Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Shelf Life

This is the first full week of summer vacation for me. I should be relaxing and figuring out how I will spend the endless summer days - how late can I sleep? What books will I read? What knitting projects will I work on? How late will I sleep? What new recipes can I try? Did I mention, How late can I sleep? Unfortunately, this is fantasy land. Instead, I am frantically trying to make my house sanitary before my dad comes for Brooke's graduation. And then there is all the stuff surrounding graduation - senior awards night (Brooke received several honors, one of which was "Outstanding Biology Student". I told her that I assumed that this meant that she now knows where babies come from and she won't be having one any time soon!) Tomorrow night, the school district is honoring the top five from the graduating class of each of the three high schools. It is nice to be recognized, but does it have to be right now! Oh, if you read a few weeks ago, I said that Brooke had worked very hard not to be valedictorian or salutatorian because she did not want to give a speech. Well, she is salutatorian. But, there are co-valedictorians so she will not have to speak. Lucky her - she gets to have her cake and it it too! (Yikes, a cliche. I hate it when I do that!)

On top of all this, Laramie Project opens this weekend. My head spinning is the only energy I have right now!

The Biggest sanitation effort that I have accomplished this week is in my office. The drafts of the most recent issue of Spirit of Knitting have made their way to the recycle bin, this semester's handouts, etc. have been filed, my desk has been cleared. Perhaps the most overwhelming part of all this was addressing the huge stacks of books piled on the floor, the likes of which could have buried Harley alive! They were stacked on the floor because the shelves were already double stacked. Clearing the floor meant a firsthand encounter with the shelf life..

SOme of the species would have to go. This was surprisingly easy. I started with the shelf labeled "brain candy". The murder mysteries that I have already read went first. One shelf gained. With BK's help, I made my way across several more shelves, filling nine boxes (all that I had) before quitting. Don't applaud yet; the job is not completely done. It is, however, done enough to get all the books off the floor with room to spare.

Most of the books that I parted with fall into the broad category of "spirituality". Many of them I bought in preparation for teaching specific Christian Ed classes. I now have taught the classes and have the notes. The books can go. Others I have read and will not reread. And then there were the "what were you thinking" books. With some of these books, I read the title (Hmmm), read the jacket description (and this is interesting because . . ), and tossed it in the "to go" box. I honestly wonder what I was thinking when I bought them. The funny thing is that of all the books that fell in this category, I don't even remember buying most of them. Scary thought. It does suggest that I should exercise a bit more restraint when I visit the bookstore.

Seriously, I did step back and ask myself why I was ready to part with so many books on spirituality. Many of them focused on building a better spiritual life through . . .(insert topic of choice here). What I came to realize is that over time I have amassed a rather extensive arsenal of tools for getting to know God. Now, I need to use them. One can have all the resources in the world but if they sit quietly in the closet of our mind, they are useless. I think that this is where I find myself right now.

Much of the newly acquired space on the shelves was filled with poetry books that have been residing, not so comfortably, on the floor. I love poetry. I think reading poetry is one of the most spiritual acts in which one, I, can engage. I don't want all the how-to books anymore; I want the real thing. And, I have it at my fingertips - literally. I can see and find whichever book I want because my office is now sanitary! All this has led me into a brief foray into summer fantasy land - I now know that I will read lots of poetry as soon as all the craziness has passed!

The books that have been weeded will be taken to the recycled bookstore. I don't even want to think about the amount of money I spent on them. I also don't want to think about how little of it I will get back from the bookstore. Oh well, anything is better than nothing in this case. Hopefully someone will enjoy and benefit from them. I have to trust that eventually they will end up in the right hands.

Onward I go in the cleaning process. I think that I probably should change the linens on the guest bed. The mounds of cat hair on the pillow shams are probably not terribly inviting. And, the muddy footprints from the dog who went swimming in the stock pond and then continued his water recreation in the bathtub should also probably disappear.

I have many chores to go before I sleep, but I will keep my promise to myself to read more poetry this summer!