Slice of Life – Bookmarks: A Window on 2008

The holiday season brings out the nesting instinct in me. It’s not so much the Martha-Stewart-homemade-cocoa-and-handcrafted-decorations nesting instinct, but is more along the lines of ?Uh-oh, It’s almost 2009 and look what a hopeless mess everything is!?

I look around at the boxes in the garage, the summer clothes still hanging in the closet and the piles of papers littering the office. I try not to think about the forgotten, months-old cottage cheese lurking at the back of the fridge?the one with the green film on top that it didn’t have when it left the store.

Then, fortunately, I remember my web browser’s ?Bookmarks? tab, a disorganized mess of web links. Now there’s a job I can tackle easily.

I brew a cup of non-homemade cocoa, and sit down to start organizing my life, one link at a time.

At first, it feels tedious. But then, as I start pulling up websites, sorting, and deleting, I begin realizing that my bookmarks list is more than a jumbled collection of links proving the extreme disorganization of the Internet users of the household. It is an outline of my life, interests, focuses from the entire year?an expression of who my family and I were, and who we gradually became, over the course of 12 months.

Dozens of bookmarked recipes?both sweet and savoury?designed to use up an abundance of rhubarb. Ahh, last summer, and the good friend back in Alaska whose garden overflowed with more rhubarb than her three kids could eat. She passed on to me more rhubarb than my family could eat, especially since the rhubarb-eating portion of my family was limited to me. I’ll never forget the face my two-year-old, Kiersten, made when I tried to expand the rhubarb circle to include her.

The fondue recipes from our lovingly planned ?we’re back in Alaska? party?which never happened. We barely had time to arrive home from four months in Washington, D.C., pack up, and leave again for Louisiana. What a crazy five weeks those were.

The Cajun cooking recipes from the first few months in Louisiana, when I started to embrace everything southern: shrimp, chicken, sausage, and every other type of jambalaya imaginable, all with widely varying ingredients, but each insisting it was the proper, old-fashioned way to cook it. Crawfish étouffée, made successfully, and deliciously shudder-free as long as I didn’t think too hard about what crawfish look like outside of the plastic package.

Hello Kitty videos on YouTube, originally bribes to get Kiersten to sit still while we brushed her teeth. I think She’s forgotten about them (I hope!), but I don’t dare remove them. Toddlers used to have security blankets; now, apparently, It’s online videos. God help us if the Internet ever goes down.

Daily aurora borealis forecasts. It was always a source of disappointment that we only saw the northern lights a few times while living in Alaska; we were just a little too far south for that.

An article on how to use mind control on customer service. I tried the suggestions once and got nowhere. I called back with my traditional method (I like to describe it as ?Dr. House? style; others might use a different term) and got 25 per cent off. Delete.

Links to garage sale websites. Who knew that having a yard sale could be so easy? And that people would actually buy all that stuff? We thought we were prepared, but, of course, found at least 10 things the following day that would have been great sellers too. I guess I’d better leave those sites on the list for next spring . . .

Different hairstyle pictures. Last summer, I went into the salon planning on big changes, but the stylist wouldn’t do it. ?I like your hair long,? she said. I delete the links, and then I think that was a mistake. I’m due for another haircut, and this time I’ll go in armed with photos and I won’t take no for an answer. New year, new attitude, new hair. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll go in brazenly and come out with a meek trim, as always.

we’re coming down to the end of the list. Tax questions, from every possible angle, to see if there was any way I could get out of paying income tax, or at least write off most of my self-employment expenses. (There wasn’t, so I paid. But grudgingly.)

Ah, the last link. A hilariously awful game?in fact, It’s from Tetris, sewers, and plumbing. No joke. I’m utterly humiliated to think I actually bookmarked it, but then, since no one else is awake, I guiltily play one round?under a fake name?and remember why it was so addicting. I delete it, although I’m desperately tempted to keep challenging the high scorer.

The ?keepers? are sorted into folders, alphabetized, ready to be clicked again someday. My Bookmarks tab is clean, a fresh page on which new links of life can be written?or, as it were, clicked. I wonder what 2009 will bring.

My cocoa is nearly done; It’s time to stop musing and move on to organize a closet or a few boxes. But first, I need to do just one thing: . . .

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