Orange You Glad You Let It Go?

Clump #158:  Clear pile of sentimental mementos.

Whoa!  This was a tough one.  Trying to thin down today’s pile of papers was heart-wrenching.  Photos, programs from important events, special cards:


Of course, there were also little slips of inspiration and life advice I had cut out.  This one, from a long-forgotten magazine, seemed especially appropriate for the task at hand:


In ten years, will I still want this photo of myself at a taping of Let’s Make A Deal?  Will my children’s children be interested in seeing how goofy I looked in a referee’s uniform, blowing a whistle?  Possibly.

(Like much of the show, which is controlled by the producers, looks are deceiving.  The photo was taken in front of a green screen.  It was a blast, even still!)


Below are the keepables.  One pile of photos and one of other special papers.  On top, a photo of our daughter and son when they went out for Halloween as Brother and Sister Bear from the Berenstain Bears book series.  There are no words for how much I love this picture.  Our son might be an illustration for “The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Halloween.”  I also couldn’t part with our younger daughter’s old YMCA ID card on which she looks like a porcelain doll.


And now for the daily dose of color … orange.  From Longwood Gardens this fall:


And from the conservatory this winter, inside:


As much as I love the exotic flowers at Longwood, any grocery store contains an infusion of radiant flowers:


And other gorgeous plants, like these leeks dripping over carrots:


And beautiful peppers:


Great song heard today on the radio (WXPN, 88.5): Valentine’s Day Is Over by Billy Bragg.  Couldn’t get enough of the Cockney (?) accent, the raw emotion, the horn section, and these lyrics:

Thank you for the things you bought me thank you for the card
Thank you for the things you taught me when you hit me hard
That love between two people must be based on understanding
Until that’s true you’ll find your things
All stacked out on the landing, surprise, surprise

Love is really the thing to cherish, not the things.

Love in Many Forms

Clump # 149:  Sort and clear paper pile number eight of twenty-eight (only twenty more to go!):

Love was the theme of the day today!  And I’m not just saying that to spice up yet another picture of a pile of paper (well, okay, maybe a little bit).  My younger daughter had sorted the last few piles so specifically (all the Time magazines; The Week; People magazines filed together within the same bigger “magazines” pile) that I can only assume she designated the one my husband and I tackled today as “miscellaneous.” A mixed bag, destined for various file folders.

As usual, we peeled away one shred pile and one recycle pile, below. Little by little, as I/we do this every day, I am losing my-what to-do-with-important-paper-phobia (fear of becoming an adult?).  My husband’s help with this project has been better than roses and chocolates any day.


I was visiting my mom in Lancaster County, PA today, and I have to report: Love was in the air.  And not just in the unfailingly loving person of my mom.

At almost every visit, I stop at a bakery called OCB Cakes, (Out of the Cake Box), in the town of Strasburg, for a cup of coffee and a few of the delectable treats they offer.  The owners, at this point, feel like family. Like the Cheers bar, they know me by name, what days I usually come in, worry when I’m not there, and ask about my mom. They are the best. This is Joanna:


Right now she and her husband, Scott, are gearing up for Valentine’s Day.  (So cute: two hearts buttoned together.)


I am endlessly fascinated by the Amish people who live in that area.  Maybe especially today, coming out of my “terrible” time without electricity.  Which brings me to kind of a love story that is most likely all in my imagination:  I was uncharacteristically late to have lunch with my mom, and stopped at a Wawa for a sandwich, knowing I missed the time for ordering food in her dining room, but wanting to eat with her nonetheless.  Wawa is a revered institution around here, a place for coffee, hoagies, free (no fee) ATM machines, gas, etc. The term convenience store does not really cover how much people love their Wawas.

I noticed a youngish Amish man at one of the touch-screens, ordering lunch, too.  An Amish person at a computer is not something you see every day.  He then asked the person behind the counter where [woman’s name] was. The clerk said, “Oh she works at a different location now,” to which the Amish man said, “If you see her, tell her I said ‘Hi’.”


(Photo, above, not mine.)

Well, I can’t help thinking and wondering about that exchange.  How forbidden was it for him to be patronizing a Wawa?  How often had he visited to know the missing clerk by name?  What were his intentions toward her?  How forbidden is it to have feelings for an “English” (non-Amish) woman?  The questions and unfounded assumptions swimming in my head about this poor man had no end.  Too much People magazine reading, perchance?

One thing about our recent camp-outage: my husband and I were stripped of so many of our usual electronic distractions.  It was a bit of a test of whether we still like each other after all this time and the arrival, nurture, and exodus of three kids.  As my husband and I were walking around in our dark house the other day, holding lanterns, the sound of our next-door neighbor’s generator was buzzing like a lawn mower on continuous idle.  I said “Ah, the [neighbor’s last name]’s generator.”  To which my husband responded, “Yeah, more power to them.”


Two of the characteristics I’ll always cherish about my beloved: a quick wit and a kind and generous heart.