Monday, June 25, 2012

Packing and Organizing and Digitizing Memories

With the movers* arriving sometime between July 2 and 5th, I have just a week or so to go in University Town, before heading off to New Job Town**.  In addition to Project Re-Read and movie watching, I am desperately trying to get rid of as many other things as I can, including extraneous clothing and the things filling various junk drawers and a few boxes in my home office.  As the sentimentalist packrat in me battles with the packing minimalist who is tired of dragging around neglected treasures, I must of course turn to the wisdom of the internet for mediation.  As such, here is what I am telling myself:

1) I will be in a well-paid, stable job in the land of plenty.  As such, I don't need to keep things just in case.  If I ever need a leprechaun hat or bandana again, I will find it on the internet and I will have the funds to buy it.  I don't need to keep an old one stashed in a drawer.

2) I am a sentimentalist because I believe in the power of memories, which are the stories we use to narrate our lives***.  As such, I am tempted to hold onto objects and letters because they bring back those memories.  Yet, as the internet explains, a photo will work just as well for bringing back those memories****.  So, I am photographing the letters^ I sent to my summer camp friends and relatives, the magnetic cat lady statue a grad school friend gave me when I insisted this was my goal in life, and the plaid bag my first dance teacher gave me.  Then I will toss/recycle/donate all of this out of my life, and likely never look at the photographs either.  But if I ever wanted to, it's not gone, nor is it in my way.

3) I don't exactly keep a diary, but when I am upset, I tend to scribble my feelings in whatever is available in a rather random fashion.  As such, when I open mostly blank notebooks from my college years or earlier^^, I'm nearly certain to find a page or two of scribbles about relationship misery (or more accurately, the lack thereof).  These bring back bad memories, but I'm still tempted to keep them, as a memory of who I was (see the point above).  This, I've come to realize, is kind of crazy.  I may forget the details, but I will never forget those bad feelings, nor is it especially pleasant to remember them.  On the other, hand, it is quite enjoyable to feed those miserable scribblings into my shredder :-)

4) Prior to realizing that they are rather unflattering on me, I used to wear a lot of t-shirts, and collect them as souvenirs.  When I stopped wearing them, I still wanted them in my life somehow, and thought I could make a t-shirt quilt.  Having enough t-shirts for about four quilts, I started one.  But this is time-consuming, and I would rather do other things, like reading, or dancing, or knitting, or watching movies.  Nor do I especially enjoy the aesthetics of t-shirt quilts or want one on my bed.  So I will save a few of my favorites, to wear at home or decorate my future dance studio, and photograph the rest before they make it to the donation box, and someone who will either wear or enjoy crafting with them.

So, here's to a week of turning physical objects into digital memories!  Or, from the point of view of my cats, a week of lots of exciting new boxes to sit in!

*Movers! I've never had them before, despite twelve years of nearly constant moving.  They are packing and loading, and this is amazing.

**At some point, I will come up with a better name.  I'm sorely tempted to go with Andalusia (since, for example, the "Spanish" Old Town is covered in Arab star fawanees), but that may be tempting fate.  

***What, you're not constantly telling the story of your life to yourself ;-)?

****And contributing to my digital packrat tendencies :-).  But that's not heavy! And I never have to look at the clutter!

^how quaint!

^^Now, of course, I an technologically advanced and scribble these types of things on the various note-taking programs on my computer, iphone, and ipad :-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wine, knitting, and movies

That is how I've been spending my evenings.  In particular, I've discovered that I can download Egyptian movies off YouTube, put them in iTunes, and then watch them on my iPad as I lie on the sofa knitting.  I use software called ClipGrab.  If this sounds overly complicated, keep in mind that we don't have a TV, hence I always watch things on my computer or iPad, and it is easier to balance the iPad in my lap.  If you're wondering why download them when you could just watch them on YouTube, there are several reasons.  One, I can watch them at anytime without waiting for them to stream on YouTube or have internet.  Two, I'm taking notes on clips that I want to use in classes in the future, and I don't want this version to disappear.  In fact, the original reason I was looking to download things off of YouTube was to preserve random clips I've found that I use in class, and who knows how long they will stay on YouTube.  So far, it is an excellent Summer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Anniversary Weekend!

My husband and I celebrated our third anniversary with a weekend trip that had everything I desire in such an expedition:

--a dance competition (which I won, dancing in the special 22 and over group)
--a fancy hotel, complete with in-room whirlpool spa
--a superb dinner, involving softshell crab (for me) and elk (for him)
--a fancy and delicious brunch at a restaurant overlooking the water and decorated like an old Parisian cafe (and the meal involved more crab, plus French cheese and chocolate).
--a stroll along the water on a beautiful Spring day
--a visit to the nearby art museum, which had a special exhibit on French posters, plus exhibits on folk art (a personal favorite of mine)
--catching an NPR* station on the way home that had first a special on the songs of 1962 (which are also the songs of my childhood, despite the fact that I wasn't born until nearly 20 years later) followed by a show on Celtic music

Best of all, this glory was completely unexpected--who knew that Milwaukee, Wisconsin had so much to offer!

*Generally, I dislike NPR on the theory that the special voice cadence of their announcers is designed to make sure I never forget anything I hear on that station, and thus my brain is infiltrated with random NPR stories.  However, I will admit that they are pretty much the only stations that ever play music I really like.