Tickled Pink


Clump #190:  Recycle shredder, CD’s and cord.  Reframe old photo.

Today I took a break from the clumps in our son’s bedroom.  With all the paper purging I’ve been doing, we’ve had a casualty.  Our shredder went kaput and couldn’t be revived.  May I have a moment of silence for this fallen soldier in our battle against clutter?  The drops on its top are rain, not tears.


I also deposited some unwanted CDs and a cord.  This was a big day for Best Buy.  I actually bought something there: a new shredder.


Then I took the picture below to another shop to get a new frame.  It’s a lovely old photo of two dear family members.  My husband was the photographer many years ago.


The cheap, plastic frame had a cardboard backing that obviously had suffered some water damage. Disgraceful!  It was in the box I recently decluttered.  Now to take care of it … honor it, or let it go.


I found a relatively inexpensive ready-made frame that did the trick. Wow!  How much clearer it is through glass instead of ancient plastic!   The “after” picture was difficult to photograph without my reflection looking like a guardian angel hovering over the scene.  Trust me, it looks even better in person.


Ah, the man in the photo was our wonderful, late brother-in-law.  He was fond of simple jokes that would be groaners if not for his excellent presentation and gravitas.  One was: “What did the snail say while riding on the turtle’s back?   … Wheeee!”  He always pronounced the “h” in Wheee.

Thinking of him while doing errands on a day when it was raining cats and dogs, a similar joke came to mind: “How do you know it’s raining cats and dogs?  … When you step in a poodle!”

The sidewalk to the shop was carpeted in confetti-like pink petals from the tree pictured above.


There is something so wonderful about pink in the natural world.  It’s the color of cotton candy, tutus … Barbie’s favorite color … it’s an almost frivolous hue …


But it’s also magical.  Like a silly joke.  It brought delight to hum-drum errands on a dreary day.


Lighten Up, Clean Up and Head Out

Clump #186:  Find the one Billboard magazine our son wants to keep.  Day eleven of the 30-day, 30-post Bedroom Blast Challenge.

This afternoon I was not liking my 30-day challenge.  It’s Friday.  I’m tired.  I want to cut loose.  My editing daughter needs my words earlier so that she can do the same.  Then I received a text message from our son saying there was just one Billboard magazine he’s interested in keeping: “one on DIY topics.”  And I’m off and running, not able to resist the pull of ridding ourselves of a big clump.  I spent a good amount of time looking through all the tables of contents, until — Woo-Hoo — I spotted this one:


The rest could be stripped of their address labels for shredding and tossed into bags for recycling.  I hope the men who pick up the recycling will be impressed that they’re in order by date (yesterday’s clump).  Big weight out of the room!  Not to mention our son’s life.


I’ll leave you with a series of photos I snapped while getting my car washed.  Fun and a certain surreal beauty in a commonplace setting.









And … I’m I out of here.  Have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are!

Life Cycle

Clump #88:  Get a move on Christmas shopping; recycle printer cartridges.

Day 15 of my 30-day, 30-clump, 30-post challenge: Project Enjoy Christmas.  Halfway through!  Today I had to remind myself of the feeling I get when I know I only have a couple of weeks left in December before the 25th.  Crunch time.  I’m artificially inducing the adrenaline that kicks in at holiday time.  It worked.  Shop, shop, shop.


I also got rid of a few things.  It’s been a while since I’ve recycled our spent printer ink cartridges:


To the lobby of Best Buy they go.  Not to be too paranoid, but I could imagine someone checking the video from the store, “Yeah, there’s that woman again, dropping off recycling.  No, she didn’t go in the store to buy anything.  Why does she always take a picture?”  If I had the chance, I’d tell them that my husband is the one in our family who buys technical gadgets.  I throw them away.


I saw this great poster in a lovely gift shop on my travels today.  But I couldn’t help thinking that if I bought the poster and put it up, would it become like wallpaper … invisible after the novelty wore off?


One thing helping me “to be wholly alive with all [my] might” is looking at the world more closely through my camera.


As the glorious colors of October burn out …


and fade into November’s grays and taupes …


we don’t need writing on the wall.  The whole natural world is reminding us: “Try to be alive.  You’ll be dead soon enough.”


Today may you live like hell.

Taking Control

Clump #82:  Recycle old remote controls.


Recycling remote controls at Best Buy: easy.  Getting rid of duvet from kids’ bunk beds: difficult.  One step at a time.

My husband and I saw the movie About Time last night.  I highly recommend it.  Funny, touching, romantic, and profound.  (“I laughed, I cried …”)


Near the end of the movie, the main character goes through two identical days, but with different results.  I was reminded of a quote I had copied down from an Honest Tea bottle cap:

Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.  –Maele Moore


Out of the Boxes

Clump #52:  Empty last box of parents’ belongings.

This is the last of the dreaded cardboard boxes to clump out.  Phew! The 30-day, 30-clump, 30-post challenge continues with deep appreciation for all who have joined me in spirit and with encouragement.  Thank you!

Here are my parents on one of their post-retirement trips.  Good to keep in mind those happier days.


I thought this one would be a piece of cake … office supplies and an old, non-functioning printer.


Here is the printer, an old telephone, and some printer ink cartridges popped into the car to go to Best Buy.


They took the printer and the telephone for recycling at the Best Buy Customer Service desk.  The clerk said the only thing he couldn’t take were the cardboard boxes the printer ink cartridges were in.  Curbside paper recycling at home, then.

This was the dispensary at the entrance to the store, receiving: Plastic Bags; CD’s, DVD’s & Cases; Rechargeable Batteries; Ink & Toner Cartridges; Gift Cards; Wires, Cords, & Cables; and Remotes & Controllers.  Now I know!


I thought I was home free until I got to some sad things, like the soles of my dad’s shoes.  I had unsuccessfully tried to relieve his pain with orthotics.  Also, a New Yorker cartoon page-a-day calendar I gave him for a daily chuckle.  He didn’t get too far with it.

The cartoon he left on top was a good message for accumulating,  and reducing, material things: make sure you truly desire all that you own.


Energize Me

Clump #37: Recycle bag of spent batteries.

Imagine opening this cabinet and disturbing the bag of used batteries, spilling them out and sending them skiddering onto the counter below.  Arggh!  So annoying!  It’s those little things in life that really get to you.  My husband had taken a bunch out of  the cabinet as a short-term strategy while saying we had to get rid of them.  Agreed.  I was going to surprise him at the beginning of the week by getting the whole lot recycled.  Oh, how surprised and happy he will be, I gleefully thought.

I spent the morning looking up information and calling various stores.  Our township office advised me to just throw them away in our regular trash; they are not accepted at hazardous waste drop-off days.  I couldn’t picture throwing them out all at once.  Then a ray of hope: a saleswoman at Home Depot said they would take them.  Hooray!


Here they are, like a derelict hitchhiker who has overstayed his welcome:IMG_1520

I strode into Home Depot, plopped down the bag, and was promptly informed by a saleswoman (maybe the same one) that they only take rechargeable batteries.  Curses!  To be fair, Best Buy, Target, and Lowes do not accept them either.  I had called a Whole Foods Supermarket, and was told very nicely that they used to collect them, but not anymore.  Defeated.  On to another clump.

Later that day, my husband (silhouetted here in a Minnesota sunset) came home from work and casually mentioned that he had been to the Plymouth Meeting Whole Foods store (a different one than I had called), and had almost bumped into some collection buckets for alkaline batteries.  “Say What?!?”  The universe truly works in mysterious ways.

My hero:


So I finally had my moment of closure today.


This isn’t much of an action shot, and  you can’t even hear the angels singing.


It was such a beautiful day today, in a world worth taking that extra step to protect.


For those who might be interested, here is some information I found on Duracell’s website, duracell.com:

“Alkaline batteries can be safely disposed of with normal household waste.  Never dispose of batteries in fire, because they could explode.”  

Do to concerns about mercury in the municipal solid waste stream, we have voluntarily eliminated all of the added mercury from our alkaline batteries since 1993, while maintaining the performance you demand.  Our alkaline batteries are composed primarily of common metals — steel, zinc, and manganese — and do not pose a health or environmental risk during normal use or disposal.” 

Okay so far, so good.  I wasn’t planning on burning them.

“It is important not to dispose of large numbers of alkaline batteries in a group.  Used batteries are often not completely dead.  Grouping used batteries together can bring these live batteries in contact with one another, creating safety risks.”

Well, clearly, I could have disposed of them “in large numbers” had I followed the instructions of our township office.

“Proven cost-effective and environmentally safe recycling processes are not yet universally available for alkaline batteries.  Some communities offer recycling or collection of alkaline batteries — contact your local government for disposal practices in your area.”

I don’t know about you, but that does not make me feel reassured.  If your family is anything like ours, we go through a frightening number of these babies, powering all the electronic devices we can’t seem to function without.

I will continue to bring my batteries — and my business — to the Plymouth Meeting Whole Foods store.  Here is their trash area: Compost, Recycle, or Landfill.  Your choice.