K.I.S.S. Is Definitely Not My Life

July 2, 2010

Life is extremely complicated. • Robert Ludlum

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. • Confucius

“Keep It Simple, Stupid,” is probably good advice, but I’m not capable of taking or giving it. I revel in complification. Here at The House of Stuff there is lots of. . . . . stuff.

I don’t make things complicated; that’s the way they get all by themselves. • Mel Gibson

Despite my love of complification, I am sometimes amused by the simplification advice provided by purveyors of the simple life. Today I caught a bit of Next Door with Katie Brown on the Lifetime/Real Women channel while I was eating breakfast. Katie’s website slogan is “Keep It Simple,” and I watched with wonder as she made a rose syrup with six cups of sugar cubes (you can substitute 4¼ cups of regular sugar for the 6 cups of cubes and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t) and twenty organic roses in full bloom (storebought roses are poisonous, we are told), pulled apart petal by petal. I’m pretty sure she said something about leftover roses or roses you aren’t sure what to do with, but I admit that I tuned in late and was not paying full attention at first.

The roses and sugar are mixed with water and heated on the stove for an hour, but you’re not done yet. There’s more cooking and there’s sterilizing Mason jars in boiling water. And then there’s filling jars with a mixture hot enough to melt a regular funnel, so don’t use one.

The resulting syrup should stay fresh for at least a month and you shouldn’t refrigerate it because the sugar will crystallize. The recipe makes six jars which I am pretty sure would be a lifetime supply for me and most of my relatives. Some of you are probably wondering why I wouldn’t make this delicious treat, but complicated as I love to be, this is too much effort for too little return. I’d rather be hunting for quotations or arranging robots.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way, did not become still more complicated. • Poul Anderson

Most of my complification is actually connection. I seldom see something without being reminded of something else. This connectivity makes life exciting. I never know what I’ll find and I love integrating my findings into my intellectual and physical life.

Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore. • Wallace Stevens

There’s a Charles Shultz Peanuts’ character, Pig-Pen, who perpetually has a cloud of dust and dirt around his head. I live surrounded by a cloud of stuff. I just wish I had more time to sift and sort and recombine and imagine and create new possibilities. Time is my challenge, as is the lack of a huge warehouse filled with shelves and bookcases where I could store everything so that it’s always visible.

There’s no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another. • E.B. White

I understand the ease of clean surfaces and unfilled spaces and bare walls and sparsely-filled shelves. But simplicity has never appealed to me, unless of course, I’m choosing not to make rose petal syrup.

I’m not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I’m not looking for the secret to life. . .I just go on from day to day, taking what comes. • Frank Sinatra

How about you? Do you aspire to simplification or complification?

I never go straight to the point if I can go the most difficult way. Why be simple when you can be complicated? • Kristin Scott Thomas


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