Janet's Jargon

Fun lifestyles, charitable acts, great fiction, author support, Patrick and Grace Mysteries, Keith clan trilogy,

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Universe in Surround Sound

You just have to love it when things happen in unison. You know, when you could hear a message as a solo, but instead you get it in three-part harmony. Such was the case this week. Let me start at the beginning.

I got a newsletter that talked about making yourself your best friend. The writer said that it is OK to acccept those personal flaws that bug somebody to the nth degree, but no matter what you do, you can't seem to make the necessary changes to please everybody in the world. It is, alas, so true that you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

OK, let's take a little time for introspection here. I admit that I have ONE fault. (Yes, just one! LOL!) It is my lack of doing housework. My husband, Ivan, blames it on the fact that when we were in Venezuela we had a young girl, Maria, who did all of the mundane chores for me--at a very modest price of about $5/week. No, I wasn't cheating her; that was the fair fare at the time. Yes, it was a long time ago. I don't think that's it, because I really used to do fairly well at it. I think it is basically Ivan's fault. It is not my fault that I am tied to this machine like a newborn to its mommy by the umbilical cord. I argued with him for several years. I balked, I argued, I complained, and finally I gave in. He was happy--until it became more time consuming than Law and Order reruns are to him. So, I admit it. There are quite a few things in the housekeeping area that I don't do, but I DO windows--MS Windows, that is!

So it was nice to hear from the newsletter that I could love myself, in spite of my shorcomings. Besides, I figured it was OK. After all, the primary commandment of the New Testament is to "Love your neighbor as yourself..." Not only does that encourage you to love your neighbor; it gives you permission to love yourself.

But just like I needed re-enforcement of the fact, Ivan got a newsletter in HIS email from Eat Healthy. Guess what they figured out? People who live in dirt are actually healthier than people who live in immaculate surroundings. I'm sure they weren't talking about the filth of people like the Collyer brothers, who were found dead in their Harlem mansion in 1947. It took 17 days to remove enough trash and objects from their mansion before they could find the second brother! Moderation, you know! Everything--even dirt--must be done in moderation! Anyway, I was delighted to know that not only should I not condemn my lack of housekeeping interests, but I was actually helping us live a healthier life!

But wait, that's not all. They say that things often come in threes. Three deaths, three surprises, three unsolveable puzzles... Well, this morning in our Grand Forks Herald, in the book section, the third confirmation that I was on the right track showed up. The main book review was entitled "Bless This Mess." It was written by Vick Mickunas, and the release was from the Cox News Service. The bi-line read, "Author says if clutter works for you, there's no need to tidy up." The title of the book is "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder." The authors are Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman.

The article starts out by quoting from the book: "Children exposed to fumes from home-cleaning products, among other chemicals, were up to four times more likely to develop asthma."

It goes on to explain that "Messes can incubate ideas. For example, in 1928, the British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming returned from a vacation. He had left his office in disarray. He noticed a moldy petri dish. It piqued his curiosity. Penicillin would not have been discovered that day in a tidy office."

Mickunas goes on to say, "The authors cite numerous other historical examples of messiness that inspired strokes of genius. Your average slob should feel thoroughly validated."

It also says that "the mind is built around disorder on several levels, ranging from the processing of raw sensory data to the juggling of complex ideas. Our brains are evolved to function in a messy world..."

It reminds me of a very wealthy woman here in Grand Forks. It was said that she had to go open the doors of the First National Bank every morning before the bank president could go to work. She was, by all reports, "a bit strange," but money talks, and she obviously had plenty of it. She was a non-practicing MD, although at one time she had apparently had a private medical practice. When she died, they had to tear down her house. There were dozens and dozens of cats' skeletons in closets, cupboards, etc. She was obviously onto the secret of non-cleanliness, but she carried it to an extreme.

And just in case you are wondering, yes, you can walk from one end of our house to the other without tripping over anything. But don't look in the closets, or the two "storage rooms" that used to be our kids' bedrooms. And don't stop too long to study the stack of "stuff" on my desk. I did clean the piano bench and the piano off the other day. I should have known better. Today when we went to go out for a bit I couldn't find my glasses. I knew exactly where they were before I cleaned the piano off!

I think I'll join the Universe and make it a quartet!

See you next time. Don't forget to check back often.

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  • At 9:37 PM, Blogger unwriter said…

    I just wrote a blog today about cleanliness!!! I wasn't quite as 'polite' though. I like this.


  • At 9:52 PM, Anonymous DIAMOND said…



  • At 1:42 PM, Blogger Carolyn Howard-Johnson said…

    You are my moldy petri dish! Ha! Finding you was an accident of good fortune.
    How I love to communicate with writers (especially writers who are also promoters)
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Author and poet whose books have won more than a dozen awards between them

  • At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Nina M. Osier said…

    "Welcome to my mess!" is how I greet visitors to my office at the day job. I share my home with seven cats, and I fight a constant battle to keep it habitable for humans. Can I relate to your blog today? DARN RIGHT I can!



  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger victor said…

    When I strung together that mess of words (months ago) I had no idea how long it would continue to inspire. I wrote that piece for Cox News Service-thanks, for sharing! Vick Mickunas

  • At 8:56 AM, Blogger The Belle in Blue said…

    Congratulations on being nominated for a Thinking Blog Award! See my blog for details.


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