1. I recently received a University of Chicago Alumni Association email entitled: Let's try something new!
What could that be, you ask? Well, apparently that means coming to Alumni Weekend, June 2 to 5.
Sorry, Chicago, I have a prior appointment in Seattle from June 1-4 for the AFCC conference, followed by nine days in Portland with my sons, my daughter-in-law, Ramona, and others in our families.
I'll be co-presenting a workshop at the conference. (Alise is my co-presenter.) That's enough new for me.
2. Roaming through the new books shelves at the library, I ran across one entitled No Baggage : A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering. Written by Clara Benson, it is a memoir about lots of things, including traveling for three weeks from Istanbul, Turkey to London, England, with, truly, no baggage except the clothes on her back and the few items she packed into a very small purse. The "no baggage" rule also included making no reservations anywhere, but just arriving (in Istanbul, for starters) and hoping for the best. (There's a lot more to her memoir than that, but the no baggage piece is the part I am writing about here.)
I met my friend Mel for coffee when I was about two-thirds through the work and told her I was intrigued with the idea for when I head to Seattle and Portland. Well, I wouldn't go totally without baggage, but if I could get it down to one tiny bag, I would be thrilled. My myeloma has impacted me enough that I have to check a bag whenever I fly because I don't have the strength to hoist a loaded bag into a baggage compartment if I am traveling by myself. Traveling wayyyyyyyyyyyy lighter would take care of that issue.
Mel, who went to Europe for three weeks last year, had her baggage lost en route for 10 of the 21 days. She bought one light top, a pair of shorts, two pairs of underwear, and a lightweight wrap for cooler nights. She also had her personal travel bag (toothbrush, toothpaste) so she was okay on that front. Mel did confide that she got "awfully tired" of her limited selection, so when her husband Mark joined her part of the way through the trip with a gift of a large piece of woven cloth from friends in Belgium, she improvised a skirt with it.
"Do it, April, do it!"
I may just do it. Or some variation of "it."
3. My son Ben has had boxes and boxes of books and things in our attic; these are books, CDs, and stuff from high school (and before) through his first year of college. Ben had hoped to come back this summer for a visit and sort through them, but it looks like other events will likely keep him and his family west coast bound this year. So I went through ALL of the boxes, compiled a list of what was in each one (lots), and asked Ben for his input. He said to get rid of about 99.99% of everything, saving only ten titles and a few other items. Among his reasoning was this: "I'm sick of carting around old things that I don't look at ever." So boxes are going to Goodwill, Half Price Books, maybe a video games dealer, definitely a card shop (we are talking thousands of baseball cards, folks). And looking at his boxes getting ready to leave the house permanently, I am adding items of my own: the CDs I never listen to, more of my books, things like that.
The handful of items Ben wanted, including the ten titles? Those shipped to Portland yesterday.
4. As I sort through things, my mind runs back to Christopher Milne, son of A. A. Milne and the "real" Christopher Robin of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and poems. Milne wrote an autobiography, The Enchanted Places, in 1974, and in it he commented upon his decision to donate the original Pooh bear and the other Pooh characters to his editor, who gave them to the New York Public Library. Milne wrote about Pooh fan reaction to his decision:
So, if I am asked "Aren't you sad that the animals are not in their glass case with you today?" I must answer "Not really" and hope that this doesn't seem too unkind. I like to have around me the things I like today, not the things I once liked many years ago. I don't want a house to be a museum. When I grew out of my old First Eleven blazer, it was thrown away, not lovingly preserved to remind me of the proud day I won it with a score of 13 not out. Every child has his Pooh, but one would think it odd if every man still kept his Pooh to remind him of his childhood. But my Pooh is different, you say: he is the Pooh. No, this only makes him different to you, not different to me. My toys were and are to me no more than yours were and are are to you. I do not love them more because they are known to children in Australia or Japan. Fame has nothing to do with love.
I wouldn't like a glass case that said: "Here is fame", and I don't need a glass case to remind me : "Here was love".I don't need a house full of stuff, some of it long set aside (even in the case of my things), to remind me of love and life.
5. Yesterday Warren and I went north to pick up a set of his crotales. On the way back, we stopped for a brief walk through downtown Medina, then swung over to Akron to pick up son David and bring him back to Delaware (he'd just completed a road trip to Maine), then back into town in time for First Friday. 40 years ago, I could drive nonstop from Portland, Oregon to Delaware, Ohio in 48 hours if there were two other drivers in the car. Yesterday, the less than six hours (none more than two and a half hours at a time) of driving took a toll on me. Like the books and other items I am shedding, I look back at that person and wonder who she was.
6. April is National Poetry Month in this country, and that means I will post a poem a day on my Facebook page. I started at about 5:00 a.m. on Friday with this Nike ad featuring the poetry of Pablo Neruda:
My sister-in-law Margaret commented: "Huh. Nike, Neruda, and . . . the prelude to Das Rheingold? Even the postmodern mind boggles a bit. Or maybe not."
As I reminded Margaret in response, this is advertising and in advertising nothing should ever boggle the mind. Ever.
The same rule goes for poetry. Happy Poetry Month!