Posts Tagged With: stash

Curing my Paper Addiction

Friday Letter to my Kids ~ 2/13/15 ~

Dear J, J, L and L,

photo 1-6 copy 11My favorite three-year old gifted me these origami cranes a while ago. No, she’s not an origami master, but her mother’s pretty handy in all things crafty. They’ve got a few of these hanging around at their house. Using paper that’s been previously written on adds value to the pieces. I can make out a few words but would have to completely dismantle the crane to read what it actually says. That’s kind of where origami began, as a way of sending a message where the reader would know if it had been read because the folding sequence would be out of whack.

I love paper. Notebooks, book books, notecards, drawings, sticky notes, envelopes. (Not so much a fan of mail though, bills, advertisements, newspapers.) You probably knew that.

I’ve always liked the idea of handcrafted papers, I love their textures and the uniqueness of each page. It’s as if the blank paper is already art and whatever you write on them enhances or is enhanced by the medium it’s written on.

Did you know paper once was a very rare commodity? I learned that recently. Kind of made me want to hoard a few notebooks.

Oh, wait. I already have a paper stash. Actually more like a used paper warehouse. But you know that. You lived with it all your growing up years. And it’s not really a stash, it’s more of a paper monster.

Not sure if this is the paper monster or me afraid of the thing.

Not sure if this is the paper monster or me afraid of the thing.

I’m slowly getting it tamed. Pulling such a beast into a submissive state takes willpower and courage and a few other gifts I’m rather sketchy on.

Several weeks ago I finally cleared my desk. By clearing I mean that I took everything off the desk and made a ginormous pile behind me to sort through. I’m hoping most of it ends up in the recycle bin. A few too many papers have migrated back to the desk already, in no particular order. And a smaller “to be sorted” pile emerged from the first gigantic “to be sorted” pile.

Your dad says he can see progress. He’s so kind to me. I’m not so sure there’s any improvement.

Also, in the garage, I plan condense a shelf of ten boxes of random papers into one or two file boxes of organized documents, and then fill the recycle bin to the top two or three times. I think I have twenty years worth of Christmas cards among those boxes. Pretty certain I don’t need them all.

Do you ever wonder if a hundred years from now paper documents will appear on Antique Roadshow as something stunningly rare and worth zillions. If future archeologists uncover my garage or my office they’d feel like they found the mother lode of paper.

Here’s the thing, which probably sounds like justification or excuses to you, but it’s the truth. Bunches of those papers have this magical power over me because they’re from one of you. I could probably part just fine with the school papers and class assignments. But the notes you’ve written to me or your dad, the pictures you drew, those snippets of “who you were” need organizing and special care. Does that sound dumb? I’m sure it sounds so stupid.

Simply letting all those papers go into the recycle bin somehow feels as if I’m letting parts of you slip through my fingers. Nonsense, yes, I know that.

If I could approach the task as a museum curator perhaps I could finally succeed in whittling away the amount of papers I have squirreled away.

ˌkyo͝oˈrāt  verb
  • select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition)
  • select the performers or performances that will feature in (an arts event or program).
  • select, organize, and present (content, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge

Perhaps, with that sort of thinking I could manage the task of taming the paper monster. Maybe my kid museum could be one binder per child. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

I’d classify my interaction with paper as a love/hate relationship. As I attempt to tame the monstrous paper fiend that hides in the garage (and the smaller but equally tenacious paper boogie man in my office) I hope to find some balance and health in the process.

Photo By Ron whisky (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

My paper monster could someday look just like this, ya think? Photo By Ron whisky (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I could whip that paper monster into shape until it’s a warm, fuzzy, unthreatening thing in my life.
It could happen.
I think I’ll hang the cranes over my desk as a message and a symbolic reminder that I’m a curator and not a hoarder. Wish me luck!
Hugs and Love to you each,



Categories: Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Friday Five: Prepared

photo-17 copy 3Few things in life aggravate me more than getting caught off guard. I’m a bit jumpy by nature anyway. It only takes someone walking into a room quietly and simply saying hello for me to literally jump at the sound of their voice. I guess I’m wound a little tight.

In the spirit of being ready for whatever life throws at me, I try to take baby steps in that direction.  The following list of five things aren’t major investments. You could accomplish one or several with little or almost no energy, if you move slowly enough. And they will make your life a veritable funfest of joy and abandon. Okay, maybe not that last one.  But at least you’ll be better prepared for those wild kicks life launches at you.

Wild kicks?


You know, the unexpected, the not so happy moments in life, the inconvenient accidents, the uh-ohs, the dagnabits, the what-was-I-thinkings.

Yeah. Those.

Such as:

  1. Hospitals. Have small purse or satchel packed up ahead of time, this weekend, or next weekend if you want to tempt fate. Why? For when, not if, you have to visit an ER as a patient, driver, friend or loved one. Include a small thin blanket, (like the ones the airlines charge you an arm or leg to use.) Include some cash for the cafeteria, coins for sodas or snack machines late at night, a notebook and pen, (for questions, answers, games of hangman, profound thoughts) gum and mints, some granola bars, fruit snacks or chocolate, a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, lotion, and a paperback book. On your way out the door, grab your phone and charger (or keep a spare in the bag if you can pull that off) and a sweater or jacket. Hospitals are some of the coldest places I’ve spent time in and the stress makes you feel even colder. There’s no telling how long you’ll be there. This is stuff you can really use, or you can share with some of your friends or family. You’ll be really glad you did this. Really. Truly. Deeply.
  2. Lock outs. Being locked out of your car or house throws your day off kilter like nothing else can. A spare key hidden somewhere handy could put you right back on balance. Don’t “hide” it in any of the predictable places. Maybe a spare house key hidden outside your neighbor’s house (if you know them and trust them). Not in a plant by the front door and not under the mat. You’ll figure it out, you’re the smart one. Also, get creative about where you put a spare car key. There are lots of nooks and crannies and ways to camouflage a key’s hiding spot on, around and under a car. This is way faster than waiting for AAA or a family member to get you out of your predicament. You can thank me when you slide that spare key into the lock.
  3. Whatever. A stash of cash for who knows what could come up. The more you can tuck away the bigger the uh-oh you can deal with. I wouldn’t keep it all in one spot either. A bit here, a bit there, and some over there.  A seldom read volume of Shakespeare serves as a great bank if the bills are, say, tucked in singly every thirty pages. (No, you can’t rifle through my volume.) And that’s just one idea you could try. Get creative. And then, this is really important, you need to write down where all those hiding places were so you can remember. And put that note somewhere you’ll see or remember without a reminder. (I know, I know, so much to remember to remember to remember.)  <== (Not a typo.) How much you need to stash is your call. I personally feel better if I’ve got a few twenties and tens where I know I can get my hands on them in a hurry without going to an ATM. I’d feel even better, and richer, if the twenties were hundreds, but let’s be realistic here, shall we?
  4. Lights out! Batteries, flashlight, matches, candles. Honestly there’s no reason to go without candles nowadays. It’s like a decorating staple item. The question is, do you have matches or a lighter to actually use them should the need arise. Hmmm. And batteries to match flashlights seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve been known to have one but not the other. In fact, I keep a small flashlight on my nightstand. And another one in my car. I keep thinking a key ring flashlight would be handy, too. Who knows when you’ll need to see into the dark, deep recesses of your purse? When that glitch hits your local power lines, who ya gonna thank? Yup, yourself for being so well prepared and not having to sit in the dark.
  5. TP. One can never have too much toilet paper, (or bathroom tissue) around the house.  I’d rather have too much around than not enough, wouldn’t you? Buy an extra package or two when you can, you’ll be glad you did. Sorry to say these aren’t generally regarded as a decorative item, so you’ll have to stash them discreetly. Although I have seen some ingenuous TP holders that, at the least, were entertaining to look at, if not downright artistic. Google it, if you don’t believe me.

There you have it. My five bits of wisdom for you. Sadly, most of it I’ve learned the hard way. I’ll leave those stories to your imagination for now. Or not.

On that note I’ll leave you with this lovely thought by a smarter woman than I am.

photo-17 copy 4“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” -Maya Angelou

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh, Sew What

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful that my mother taught me how to sew. Can’t tell you how many times that’s come in handy. I swear I’ve sewn a zillion buttons, a thousand hems, a million tiny tucks here and there and prom dress alterations out the wazoo.

Then there’s all those costumes; pilgrim, cat, a pig for the play Charlotte’s Web, a scarecrow, a pirate, a fairy princess for a Shakespeare scene, witch, ninja, monster, angels, shepherds, devil, beauty queen, pumpkin, butterflies and bugs. Don’t forget all those princess dresses, a cowgirl, a cowboy, an Indian, 50’s outfits galore, and a genie. I could go on but I won’t.

I’ve sewn curtains, and pillows, valances and purses, puppets and stuffed animals. I even made my kids clothes when we were a really young family barely able to scrape a couple of pennies together. What a challenge but so satisfying to make something out of almost nothing.

A patchwork quilt from random scraps.

A patchwork quilt from random scraps.

My favorite things to put a needle and thread to is a quilt.  For me, there’s something therapeutic about combining small pieces of seemingly useless fabric together into something beautiful and useful.  What’s more comfort giving than a quilt, fluffy and colorful, warm and embracing. Mmmm.

I created m first quilt from a box of scraps and a few old pieces of clothing I didn’t want to throw away. Then a baby quilt, which required the acquisition of more fabric. Next, a log cabin pattern  that led me on a month’s long search for all the perfect colors. Many more have followed. My one small box of scraps grew into a mountainous collection of fabric that I may never summit.

Teaching me the ins and outs of sewing must have taken more patience than anyone can imagine.  A gift that truly keeps on giving is one that teaches a skill like this. I hope it isn’t becoming a lost art.

Such a basic ability shouldn’t be taken for granted, I can clearly see that now. Thanks, Mom, for passing on your talent, your patience, your gift, your love.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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