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2003-09-30 - 5:19 p.m.

First deeds, First lessons

It's strange the things one will do when repeatedly confronted with reality ... like starting an online exhibitionist diary...

After packing my parents off onto a trans-oceanic flight at 5am this morning, I faced the reality of everything that I have to do in the next 4 months, before I shuffle off this extended 6 1/2 year European holiday known as "My Life" and return to be a responsible well-respected professor-type in the New York area. Oy.

Reality Lesson #1: No matter where I go I seem to accumulate STUFF. Big Stuff like sofas. Little stuff like that tiny useless brass cat sitting next to 4 wooden penguins and the petrified wood hippopotamus on my bookshelf. What am I going to do with all of this STUFF?

It seems that all of my life I've been taught to look at the big picture. And yet the big picture won't help me at all when I have to figure out what to do with that big blue porcelain cat sitting next to the bright orange plastic spiderman handcuffs hanging on my office wall. (It's a long story...)

Thing is, people keep giving me STUFF. A few years ago I was forced to start the "Tacky Gifts Gallery" in the corner of my office, complete with:

- an earthenware house with white-and-blue porcelain painted sides that burns incense and spits the smoke out through the tiny chimney

- a clear plastic teapot-shaped pencil holder and paperweight filled with water, shiny gold balls, and plastic flowers,

- an embroidered rotating kitten-in-a-globe mounted on a plastic gold-and-cloisonne painted mounting thing

- a beanie baby cat

- a red and black porcelain cartoon snail

- a small pink marizpan pig.

As my transoceanic move approaches, I am beginning to panic about what to do with these it okay to give away gifts? Some of the more breakable items might just conveniently be knocked off their perches by my careless felines, then subsequently shatter into thousands of pieces...But then, I tried that with a porcelain dairy maid (also a gift) a few years ago. But after Cavendish knocked it onto the ground I was so racked with guilt that I had to repair it. Now I own a cracked porcelain dairy maid (fortunately in storage).

As my departure approaches my mind is being forced focus on this minutia. Or maybe, I am escaping to marzipan pig issues so that I won't *have* to focus on just how much my life is going to change when I leave J*na for New York.

I wonder if I could sell a plastic teapot-shaped penholder/paperweight on ebay.....

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