Looking at life through orange colored glasses…

Archive for the tag “random”

Please Stop Expressing your Condolences that I have a Teenage Daughter.

I met a new neighbor yesterday.  Upon hearing that I have a teenage daughter, she replied, “I’m sorry.”

This happens quite frequently.  Someone asks me how old my children are and when I mention my teenage daughter the response is often, “My condolences,” or “I’m sorry,” or “Can I get you a glass of wine?”

I’m writing this today to ask of you: please stop expressing your condolences that I have a teenage daughter. I’m not the least bit sorry or upset about it.

Yes, she sometimes rolls her eyes or uses “that tone.” Occasionally, when I ask her to help me to unload the dishwasher she replies, “No thanks, I’m good.” My daughter some times does these things, but these things do not define her. Look past the occasional eye rolls, dramatic interludes, and the ear buds that seem to have taken up permanent residence in her ears and you will see that my teenage daughter is not someone who needs apologizing for.  She is, in fact, nothing short of amazing.

Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in first grade, my now 14-year-old is one of the bravest and strongest people I know.  Every morning, she gets out of bed knowing that at some point during the day she will need to battle an inner demon and she knows there is a chance she won’t win.  Yet, every morning, she gathers her courage, puts on her emotional armor, and goes to school.  Do you remember middle school? Not exactly a nurturing haven of emotional safety nets (even at her tiny private school there is a fair amount of middle school drama and kids who say mean things).  Nevertheless, she persists.

My teenage daughter is fierce.  She is a self-proclaimed feminist and social justice warrior who is forging her own path in the world.  She has relevant and informed opinions about issues impacting our town, our country, and our planet. She will stand up for people if she thinks they are being treated unfairly – even if they are someone my daughter considers to be, in her words, “a butt.”

My teenage daughter is developing a strong sense of self. She has no interest in wearing something because someone else is wearing it and, so far, she thinks peer pressure is “stupid.” She is authentic and real and won’t apologize for being an independent thinker or outspoken young lady.  She is unapologetically her own person and we encourage her to be just that.

My teenage daughter is interesting.  She reads books and asks questions and is curious about the world.  And yes, occasionally, halfway through my answer to a question she has just posed to me she will completely stop listening. She is, after all, still a teenager.  She is still learning.  But I’m an adult and I’m still learning too.  Sometimes, I roll my eyes and use “that tone,” and overreact to a frustrating but inconsequential situation.  Where do you suppose they learn that behavior to begin with?

It seems to me that women already apologize far more than necessary, sometimes, merely for existing.  Do we really need to exacerbate that problem by apologizing for teenage girls even being a thing? Again, I can’t speak for anybody else’s teenage daughter but I suspect that if you look past the eye rolls, and the obnoxious tone of voice and the drama that sometimes accompanies them you will find that there is a lot of complex, beautiful, and amazing stuff going on right under the surface.

So, if I mention that I have a teenage daughter, ask me how she’s doing or what she’s involved with or what her opinion is on a $15 minimum wage (she does actually have an opinion on that) but please, do not apologize.



Reflections on BronyCon 2014

Getting into the spirit.

My six year old and I getting into the spirit.

I just returned from my first ever fan convention- BronyCon 2014.  I spent the weekend posting pictures to my Facebook Account which garnered many likes but prompted the frequent question- What is a Brony?  The term “Brony” was coined a few years ago to represent the adult (many of them male) fans of the newest generation of My Little Pony– Friendship Is Magic.  The word “Bro” was mashed with “Pony” and the term “Brony” was born.   Since it’s inception, the Brony community has expanded to include the entire fandom of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (MLP:FIM) and BronyCon- the convention for these fans is a family friendly event with a little something for everyone.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not technically a Brony.  My husband and I attended the convention with our two daughters (ages 11 and 6) after they begged, pleaded, and nagged us endlessly about going.  That said, I have seen episodes of MLP:FIM and am supportive of my kids watching it because it emphasizes the values of friendship (friendship always wins!!), kindness, inclusiveness, and teamwork.

For the most part, the staff, panelists, and Bronies themselves seemed to promote these values too.  Attendees enthusiastically supported each other during the open mic event, chatted amiably with each other while waiting for sessions to begin and participants in costume were very generous about allowing people, especially kids, to have their pictures taken with them.

The Brony fandom is diverse and the convention sessions reflected that diversity.  There were sessions on making MLP themed plushies and pony ears and creating Cos Play costumes on a shoestring budget.  There were panel Q& A’s with show producers, voice actors, and episode directors.  We especially enjoyed “Are You Smarter than a 5th Season Producer?” where fans lined up to try to stump the people who write, act, and produce for the show by asking MLP:FIM trivia questions.  There were psychology based sessions about bullying, fandom and gender, and creating comprehensive psychological profiles of the ponies.  And specifically for the under 12 crowd were sessions such as “Pinkie Pie Party Games,” and “20 questions with Big Macintosh,” and a children’s sing-a-long.

We met Bronies as young as 3 years old and there were some in their fifties and sixties.  Bronies, it appears, come in every shape and size, and represent a variety of races and nationalities. They walk on two legs and roll in wheel chairs.  They choose costumes without regard to preconceived notion of gender.  All of this diversity was embraced and celebrated within the walls of the Baltimore Convention Center.  While waiting on line to enter various sessions Bronies would fist bump – I mean hoof bump – each other while chanting “fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.”  All that really mattered was that everyone was having a good time.

No matter where an attendee came from, how old they were, what they looked like, or who they felt was the best pony (Pinkie Pie is a definite fan favorite) everyone seemed to feel validated as an individual.  I especially appreciated that questions to panelists asked by children were taken just as seriously as the questions posed by the adults.  And I loved watching children turn to the adult Brony next to them and ask, “Who is your favorite pony?” and then get a valid reply.  Who would have thought that My Little Pony could be the great equalizer?

I was touched by one of the questions I heard asked at one of the sessions I attended.  Leading the session was a panel of four psychologists from different colleges researching the psychology of fandoms and the Brony fandom in particular.  A young man stood at the microphone and asked the panel – so many people judge Bronies (and other fandom members) in a negative way.  How can we convince people that we have a positive message to share?   I immediately thought of something I had overheard that morning while crammed in our hotel elevator.  A man staying in the hotel was commenting in a negative way about a boy they had seen dressed as a unicorn as if this was some kind of unspeakable tragedy.  When the elevator door opened and they exited, they past a gentleman wearing a cape.  The man from the elevator turned around and gestured to his family to look at the costumed gentleman while they rolled their eyes and snickered.  I feel like the young man who was asking the question at the convention session was echoing a larger question looming in today’s society which is- How do we get people to approach each other with curiosity instead of judgement?  How do we convince people that ‘different’ is not the same as ‘deviant.’  One of the panelists commented that the Brony fandom was the most social and inclusive fandoms she had studied and that she hoped that as the fandom grew and became more well known people would become more receptive to hearing the message of MLP: FIM. I agree but would add that people who participate in fringe cultures, fandoms, or who hold strong opinions outside the mainstream culture are hugely important in expanding the definition of what is considered okay or acceptable by mainstream society.  The more people push boundaries, question the norm, and express themselves however they are comfortable doing so, the more inclusive society becomes.  As we continue to push and stretch boundaries more and more people move from being considered outsiders to being accepted as ‘normal.’   Eventually, those people who are narrow minded and judgmental will find themselves on the outside looking in.

Ultimately, BronyCon was a fun and educational experience for me and my family.  I would love to hear from any Bronies who might be out there reading this.  Were you at the convention?  Do you think that the Brony fandom is more inclusive and diverse than other fandoms?  Anyone thinking that they just might have to check out MLP:FIM when Season 5 eventually airs?

Just a few of the really creative costumes we saw over the weekend.

Just a few of the really creative costumes we saw over the weekend.


What Kind Of Legacy Do You Want To Leave?

When I was a senior in high school I auditioned for a lead role in our school musical.  I didn’t get it.  I auditioned for solos in choirs that were awarded to other people and applied for leadership opportunities that I didn’t get.  I must have lamented about my bad luck to my parents because I remember them saying to me once, “Maybe the universe is trying to tell you it has bigger plans for you.”

I carried that with me for a while, wondering when my “big moment” would arrive.  But as life went on I came to realize that my most rewarding moments were the little ones.  Thoughtful gestures, small acts of kindness, being there for my friends, volunteer opportunities, making somebody smile- it was in these moments that I felt happiest with myself and most connected to my community.

I decided that the universe wasn’t telling me it had something bigger in store- it was telling me that the legacy we leave is not in our grand gestures or public performances but in how we live our small moments every day.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the legacy I want to leave behind when I am eventually gone.  What do I want people to remember about me?  The answer to this question puts everything into perspective for me, clarifies my values, and helps me focus my energy each day on the things that really matter.  If I want to be remembered as being a devoted and loving mother, wife, sister, and daughter then my first priority should be my family.  If I want to be remembered as being a positive person then I need to put myself out there every day in a positive way.  If I want to be remembered as being kind and thoughtful then I should deliberately choose kind words and be mindful of the feelings of others.

That’s not to say that anyone should say or do nice things solely because they want people to think highly of them- but if we think about the kind of legacy we want to leave behind it can help us focus on the values and priorities that are most important to us and help us to not get distracted by life’s minor inconveniences or dragged into other people’s negative drama.

Instead of waiting around for our big moment to shine, why not make every small moment count?  Put yourself out there in a positive way, be kind and thoughtful whenever possible, get to a place of peace and forgiveness as quickly as possible.  Being open minded is good- being empathetic is better.  Try to go 24 hours saying only positive things.  If you have nothing positive to say choose to say nothing.  Make somebody smile.  Express gratitude.  Go out of your way to find a silver lining.  After a while, those silver linings just start jumping out at you.  Create a living legacy of kindess, positivity, and gratitude that others will want to emulate.

We only get one life. We don’t get to choose everything that happens to us in that life but we do get to choose the kind of legacy we want to create now and leave behind when that life comes to a close.  In thinking about how we want to be remembered perhaps we can better choose how we decide to live.

Stay Gold

 During my junior year of college I spent about six months in an on again off again relationship with ‘S.’ It would be an understatement to say that S and I were not compatible.  More than anything, I think we were sort of fascinated with each other.

I had a pretty idyllic childhood, raised in a small rural town on the east end of the north shore of Long Island.  My family was (and remains) very close.  We weren’t rich but we always had what we needed.  There were family game nights, sing-alongs in the car, and we always said, “I love you.”  Life was not perfect but I learned pretty early on that life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

S came up hard, an economically disadvantaged inner city kid from the West Coast.  He had been exposed to violence and drugs at an early age.  His parents were physically there but not very affectionate or present in his life.  S didn’t talk about his family much, but he did share the following story with me about his dad:

One day, S’s dad was walking along a river.  A stray cat walked up to him and rubbed against his legs purring.  S’s dad picked up the cat and threw him into the river.  The cat swam back to shore walked back up to S’s dad and again rubbed against his legs purring.  S’s dad once again picked up the cat and threw him into the river.  The cat again swam back to shore and again rubbed against S’s dad’s legs. For a third time S’s dad picked the cat up and threw him in the river.  When the cat came back a third time, S’s dad decided that he and this cat were meant to be together.  S said that the only time he ever saw his father cry was when this cat passed away years later.

By the time I met him, S had done a lot to turn his own life around.  After losing a close friend to a drug related shooting S made the decision to move East and start anew.  He had found a full time job working in the warehouse of a shipping company and was taking classes part time at the local community college. He was hoping to transfer to a four year university and major in business.  I was impressed that he was working so hard to make a better life for himself and told him so.  Still, I often got the feeling that S only partly believed that he was someday going to get where he wanted to be.  I’m not sure he believed he deserved his success.  S seemed to constantly be waiting for something “bad” to happen that would give him the excuse to say, “See, I told you I couldn’t do it – I’m just going to go back to selling drugs.”

One day over winter break, S called me in New York to lament about his grade report for the semester.  He was tremendously disappointed with the B and two C’s he had earned in his classes.  I remember saying something to the effect of, “less than four years ago you were selling drugs, then using drugs, then grieving the loss of your best friend because of your involvement with drugs.  Now you are clean, working full time, going to college.  The fact that you are disappointed in a B and two C’s means you care.  That’s a good sign.”  I told S that he could do anything he wanted.  He just needed to keep moving forward.

We had a lot of these conversations.  I gave a lot of pep talks.  S told me that he liked talking to me; that I made him feel good about himself but I don’t think he ever internalized what I was saying.  I think he wanted to but he had seen too many discouraging things to just “have faith” that things would work out.  We often would have lengthy philosophical conversations about the state of the world, about good vs. evil, about whether one person really had the ability to make the world a better place.

Not surprisingly, S felt pretty strongly that anyone who truly felt they had the ability to make a real difference was being naïve and idealistic.  People who do nice things for others, he told me more than once, generally have an ulterior motive for doing so.  People are selfish, he said, and they have to be.  If you don’t look out for yourself first you will get completely taken advantage of.  He would tell me the story of the man who nursed a snake back to health only to have the snake bite him.  “You knew I was a snake all along,” the snake tells the man in the story.  I think that S saw himself as that snake- certain that no matter how hard he tried or how much other people believed in him, he was only going to end up disappointing them and himself.

My optimism drove S crazy.  I was young and idealistic and truly believed that I could make a difference.  I had visions of the world I wanted my future children to grow up in and I didn’t see any reason why it couldn’t be that way.  S cautioned me that the “real world” was not as bright and sunny as I was making it out to be; that there were bad people out there who ate people like me for breakfast.  I think he was trying to protect me, like I was a delicate Faberge egg that needed to be handled with kid gloves.

I think I was trying to protect him too.  I was never in love with him but I cared about him. I did love him as a fellow human being.  I saw amazing things in him that I don’t think he could see or believe about himself.  I wanted very badly to be the person to convince him he was more than just the sum of his parts, that he deserved success and happiness, that he was lovable and capable and smart.  I tried to explain this to him in the last phone conversation that we had which ended in argument.  S told me I was a naïve little girl that understood nothing about how the world really worked.  He told me “I hope you stay gold” but that someday, life was going to crush me and that he couldn’t bear to be there when it happened.  He said I understood nothing about love and that I might not even be capable of it.  That was when I hung up.

That was it for me and S.

I thought about that last conversation for a while.  Was I just some naïve, innocent, little girl from rural Long Island?  Was I wrong to believe that for the most part people were good and well intentioned? Was it silly to believe that with a little bit of assistance and encouragement people could overcome adversity and make their lives better?  Would nothing I did make a real difference to anyone?  Did I really not understand love?

I finally decided that S was wrong.  He was wrong to equate my optimism and hopefulness with weakness.  He was wrong that caring so much about people was only going to result in my being disappointed in them.  I understood plenty about love.  I grew up surrounded by love.  I suspect I understood more about love than S did.  S grew up in a family where even the cat had to prove he was worthy of love.  I can understand why it might have been hard for him to believe that I just accepted him and all of his life experiences even without having walked in his shoes.  I think it scared him that I had helped him, even for a moment, to believe that he was good enough and smart enough and worthy enough.  Maybe he felt like if he set his expectations higher he would be more disappointed if he failed.  Maybe he just wasn’t ready to believe.

Occasionally, I wonder about S.  I wonder if I made any difference in his life at all.  I wonder if he graduated and what kind of career he pursued.   I wonder if he found room in his heart for hope and faith.  I wonder if he ever met someone who helped him to realize that it was him who really didn’t understand about life and love.

Sometimes I want to tell him:  It’s been eighteen years since we spoke and life has not crushed me.  There have been times of great joy and times of immense sadness.  I have found love and lost loved ones.  I don’t always understand why things happen in this world the way that they do.  But I always come back to these things which help me to choose hope and happiness the great majority of the time:

Where there is darkness, I can spread light.

We can all work to create peace in our own little corners of the world.  There is no kind gesture that is too small to make a difference.

All that really matters is love.  We are all capable of love.

Freedom- Short and Sweet

Last week my Rabbi suggested that since Passover is a holiday about freedom that we might want to spend a few minutes reflecting on what freedom means to us personally.  It’s a topic that is quite relevant to me since this year, with both kids in school, I have more personal freedom than I have had since before becoming a mom ten years ago.

Every weekday morning I put my kids on the bus, make a cup of coffee and ask myself- What do I feel inspired to do today? Then, I use my new found freedom to make it happen.  This year, using my heart as a compass, I am happily forging a new path.  I am thinking globally and acting soulfully*; watching more carefully and listening more intently.  I am reading and writing with abandon; reflecting and creating; and realizing that the biggest joys are found in the smallest of discoveries.

At Passover, we talk a lot about “next year.”  Having no idea what next year will bring I am focusing on this year- making the most of every day, every hour, every minute.  This year is a blessing, an opportunity for renewal, a celebration of freedom and it just might be the best year ever.

*credit to my brother Dan Orange for the phrase “thinking globally and acting soulfully” which is a line from one of his poems…

Please Continue to Hold…..

I haven’t written in a while and there’s a reason why.

I have a kind of writer’s block

The minutes pass with a tick and a tock

As I sit and wait for my brain to unlock the words on which I rely.

It’s not that a topic escapes me-

it’s more that I can’t narrow down.

Should I write ‘bout religion?

Or nuclear fission?

I sit in my kitchen, my brain on a mission, my face twisted into a frown.

I could write on the subject of discrimination-

Gay or straight, white or black.

Freedoms under attack.

I am taken aback, by the way our words smack of judgment and condemnation.

Perhaps I should write about all things political

But political words are so shady

Dishonest, and often berating

And not becoming of a lady

or maybe I’m just being cynical.

There are plenty of “wars” that they show on the news.

Wars on women and drugs

Wars on terrorist thugs

And similar slugs.  Even wars on bedbugs

to name only a few.


So it’s not that my head is empty, it’s quite full

With news of the day

Close to home, far away

Try to rise ‘bove the fray,

to sort truth from the bull

But when so many thoughts swirl around at one time

There’s a clog in my brain

Like you’d find in a drain,

And I have to abstain from writing these lines.

Eventually chaos will give way to clarity.

The word dam will burst

I’ll be free of this curse

and I’ll jump in headfirst, quenching my thirst,

 enjoying this moment of rarity.

Because when I put pen to paper,

I want to evoke a response.

Whether or laughter or tears

Or thoughts of past years

Even sneers allay fears of cool nonchalance.

I’m Mommy and I Know It… (Everyone else has done a take off of the LMFAO song, I figured I’d might as well too)


When I walk on by, you’ll probably hear me humming a lullaby
I rock to the beat
of itsy bitsy spider when my playgroup meets.
This is how I jam
ABC’s and Mary had a Little Lamb
Goodnight Moon and Sam I Am, Catching funny moments on the video cam.

I’m clapping my hands now

I’m stomping my feet now

I’m shouting hooray now

I got kids!

I’m clapping my hands now

I’m stomping my feet now

I’m shouting hooray now

I got kids!

I put my right foot in.  I take my right foot out.
I do the hokey pokey and I turn myself about.

I got spit up on my shirt and I ain’t afraid to show it (show it, show it, show it, show it)

I’m mommy and I know it.

I’m mommy and I know it.

When we’re at the mall, kid’s throwing tantrums- it’s a sprawl and bawl
When we’re at the beach, kid strips down and starts to streak (what?)

This is how I roll, Taking deep breaths so I’m in control.

I need more grown-ups but I’m not nervous. I can stay connected if I have cell

service (what).

I’m clapping my hands now

I’m stomping my feet now

I’m shouting hooray now

I got kids!

I’m clapping my hands now

I’m stomping my feet now

I’m shouting hooray now

I got kids!

I put my right foot in.  I take my right foot out.

I do the hokey pokey and I turn myself about.

I got spit up on my shirt and I ain’t afraid to show it (show it, show it, show it)

I’m mommy and I know it.

I’m mommy and I know it.

Check it out,

Check it out

Wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, yeah!
Wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, yeah!
Wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, yeah!
Wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, wiggles, yeah, yeah!

I watch the Wiggles, man,
I watch the Wiggles, man,
I’m mommy and I know it

I’m clapping my hands now

I’m stomping my feet now

I’m shouting hooray now

I got kids!

I’m clapping my hands now

I’m stomping my feet now

I’m shouting hooray now

I got kids!

I’m mommy and I know it.

Dream a Little Dream, Part 2

I had another strange dream last night (which I remember in astonishing detail):

I am sitting in the backseat of a taxi cab in downtown Chicago reading ‘Seventeen’ magazine.  While stopped at a red light, the door to the cab opens and in climb Oprah Winfrey and her BFF Gayle King.  Oprah says nothing, but Gayle starts asking me about the magazine I am reading.  I tell her I am reading ‘Seventeen’ and she starts saying how she loves that magazine because of the in-depth articles about issues important to women (HA!).

The cab pulls up to my destination – the apartment building where (in my dream) my friend Susan lives.  Oprah and Gayle follow me to Susan’s apartment. Susan is not home but I have a key.  Oprah and Gayle take a seat on the couch in the living room.  I go into the kitchen and start looking for something.  Susan walks in (through a different front door) and is not at all surprised to see me standing in her kitchen.  She begins to tell me about her doctor’s appointment that morning where she had her lung capacity tested.

I tell her that Oprah Winfrey is in her living room.  Thinking I said that Oprah is on in her living room she asks me about the topic of the show.  I explain that no, Oprah Winfrey is actually in her living room.  Susan laughs and looks at me like I am crazy.  I take Susan by the shoulders and lead her into the living room so she can see that Oprah and Gayle are chatting on her couch.  Susan is stunned, but introduces herself and they make small talk for a few minutes.

It is time for Oprah, Gayle, and I to leave so we head out into the hallway.  All of a sudden, my husband appears and tells me to put out my hand so Oprah can shake my hand.  I put out my hand and Oprah puts a handful of assorted pills into my hand.  I ask if any of them are Xanax.  Oprah gives a strange laugh.  She and Gayle get back in the elevator, leaving my husband and I standing in the hallway.

Then, I wake up- utterly confused.

Interpretation time- any takers?

Dream a Little Dream, then Wonder What it Means…

A couple of nights ago I dreamed of chocolate.  Chocolate brownies, chocolate syrup, chocolate truffles, everything chocolate.  When I woke up and went into the kitchen the dream made sense.  On the counter were the nine boxes of Girl Scout cookies we had ordered, and two boxes of chocolate cake mix and containers of frosting for my daughter’s birthday cake.  Couple that with my decision to give up chocolate and the dream is not so strange.

Other dreams that I have had are not so easy to explain.  I have one recurring dream that seems easy enough to interpret on the surface.  I am back in college and it is the end of the semester.  There is a literature class I have never attended, but I never got around to dropping.  Now, I have 24 hours to read four William Faulkner novels to prepare for the final.  To make matters worse, I have no idea where the final is taking place and I don’t know how to find out.

Classic anxiety dream, right?  But it’s an anxiety dream that I should not be having.  I spent from 1996 to 2006 studying and working in the area of higher education, six of those years I spent as an academic adviser where part of my job was advising students on university policy pertaining to adding and dropping classes.  If there is anyone who knows how to appeal to the Dean of a college for an exception to policy (i.e. drop a class past the due date) it is me.  No matter how many times I have this dream, it never occurs to me to go to my adviser for help.  I find this fascinating.  The other part that makes little sense is this.  In all my years attending and working at schools, I have never seen an undergraduate professor count a final for more than 40% of the final grade.  If I had not attended class or turned in an assignment all semester, even getting an ‘A’ on this dream induced final exam will not let me pass the class.  So why am I even trying to prepare?

There is one dream from my childhood, though, that to this day I cannot explain but I remember it clear as day.  My family is dressed in bathing suits and we are all in a large hot tub inside our house.  We are making small talk when all of a sudden out the window we see King Kong making his way down our street.  King Kong is looking to eat anyone not eating a bathrobe, so we jump out of the hot tub throw on our robes and run up and down the streets warning our neighbors with shouts of “Don your bathrobes!!”  At the same time there is a cable car suspended from our telephone wires making its way down the street.  Those folks cannot get to a bathrobe in time, so King Kong eats them.

This banana is fine but what I'm really craving is a person not wearing a bathrobe.

Back off ape face! I have a hair dryer and I'm not afraid to use it!!

Anyone care to take a crack at that one??  What’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had?

Junk Drawer Wars

Junk Drawer Wars

 Everybody has one- a drawer (probably in the kitchen) that houses a combination of useful stuff (scissors, pens, tape, etc.) alongside the random crap (old wine corks, business cards that you MIGHT need someday, concert ticket stubs, etc.), that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away.

Some people have very organized junk drawers.  Complete with sectioned off areas for each item (paper clips here, pencils there), their drawers really do not deserve to have ‘junk’ in their title. Our junk drawer, however, was threatening to take over our house.  The paperclips were joining with the safety pins in solidarity.  The scissors were refusing to cut on the grounds of poor living conditions.  The drawer was overflowing with ,well, what exactly WAS in there?  I decided to find out.

Our junk drawer- the 'before' picture.

I took the drawer over to my dining room table and started making piles by categories such as:

  • Things that have “bands” in the name (rubber bands (including 4 that used to hold bunches of asparagus together), silly bands, and hair bands).

hair bands & silly bands & rubber bands- Oh My!

  • Products that fasten one item to another item (i.e. paper clips, safety pins, staples, binder clips, tape, Velcro).


  • Items that my children use to draw where they are not supposed to (100+ pens & pencils, markers, and crayons).
  • Everything else.

Here’s what falls under everything else:

A sandwich baggie containing a driedel and 8 skittles;

7 paint brushes;

2 bobby pins;

3 hair clips;

2 wood spacers, 4 wooden dowels;

A handful of assorted screws, bolts, brackets, nails, etc.;

3 business cards (one of which I have actually been looking for);

2 chuck E. Cheese tokens;

2 tokens for use at an unknown location;

58 cents in pennies, nickels, and dimes;

1 seatbelt clip for a car seat we no longer own;

2 pencil cushions;

1 eyeglass repair kit, plus 1 arm to a broken pair of glasses (actual glasses MIA);

1 ear plug;

1 toddler cabinet lock (in spite of no longer having any toddlers);

1 nail file;

2 jar openers;

A ‘void’ stamp;

You can't make this stuff up.

An office name tag for the job I left in 2006;

1 calculator;

1 key chain, 1 key to an unknown lock, 1 small lock with keys attached;

1 small plastic pig;

1 Piglet stamp;

4 marbles;

A handful of twist ties;

2 dirty birthday candles;

A piece of a wind chime;

A Wrigley Field opening day Harry Caray memorial pin from 1998;

R.I.P. Harry Caray

5 pairs of scissors;

6 plug protectors (to keep my kids from electrocuting themselves- totally helpful while in the drawer);

1 laser pointer;

4 tubes of lip balm (assorted flavors);

2 pads of post it notes;

1 pedometer (broken);

3 “sun-catcher” crafts completed by my kids but which have clearly not been catching ANY sun;

20 random pieces of plastic (yeah, I have no idea);

Your guess is as good as mine.

1 wedding favor picture frame;

1 memory card from 3 cameras ago that no longer fits in any device we own;

2 white out pens;

1 packet of sleeping pills (note the expiration date)

2 flash drives;

8 (yes, 8) pencil sharpeners;

1 lonely cough drop;

1 golf tee;

1 tape measure;

1 stain remover stick;

A handful of random stickers;

1 tube of glue;

3 Webkinz tags (Perhaps I took their instructions to “Do Not Throw Out This Tag” too seriously?).  My kids haven’t logged onto a Webkinz account in 2 years

2 empty ink cartridges that I was really intending to recycle;

A Weight Watchers point finder from 2000 (the program hasn’t changed since then, right?);

1 tube of ‘After Bite’ itch eraser and;

3 metro ‘Smart Trip’ cards- balances unknown…

Pretty scary, right?  But don’t go calling ‘Hoarders’ quite yet.  You’ll be pleased to hear I threw half of that stuff away.

Our junk drawer- 'After.' Note my handy dandy use of snack size resealable baggies in lieu of a fancy organizer.

And, I relocated other items to different overflowing drawers (that reminds me, I need to go through my arts and craft supplies).  I am now the proud owner of one organized drawer.

So, what’s in your junk drawer?  It couldn’t possibly be worse than mine- or could it?  Inquiring minds want to know!!

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