Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stuff I love and with which I cannot part.

I talk a pretty good game.  I make a pretty big deal about how I'm not a collector, and that if I don't use it, it's OUTTA here.  Right?  Yeah.  Well, I have my Achilles heels just like everyone else.  I'd like to share the Top Five Things I Will Keep Forever.

1.  Books.  Oh, the day I discovered was the best day in the history of ever.  I looooooooooooove me some books.  I love good books and trashy books  and shameful books (that last one is the hottest three bucks you'll ever spend, and Gideon Cross makes Christian Grey look like an underachiever).  My current favorite genre is biography/memoir.  I love reading people's stories.  From Jack Benny to the delightfully sordid complete collection of Kitty Kelley tomes that I keep close at hand, there is nothing more fascinating to me than the lives of real people.  So the 7-foot bookshelf next to my side of the bed that is busting at the seams?  The three more just like it downstairs?   Let's just assume they will be all full for the rest of my life.  I'm resisting the siren call of the e-reader, but the space-saver in me sees its appeal.  I fear I've passed this trait on to Boo, and I'm not one bit sorry :).  She takes so many books to bed with her that she falls asleep on top of them.  Parenting victory, there.

2.  Boo's Artwork From School.  I never thought I'd be That Mom.  I don't keep stuff.  Bits of paper and non-specific artistic renderings of nothing in particular?  Good heavens, why would I keep that?  Well I'll tell ya.  If my daughter made it, it is precious.  And for this reason, I have a bin that contains every.single.piece. of art that she has made at school since she was 3 months old.  It's probably some subconscious working mom guilt manifesting itself because these were created when she was not in my care, or some such twaddle.  Whatever.  If she stuck a piece of glitter to a paper plate next to a googly eye, you better believe that it's in that bin.

3.  Shoes.  Oh good heavens.  I'm a shoe girl.  When I find a pair of shoes that makes me happy I must have them.  I must wear them down to nubs until they are mere shadows of their former fabulous selves.  I must have them resoled.  And then I wear them down to nubs again.  And then I keep them because I can't possibly get rid of something that has been with me through such joys and wonderful memories.  I have shoes that people remember more than they remember me.  And that's fine.

4.  Greeting Cards.  Shocking, I know.  You'd think this would be a no-brainer for me.  But the occasions on which we are given cards are so fleeting, and cards are so intentional.  In the age of email and texts and Skype where it's so easy to just reach out wherever you are whenever the whim hits you, the act of going to the card aisle (or a stationery store *swoon*)  to pick out a card that reminds you of the recipient has such weight for me.  I have a friend who sends me just the most amazing cards.  They're perfect.  They're SO funny or touching and just perfect for our friendship.  We've been friends since Fall 1991 Sorority Rush (go Gamma Phi!) and I have every card she's ever sent me.  They are the story of our friendship and I treasure them.

5.  Random Useless Artifacts That Strike Me As Ridiculous.  I have a copy of our local power company's safety guide from the 1950s when the Nevada Test Site was doing above-ground testing.  It talks about how nuclear energy is our friend, but hiding under a desk will protect us.  Last year, we had a required exorcism all-staff retreat, and 200 people were given a 75-page, single-sided handout, and no more than five pages of it applied to anybody.  Stuff like this?  Priceless.  It reminds me of who I don't want to be, what I don't want to do, and to keep perspective about who I DO want to be.  I don't want to take myself too seriously, because when you do that, the people around you wait until you leave and then they laugh at you.  Not with you.  AT you.

We've all heard the stories about people who can move across the country and everything they own fits in their cars.  That's never been my goal. I can't imagine having this as my living room.

There's not enough going on in there to stimulate even the most boring conversation. There's no sign of anyone ever having passed through that space.  When the stars align, our homes are a reflection of who we are.  Not who we want people to think we are, or who we hope we are, or even who we used to be.  When you walk into the house of someone who knows who they are, it just flows.  You know where to put your purse, you sit down in a chair that is in just the right spot. and it just feels right.  That's my decorating style, and I hope it can be yours as well.


  1. I am the queen of The Purge. But you're right, some things are non-negotiable. When we lived on the gulf coast I got really good at the "grab & go" when we evacuated for hurricanes. I had My List-- of the things that HAD to come with us. You, photo albums, baby books & the shoebox of every letter Adam ever wrote me while we were in college. It wasn't a long list & honestly, after Katrina, I learned that those things that were in the back of my car (including my babies of course) were all that mattered. So I totally "get" this post. And wholeheartedly agree. There are a few things we can't live without. Everything else is clutter.

  2. I've never been big on keeping greeting cards, even the ones my daughter receives. I always manage to toss them, even though I really wanted to keep my daughter's ... But shoes and my kid's artwork - ABSO-FRICKIN-LUTELY !! I'm obsessed with shoes, and I think everything my daughter draws, colors or paints is adorable. The pages she does all by herself, I keep. But when they end up covered in my own renditions of Dora and Spongebob (she insists I draw them), I usually toss those. I also agree with you about the living room, and absolutely loved the little Sheldon reference :) I'm obsessed with that show !!!