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Friday Five - Embracing Clutter
Friday, Feb. 21, 2003, 6:34 p.m.

Question: Clutter? What clutter?

What I Learned: Clutter can be cool.

1. What is your most prized material possession? I would have to say it is a series of old-fashioned photographs of the kids that have been taken every year that we have been able to go to the beach. We started this tradition about 5 years ago. That would make my daughter about 11 or 12 and my son about 8 or 9 when the first old-fashioned picture was snapped. (They both have July birthdays.) You see these vintage photo places all over the boardwalks and sometimes even at theme parks. You dress up, drape yourself across bars, brandish firearms, put your foot on the running board of a bullet ridden car, then there are a few bursts of light and shutter snaps, and there you are – done already and changing back into your street clothes. A few minutes and a little darkroom magic later -voila! There on the counter next to the page long price list are your sepia-toned photos that look just like they were taken in great granny’s day. Buy the 8x10, the 5x7 for the grandparents and the desk at work, a bunch of the wallets, 4 keychains, and maybe a frame or two. Stay away from the Wanted Dead or Alive matting showcased in the window and go for something a bit more understated. Back home, every time we see those photos hanging on the wall, it’s like being back at the beach and experiencing all those relaxed and happy times again. The great thing is that these pictures really capture the kids on vacation in a unique way. Unfortunately, the gangster look was a popular one with my kids, which has forestalled me from sending these pictures out as part of a holiday greeting card. There’s something about machine guns, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and a bag with $$$ signs written on it that is just too difficult to merge into a Christmas theme. Not that I didn’t try.

2. What item, that you currently own, have you had the longest? My mom did a large oil painting for me of three favorite Doctor Seuss characters in bright primary colors. They were: The Cat in the Hat, Yurtle the Turtle, and Horton (who heard the who). This wonderful picture is now hanging in my kitchen. It is nice to have a few reminders of your kid-hood around and it is fun to see this one occupying such an unusual place on our walls instead of being tucked away somewhere for the next generation.

3. Are you a packrat? Of course! I like a fun lived-in and doing-stuff-right-now kind of environment. I do admire those of us who can maintain order, throw stuff out routinely, and have a place for everything. I just am not able to accomplish such a feat. I collect stuff - I can't help it. The way I see it, collections of things are good. I have quite a few collections. Collection of angel stuff – check. Collection of fairy princesses – check. Collection of Hawaiian dashboard ornaments – check. Collection of funky ashtrays – check. Collection of Polly Pockets – check. Collection of decorative tins – check. Collection of saint statues – check. I could go on…

4. Do you prefer a spic-and-span clean house? Or is some clutter necessary to avoid the appearance of a museum? I aspire to spic-and-span but my mode of operation is presently fluff and camouflage. Although there are 4 people living in this house, the level of commitment to actually helping create a tidy home is a bit sparse. A girl can dream though – can’t she?

5. Do the rooms in your house have a theme? Or is it a mixture of knick-knacks here and there? Can I only have one theme for the whole house? I'm not sure I could do that. Each room can be it’s own little island to my way of looking at things. Why some of my corners have their own theme. Take my study. There are lots of books – the scholarly theme. There are angels and saint statues dotting the upper shelves – the ethereal theme. There are some very cool hula dashboard figures – the island theme. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Happy Friday!

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