Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Confess - I'm Equivocating


OK.  I'm equivocating on this one.  I admit it.  I keep thinking that things like this are historical.  I mean, not only have my kids never
seen anything like it, I've never seen anything like it.  This was pre me.

If that isn't historical, I don't know what is.  Apparently, there were studios, or production companies, that would copy old movie shorts onto 8 mm and 16 mm film, suitable for use with a home movie projector.

I remember home movies, of course.  My dad used to take them at the drop of an occasion, committing our lives to record.

He had years worth recorded long before he could afford to buy a projector.  We would take them to other peoples' houses, most often my grandparents' place, to show when they would announce that they were having a movie night.

Then after we could afford the projector, we would still take them to movie night.  Partly because it was more fun with more people and partly because Grandma and Grandpa had a screen and we didn't.

I was in junior high before he bought a screen.  He told us it was a special kind.  It wasn't white with a scattering of glassy sand on it.  It was grey with a special pattern.  It was lenticular.  It was to be handled With Care.  So we were mildly proud of it. 

But even being proud of having a technologically advanced screen, showing movies on it weren't necessarily more fun than showing them on the wall, which was how we had to show any movies we watched at home in our non-lenticular past.  Showing movies on the wall had kind of a home cooked, MacGuyver feel. 

Abbot and Costello:  Knights of the Bath.  News Parade of the Year:  1946 and 1947.  Words to conjure with.
But that's not what I'm equivocating about.  Although that may be why I'm equivocating.  It's this catalog and these three 8mm movies.  I keep thinking that they're semi-historical and it wouldn't hurt to pack them away.

It's silly.  I don't have a projector.  I don't know where those three films came from.  We never watched them when I was a kid.  It's not them, particularly, that I'm being nostalgic about. 

Oh, well. Maybe I can find somewhere to sell them.  Until then, they're not taking up much space.  So what if I have no projector.  Watching them isn't really the point.  I'll sort and toss some other things instead.  I'll let you know if I ever do anything with them.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Pictures Tossed

 I filled the recycling bin again this weekend.  It wasn't all old letters and pictures, though, so I'm not taking a picture.  Also, it just doesn't seem as significant the second time around. 

I don't feel that I've lost anything because the thrill is less intense.  I'm satisfied with a sense of satisfaction, especially if it means that I'm starting to make a habit out of pruning the overstock.

 What sort of thing have I pruned this weekend, you ask?  Well, I got rid of a letter from 1945 that someone kept for the racy innuendo on the joke stationery.

This is proof that sex wasn't invented in the 1960's.

I also scanned and tossed a few of my mother's old report cards from elementary school.  It may be nice to have the image, but I don't need to store the actual card and give my children a chance to throw it out when I'm gone.

I also don't think I need to keep the polaroids of the minor bumper damage that either Mom or Dad sustained in June 1992.  Even if either of them were still alive, they wouldn't have that car and the time for any action regarding those scratches is long gone.

It's been more than twenty years.

Yes, it's a nice flower.  And since it's an amaryllis, it was probably a Christmas present. 

There were a few years where my sister sent them an amaryllis bulb for winter forcing every Christmas.  The first one was bright red, so this isn't the first one.  And it's a nice thing to remember, but I don't need to keep the photo.

My parents really loved their last house.  They put a great deal of time and though into choosing it, and they made thoughtful renovations.  They increased the usefulness and value of the place a lot. 
They also took many pictures of every addition and change.  Mom kept up the process after Dad died and after she remarried.  I've found multiple packets of the same renovation, neatly sorted and wrapped.
I've kept a few from each of the major changes, for posterity, assuming that posterity might be interested.  But I've tossed all the copies and chucked most of the year by year documentation.

   Of course, I'm still running into pictures of people that I don't recognize.*  Who knows who these people are?
The shadow knows!
 *(And I have no clue why Blogger isn't letting me put text beside this photo. It lets me post beside all of the rest.  If you know how to fix it, please let me know.)


Sunday, April 28, 2013

More things tossed at the end of April

I've been tossing more things and taking more things to the thrift shop.  I just hope I'm getting rid of more than is coming in.  I've parted with more than a few books.  That's starting to feel normal.  What doesn't feel normal is that I've collected all of the books that I haven't read, or haven't finished reading, and they make a full shelf.  That's five feet of books, if you were curious about the size of the shelf.

The odd thing is that I used to be a reading maniac.  Very few readable things entered the house without be getting lost in them.  I'd say that means I ought to stop buying them, but if giving myself permission to buy them and set them to the side gives me more time to do other things that need to be done, I'm going to take that extra time. 

It's not my book release that made this family heirloom thrift shop bait.  This one was being used to hold cook books in the kitchen.  My son organized the kitchen counters and declared that we had too many cook books and that we were only going to keep as many as would fit in a much smaller shelf, which he supplied.

To my credit, I only tagged one cook book as a definite keeper and two others as possibles, if other folks found them usefull, too.  I also moved all of my medieval cook books to the shelves in my bedroom.  But my son gets credit for the main cook book reduction and for freeing this old thing.

It's made of cheap wood and was originally stained dark brown.  But the stain eventually faded in places and the finish started to peel off.  So it became part of my furniture painting project. 

You see, at the time most of my furniture was second hand and did not match in any way.  Some of it was things I was only keeping because they had come from relatives.  I painted them all light grey with purple trim.  This piece didn't have any obvious trim, so it ended up completely grey.  The project furniture has been replaced over the years.  This may be the last one. 

No, there's a two drawer nightstand in my bedroom that's still useful.  It's still sturdy, too, so it's probably going to be around for awhile.  If I ever coordinate things in the bedroom, it can be repainted. 

The important thing is that there's more room on the kitchen counter and that I'm not trying to find a way to keep using an inconvenient piece of furniture just because I'd feel a bit guilty letting it go. 

I release you to the world, little grey shelves. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is It Unlucky to Toss Luck?

Found among the inherited letters:

I'm going to assume that four-leaf clovers lose their luck as they dry and dessicate.  Either that or we're going to have one lucky, lucky landfill. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Closer Look at the Blue Chip Stamps

If you're interested in a better look at the savings stamps I threw away over the weekend, here are a few pictures.

That's two different sized books for the Blue Chip stamps, but each holds the same value.  The smaller one is for the larger TEN stamps. 

You either went to a redemption center, or sent away to cash in the stamps, where were given away as promotions by grocery stores, gas stations, and other retail and service establishments.  There were rumors, at the height of interest in trading stamps, that you could get them at some funeral parlors and whore houses.  But whether you went in or sent away, you ordered your merchandise out of a catalog like the one above.  Or the one below.

I only glanced through the catalogs, before I threw them away, but they were mostly filled with housewares.  Tables, chairs, towels, sheets, and such.  A few toys and pieces of sports equipment.  A few personal articles. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Guilt Has Left The Building

I had an extended weekend, this week.  It inspired me to hit the boxes and to sort and weed my files.  The result is below.

Those are receipts and bank statements that are no longer needed.  Those are letters that my Grandmother kept and passed down to my Aunt, who passed them to me.  They will not be passed down to my children.

Yes, I took a few notes, but the notes are on the computer.  That takes up next to no room at all.

I gave myself permission to throw away these.

These are Blue Chip Stamps.  They have been lovingly moistened and pressed into books.  Once upon a time they could be saved up and turned in for nifty things that you'd maybe feel guilty about spending money on, like fondue sets.  Now the company is out of business.  Or, at least, out of the redeemable stamp business.

These are also part of my legacy from Grandma L.  There were S&H Green Stamps, too, but fewer of them.  S&H is still in the participation promotion business, but they've gone digital.  You sign up online and create an account.  Then some stores will add points to your account.  Seven thousand points will get you a five dollar gift card to either Applebee's or Starbucks.  Higher point amounts have more options.

I had three books of S&H Green Stamps, so I checked it out.  Here's what their website said.

** NOTE: All Green Stamp submitted for conversion must include a notarized statement that includes a count of the number of stamps being submitted, the name of the store(s) where they were obtained, the location of those stores, your S&H Member Number (you will receive this number when you enroll with S&H greenpoints), as well as your name, address and daytime phone number—in case we have any questions.

Once your Stamps are validated based upon the information provided in your notarized letter, you can expect to receive an update to your greenpoints balance within 2 weeks from the date of our receipt of your Stamp shipment.
You have got to be kidding me.  This sounds to me like a company weasling out of a court order saying that they had to accept the stamps by making it too much of a burden to bother.  And it worked.  The stamps are in the trash.  Way to be sleazeballs, guys.  I'm sure that your mothers are proud. 
Not that I, personally, lost much by throwing away these stamps.  I had 3 filled books (1,200 stamps each) + a partial book with 208 stamps + 35 stamps in strips + 85 stamps in blocks 3948 points. That's 56.4% of the way to a $5 gift card.   

They do say, "Can be donated to Food For All, the United Way, or American Forests' Global ReLeaf tree-planting program."  But they don't absolve you of the third degree in order to donate, and it's just not worth it for that little. 
I kind of wish that they hadn't added a little grumbling and mean-spiritedness to my weekend, because other than that, I'm feeling lighter.  It's nice to have that much paper off of my back.
I still have about four file drawers to sort through.  And there are probably a few more boxes in the garage.  But I made a dent.  I may come back later and post about the things that I tossed after scanning.  Or maybe not.  The point of this blog is to make me feel better about getting things out of my life that don't need to be there, not ot give me something else to feel guilty about.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Another Possible Keeper

Well, one of the things they did was manufacture cardboard calculation and answer wheels.  I've seen ones for calculating tips, for tracking calories, and for comparing prices. 
Of course, if my relatives had left behind any calculating or comparing ones, the prices on them would have been too low to be of any use.  Yes, I know.  There are ways to use them by just shifting the decimal place or multiplying the result . . . but if you could do that, you could probably do the percentage or division directly in the first place.
But do you know enough about U.S. Presidents?  Information about Presidents isn't a simple calculation.  You either know the fact or you don't.
Think about it.  You could be sitting in a bar and shooting the breeze when some know-it-all starts talking about a President and gets the name of his Vice-President wrong.
Just whip out this simple device and put him firmly in his place. . . assuming he wasn't talking about a President who presided after 1956.  If he came after Ike, you'd better hope you remembered to bring your smartphone. 
But that's not all it can do.  Flip this baby over and you have all the election information you could use about any of the 48 States.

Well, all the information you could have used in 1956.  Learn which Presidential Candidate the State supported in 1954, how many electoral votes the State has, which offices are up for vote this year* and the name of the current Governor.*

You can get both information wheels in one handy device for the reasonable price of 25 cents.  Although possibly Time Magazine gave them away with subscriptions. 

I think I may keep this.  It won't take up much space and it's kind of cool.  I can always throw it away later. 

* this year and the current being 1956.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I Think I'm Keeping It For The Mystery

It's in one of those holders that are like cardboard frames, the old kind that are really heavy and make you think that this must be something important just from the heft of it.

They don't make cardboard like that, these days.  And there's not a whiff of a name attached to this photo.  Not on the back, and not inside, either.
This is an unknown, mystery person.  And look at that hair.  Who goes to a professional photographer, dressed up, with a tie, with hair like that? 
I can't throw him away. 
I believe I tossed the paper insert of Elizabeth Taylor, though.  Although I sometimes wonder if anyone out there collects these old frame inserts.  I also wonder how many families are like mine.  We apparently have a tendency to keep the advertising insert that came with the frame, just putting our picture over it.  Sometimes, if the insert is glossy, we'll turn it around so that the surface against our photo has less chance of absorbing moisture and sticking to it.
When I do it, it's out of laziness.  I'm usually not near a wastebasket or recycling bin, and it's easier to leave it than to make a disposal trip after loading the frame.  Sometimes I wonder if others do it to add more cushioning to the layers.  I've put a lot of framed photos into files lately, and gotten rid of a lot of frames.  So I've seen a lot of these inserts.
Only one Elizabeth Taylor so far.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's in one of those holders that are like cardboard frames, the old kind that are really heavy and make you think that this must be something important just from the heft of it.

The don't make cardboard like that, these days.  And there's not a whiff of a name attached to this photo.  Not on the back, and not inside, either.
This is an unknown, mystery person.  And look at that hair.  Who goes to a professional photographer, dressed up, with a tie, with hair like that. 
I can't throw him away. 

I believe a tossed Elizabeth Taylor, though.  Sadly, I did find myself wondering if anyone collects these old frame inserts.  And I kept it for days, even for days after I had taken the frame to the thrift store.

I'm guessing most people take these out when they put their picture into the new frame.  My family tended to just leave it behind the picture, maybe as added padding.  Or maybe they just didn't want to throw them away.  They even kept the ones with no pictures on them. 

I haven't thrown this out, though.  I may keep it, if only because Dad used to rant on and on about the evils of Roosevelt. 

If anyone reading this knows somewhere that it could be sold to a good home, let me know.  The cardboard's not as good as the cardboard in the old picture folder, but it's fairly thick. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Help Me! I Opened THAT BOX Again!

I opened that box again.  The one with all of the letters that Grandma L kept all those years.  The one with envelope after envelope of pictures.  The one (shudder) with the eleven diaries. 

I am pomising myself, now, that I will repack the box into a smaller box before I go to bed.  I will not leave this spread all over my desk and stacked on the floor around my chair.

On the up side, I filled a wastebasket with pictures that I won't be keeping.  And I filled the recycling wastebasket with envelopes, clippings, a handful of letters (that I read to make sure there isn't anything in it that I'd want to keep), and a bunck of the smaller boxes that were inside the big box.

I feel pretty good about that.  I still have a stack of photos to sort and scan.  And I still don't have a working scanner.  They can go into the nifty card-sorting boxes that I bought recently.  The rest can go into a smaller box.  That will fit on a shelf in my closet, rather than out in the garage. So I can keep picking at it. 

So.  A little guilt for spreading this stuff around again.  A little pride that I've gotten better at culling photos.  It doesn't hurt that Grandma L had a habit of multiple copies.  A lot of the snapshots that got tossed tonight are copies of views I already have scanned, sorted, and indexed in the box file.  That helped. 

The diaries will be dealt with last.  If I wanted to feel really virtuous, I'd take out the wastebaskets before I went to bed.  We'll see. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nothing is Certain But Guilt and Taxes

I got my tax files out last night.  Feeling guilty to have left it this late, of course.  I sorted the receipts from donations to the thrift store, starting a new file for ones from 2013. 

I considered using the receipts to post lists of the things that I've donated, but don't really feel the need.  And, no, it's not laziness.  Typing it in would not be a problem, now that I've got the window open and am typing in it. 

No, it just doesn't feel like a big accomplishment to sort through the house and box or bag a bunch of stuff to give away.  It's starting to feel sort of normal.

I still need to do more of it, of course.  But I suspect that I'm going to.  Yay, me.