Requiem: Quinn Cup

Quinn was a student at The Emerson School and one year for Christmas she* gave me this mug.

I’ve always liked it because of the light handle and the shape. Plus, it has my initial on it.

Today though, the Quinn Cup came to it’s end. Alas. Now I need to find another go-to mug.

*Really, her mother gave me this mug. Quinn wasn’t much of a fan. But her mother liked me.

Requiem: collage photo frame

Soon after I came home today, there was a terrible crashing sound and I knew that something broke. After I reassured Antares that he was safe (as usual, Sentinel was only mildly affected) I went to the pantry to see what had broken. I found nothing. I couldn’t think of any other place in the house where something would crash and break. Puzzled, I returned to my usual evening duties.

It was only at the end of the night, when I was changing into my pajamas that I found the source of the noise and breakage. It was my collage photo frame, which had somehow fallen from its nail.

I was a little sad about this development. This is the frame where I print out my best eight photos (or, more accurately, my top four portrait-oriented photos and my top four landscape-oriented photos) from the proceeding year and then I can look at them throughout the next.

I’m not sure if it will be replaced. Time to take good photos seems to be in short supply right now. I still bring my camera with me to most places, but I rarely use it.

I’ll find my way back to photography, someday. In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed using this frame.

Requiem: Water Bottle

This water bottle was one of those volunteer thank you gifts I find so puzzling. I don’t need to be given gifts as a volunteer. I’m volunteering. Still, they come. Most are donated to the Goodwill, but some find their way into my life.

I’ve been using this bottle for many years, probably more than five and less than 10. It’s a good size, it’s never leaked, and is easy to wash.

Alas, when going through security I removed the top and then lost it, so I cannot use this water bottle any longer. I will miss it. Especially because water bottles can be quite spendy.

Where’s a volunteer gift when you need one? ūüôā

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