Monthly Archives: January 2010



Yes, I admit it. I am a hoarder. I already admitted to being a pack rat, but didn’t mention the hoarding. After watching the two Edies in Grey Gardens, I figured I’d better come clean — and maybe clean up my closet as well.

What kinds of things do I hoard, you ask?

Mostly electronic related things. For instance here is a list of what I found in my [home] office closet:

  • 12 extra USB cords and one USB cord extender. (granted the cords are not all the same on the small end, but do I really need to keep these things?)
  • 3 extra firewire cords — I guess I might use them some day.
  • 10 extra RCA connectors
  • 3 extra Ethernet cords
  • A couple of cigarette lighter chargers & hands free earphone/microphones for phones we no longer own
  • Several AC cords that I don’t know what they are supposed to be connected to (or if we even still own the item it is meant for)
  • 2 extra FM antennas for stereos and at least 1 AM antenna
  • 2 cordless keyboards
  • 1 corded keyboard
  • A few extra mice, both corded and cordless
  • A CueCat (which i actually use for LibrayThing so I really cannot consider it part of my horde but I coveted it when a friend got one free from Wired Magazine so that’s sort of like hoarding)
  • Hundreds of CDs and DVDs with data or media from various computers I’ve owned over the years (at least I finally tossed the floppy disks I was hording a couple of years ago)
  • A few pairs of earphones, some of which are missing the soft part for the ears

I also tend to hoard recipes. I’ve got a bagful of recipes I cut out of the newspaper or magazines years ago and never tried. I buy cookbooks that I never open. My mom gave me a cookbook that belonged to my dad’s mother (which I don’t consider part of my hoard, but I’ve not used it yet). My aunt gave me a box of recipes that she got from her mother — some of which I may use, others don’t look so appetizing.

I used to hoard paper clips. I know why too —  I once or twice needed a paper clip and could not find one in the house (many years ago), so once I bought some I kept on buying them and if I found one on the floor at school would put it in my pocket to add to the paper clip container. I’ve since gotten over that, especially since I don’t handle hard copies much anymore.

Today I dragged all the extra things out of the closet and hope to figure out what should be kept and what can go. I’ll probably just stuff it all back in the closet though.

But at least I got a blog post out of it.

Grey Gardens

The two Edie BealesOne evening, several months ago, I looked at the list of “On Demand” films on HBO and was disappointed that I’d either seen them all or was not interested in what they had to offer. Only one title looked at all promising: Grey Gardens — with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, what could go wrong with those actors?  Besides, I remembered hearing that it won some awards.  I watched about a half hour of the program and turned it off.  A movie about an eccentric pair of women, one of whom was bald, who lived in a vermin infested house on Long Island,  was not my idea of entertainment. How, I thought, could this have won awards?

A month ago I thought maybe I should give Grey Gardens another shot, so checked to see if it was available to stream on Netflix. I thought that I could watch it while I worked, and it wouldn’t seem so disturbing since I wouldn’t be paying as much attention to it as I would if I watched it otherwise.

I was in luck. I found it on Netflix and began watching it. It didn’t take me too long to realize that what I was seeing was not what I’d seen in HBO. This was the original Grey Gardens. The HBO version was a remake and Grey Gardens was a documentary.  It was fascinating. The real people looked exactly like the HBO version. I watched it and was really moved by the story about the dysfunctional bonds between a mother and daughter.

This morning I saw that the HBO version was back on HBO On Demand and watched it. Now I understood why it won the awards it did. If you’ve not seen Grey Gardens, I suggest you do it in this order: Watch the original version. Then watch the HBO version. Then watch the original again.

It was a good time for me to see Grey Gardens and to see what can happen when a mother is so needy that she prevents her daughter from experiencing life. I certainly don’t want to end up living in a house overrun with cats and raccoons, even if my daughter were to stay by my side.

Go, Clare, go, for both our sakes.

Carl and Me

I’d forgotten about my reverence for Carl Sagan until my daughter played a mash-up video for me. I think I’d seen the video before, but her excitement about Carl Sagan brought back memories of my excitement about the man.

I must have liked his series, Cosmos, or something. I don’t remember why I liked him so much. It might have been because I was teaching science at the time and especially liked astronomy. I don’t even remember what decade it was, although the 1980’s is a safe bet. It could have been the 1990’s but I don’t remember having kids when he was my hero.

Anyway, whenever it was, I thought he was a demi-god and when I heard he was going to be at an event on the Mall, I made sure we went too. The event was commemorating the 1963 march on Washington — one of the half-decade anniversaries — probably the 25th because we would have had both Clare and Andrew by the 30th anniversary.

I had pretty high expectations back then. I assumed that since Carl Sagan was going to be on the Washington Mall, I would see him. He may have talked, I don’t know. Probably. He was famous and all. We’d planned on meeting up with friends but, in the days before cell phones, never connected. There were a heck of a lot of people there.

While listening to one speaker I looked up and realized I was standing next to Betty Thomas. And when I say up I mean UP. She is very tall. (Since Hill Street Blues ended in 1987, I’m more and more sure this event was in the 1980’s). Betty took no notice of me, but I felt like this was really an event since she was just part of the crowd.

Later, Dean and I walked around. I politely took,  and mistakenly looked at, a pamphlet from someone who was part of an organization I’d not heard of: PETA. No more meat for me until 1990 when I became pregnant with Clare.

We continued walking and saw a crowd of people ahead. As we got closer, I saw that the crowd was gathered around a dark haired man. As we got even closer I realized it was Carl Sagan. I stood on the outskirts of the crowd, wanting to tell him of my admiration, but being too afraid. He smiled and walked and talked with the crowd. I looked away and began walking — perhaps trying to find Dean or maybe just following him. I looked down at the ground — it was crowded. I didn’t want to fall. I bumped into someone. Looking up I saw I’d bumped into Carl Sagan. I muttered my apologies and ran away, heart beating faster than it probably should.

So, that’s the story of Carl and me.

Here’s the mash-up video if you have not seen it (I later fell in love with Bill Nye):