Rhymes With Fuchsia

Sunday, January 31, 2010


We often have a holiday party shortly before Christmas. We call it a tree-trimming party, but it's mostly an excuse to get together with friends, catch up, eat, drink, be merry, and occasionally actually put some ornaments on the tree. The last part is more likely to happen if a bunch of kids are present; for some odd reason the adults are more interested in the eating, drinking and schmoozing portion of the program. This year, or I should say last year, we cleverly scheduled the party to coincide with a snowstorm, so we entertained several neighbors and a few extremely intrepid travelers from afar, afar meaning in this case too far to walk.

In any event, a major benefit of having this party is that it forces us to clean our house. I've mentioned before that Grant, Miss B and I are all pack rats of the worst description; we have a cleaning lady not because we are neat freaks but because we are most emphatically not, and when we have Sonia we at least have to get our stuff out of the way so that she can clean. "Lucia, you save too much," Sonia has been known to tell me, and she is correct: despite her and our best efforts, after a while the stuff begins to pile up, in corners and on shelves and tables (having long ago broken out of the closets), in boxes and bags and piles. So when it comes time to clean for the party, we start out by sorting carefully through the stuff, putting it where it goes — we do have places for some of our stuff — or throwing it out, as the case may be; sooner or later, though, time runs short and we simply pile the whole lot into boxes, trying to keep some semblance of order by having one box for each surface, and hide them all in the master bedroom.

And there they still squat, most of them, making rude faces at me; I've made some inroads, but in the main they are still undifferentiated wads of stuff, papers and books and bits and bobs of projects past and a whole bag of mismatched (storebought) socks that I can't bear to throw out because I know all the mates are in the house somewhere, even though some of them are by now much too small to fit anyone who lives here, except the cats, who don't wear socks. And, painful though it is to say it, a substantial fraction of it is knitting-related, projects in time-out, projects imagined but yet unbegun, yarn dithering over what it wants to be.

It is time to admit it: I have lost control of the stuff, and our space has become unmanageable. I am all clogged up, because of stuff. I have so much stuff I don't know where to begin getting a handle on it; I have so much yarn I don't know what to knit. The only way through it is one small piece at a time, knowing that I won't finish today or even next week, that progress will be invisible for a while. Get it categorized, and if we don't really need it, get it out of here. Reduce, simplify, unclog my space and my head. I don't know why clutter has this effect on me, but it does: more really is less. I need to make space to think, design, knit, spin, to post a couple of new patterns — oh, yes, and to blog. Sorry for the long radio silence, we're all fine, really: I just have a bad case of stuffy house.