Old News Is Good News

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The whole stack of magazines

I enjoy perusing magazines–so much so that I kind of don’t loathe waiting around at the dentist office or the Jiffy Lube or whatnot. Doesn’t matter if it’s Family Circle or Family Dog. Mother Earth or Mother Jones. I find them all interesting. However, once I’m done with a magazine, I’m done. Finished. That’s why waiting rooms are so great. I can leave the magazines right where I found them, keeping the clutter out of my home.

Nevertheless, the car and I are pretty healthy, so I don’t spend that much time in waiting rooms. But I have subscribed to more than a few magazines over the years, most of which I’ve just been stacking up and up on my bookshelves.

So, why was I holding on to all of these old magazines? Did I really need to fill my bookshelves with their colorful spines all facing outward as if to say, “Look at me–and look at my titles! Aren’t I well-fed, well-versed, flexible, well-adjusted, worldly, wine-savvy, and stylish?” (Amazon.com, by the way, offers some unbeatable prices on magazine subscriptions.)

What to do, what to do . . .

Why not send them back to the waiting room? A woman from the Brighton-Allston Mental Health Association got in touch with me through my Craigslist posting looking for a new home for my old magazines. Being a private, nonprofit organization, money is tight–and waiting room niceties, like magazines, are a bit of a luxury. The facility serves a low-income demographic and likes to let its clients take home a magazine if they wish. Sounds like my old magazines will indeed be put to good use.

So, what do you all do with your old magazines? Are they accessorizing your bookshelves, too? Have you read them all? Ever refer back to them? Still have your copies of Sassy from 1988? Please, do tell.

© 2009 Good Karma Housekeeping. Because less really is more.

And Then There Was One

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I leased my car–a 2006 Honda Civic–just days before my Grandpa Bill passed away. The car I was driving previously–a ’97 Civic–was quickly begining to show its age and each time I’d turn my key in the ignition, I’d sigh in relief. Honestly, I didn’t know how much more the old dame had in her, yet she always surprised me with one more trip, one more day. 

Still, I felt guilty making plans to lease a new car when, technically, the old one was still running–and the body wasn’t in such bad shape either. Had I given up too easily? As my grandfather lay in a hospital bed struggling to breathe on this, his last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thanksgiving Thursday–my grandmother by his side–neither one of them was ready to call it quits.

I remember driving to work that Tuesday morning before trading in my car, holding the steering wheel a bit more lovingly, offering gratitude for our safe travels into thin air. On Thanksgiving Day, with my fingertips resting on the back of my grandfather’s papery hand, I hoped that my touch expressed my appreciation for all the games of chase around the dining room table, Happy Meals, trips to Jennings Beach, soft-serve cones from Carvel, and spending money slipped into just because greeting cards.

My grandfather passed away early on Friday morning with my grandmother still by his side, exhausted from recounting the last 50+ years of their life together. In my garage sat a shiny new car, just 15 miles on the odometer. Out with the old, in with the new. I named the new car Bill, knowing he would have appreciated the pun.

So last week, when the lease on that ’06 Civic came to an end and I turned in Bill to the dealer, I couldn’t help but feel another twinge of sadness over letting go. This time, however, I wasn’t bringing home a shiny new toy. Instead, we are going to have a run at beign a one-car family, saving us money and reducing our carbon footbrint for sure. It hasn’t been very long, but Bill’s absence is starkly apparent. I’m sure my grandmother agrees.

© 2009 Good Karma Housekeeping. Because less really is more–except if you’re talking about grandpas.

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Better Late Than Never, Right?

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I had brunch today with an old college friend whom I haven’t seen in a dozen years. And as we stood in line giving each other the abridged version of our lives post-college, I pulled out a CD from my bag that I had borrowed from her in 1995.

We had a good laugh about it, and she had always wondered what happened to it–not remembering whom she had lent it to. What happened to it was that I liked it. A lot. So, I listened to it over and over again throughout our senior year. And then, in 1996 when we graduated and went our separate ways, that CD got swept up in my own collection and made its way back to Connecticut with me. Intentional or not, I cannot remember, but I never forgot whom I borrowed it from. I knew our paths would cross again sometime, so I just held onto it. Sure I could have sent it, but the look on her face, all these years later, was priceless.

Better late than never, right? At least CD technology is still around . . .

(The coveted CD: The Angel in the House by Jonatha Brooke’s old duo, The Story.)

© 2009 Good Karma Housekeeping. Making the space–both mentally and physically–to live happily ever after.