Requiem: Folding Bag

This was my first folding bag of this type. I bought it at Powell’s at the station of travel things they used to have at the top of the stairs to the Purple Room. I liked it so much I went back and grabbed a second one. This one lived in the bag that would be called a purse, if I liked that word. It folded to a small bundle and was easy to whip out whenever anyone asked if I needed a bag.

I liked the material. It was very strong, but also soft and felt a bit like satin. I repaired it several times, reinforcing that bottom that wanted to give way, but I think we’ve reached the end of the useful life.

Goodbye folding bag. I’m on the lookout for your successor.

Requiem: Hot Pads

These were part of a set my Aunt Carol brought back to me from Hawaii as thanks for watching her cat. The hand towel that went with them and my aunt’s cat have all departed this earth, but the hot pads were solidly constructed and lasted and lasted. Kind of like the low-pile green carpet I remember from my childhood. I bet that would still look fairly fine, if it was in the house I grew up in.

However, all things eventually do wear out and the hot pad on the right doesn’t have enough padding to keep me from burning myself, so these must head off into the great beyond.

Thank you for your service!

Requiem: Silicone Spatula

This was given to me as a Christmas gift and it spent some time at The Emerson School because I had too many spatulas. Eventually though, I ran low again at home and I brought this back home.

I liked the stainless steel handle combined with the silicone head. Just the right amount of hard and soft!

Sadly, eventually the silicone broke down and split, so to the great garbage can in the sky this goes.

Requiem: Nightstand

I grabbed this dresser from the free pile in the basement of the Rosefriend Apartments. (That building was demolished in the mid-aughts.) It’s been my bedside dresser ever since.

I’ve always liked it. It’s solid wood (though with that flimsier wood-like substance furniture manufacturers used for the bottoms of drawers for a period of time.)

I like that it’s just the right size, has both a drawer and openings to store things. And I like that little bit of embellishment at the bottom.

I’ve thought, several times over the years, about refinishing it or painting it, but it never made it to the list of things to do. So it continued on doing its job of holding my bedside lamp, books and other sundry things.

Now it will go to find a new home. I hope they enjoy this little nightstand as much as I have for almost 20 years.


1994. I was a freshman, settling in to my second semester. It was an optimistic time. I felt at home in college, Hillary Clinton was going to make sure everyone in the US had access to healthcare before I graduated from college—Time had even published a mockup of the national health insurance card—and women were ascendant, something that made choosing a women’s college seem like a brilliant decision.

My government professor had everyone pick a special project for the semester. Mine was to keep up with the doings of the Supreme Court. There was some end-of-semester assignment, now long forgotten, but I what I do remember is that I needed to read the New York Times and other publications like Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, to keep track of what SCOTUS was up to.

I liked this assignment. In my picture of my impending adulthood, I saw myself always making time to sit down and scour the news, keeping up on current events, informing myself about the issues, and being able to talk intelligently about not only the Supreme Court but also state and local issues. I would for-sure be a person who always had a subscription to not only my local newspaper, but also the New York Times.

I loved following the Supreme Court. Rehnquist, Blackmun, Stevens, O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg. Blackmun was the key to the reason I’d grown up in a country where abortion was legal. He would retire that year, making way for Breyer, and that court would stay the same until 2005, when I was well into my imagined adulthood with no national healthcare and no subscription to the New York Times.

One of the things I loved about the Supreme Court was that it stood above politics. We said that all the time then, and talked about how the Founding Fathers (we used that term without much comment) designed the Constitution so that the Supreme Court was above the fray. The justices were appointed for life! They often went off in different directions than the presidents who appointed them!

And Ruth Bader Ginsburg was my favorite. A tiny woman with a big brain who wore lace collars on her robe, I took her nomination as one of the many signs the country was shaking off the conservative shackles I’d come of age chafing under. Her appointment and confirmation meant we were moving to a brighter future where women could finally fulfill their potential, and the idiotic notions of supply-side economics and shaming people who needed help were finally behind us.

It was so important to have more than one woman on the court. I’d watched with worry as several big decisions about abortion rolled through the court in the 80s and early 90s. It seemed ridiculous that eight men could properly put the importance of access to that procedure in context. Ginsburg was smart, and as I listed to Mara Liasson’s NPR stories about the Supreme Court I always held still to make sure I could feel the weight of Ginsburg’s words.

And now it’s many decades later, and I woke to the news she is gone. I’m no longer a college freshman optimistic about my future. I watched a talented, competent woman with clear platforms and tons of experience lose an election to a man with no plans, no respect for the people he supposedly serves, and no real desire to do the job. The healthcare system is a mess, the problems of systemic racism seem insurmountable, and the Supreme Court is not far above the fray, it’s right in swamp throwing elbows with the other two branches. My life is not what I planned it to be; it’s far from the rosy picture my nineteen-year-old-self envisioned.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life didn’t run its course as she planned. When I think of her, graduating at the top of her class, taking the hits of overt sexism, and interviewing with law firm after law firm, it’s hard to think about. She was sidelined, like so many women and people of color, and we lost years of her (and so many others) contributions.

But she kept going. She stayed with her love of the law however she could and eventually was appointed to a position only 113 other people have ever held, becoming one of six people to ever serve on the court who weren’t white men.

I’m pretty sure Ginsburg was set to retire once Clinton was elected president. She was already very old, and her health was turning. Her husband had died, and she had served for more than two decades. But when the election fell out a different way, she just kept going.

I was going to have a lazy day today. I’m tired from more than a week of wildfire smoke, worn down by this pandemic, beyond feeling anything about the current administration, sick at the amount of hatred and willful ignorance displayed by so many, and forever worried about how my health will affect my finances, now and in the future. The best course of action seemed to be to sink into my bed and my couch and let this day pass.

But Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead, and she worked so long against such long odds for so many things that have made my life better, either overtly or tangentially. So I’m going to make my bed and get dressed. What I do today won’t matter much in the world, but it will matter in my life. If I don’t take care of my needs, I can’t do the work I need to do to make a better life for myself and my community. Today is the first day without RBG and it’s another one of the many days in my life where what I do makes a difference.

I thank Ginsburg for her service. And I will do my best to make my own service ongoing.

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? 🙂

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.