Joyful Tidying?

I confess to not paying a lot of attention to trends on keeping house. I was raised by Jim and Sarah and Jim and Sarah were basically tidy people. My mother kept a clean house and we were assigned chores to do. My father kept a relatively clean work shed and he insisted that tools be put back where they belonged. Neither one of them had a lot of junk in their car. If we spilled something, we were expected to clean it up. As a result, I keep a fairly tidy house. I don’t see this as a good thing or a bad thing. It’s how I like my space. My husband probably wishes I liked my space a little less tidy or rather that I didn’t insist that his spaces be occasionally tidied up. Some of my favorite people do not keep a tidy house. I don’t see that as a character flaw. I see it as something they don’t spend time on because they prefer to spend time on something else. It’s a free country (sort of) so go on with your bad self.

Enter Marie Kondo who wrote a book about cleaning house that sold like hot cakes. Good for her. I’m pleased for anyone who can move that many books about anything. Now I keep seeing people talking about whether something sparks joy in them. I find this confusing. Stuff, in general, doesn’t spark joy in me. People and animals spark joy in me. I don’t pick up a shirt and find it joyful or unpleasant or anything really. It’s a shirt, if it’s clean, and appropriate for where I’m going, I put it on. Towels also do not spark joy. If they are clean and dry, fantastic, I use them to dry something else. Stuff just doesn’t make me that joyful. At best, there are a few items in my house that embody what little nostalgia I’m capable of mustering, which isn’t much.

Out of curiosity, I watched a few episodes of Kondo’s new Netflix show. At least now I know what people are talking about but I’m still confused. I’m willing to admit that it is entirely possible that I’m not normal in this regard. Perhaps the vast majority of people out there are worried about how their socks feel about being rolled up. Perhaps, there are people out there willing to take a long time folding their clothes so they stack a certain way in a drawer. That’s not how I want to spend my time and I’m someone who regularly folds and puts away my clean laundry. I just can’t imagine anyone I know who doesn’t keep a tidy house now, deciding to suddenly making a hobby of folding laundry. Is that a thing that happens?

I’m not saying Marie Kondo is without merit. She seems delightful, and again, kudos to her for making serious bank on this. I understand that there are people who are in need of assistance in clearing out excess stuff, but I’m one of those people who always want to see the follow up shows for “reality TV.” I want to see what the tiny house people are doing a year later. I want to know how the hoarders are doing, and now, I want to see if people really change their life style after Kondo enters their home. Still, you probably can’t go by me. My husband says I’m in a constant state of Swedish Death Cleaning.


Gatomboya Coffee


It’s been awhile since I’ve done a coffee review, so I thought I’d talk about my local roaster today. Rare Bird Coffee is in Falls Church, within easy walking distance of my house, and provides most of my coffee, bless them. Last week I picked up Gatomboya, a Kenyan coffee. I definitely tasted the cherry and marmalade notes (which just tasted citrusy to me), but I’m not sure I picked up the plum. Despite that, this was delicious coffee. Oddly, while it is good hot, it was even better cold. Naturally, that’s with me drinking it black. I think most of the flavor would be lost in this delicate brew if you add milk or even more so with cream.


**Joan this is not for you.

Halloween on Fleek

The people in my neighborhood are super hardcore about Halloween decorations and every year more and more of them are involved. Halloween was not a big holiday for me growing up, so I don’t really care about it, but I don’t have anything against it either and the decorations do make walking the dog a lot more interesting. Below is just a smattering of what’s on offer this year.

Sleeping Arrangements

My husband, Colin, and I have been married for twenty-seven years. This year, I read an article on Scandinavian sleeping and thought it sounded great. Instead of one big comforter or blanket on our king-sized bed we would have two twin comforters in duvets instead. No top sheet. I loved this idea. The biggest challenge was finding twin-sized duvet sets with a high enough thread count to please my delicate sensibilities. I lucked out and found a couple on We’ve been really happy with sleeping like this. The best thing about it is my husband gets up earlier than I do and this way he doesn’t wake me. I don’t wake him if I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. We don’t fight over covers anymore. It’s possible that I move around too much in my sleep and might occasionally rob him of cover. Now that doesn’t happen. In short, it’s fantastic and I love it.

So my friend Jen comes to see me. I tell her about this new revelation in sleeping I’ve discovered. She says, “oh yeah, we sleep like that.” Like, duh, how obvious. It took me twenty-seven years to learn this and I had to read about it in an article. Apparently, she figured it out ten minutes after her boyfriend moved in. Sigh.


Ah, Bach…

I love it when I’m reading a book and it has me exploring things I know little or nothing about. In this case, I’m reading Peter Høeg’s The Quiet GirlI will always love Peter Høeg because he wrote Smilla’s Sense of Snow, so I read The Quiet Girl because of another love. I’m not going to review the book, because it’s been out for a long time and no one needs another review of it. Instead, I wanted to talk about all the music I’ve listened to since I started reading it. Right now, for example I’m listening to Itzhak Perlman play Partita in D Minor on YouTube. The piece ends with the Chaconne which is supposed to be one of the all time great pieces of music written for solo violin. I couldn’t tell you if that’s true because my knowledge of classical music is limited at best, but as with art, I know what I like, and this is a very beautiful piece of music. All of the music discussed and described in this book is amazing, but this might be my favorite. You should listen too.