Another Drawer Explosion, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

I didn’t realize another drawer explosion was about to happen until I got home from vacation, couldn’t find the key to my pickup and went drawer-diving for a spare…

Another drawer "explosion"

I don’t even know WHEN it became a junk drawer, I usually just open it a couple of inches to grab scissors or extra house keys when I need them… who knew the rest of this stuff was there.

My friend Susan says drawers and purses are like Dr. Who’s Tardis, Snoopy’s doghouse, and Harry Potter’s tent — they hold many times more than their actual size would indicate. Sadly, she observes, this does not hold true for suitcases.

Here’s a partial list of loot from the drawer:

  • 6 pairs of scissors. Yes, 6.
  • 4 pocket flashlights – 1 I just bought, not knowing the other 3 were here.
  • 9 keychains – 3 with tiny squeeze-flashlights of their own.
  • 2 pocket knives – 1 standard, 1 with Betty Boop.
  • Old stuff – an extra key to Bob’s old PO Box, a coupon from 2008 (to be fair, just 1) and these —

A ticket from the Empire State Building Observatory — that would be from 1998, just before Bob’s second surgery in NYC.

A U.N. Guided Tour button — I haven’t been, so, no clue.

A U.S. wheat penny and a 5-pfennig coin, way pre-Euro.

And is that Odie? … I can’t imagine how he got here, either.

Odds and ends found in the "junk" drawer

Drawer Oddities

Moving on…

  • 3 folding rain hats. circa 1950-60. These would have belonged to Bob’s mother because: Kansas. Through what wormhole did they arrive in my kitchen drawer?
1950s folding rain hats

I unfolded the Wonder Bread one and, amazingly, recognized that dot pattern, from childhood.

  • 3 mystery objects…

Mystery objects from the "junk" drawerEventually I noticed there’s a razor blade inside the yellow one, so it’s a paper cutter. The silver one’s hard to open, so I haven’t. The black one? I finally got it open.

Is it a compass?

Apparently it’s a compass, but it’s an indecisive one, much afflicted by the wobbles. And why does it have a ruler on the side?

The drawer’s back together now, with most of its papers and many of its objects filling the recycle bin, with a few useful ones to donate.  I even stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond today and treated myself to some drawer organizers to keep me honest. The last job to do is sort through the keys. Am I happy with my clean drawer? Yes — I’m jubilant.

Do you know what’s in your kitchen drawers?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge

Catching up with a past Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

I may be the last person left on earth who still likes to get on an airplane. With the crowds these days, even I have second thoughts, but our trip home from the UK last Thursday was a lucky one — the flight wasn’t full. Sam and I each had our own row, and mine included the window.

1st View of North America from the air

Coming Home – maybe it’s the deep blue sky that I find so enthralling.

I love watching for that first view of North America. Someday I’m going to figure out where this is and go there. Another bonus this flight — I know pollution isn’t always visible, but it’s comforting to see the air look clean.

1st View of North America from the air

Still on the way home… I don’t see signs of human occupation yet.

Earth: our big blue marble

Earth: our big blue marble.

It looks like marble in more ways than one, doesn’t it?

Now that I’m home, of course I’m having trouble getting my mind out of “vacation mode” and back to daily business. We all have our vacation rituals, and for me, it’s the afternoon coffee stop. No excuses now, must resist. That other earth — the yard — needs attention today. People go on vacation, weeds don’t.

Do you feel like going out for coffee today? Are you resisting?

More on the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Airline Ticket Sleeves, Goofy Collections Part 3, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

Unpacking a box from the basement, I found one more of Bob’s collections — vintage airline ticket covers (or are they sleeves? jackets? wallets?). Whatever we call them, they’re now a flash from the past. You may not even know what I’m talking about. Here’s a sampling —

Goofy Collections - Airline Ticket Sleeves After that, I made a stab at clearing my closet. I can’t do the Marie-Kondo thing and take everything out of all closets at once, there’s too much, but I thought I could take out a bit at a time. Then when I’m down to a manageable amount, I can consider her recommendations from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

I can’t complain about Bob for keeping his tickets because… in the closet, I found my collection.

Airline Ticket Sleeves and Boarding PassesWhat was I thinking?

The best I can figure out is this:  We both loved traveling. We loved the world, and the way that working for the airlines opened it up to us. I think it was a way — however misguided — to remember where we’d been, a time capsule that we’d open someday and look back on, like I just did. It seems related to the urge to save old passports for the stamps.

So in a way I did Marie-Kondo the ticket sleeves — with the synchronicity of finding both batches, I took them all out and went through them, admired them, and moved on.

Among my tickets I found something else

Forgotten Traveler's Checks

Gotta admire the helmet on that Centurion too.

It’s not the first time I’ve found unused travelers checks when closet-diving. It’s nice to have a little reward for my effort, and money always “sparks joy”, right? It also reinforces my resolve to keep looking closely when I sort things, rather than just chucking out the lot. And I’ll be sure to use the money for experiences, not stuff.

Here’s a funny thing — those ticket sleeves? People sell them on eBay. (I had to look) Will I try? Maybe I’ll give it a shot. But would Marie Kondo mess with eBay? Probably not.

Do you keep old passports, or other trip souveniers?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

Vintage Doll Dishes, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

I just found my doll dishes. I knew they were here somewhere.

Doll Dishes - tea set

Tea time in the doll world…

I don’t remember how old I was when I played with these, or which dolls were tea-drinkers. Although the dishes don’t take up much space, I certainly don’t need to keep them.

Just to get the scale in perspective, I’ll throw in an apple…Doll dishes - tea set

As is appropriate for a future vegetarian, my dolls had salad bowls too.

Wooden salad bowls for dolls

Judging by the fork on the right, at least one of the dolls liked to chew on the tableware.

I hope there are hungry/thirsty dolls out there somewhere who would love a tea party with my vintage dishes.

What did your toys eat?

P.S.I just checked eBay and I see that my dolls won’t be financing my retirement, but they might buy me a few apples.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

Selling Used Books, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Future

In the future I will have fewer books. But meanwhile, isn’t there always time for books?

Time enough for books...

Time titles, and time enough for books, or werewolves –see volume 4th from the left.  These are not on the give-away list (yet).

I’ve been selling books on Amazon since 2012, but took stock last week and saw I had three bookcases full of books still waiting for their new homes. Now that I’ve unpacked the last box of books from the basement, I took a hard look at what I had listed on Amazon.

In some cases, as time passed, other sellers listed copies of books for much less than I had, so prices had fallen below my minimum. The time had come to downsize my books for sale.

  • The project — close the listings and donate books that are least likely to sell.
  • The goal — measure my progress by freeing up a bookshelf.

The result ? Here’s the “Fiction” case, after consolidation and two trips to the library with donations…

Empty book case

Empty book case!

Now that I have an empty bookshelf I have to hurry up and get it out of the house, so there’s no temptation to fill it up again. Next project: investigate consignment stores.

I’m still selling books, just with a lower inventory than before. Meanwhile, I’ve been so busy that my post on the category “Future” didn’t get written until it was “Past”…

I could never have imagined a future in which I’d have too many books — what about you?

5 Things I Didn’t Know about Illustrator Eric Carle, 2 Books, and 1 Week Late for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light

Thanks to the High Museum of Art (Atlanta) for a great tour of I See a Story, an exhibition of illustrations from Eric Carle’s picture books —

Eric Carle Moon

The Moon in Half-Light

If you’re not already familiar with him by name, I’ll bet you’ll recognize him as the collage artist and author/illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and many more picture books.

Eric Carle Sun and Moon quote

There are always lots of things I don’t know, but here are the first five things I learned from the exhibition —

1 – He paints his own tissue paper for the collages (after early experiences with commercial paper that was not archival).
Eric Carle - painted tissue paper
2 – His favorite animal is the cat.
Eric Carle cats
3 – He’s also great with chickens (I love cats too, but I have fun collecting pictures of chickens).

Eric Carle Chicken

4 – The Grouchy Ladybug started out a bit differently.

Early version of Eric Carle's Grouchy Ladybug

Early book dummies are in the exhibition.

5 – His parents moved the family to Germany when he was six years old. He left behind a real-life friend, and based this illustration for Friends on a photograph of the two of them as children.

Eric Carle - Friends All that and I haven’t even got to the “2 Books” part of my title yet. Maybe I should save them for another post. I’m still sorting out books so stay tuned, I may find more than 2 of these surprises.

Meanwhile, here’s the intro to the exhibition, with a portrait of that famous caterpillar —

Eric Carle I See a Story

If you’re anywhere near Atlanta, see it at the High Museum, April 2 2016 through January 8 2017. The exhibition won’t be traveling, except to go back home to the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst MA.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge Half-Light

I See a Story at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA

“Dead Treez” at the MAD Museum & one more for the Weekly Photo Challenge:Dance

Here’s a detail from the Ebony G.Patterson exhibit Dead Treez at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York City —

MAD museum Ebony Patterson - Root and Shrub, 2014 - detail

Detail with a dancing boot, from “Root and Shrub, 2014” –  (mixed media jacquard photo tapestry with embroidery, glitter, cup and saucer, toy gun, and other embellishments)

MAD museum, Ebony Patterson, Root and Shrub

Backing up for some perspective… it’s a floor tapestry.

If it looks like a murder scene, yes, it’s that too.  The busy and glittery surfaces are a takeoff on flamboyant clothing from dancehall culture in Jamaica, and “inspired by reports of violent fatalities she sees circulated on social media.”

MAD museum Ebony Patterson Knowing nothing about all this, I needed to read all the notes to get an appreciation of what was going on.  In this case it may just be culture clash and my own myopia, but without the posted explanations, I’m afraid I would have thought “Oh, shiny,” and walked on by.

Here’s what the artist had to say –

I’ve been thinking about visibility and the internet in terms of bee-and-flower syndrome. The bee is attracted to the flower because of its coloring, because of it’s beauty, and it isn’t until the bee gets in that he discovers that the flower has the nectar that he wants. So you are attracted to the work because of its shininess, because of its prettiness, but it’s not until you get into the work that you start to realize that there’s something more.      — Ebony G. Patterson, Dead Treez

For me, it was the words rather than the surface that drew me in…What do you think?

More on the exhibition at MAD

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Dance