delightful - as are all the rest ... enjoy Christmas with your stuff!! Carlin was great to listen to .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Clearing stuff seems to be a never-ending job. (I think it multiplies when we're not looking.)Hardwick sounds like just the sort of thing I couldn't bear to part with. Those African bits and bobs sound interesting, too. I kinda expected that you'd seen those salt and pepper pots before. Not only are they made in England; they just "look" so British. Cheers!

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  5. I have always been a sentimental sap with a treasure trove of possessions that have great value to me and little value to anyone else.

    By the way, I love those crazy Kit Kat clocks. My grandmother used to have one. The first ones were made in 1932 and the company is still in business. It was initially called the Allied Clock Company but changed its name to the California Clock Company.

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    1. I love that you're a sentimental sap. (Not at all surprised, though.) My Kit Cat clock is an inexpensive reproduction, but it makes me smile, just the same. The older ones are still available in antique shops, but the sellers are a little too proud of them.

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  6. My mom had a set of angel shakers too. Just seeing them makes me think of her. So, your stuff brought some cheer to my day. Thanks for that. Maybe stuff doesn't really belong to us but to everyone.

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    1. Oh, how neat that your mom had a set of those angel shakers. I really like your observation that stuff belongs to everyone. (Some politicos wouldn't agree, though.)

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  7. I like your treasures. I found that my "stuff" became much more important to me when I got divorced and my life fell even farther apart. Having familiar possessions around was, and still is, comforting.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm not a huge fan of change, and I guess a divorce has got to be one of the most heart-wrenching changes there is. What better way to comfort ourselves in the face of change than with our unchanging familiar stuff?

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  8. I really like the footed salt and pepper shakers and the soap dish.
    Sadly, most of my whimsical treasures now reside in thrift shops...I did such a good job of decluttering the knick-knacks when I moved. I needed to make sure I had space for my books and dvds.

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    1. Sorry about having to clear out your other treasures, but oh my goodness, ya gotta have room for BOOKS! Not only do we have books in every single room of our house, but one of our hallways is lined with filled bookshelves, as well. Oh yeah, gotta have books. (But if you have any "extra" space left over, maybe you can visit a thrift shop or two and find a couple new bits of whimsy to decorate your place.)

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  9. "Stuff" tells me a lot about a person. I like your stuff. :)

    The vast majority of my treasures would have no value (certainly not financial) to anyone else. Like you, I keep things for the feelings connected to them.

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    1. Thanks. I have a feeling I'd like your "stuff", too.

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  10. I have always enjoyed Carlins comedic rants.
    That's quite the collection you have.

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    1. Carlin is something else. He used to do a routine about the "words you aren't allowed to say on TV", too, that really cracked me up.

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  11. I just love your "stuff". I am gearing up for a major yard sale in the spring. I have accumulated so much I just can't stand it any more and some thing has to give. I figure with the money I make, I'll just buy more stuff. Only it will be new.

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    1. Oh yeah, there's something to be said about getting rid of our old stuff so we can buy somebody else's old stuff. (HA!)

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  12. I have a lot of stuff that was passed down through my late grandmother, including her old salt and pepper shakers and some old plates. It's really something how having those things around makes me feel as if she's still with me.

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    1. Yes, it's really true; things that once belonged to people we love... especially if it was something THEY loved... help us feel a connection to them.

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  13. I think some of us are just wired to be collectors. That George Carlin skit is a classic. :D

    Books seem to take up the majority of shelf space at my house. Looking around, I also have a thing for Santa Claus. At Christmas my house looks like a temple to the man with the bag. :P

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    1. I never set out to be a collector. It just kinda happened. Like my powder boxes. I used to have two of them that once belonged to my grandmother, but when our son was little, he accidentally broke one of them. Years later, I was so happy to spot its twin in an antique shop, I started blubbering. Natch, I bought that one, and was perfectly happy to have those two again, with no interest in looking for any more of them. But then family memebers started buying them for me, and sending me ones they had lying around the house. Ta-DA! Guess I'm a "collector".

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    2. arrrrgh! Make that family "members"...

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  14. Fun post, Susan! Over the years I'd get to collecting one thing or another --antique cameras, stereoviews, old telephones and radios. Restored many and learned much, but the most useful thing I learned was when to declare a collection complete.

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    1. Oh, aren't you the clever one? I'm not sure my husband and I have learned that lesson just yet. (I also have a hard time knowing when I've "finished" editing a book.) By the way, we have quite a few old radios and telephones, too.

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  15. First of all, I love your new header. Christmas cookies mean "joy to the world" to me.

    By my count, you live with four generations of whimsy. How great is that. The world is too darn serious and we should seek out laughter wherever we can.

    I have stuff too, man, do I have stuff. I also think that my stuff in the basement is somehow making more stuff. There is something nasty going on down there so I think it best to leave it alone for another year or so.

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    1. Thanks. I kinda think ANY cookie means "joy to the world"... as do cakes, and pies, and chocolates... (oh, my!)

      HA! I know what you mean about that stuff in your basement making more stuff. We have that same sorta stuff on stuff action going on in our attic, too.

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  16. I love looking at other people's belongings - your items are so neat, and each with a story. Myself...I've moved too many times to have excessive stuff. When movers came to pack up our household in South Carolina, they called the fourth guy and told him not to bother coming, "...there's nothing here." LOL. When we first moved into our current house in Florida, we had an echo, until I bought a big overstuffed couch.

    However, I carry a purse that weighs something like 85 pounds. Go figure.

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    1. Well, maybe you're done moving, so you can indulge yourself by adding a few odds 'n' ends fun stuff to keep that overstuffed sofa company. Too funny about that fourth mover guy getting the day off because you didn't have enough stuff...

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  17. Susan, I don't care for a lot of "stuff" either, but I do like whimsical things. And that cat clock reminds me of one from my childhood.

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    1. Hmmm, seems like that cat clock is familiar to quite a few of y'all. Glad you like whimsical stuff. Life's too short not to enjoy it while we're here.

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