Sleepless Nights and Closet-Cleaning (Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird)

What to do if you wake at 3AM and can’t go back to sleep? Here’s a thought — get up and sort something out. For example, these purses came from a deep dark corner of my closet, the result of an early bird cleaning session.

Purses from the closet

Some I’ve carried, and (good grief!) some still have the tags.

My favorite purse was one I bought on a trip to Rome, longer ago than I care to admit. It was a man-purse. Sam tells me this is now referred to as a murse (not to be confused with a male nurse), or better yet, a satchel. Back then, only Italian men were brave enough or stylish enough to carry handbags, and theirs had all these great pockets and card sleeves and zipper compartments that were then lacking in women’s bags.

My 1980s Italian Man-Purse

Here’s my man-purse with the back flap open to show a few of the compartments – I used it until it was shabby and had to be mended. People told me that I looked like a meter maid when I carried it.

A few years later, womens’ purses with pockets caught on here in the States. I bought one, then apparently became fearful they’d go out of style and I’d never find another, so when they went on sale, I “stocked up”. Either that, or they’ve been breeding in the back of the closet ever since.

Admission: that first photo didn’t include the worn out purses I found. Yes! Somehow worn out purses got saved too. Was there anything in them? — well, um, yes.

Among other things… Two membership cards to the now-defunct Hollywood Video, a boarding pass, two fortunes, and a partly used packet of 32 cent stamps (I looked it up — U.S. 32 cent stamps were in use from 1995-1999).

Purse - archival contents

Assorted packets of stevia and one of now-petrified honey didn’t make it into the photo.

That’s all from my closet purse-museum. If I wake up tonight, it’s back to the file cabinet for more papers to shred — that closet is way too embarrassing.

What have you found in your closet lately?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird.


Tools, Extending our Reach, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat

We saw this explosion of tools-held-afloat at the newly reopened Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Manhattan last month. That’s ‘Tools: Extending our Reach,’ on until May 25 2015.

 Controller of the Universe (2007), by artist Damián Ortega in Tools: Extending Our Reach at the Cooper Hewitt

Tools Afloat at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum – “Controller of the Universe” (2007), by artist Damián Ortega

Here’s a closer look — Controller of the Universe (2007), by artist Damián Ortega - detail)This Robo-Bee is from the same exhibition. “The world’s first insect-scale flying robot has a wingspan of 3 cm (1 1/8 in) and is the approximate weight of a honeybee,” it’s designed to replicate the swarming behavior of bees and aid in the study of colony collapse disorder.

Tools, Extending our Reach (detail)

Wouldn’t you love to see one afloat?

Some food for thought, taken from the walls of the Tools exhibition —

Camera is a tool quote: A camera is a tool for learning to see without a camera. Cooper Hewitt.

Dorothea Lange

Elsie Mather (Yup'ik Quote)

Elsie Mather

Samuel F.B. Morse quote

Samuel F.B. Morse, of course. (Did you know he was also an artist?)

It’s hard to believe that at 10 years old I was relatively proficient in Morse Code. Back then I was helping my father study for his Amateur Radio license but now all I remember is … – – – …      I had to look this up to translate.

Do you know what Samuel F.B. had to say?

Meanwhile, on the homefront, I delivered a car-load of donations this morning and have another to deliver tomorrow. Now it’s back to the file cabinet to see what else I can get ready for the shredding event coming up the first week of May. Wish me luck —


For more on the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and on Tools: Extending Our Reach,

and on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat


Time, my Neck, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

I recently read the late Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About my Neck. I’m sorting books again today, and the clocks on the cover of this sci-fi novel made me think of the passage of time, which leads to the loss of physical energy and firm youthful skin — and now, I’m feeling bad about my neck.

Earth is Room Enough by Isacc Asimov

Time: it’s as fleeting and elusive as thin air.

Some women-of-a-certain age have plastic surgery. Some wear flowing scarves around their necks. But it occurs to me that there’s another solution — rooted in the past …

Portrait of a Woman 1633, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Portrait of a Woman 1633, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Photo courtesy of Web Gallery of Art)

Here’s my solution to the neck-thing — bring back the ruff! Too much trouble to launder, set, and starch, you say? No servants to help out? No problem — in the 21st century we have something better — 3D Printers.

Window display: 3d Printing display with Ruff potential

I saw this window display in Amsterdam (of course), and they aren’t ruffs, just examples of creativity in printing… still, see the potential?

At the Amsterdam Museum, there’s a corner where you can “take a photo of yourself as a member of the civic guard”…

Amsterdam Museum

Check it out: no turkey-neck! (but why is my ruff drooping on one side?)

Amsterdam Museum: Sam as Civic Guard

Sam’s turn.

What do you think of my idea? April Fool? (well maybe, but only a little bit)

Now it’s back to downsizing, and time to start sorting out the next shelf of books, but first, here’s the attribution for the book cover detail above.

Earth is Room Enough by Isaac Asimov, cover by Tony Palladino

Earth is Room Enough by Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), cover design by Tony Palladino (1930-2014), award winning designer and illustrator known for creating the book jacket and movie title typography for Psycho.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral