Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...


Monday, April 23, 2018

Traveling and Touring ( #AtoZChallenge )

        Once when I was a kid someone told me to "collect my wits"--that's when I started my collection of Mad magazines and joke books...


Traveling and Touring Things

         Travel mementos can be found throughout our house both in the open and stored away.  Refrigerator magnets, curios, pictures, or travel books are likely to be found in every room of our house.  While doing my garage cleaning I ran across a number of things related to my travels or just related to the subject of travel.

        As I've mentioned here before, I grew up in a show biz family who frequently traveled for our performances.  Back in those days I began collecting matchbooks, soap bars, and other freebies labeled from establishments that offered them.  Those items actually got used up after I entered adulthood, but I still have a respectable postcard collection that I started when I was a young boy. 

        Postcard racks used to be prominently displayed in restaurants, variety stores, and any other places that might be frequented by travelers.  When I was an avid collector and cards might be something like six for a quarter, I would buy several from whatever area we were in at the time.  I'd also pick up post cards from motels where we stayed and other places that offered free cards.  Over several years I accumulated a great many cards.

        The bulk of my postcards are in a box in my closet, but I often will notice postcards in drawers or other boxes.  When I was organizing our garage back in December, I ran across a lot of cards which I kept aside and placed in a box to be further sorted in the upcoming months. 

         The post cards are merely one more example of the travel things I have around the house.  In the garage especially there are a great many maps, travel directories, and tour schedules from my years on the road managing shows.    Most of this has been well organized and fairly neatly boxed--it will be easy to go through with some probably minor culling.  Old hotel directories will likely go as will a few of the maps.  Not all of them--but some of them.

         There were always maps in my life and I became a proficient map reader at a young age.  Map reading became a past time for me sometimes just for fun and other times because I was traveling and needed to see where I was going.  At home I can spend a good bit of time studying maps.  I enjoy studying how highways are routed and interwoven.  I like to think about the little towns where I may likely never go or remember the places I have already been.  When people used to tell me that they got confused and couldn't read a map I was somewhat baffled.  Now this response makes more sense.

         Now most of us probably use GPS for telling us where to go.  Sometimes my wife tells me where to go.   Still I like the visual aid of a good map.  And suddenly an idea popped into my head:   I should draw a map of my house and where the main cache of certain things (postcards for instance) are.   This would be good if I started  developing memory problems and needed a prompt.  It would also be helpful when I die so whoever was left could figure things out more easily.

         Not a bad idea perhaps.   But actually I hate thinking about stuff like that.

       Do you tend to collect a lot of souvenirs from your travels?   When is the last time you sent someone a postcard?   Are you good at reading a map?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Stuck No Longer--Unleash the #BOTB Winner!

      No A to Z on Sunday, but still I'm posting.  Today I've got the results for my most recent Battle of the Bands.

Battle of the Bands

Stuck in the Middle with You

       In the middle of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge which falls in the middle of the month seemed like an ideal time to revisit the Stealer's Wheel song "Stuck in the Middle" using two quite different remakes.  For reference you can find this Battle on my last Sunday post of April 15th.

         My reaction to this Battle between the mellow sounds of Jodi Pederson and the hiccuppy bouncy Frantic Flintstones was that Jodi gave a pleasant listenable performance which was my favorite at first.   But then after several listens, like happened with some of the voters, I began to prefer the Frantic Flintstones.   Jodi was off to a good start early on in the contest, but the wave for Frantic Flintstones swept through and gave them a decisive win.

Final Vote Tally

Jodi Pederson                  5 votes

Frantic Flintstones         12 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on Tuesday May 1st.  Since I've got just about a week of A to Z to post and I'm still writing those posts, I have no thoughts about my next Battle.  Guess you will have to find out then what song I'll be using next.   The Battle will happen since it is one of my favorite things.

        Are you ready for the upcoming summer months?    Any vacation plans for this year?   When in your life have you felt most stuck in the middle of your situation?  

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Statements ( #AtoZChallenge )

Say what you want, but whatever you say is your statement.   Please make it mean something or make it funny...

A Statement About Statements

         Back before this past December I had several boxes of bank and credit card statements going back to the eighties.  After years of delay I finally culled through those boxes and reduced my statement collection into two relatively small boxes, labeled and stacked together on a shelf in my garage.  This was achieved by getting rid of envelopes, advertising inserts, and pages with no relevant information on them.

         You might wonder why I would continue to keep these statements from so far back.  These records of purchases long past and other money flow in bank accounts that no longer exist seems rather non-functional--at least from any standpoint of personal finances.   But for me these statements are a record of something different than my spending and saving habits in the past:  They represent a part of my past life.   Cumulatively taken, these statements are like a diary that reconnects me to who I was and what I was doing.

        If arranged in chronological order, I can read through the statements as though they were a journal that I had kept during that time period.   I can see times of frivolity as well as tough financial straits, I can see what was purchased and where and when.  By deduction and memory I can figure a lot about the times surrounding the statements.

          Now that I've rid myself of the junk portions (it all went into my recycle bin) I have a compact record of facts that I can relate to emotions and events of another time of my life.  This goes into my research library.  This is the memoirist in me--the writer.  Those statements can help set the scenes for stories and even tell stories themselves.

          I don't know if I've convinced anyone other than me that I have some good reason to keep these boxes of statements.   It probably doesn't matter much to anyone but me since these boxes represent my history and my research files for some later time.  That's why I think they are worth keeping for a while at least.  Besides, who is to say whether reading a great or even average novel is more satisfying than reading a stack of receipts.  It all comes down to the story being told and what that story means to the reader--a reader who might also be a writer.

Has a credit card or bank statement ever inspired you to imagine a story?   What kinds of things might  credit card charges tell you if you were looking at someone else's statement?   Have you ever gone back to look at the charges on an old statement?