Day 68: A Unicorn, A Doll, A Puppet
A Beanie Baby! Something I never wanted but received and treasured, because it was from Catherine. She gave it to me for Mother’s Day or my birthday. I’m not sure which. I never removed the tag, because of course, you weren’t to do that. And I kept it out for a while. Then put it in a drawer. Then in a bag with the little doll and the puppet. They sat there, waiting for me to decide I could part with them. 
But, what of that little doll? It’s from childhood. But I have no real memories of it beyond that. I liked dolls all right, but wasn’t crazy for them. This one looks like a Madame Alexander. 
And the puppet? One of those purchases made out of my own desire more than my children’s wants. For several years, it decorated a bedpost in the guest room. It was such a puppet – so old fashioned. I was nostalgic for something I never had. 
They’ve had themselves for company but now I think it’s time they find another home (homes?). The time for dolls and puppets and unicorns has passed.

Day 68: A Unicorn, A Doll, A Puppet

A Beanie Baby! Something I never wanted but received and treasured, because it was from Catherine. She gave it to me for Mother’s Day or my birthday. I’m not sure which. I never removed the tag, because of course, you weren’t to do that. And I kept it out for a while. Then put it in a drawer. Then in a bag with the little doll and the puppet. They sat there, waiting for me to decide I could part with them. 

But, what of that little doll? It’s from childhood. But I have no real memories of it beyond that. I liked dolls all right, but wasn’t crazy for them. This one looks like a Madame Alexander. 

And the puppet? One of those purchases made out of my own desire more than my children’s wants. For several years, it decorated a bedpost in the guest room. It was such a puppet – so old fashioned. I was nostalgic for something I never had. 

They’ve had themselves for company but now I think it’s time they find another home (homes?). The time for dolls and puppets and unicorns has passed.

Day 64: A Cookie Mold
For many year, at the back of a smallish kitchen cupboard with glass-paneled doors rested an unglazed ceramic oval cookie mold of the cow jumping over the moon. It was a gift after Catherine was born from a family in the neighborhood and it came with a tiny booklet of recipes that has long since disappeared.

I was charmed by the thought of it. I have never used it. Catherine is 21.
Why did I hold on to it for so very long? For several years, I continued to believe that I would indeed use it some time. Then it just became something that was. It had lived in that cupboard for so long it simply belonged there.
As for why I never actually made cookies in the mold — which would have been giant cookies, but very fun — I can’t say. I don’t make too many different types cookies, though: Chocolate chip, ginger, the occasional always-looking-for-a-good-recipe-and-never-finding-it oatmeal raisin. Even at Christmastime, as tempted as I get by all the pretty cookie pictures, I make gingerbread cookies and snowballs.
This item, somewhat decorative but basically hidden these many years, has been added to a bag of miscellaneous items bound for Savers. Maybe someone there will buy it and figure out a way to make real use of it.

Day 64: A Cookie Mold

For many year, at the back of a smallish kitchen cupboard with glass-paneled doors rested an unglazed ceramic oval cookie mold of the cow jumping over the moon. It was a gift after Catherine was born from a family in the neighborhood and it came with a tiny booklet of recipes that has long since disappeared.

I was charmed by the thought of it. I have never used it. Catherine is 21.

Why did I hold on to it for so very long? For several years, I continued to believe that I would indeed use it some time. Then it just became something that was. It had lived in that cupboard for so long it simply belonged there.

As for why I never actually made cookies in the mold — which would have been giant cookies, but very fun — I can’t say. I don’t make too many different types cookies, though: Chocolate chip, ginger, the occasional always-looking-for-a-good-recipe-and-never-finding-it oatmeal raisin. Even at Christmastime, as tempted as I get by all the pretty cookie pictures, I make gingerbread cookies and snowballs.

This item, somewhat decorative but basically hidden these many years, has been added to a bag of miscellaneous items bound for Savers. Maybe someone there will buy it and figure out a way to make real use of it.

 
Day 49: A broken plate
I’m not sure how this plate broke. I found it in the trash this morning and immediately dumpster-dove it out. I like this plate! 
Catherine, home for the long weekend, had thrown it out after it broke because, well, it was broken, simple as that. But broken crockery takes on an importance all its own. Somehow it seems sad and wrong to toss it out. Which I told Catherine. Actually, what I said was, I wanted to at least say goodbye to the broken object.
“Did you just hear what you said?” she said, looking at me with amusement.
Besides, she pointed out, the plate had come from Savers and had only cost a pittance. Which may be, but that’s not the point. Still, I am no expert restorer. And I’ve already held on to more broken crockery than I will ever admit to in front of Catherine. What are my plans for this ceramic shards? 
Actually, I have a plan. I want to somehow affix them to the short concrete pilings at the base of our rebuilt porch. I’ve tried to disguise them with rocks, but the ceramic pieces (in my Martha Stewart fantasy) would perhaps do a better — or at least a more intentional — job. Odds of this really happening? Fifty-fifty, I think. 
As for the plate, I’m not sure why I’m so fond of this pattern, but Savers did seem to have a trove of it for a while. We have a couple of shallow bowls, about six luncheon plates and, now, just one of these dessert or bread plates. 
I’ve dug up small pieces of pottery out of our garden on occasion, presumably discarded there years and years ago. My sister has gone mudlarking on the banks of the Thames in London and found all sorts of interesting ceramics. It is just trash, but fun trash, interesting trash. 
Here’s to my broken plate — may it one day be someone’s interesting find.

Day 49: A broken plate

I’m not sure how this plate broke. I found it in the trash this morning and immediately dumpster-dove it out. I like this plate! 

Catherine, home for the long weekend, had thrown it out after it broke because, well, it was broken, simple as that. But broken crockery takes on an importance all its own. Somehow it seems sad and wrong to toss it out. Which I told Catherine. Actually, what I said was, I wanted to at least say goodbye to the broken object.

“Did you just hear what you said?” she said, looking at me with amusement.

Besides, she pointed out, the plate had come from Savers and had only cost a pittance. Which may be, but that’s not the point. Still, I am no expert restorer. And I’ve already held on to more broken crockery than I will ever admit to in front of Catherine. What are my plans for this ceramic shards? 

Actually, I have a plan. I want to somehow affix them to the short concrete pilings at the base of our rebuilt porch. I’ve tried to disguise them with rocks, but the ceramic pieces (in my Martha Stewart fantasy) would perhaps do a better — or at least a more intentional — job. Odds of this really happening? Fifty-fifty, I think. 

As for the plate, I’m not sure why I’m so fond of this pattern, but Savers did seem to have a trove of it for a while. We have a couple of shallow bowls, about six luncheon plates and, now, just one of these dessert or bread plates. 

I’ve dug up small pieces of pottery out of our garden on occasion, presumably discarded there years and years ago. My sister has gone mudlarking on the banks of the Thames in London and found all sorts of interesting ceramics. It is just trash, but fun trash, interesting trash. 

Here’s to my broken plate — may it one day be someone’s interesting find.

Day 46: Soccer socks, from a short-lived career

I loved playing soccer for that brief window of Sunday evenings I found myself on the field at Eldredge, playing with — mainly — other moms like myself.
I loved it even as it sometimes left me crippled for days afterward. For someone who had limited my playing-field surfaces to the size of a basketball or volleyball court, the length of a soccer field was nothing short of horrifying. And the unrelenting play exhausted me — no stopping to serve the ball or to take a foul shot, just running … up the field, down the field, back up the field, back down the field…
Running was pretty much all I did, since my ball-handling skills were awful. But I had verve enough to prove threatening on defense — assuming my legs and lungs held out.
It wasn’t until Monday that I’d learn just how wrecked I was. It was my quads — so sore I would have to sit down then use my hands to lift my legs into the car. Clearly, I could have been in better soccer shape. Should have been, even. But I wasn’t. The sprinting, the desperate attempts to further or stop the forward motion of the ball, was what got me. The other running/jogging I was doing just didn’t seem to help and was even discouraging to the extent that I had thought I was in good shape.
Sadly, I can’t seem to remember when I played soccer — before or after James. Before James (15 years ago!!!) seems so long ago. But I can’t envision playing after James. The socks came from former play-group buddy Kathy Gray and I wore them — briefly — with pride. I gave up soccer after just a couple of years, but the socks have lingered, both out of fondness and because they could work as part of a costume.
Except that I’ve never used them since those soccer days, for a costume or otherwise. So, goodbye soccer socks. May you log many more hours traveling up and down the soccer pitch … without me!

Day 46: Soccer socks, from a short-lived career

I loved playing soccer for that brief window of Sunday evenings I found myself on the field at Eldredge, playing with — mainly — other moms like myself.

I loved it even as it sometimes left me crippled for days afterward. For someone who had limited my playing-field surfaces to the size of a basketball or volleyball court, the length of a soccer field was nothing short of horrifying. And the unrelenting play exhausted me — no stopping to serve the ball or to take a foul shot, just running … up the field, down the field, back up the field, back down the field…

Running was pretty much all I did, since my ball-handling skills were awful. But I had verve enough to prove threatening on defense — assuming my legs and lungs held out.

It wasn’t until Monday that I’d learn just how wrecked I was. It was my quads — so sore I would have to sit down then use my hands to lift my legs into the car. Clearly, I could have been in better soccer shape. Should have been, even. But I wasn’t. The sprinting, the desperate attempts to further or stop the forward motion of the ball, was what got me. The other running/jogging I was doing just didn’t seem to help and was even discouraging to the extent that I had thought I was in good shape.

Sadly, I can’t seem to remember when I played soccer — before or after James. Before James (15 years ago!!!) seems so long ago. But I can’t envision playing after James. The socks came from former play-group buddy Kathy Gray and I wore them — briefly — with pride. I gave up soccer after just a couple of years, but the socks have lingered, both out of fondness and because they could work as part of a costume.

Except that I’ve never used them since those soccer days, for a costume or otherwise. So, goodbye soccer socks. May you log many more hours traveling up and down the soccer pitch … without me!

Day 42: Large Box of Macaroni - NOT! 

This pasta is OLD. It’s discolored and there’s dirt at the bottom of the box. It’s been handled and, no doubt, has seen a fair share of snot over the years. Yuck!

We don’t remember (even Neal, whose memory is legend) when we assembled the pasta box, but a good guess is six or seven years ago. The idea was to fill a container with something that will provide a positive sensory experience. It’s fun to dig your hands into a big vat of the stuff and James has always been about that sort of sensory experience. We used dried pasta, these elbows to be exact. This was to be an indoor activity and James loved it. But we ended up with pasta pretty much everywhere because after a little bit of controlled play (we’d set the box in the middle of a blanket and give him a cup to pour them out), James couldn’t resist flinging the stuff around. It happened every single time. It was completely impossible for James not to go crazy with it. 

The same dynamic played out in the bathtub. He would use a cup to pour water right up close to his face, practically on his face, to watch it flow out. But then he’d get a little more expansive — pouring water down the walls. Eventually, he would take the cup and throw the water up as far as he could. Naturally, this resulted in water on the floor outside the tub and some water damage and and and … 

So we weren’t unhappy when James grew out of taking baths. For years, James would happily while away 30 minutes or more, sitting in maybe 3 or 4 inches of water, playing-pouring. Then, a couple years back, he just started getting out of the tub soon after the water was turned off. Now, he takes showers. 

The box of pasta, however, was retired before James was ready to see it go. Actually, it wasn’t so much retired as removed to a high shelf and forgotten. I saw it this week and thought, okay, this can go.

Not so fast! I left the box on the counter in the kitchen last night and this morning? James was thrilled to see it. Put it on the floor, opened it up and started letting pasta drop through his fingers at close range. 

I guess that’s as good a sign as any that the pasta box stays. Although I’m thinking we might buy some new pasta for the box and maybe even wash it out. What the heck!

Day 42: Large Box of Macaroni - NOT! Small Container of Sugar, Yes
This pasta is OLD. It’s discolored and there’s dirt at the bottom of the box. It’s been handled and, no doubt, has seen a fair share of snot over the years. Yuck!
We don’t remember (even Neal, whose memory is legend) when we assembled the pasta box, but a good guess is six or seven years ago. So, the idea is to fill a container with something that will provide a positive sensory experience. Dried pasta or beans both fit the bill. It’s fun to dig your hands into a big vat of the stuff and James has always been about that sort of sensory experience. This was to be an indoor activity and James did love it. But we ended up with pasta pretty much everywhere because after a little bit of controlled play (we’d set the box in the middle of a blanket and give him a cup to pour them out), James couldn’t resist flinging the stuff around. It happened every single time. It was completely impossible for James not to go crazy. 
The same dynamic played out in the bathtub. He would use a cup to pour water right up close to his face, practically on his face, to watch it flow out. But then he’d get a little more expansive — pouring water down the walls. Eventually, he would take the cup and throw the water up as far as he could. Naturally, this resulted in water on the floor outside the tub and what turned out to be not the best idea we ever had: installing glass doors for that tub. 
He grew out of taking baths. For years, James would happily while away 30 minutes or more, sitting in maybe 3 or 4 inches of water, playing-pouring. Then, a couple years back, he just started getting out of the tub soon after the water was turned off. Now, he takes showers. 
The box of pasta, however, was retired before James was ready to see it go. Actually, it wasn’t so much retired as removed to a high shelf and forgotten. I saw it this week and thought, okay, this can go.
Not so fast! I left the box on the counter in the kitchen last night and this morning? James was thrilled to see it. Put it on the floor, opened it up and started letting pasta drop through his fingers at close range. 
I guess that’s as good a sign as any that the pasta box stays. Although I’m thinking we might buy some new pasta for the box and maybe even wash it out. What the heck!

Day 42: Large Box of Macaroni - NOT! Small Container of Sugar, Yes

This pasta is OLD. It’s discolored and there’s dirt at the bottom of the box. It’s been handled and, no doubt, has seen a fair share of snot over the years. Yuck!

We don’t remember (even Neal, whose memory is legend) when we assembled the pasta box, but a good guess is six or seven years ago. So, the idea is to fill a container with something that will provide a positive sensory experience. Dried pasta or beans both fit the bill. It’s fun to dig your hands into a big vat of the stuff and James has always been about that sort of sensory experience. This was to be an indoor activity and James did love it. But we ended up with pasta pretty much everywhere because after a little bit of controlled play (we’d set the box in the middle of a blanket and give him a cup to pour them out), James couldn’t resist flinging the stuff around. It happened every single time. It was completely impossible for James not to go crazy. 

The same dynamic played out in the bathtub. He would use a cup to pour water right up close to his face, practically on his face, to watch it flow out. But then he’d get a little more expansive — pouring water down the walls. Eventually, he would take the cup and throw the water up as far as he could. Naturally, this resulted in water on the floor outside the tub and what turned out to be not the best idea we ever had: installing glass doors for that tub. 

He grew out of taking baths. For years, James would happily while away 30 minutes or more, sitting in maybe 3 or 4 inches of water, playing-pouring. Then, a couple years back, he just started getting out of the tub soon after the water was turned off. Now, he takes showers. 

The box of pasta, however, was retired before James was ready to see it go. Actually, it wasn’t so much retired as removed to a high shelf and forgotten. I saw it this week and thought, okay, this can go.

Not so fast! I left the box on the counter in the kitchen last night and this morning? James was thrilled to see it. Put it on the floor, opened it up and started letting pasta drop through his fingers at close range. 

I guess that’s as good a sign as any that the pasta box stays. Although I’m thinking we might buy some new pasta for the box and maybe even wash it out. What the heck!

Day 40: The Cat In The Hat
James, our 14-year-old son with Down syndrome, sometimes becomes fascinated with an image and carries it around like a totem. This image of the Cat in the Hat juggling all variety of things was one of those. James loved it the picture. When we read the book, he would want to go to that page right away, or stay on that page instead of continuing forward. 
He would sit in bed or at a table for long stretches of time — 20 minutes, 30 minutes, more — just looking at this picture and laughing. 
So, when I saw this poster-size version, I bought it, thinking it would be a great addition to James’s room. Except that this particular version never caught fire with James the way the book picture did. It graced his wall for a while. When it came off the wall, I couldn’t part with it…. thinking that somehow James might have a change of heart. 
This week, I saw it and realized I was ready to give it up. So, Cat in the Hat, it really is time for you to go, with or without Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Day 40: The Cat In The Hat

James, our 14-year-old son with Down syndrome, sometimes becomes fascinated with an image and carries it around like a totem. This image of the Cat in the Hat juggling all variety of things was one of those. James loved it the picture. When we read the book, he would want to go to that page right away, or stay on that page instead of continuing forward. 

He would sit in bed or at a table for long stretches of time — 20 minutes, 30 minutes, more — just looking at this picture and laughing. 

So, when I saw this poster-size version, I bought it, thinking it would be a great addition to James’s room. Except that this particular version never caught fire with James the way the book picture did. It graced his wall for a while. When it came off the wall, I couldn’t part with it…. thinking that somehow James might have a change of heart. 

This week, I saw it and realized I was ready to give it up. So, Cat in the Hat, it really is time for you to go, with or without Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Day 37: A Knitted Cap
This hat is an import from the Dominican Republic, brought home by Heather MacDonald with dozens more like it as well as dozens of knitted scarves, so that she could sell them for the four Dominican women who made them. They live in the village of El Pedregal, in the mountains of the DR, far from the beach resorts. It’s beautiful in El Pedregal, but very poor. I’ve been there once. Heather and I attend the same church and our youth groups have been traveling to the village for more than 10 years now. Heather went as a high school student and has returned two or three times now that she’s an adult. It gets under your skin, this place.
Anyway, Heather brought back all these knitted items last fall in hopes of creating a market for them. She sold them after church one day and Neal came home with three items: two hats and a scarf. I kept the scarf, James got the red (his favorite color!) hat. The other hat was a little too small for James. So it sat for weeks that stretched to months. Then I realized who should have this hat. Our grand-neice Nevaeh, who lives with her parents in Queens. I am going to put it in an envelope and mail it off while it is still hat season.
And dream of returning to El Pedregal. Perhaps one day with James.

Day 37: A Knitted Cap

This hat is an import from the Dominican Republic, brought home by Heather MacDonald with dozens more like it as well as dozens of knitted scarves, so that she could sell them for the four Dominican women who made them. They live in the village of El Pedregal, in the mountains of the DR, far from the beach resorts. It’s beautiful in El Pedregal, but very poor. I’ve been there once. Heather and I attend the same church and our youth groups have been traveling to the village for more than 10 years now. Heather went as a high school student and has returned two or three times now that she’s an adult. It gets under your skin, this place.

Anyway, Heather brought back all these knitted items last fall in hopes of creating a market for them. She sold them after church one day and Neal came home with three items: two hats and a scarf. I kept the scarf, James got the red (his favorite color!) hat. The other hat was a little too small for James. So it sat for weeks that stretched to months. Then I realized who should have this hat. Our grand-neice Nevaeh, who lives with her parents in Queens. I am going to put it in an envelope and mail it off while it is still hat season.

And dream of returning to El Pedregal. Perhaps one day with James.

Day 35: Used Binders
The end of the school year returns more stuff to your house than you could have imagined. Every year, among the items were binders that are no longer new but still alive. Naturally, these binders could have been reused the following year. But, invariably, I allowed myself to fall into the “new stuff” maelstrom that is back-to-school shopping, and Catherine and Aidan were outfitted with all new supplies.
There was the occasional need for a binder around here. But not very often. So the old, serviceable binders piled up … eventually requiring their own shelf!
I’ve decided it’s time to set them free. I’d like to donate them to a school that could use them.
My parting words to those readers who may have young children: resist temptation. Boldly reuse!

Day 35: Used Binders

The end of the school year returns more stuff to your house than you could have imagined. Every year, among the items were binders that are no longer new but still alive. Naturally, these binders could have been reused the following year. But, invariably, I allowed myself to fall into the “new stuff” maelstrom that is back-to-school shopping, and Catherine and Aidan were outfitted with all new supplies.

There was the occasional need for a binder around here. But not very often. So the old, serviceable binders piled up … eventually requiring their own shelf!

I’ve decided it’s time to set them free. I’d like to donate them to a school that could use them.

My parting words to those readers who may have young children: resist temptation. Boldly reuse!

Day 34: A Broken Mirror
What do you do with a mirror that’s only a little broken? It seems a shame to toss it … yet would anybody want a broken mirror? Isn’t that bad luck? A quandary.
The mirror comes from Catherine’s bedroom. She painted the walls when she was home in January and has generally been in redesign mode on her room for a while now. The mirror is beveled, but with that little triangle out on one corner, it’s not right. And Catherine has another mirror in her room.
So I think I will be chucking it.
I really hate throwing things like that away. It seems such a lame why to fill up the landfill. Uh oh, I’m already thinking I can’t throw it away! Stop this train of thought! Really, what difference does it make?

Day 34: A Broken Mirror

What do you do with a mirror that’s only a little broken? It seems a shame to toss it … yet would anybody want a broken mirror? Isn’t that bad luck? A quandary.

The mirror comes from Catherine’s bedroom. She painted the walls when she was home in January and has generally been in redesign mode on her room for a while now. The mirror is beveled, but with that little triangle out on one corner, it’s not right. And Catherine has another mirror in her room.

So I think I will be chucking it.

I really hate throwing things like that away. It seems such a lame why to fill up the landfill. Uh oh, I’m already thinking I can’t throw it away! Stop this train of thought! Really, what difference does it make?