Write more, own less

The dishes are back in the cupboards, the leftovers have been safely stowed in the refrigerator, the dog has been walked and another American Thanksgiving is about to be in the rear-view mirror.

I have a writing deadline, and I really want to get this house set up and in order. We moved in while I was in graduate school and working, then I moved my mother across six states into a two-bedroom apartment and then into a single room in a nursing home. Since graduating in May, my two goals have been to write more and own less. I was going to write my deadline piece last night, and then spend my post-meal holiday cleaning and divesting.

But after baking four pies (apple, chocolate chip walnut, pecan & lemon meringue) and baking six sweet potatoes last night, I was too tired. Then, this morning I got up and made stuffing, sweet potato & marshmallow casserole, a salad, a vegetable platter, cheese & crackers, covered a wheel of brie with fig jam and baked it, baked an acorn squash and got the potatoes cooked for Sweetheart to mash. And defrosted and heated the smoked turkey I found at our local co-op last month. My uncle had a smokehouse when I was growing up. When I saw that bird at the store, it went straight into the shopping cart.

I was the main kitchen person, but I had help. My sister and nephew are here from Canada. Debby (the other kid in that picture of me with books from an earlier post) writes books. She has three children’s picture books in print, all based on Jewish folktales; one young-adult (middle school age) novel and a non-fiction book, “Your Child’s Hearing Loss.”

She wrote it with an audiologist after finding out that her three-year-old daughter – my now 18-year-old niece – had mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. Debby, raised by parents whose first instinct when faced with a need to learn about something about which they knew little was to find a helpful book, went looking for a helpful book. It turned out that there weren’t any. Now there is.

Naturally, I think all of my sister’s books are wonderful. But I have a special fondness for “Room Enough for Daisy,” which she wrote with her friend Rita Feutl. Cindy Revell is the illustrator. It’s a story about a kid who has too much stuff and wants a bigger room – and more stuff. Over the course of the story, Daisy learns about the hazards of clutter.

I know all about the hazards of clutter. If I ever write a screenplay, it’s going to be a romantic comedy/horror film called “When Packrats Fall in Love.” So I relate heavily to Daisy.

Which is why you won’t find me shopping tomorrow. I’ll be home, cleaning and getting rid of things. I plan to start by cleaning a plate full of leftovers.

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