Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rambling On . . .

I had planned to blog on Eva Ibbotson today, but the weather interfered. I know that claim sounds absurd, but it’s true, honest. You see, cold weather has come to Georgia. Usually in October average temperatures in my hometown fall in the mid-70s, with lows in the low 50s. But this year somebody has stolen our Indian summer. I thought I had until the end of the month to exchange short-sleeved tops and cotton skirts and dresses for long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and wool. But we’ve already switched from air conditioning to heat and put blankets on the beds, and I’ve been freezing in thin tees and jeans. So yesterday and today I have made the great wardrobe switch. Summer clothes are packed away, and my closet and chest are filled with darker colors and heavier fabrics.

While I was in domestic mode, I decided to clean off my desk and reorganize my bookshelves, both monumental tasks that required wrenching decisions such as whether I had any use for a four-month collection of library lists and which books to prune to make room for the new keepers. All this activity left me little time to complete my Ibbotson blog. It will have to wait for next week or perhaps the one following. I felt like a failure when I thought I would go blogless this Thursday, but then I had an epiphany. I could blog about my nightstand.

Caught in the power of my semi-annual cleaning frenzy, I also cleaned off my nightstand, a chore almost as demanding as cleaning off my desk. The top of said nightstand stays relatively neat because it is mostly utilitarian. It reveals little. At all times it holds a lamp, a clock, a box of Kleenex, a bottle of water, a glass case, a small notebook, a couple of pens, and the current bedtime book—all items that could belong to a busy mother, a businesswoman, a waitress, or a dozen other women. The flowers on lamp, clock, glass case, and notebook do suggest they are the property of a woman.

But the under shelf—ah, the tales it tells. Even after the cleaning, it holds twelve books, two of them hardbacks, a stack of CDs, and a white wicker basket with a blue and yellow lining. The basket is overflowing with stuff-an angel wing shell, a tube of lip gloss, a small orange bunny named Flannery, a paperback dictionary, a gift book of angel quotations, a book journal, a half dozen bookmarks, a handmade birthday card signed in large letters by my favorite pair of brothers (ages 5 and almost 8), a notebook with my latest efforts at rewriting a key section of my first ms, and another notebook filled with preliminary info about the novel I’m hoping to draft next month for NaNoWriMo. The books include The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke, a battered copy of Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction, John Stott’s The Beatitudes, Stephanie Barron’s The White Garden, Eva Ibbotson’s Island of the Aunts, and seven recently-read or about-to-be-read romance paperbacks—a mix of historical and categories—with Jo Beverley’s reissued Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed on top. The CDs are a mix of country, classical, Southern gospel, and just-for-me collections created by four of my fellow Bon Bons. Each item tells something about the person I am—the reader, the writer, the music lover, the Christian, the sentimentalist, the packrat.

What’s on your nightstand? Is it strictly utilitarian? Or does it hold clues to the person you are?


cheryl c said...

I know what you mean about the weather! We went on our annual trip to Savannah/Tybee Island last weekend, and it was quite chilly. Usually, October is a just-the-right-temperature month, but not this time. I think a lot of people around the country feel like they skipped fall and went from summer to winter.

My nightstand has all the necessary items, plus books. Of course, you will find little stacks of books in quite a few places around the house.

P.S. I hope that your back is better. :-)

Renee said...

It was 67 this morning and 42 by noon. We had already put up our summer clothes and then dug them out again. I'm not real happy about swapping again. I'm sure it'll be in the 70's next week.

Since my nightstands are in my teenage son's room, there is nothing of mine on them. He has a mini-fridge on one and a stack of books and a broken skateboard on another.

Now if you want to know what's on my computer desk besides my laptop, I can tell you there is a box of envelopes, Michelle Willingham's Taming Her Irish Warrior Uncle Tom's Cabin, Tessa Dare's A Lady of Persuasion, an index card box, index cards, headphones, white out, cds, Theory of Spencerian Penmanship, a pack of red ink pens, 2 boxes of Benadryl, and a photo of my grandparents after they got married.

Do you want to come clean my house?

Renee said...

Janga, I must have missed something. I hope you get to feeling better.

PJ said...

There must be something in the air. I cleaned my desk today too. It always amazes me how much stuff congregates there between cleanings.

I sold my bedroom furniture in anticipation of downsizing once my house sells so I'm currently without a nightstand. If I still had one it would have many of the same items on it that yours has, Janga.

The past two days have been beautiful here - sunny and mid 70s. Last week it was lows in the 30s and highs in the low 50s. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Tris said...

wow... cleaning frenzy!

I'm supposed to clean my room once I finish the assignment I'm procrastinating. My table is so messy you can't even see the table itself. But usually my table, which is connected to my nightstand, is sparse with just my laptop and a paper tray and a printer. But yes, under the nightstand in the shelves underneath - what a nightmare! I just squash everything there!

The weather has been quite wild lately. It's supposed to be summer here but we're still wearing big jackets and thick woolens =)

irisheyes said...

Okay, when I read the similarities on our nightstands - mine holds a lamp, a clock, a box of Kleenex, a glass of water, glasses, a small notebook, a pencil, and the current bedtime book — I chuckled. But when you moved to the white wicker basket underneath a little shiver went up my spine!!!

My wicker basket contains lip balm, bookmarks, a book of Irish quotes, various book lists by different authors, a few Lisa Kleypas historicals, Lorraine Heath's current series, a Ruth Wind category and a mini tape recorder my sister gave me so I can talk my thoughts onto tape to be transcribed later (just one more in a long line of tricks I use to push me to get my ideas out of my head and onto paper!)

The DH and I went through our closets and dresser drawers last weekend purging. I ended up sending 3 huge black garbage bags of clothes to the AmVets. It's a very good feeling. I wish I could keep up the momentum. The older I get the more I believe that less really is more!

quantum said...

I suffer from short bursts of insomnia and find that listening to a romance novel that I know well can effectively send me back to sleep. I currently have Georgette Heyer's 'Talisman ring' on an MP3 player at my bed side. Seems to be working pretty well.

So instead of a 'keeper list', I am building a 'sleeper list'.

Not sure that it reveals my character though! *grin*

MsHellion said...

I knew a woman lovely in her bones, when she sang the birds sang with her....

Our weather is pretty skitzo. No Indian Summers for us either. I don't get as cold as easy as some of my contemporaries. I've spent the last month rolling my eyes at my co-workers and student worker who shiver like chihuahuas, and I'm in my t-shirt and jeans--and SANDALS. Friday I was wearing sandals and a sweatshirt (simply because I didn't want to bring a jacket and it was too cold for just a t-shirt)--and we walked to lunch. All the coworkers were practically parka'd and I was strolling in my sandals. They all had ice cold hands--and they felt my arms and went, "God, you're like a furnace!"

That isn't to say I haven't turned on my heat occasionally of late--but then I also ran my AC a couple of nights because it was too hot to sleep otherwise. (I like a nice 68 to fall asleep to.) I think the inside average of my house today has been 65; it's been nice.

My nightstand sounds like your nightstand. *LOL* Lamp, alarm clock, book, glasses, pills (I take allergy ones at night and BC pill in the morning).

Books are all over my house though. I need to go through and figure out which ones are keepers and which ones are hockers.

TerriOsburn said...

My nightstand has three drawers and I think the bottom one is empty. I'm the queen of piling things everywhere and not using storage space to its full potential. :)

Right now, in addition to the lamp, alarm clock, glasses and lotion, the top of my stand is covered in books. A book of poems by Keats, Crusie's BET ME (because I don't want to put it away yet), And four or five craft books. I'm trying to brush up and fill my head with as much craft stuff as possible before taking off on NaNo.

Janga said...

Cheryl, Savannah is such a great city. I'm sure y'all enjoyed it, even if the weather was not ideal. I'm still taking pain med for my back, so I am feeling fine as long as I don't sit at the computer too long. Thanks for asking.

Renee, we are having the same kind of changes. It's supposed to be cold and raining tomorrow, but sunny with a high of 79 on Thursday. Can one suffer from weather whiplash?

PJ, you may be without a nightstand temporarily in RL, but you've got great new cyber digs. All of you should check out The Romance Dish, a terrific new site. They're throwing a huge party to celebrate next month.

Janga said...

Tris, these cleaning frenzies are necessary for me because I'm such a terrible housekeeper on a day-to-day basis. My modus operandi is what my mother always called "a lick and a promise." And it's more promise than lick. :)

Irish, why am I not surprised at the similarities? I really do think we must have a family connection somewhere on the tree? That could explain all these things we have in common. Maybe we should compare notes on our Celtic forebears. Any Burkes in your familt? :)

Ah, Q, Heyer's The Talisman Ring! That's such a fun read. I must admit I never thought of it as soporific. LOL! Perhaps I need a "sleeper list," and then maybe I wouldn't stay up so late reading.

Janga said...

Hellion, I used to love cooler weather. Someone was always fussing at me in winter for not wearing a coat. But the older I get, the less I like the cold, and any day that the high falls below the mid-60s seems cold to me now. We keep our thermostat on 65 at night too, but part of my great seasonal switch included flannel pjs and a thick, fluffy blanket on my bed.

Terri, Keats is a great poet for any season. I love the music of "To Autumn": Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, / Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun."

And I'm gearing up for Nano too, but not with craft books. I spent hours today finding details that I could use to create the media empire in which my heroine has inherited a controlling interest. I do love this part of the process.

TerriOsburn said...

Creating a media empire sounds like loads of fun. You need any help with that, you know where to find me. LOL! Okay, I just want to know what you've come up with...