Requiem: Grandma shirt

One of the many things I find annoying, now that I’ve sized out of the standard retail sizes, is how ugly a lot of the shirts are. Why do people who manufacture clothing for large women think we want an abundance of 1)ruffles and 2)sequins on our shirts? I don’t want either of those things, and I’ve not met a fat woman who does.

I did, however make a sequin exception for this shirt. I did this in part because there are only a few sequins around the collar, and in part because I loved this paisley pattern.

Somewhere in this house is a photograph of my grandparents and me when I was still a baby. It’s not a great photo of any of the three of us. But my grandmother is wearing a fabulous mid-70s polyester paisley shirt. And so when I bought this shirt, I named it the Grandma Shirt.

It’s been a loyal three-season companion for at least two years now. But it’s worn out, and even I can take only so much paisley. 

Thanks, Grandma Shirt,  for being such an awesome shirt that I overlooked your sequins.

Requiem: Knife

This is a Romanian knife you are looking at!  I visited Hungary & Romania with the church youth group in 2005 (and also 2008, but did not acquire any knives on that trip.) While in Romania, we visited a grocery store to pick up things for a picnic and one of the things the tour leaders brought was this knife.

It somehow got packed into one of the other chaperone’s things and when we were repacking before our flight back to the US, she asked if anyone wanted it.  I volunteered and it’s been a good workhorse since that time.

Requiem: The Below-Thirty-Degrees Coat

Is there anything better than a plaid wool coat?

This was my coat for when it gets really cold* in Portland. It’s wool construction makes it super warm, and I pair it with real gloves (not the $1 stretchy guys I usually wear) and a hat that covers my ears and neck.  Then, I’m ready for any sub-30 degree weather. (Portland rarely sees temperatures in the 20’s and even more rarely does the mercury drop to the teens.)

However, my hips have exceeded the capacity of this coat, and thus I am sending it off to be consigned.  Hopefully, the next person will love it as much as I do.

*I realize that Portland’s “really cold” is laughable when compared to other areas.  I’ve lived in colder places, and had more intense coats.   But intense coats are not needed here.

Requiem: Thermos

It was 1998. I read a book by Deepak Chopra about Ayurvedic medicine.  I was putting the recommendations into place.  I bought a tongue scraper*, a loofah for dry-skin brushing, made some ghee.

(*I still have that same tongue scraper and it’s something I heartily recommend. Get a tongue scraper.  Your mouth health will improve!)

I was supposed to drink peppermint tea in the afternoon.  However, there was no way to make peppermint tea at my place of work.**

(**Motion Industries, Somerville, Mass. First job out of college)

So one dark New England night, I convinced my college boyfriend (at that point, I guess he was a post-college boyfriend) to drive me to a local variety store whose name escapes my memory.  There, I bought a full-length mirror, and this thermos.

I didn’t take to the peppermint tea ritual.  But the thermos hung around and later, working at the Extension service, I would boil water in the morning, drop in a tea bag, and then drink the two cups of tea over the course of the morning. That habit followed me to the next job, and the next, and to the current job.

But today, this thermos was dropped one too many times and it has ceased to function.  I’m very sad to see it go.  I liked getting two cups out of tea out of one tea bag.  I liked the sound the tea made when it poured from the thermos.  I drew comfort from using the same item year after year.

Thermos, you’ve been well worth whatever the amount I paid for you. (I’m pretty sure it was less than $15.) Thank you for such good service.

Requiem: Fan, CD player

After I graduated from high school, I went through all my things and discarded large swaths of my childhood. I donated a big box to my friend’s father’s favorite cause.  They had a fundraising garage sale every year.  I also renovated an antique trunk to store all my important childhood things in.  I prepared to leave home, but I don’t remember doing much to prepare myself for college.

My mother did a lot of that.  The college sent a list, and that summer I would come home from work to discover things had been purchased. I still have the stapler she bought me, and I probably haven’t yet gone through the box of staples that came with it.

One of the things that we did buy was a fan.  I was thinking this was bought in Boise, but it might have been one of the items we waited to purchase when we got to school.  If that was the case, it came from Walmart, which was the only shopping option in Nevada, Missouri.  If not, I think it came from K-Mart.

And this was my fan, for years and years afterward.  When the weather cooled off, I disassembled it and put it back in its original box.  It was mailed back to Boise when I finished up at Cottey, and I mailed it from Boise to Amherst when I went to UMass.  Then it traveled back across the country in the moving truck when I left Somerville.
I haven’t used it the last few years. Matt brought home an oscillating fan from work that is in better shape, so I haven’t gone through the ritual unboxing and assembling.   We were cleaning out one of the sheds and I decided it was time to let it go.  Thanks fan, for keeping me cool all those hot and humid summers.  And thanks, Mom, for making sure I had what I needed for college.


I was very resistant to the compact disk.  I loved records, particularly loved 45s, and hated how CDs took over and the 45s disappeared from the stores.  I hated that they were more expensive than records or cassettes and it drove me crazy that everyone made the switch. They didn’t sound THAT much better.  I didn’t start buying CDs until 1997, when my college boyfriend was getting rid of his old boom box (we might have still been calling them ghetto blasters then?) and asked me if I wanted it.  I said yes, and bought a few CDS.  One of them was “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Soundtrack Volume 1,” another was The Brian Setzer Orchestra, “Dirty Boogie.”To this day, I can’t listen to either of those CDs. I played them too often to ever hear them again.  (Though I still enjoy certain songs of Ella Fitzgerald’s from that album.)

I can’t say I loved this boom box, it was more of  a means to an end. But for the past decade I’ve felt warm feelings while looking at it, remembering the things I liked about the college boyfriend, remembering being young in the big city of Boston, cooking dinner and listening to my CDs.  There are so many things I don’t miss about that time in my life, but it was the time I was young, and I’m happy I got to be young, living in an old town, trying to figure my post-college life out.

There is an imagined parallel life that is running constantly in my mind. One where I got married and had kids when my mom did.  If I’d replicated her life, my daughter would be 12 now, and my son 10.  I remember being 12 and that things in my childhood that had always been there started to wear out and be replaced.  It felt weird to have new dishes when we’d always had the white ones that were wedding presents.  I think about how maybe that imaginary daughter would be astounded to see something leave that had always been there, something that she had spent her childhood playing CDs, before she discovered streaming.

Or maybe she wouldn’t have noticed.

Requiem: Merrell shoes

I bought these at Pie Footware and they were magical shoes.  I loved their design combining tweed and plaid.  They also were the type of shoes that made my feet look much smaller then they are, and they came with a Vibram sole. Overall, a very big win.

They have slipped from the rotation though, so it’s time to move them along.  Thanks cute shoes, for being so cute.

Requiem: Purple Bowl

Oh purple bowl!  You came to me in an Easter care package my mother mailed me when I was living in Somerville, Massachusetts.  I don’t recall the other things in that package, but I took to you immediately. You were a big bowl, but not very heavy and you got a lot of use.  I planned to keep you with me for many more years.   But no.  You were in the oven, doing your job of proofing bread, and I forgot about you and preheated the oven to 400 degrees.  IMG_5451

No bread for me.  And worse, no more purple bowl.  I’m sorry you didn’t get a longer life.  And I’m also sorry I didn’t get to complete the last thing on my to-do list this weekend. IMG_5452

Requiem: Yellow Job Notebook

Once upon a time, a teacher told me to keep a notebook with all the information I would need to apply for a job.  I believe this was my ninth grade reading teacher, and her name has fallen out of my memory, though I can picture her classroom, where it was located (in a school that has now been torn down) and the fact that Ryan Fitzgerald was in that class with me.

I thought this was good advice and I wanted a job, so I found a notebook and started my list.  [And now I see that it can’t be my ninth grade reading teacher who told me, because the first entries were all put at the same time and I didn’t start working until tenth grade. So I’m not sure what happened there.  Maybe I had a different notebook as a starter notebook?]

At any rate, I’ve kept it all these years, adding to it every time I started a job search again. In tidying last year, I set it in my inbox to transition to a Word document, because job hunting has changed and no longer do I need to fill out paper applications (thank god).  I’ve finally made a word document called “Yellow Job Notebook”, but thought I would capture it one last time before I sent it on its way.  Notice the addition of my typing speed and the type of printer I once owned.IMG_5443

Here’s the first page.  Ah memories.  Wild Waters doesn’t even exist anymore.  Though someone has made a helpful Facebook page of Where Wild Waters Used to Be  and some photos.  And look at my rates of pay!IMG_5444

Requiem: microplane grater


I can no longer remember who bought me this grater.  My best guess is that it was my Aunt Carol as she enjoys going to the kitchen stores.  But I’ve had it for probably 10 years or more and it’s been a good grater.  So good that I went out and bought a new one the next day.  Thanks microplane grater. You did a lot of work in your time.

Requiem: Two Bags

This is a red Timbuk2 bag I bought three or four years ago to be my main work bag.  It was great! That double zipper in the front was to hold a yoga mat (Or a 2×4! quipped Tim when I showed it to him.  I never ever used it to hold a yoga mat or any lumber, but remembering his comment made me smile on multiple occasions.)  It was roomy inside, had good pockets for my various things, I liked the color and plus…IMG_5034

It could convert into a backpack if the occasion called.  This came in handy when I wanted to take a long walk.  Despite washing, it’s pretty stained, and my new go-to-work routine calls for a real backpack, so this bag will be moving along.IMG_5035

I bought this bag in preparation for my Washington DC trip in 2009. It was exactly what I needed: a smaller bag that held a ton of things.  And that’s what it has been.  It’s pretty, and its faux leather and maybe partially suede exterior doesn’t show stains. It easily holds my cell phone, camera, a book (sometimes two) a water bottle, plus a small notepad and pens and pencils.IMG_5036

Those things on the side were manufactured to hold water bottles, but water bottles didn’t really fit.  So I put a foldable bag in one and sunglasses in another.  It was all very handy.IMG_5037However, it’s pretty worn out.  It will move onto it’s second life.  Originally I thought the second life would be to go to the Goodwill, but I realized at work today I need a bag to put bank deposits in.  So I will bring it to work.