Thursday, January 19, 2012


I usually wait until it's nearly February to make my New Year resolutions. By then my head has been cleared of the seasonal excesses. You know: mid-morning Mimosas, Beef Wellington, baked brie - all clouding my senses and probably clogging my arteries. I can once again walk into my office without fear of being greeted by lovingly made gifts from my team members: the inevitable bowl of fudge that is one person's specialty or the chocolate chip pound cake that is another's. From a very fine gentleman a large can of Hubs Virginia Peanuts always finds its way to my desk, and usually a bottle of Argentinian wine. It all requires much too much restraint, which is exhausting. By the time January rolls over on its back I feel as though I've been hit over the head with a ball peen hammer and my veins are rivers of sludge. Have I mentioned that Christmas is far from my favorite holiday?

The fog has lifted and I have taken stock of what must be done...again. First, there are the family photos. They fill boxes in the closet, boxes in trunks, and boxes under the bed, and I am afraid my method of storage is doing them no good at all. Happily, I am also a collector of pretty scrapbooks and lovely papers and I resolve to make things right.

Next on the list is the pantry. Out with the Fruit Loops. In with the steel cut oats. Good-bye pizza with cheese-stuffed crust. Hello chicken/tofu/kale stir fry (which is delicious). No more white jasmine rice...but, weep not, brown basmati tastes even better. The freezer has been stocked with flax seed meal, and oat bran, and blueberries, and pecans. Quinoa has replaced couscous; sour cream must make way for Greek yogurt. And after eating the entire can of Hubs Virginia Peanuts single-handedly - washing it down with the Argentinian wine - I decided I'd better stock up on Edamame. With these changes, and thanks to an extra flight of stairs at work now that I have an office in the attic, I should be able to successfully whip myself into shape. (I have been moved out of my office in the haunted carriage house into an office in the even more delightfully haunted attic of "the big house." Like many antebellum mansions, the "big house" has so many twists and turns in it I really should leave a trail of breadcrumbs when I venture out of my office so I can find my way back to it. It has, by the way, a lovely window. I share my kingdom with Napoleon Bony-Parts, who has been my office-mate for almost 20 years and who graciously posed for his portrait...for your admiration. His cap says, "Genuine Antique Person." It suits him and he thinks it becoming - especially with his strong jaw-line. He is sometimes my date for New Years Eve and always my date for Halloween.)

Finally...and most library. I must organize my library. But how on earth do I even begin? I started with the Library Thing, but after an hour of pulling volumes I only entered 32 books - not even one shelf-worth, really - and only then realized that I had all the wrong editions listed. My list of books indicated paperbacks when I had hardbacks, and hardbacks when I had paperbacks. It would be easier if all the books were in one place. Ideally, one room would be devoted to the husbandry of books. To be sure, it would require some serious shelf-building. I do have a room that could be purposed in that long as the books can live in peaceful co-existence with my piano. Yes. It could be done. But should it be done when I need replacement windows and am having nightmares about how long the plumbing will hold out. Looked at in that light, it seems frivolous. Nevertheless, something must be done to bring order into chaos. What heaven it would be to be able to go, like Roger Mifflin of The Haunted Bookshop, to the exact spot where the volume you were seeking was taking up the exact moment you needed to punctuate your argument with a quote! Instead of, "Well, it's here...somewhere...perhaps...over" By then you've lost the point and the conversation has drifted to something else...beekeeping perhaps, or some other subject upon which you are woefully deficient. Moments must be grasped, my friends...they must be grasped. Or so Napoleon is fond of reminding me.