Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I love a good word list...

A word and phrase list from my mom's journal...yes, I'm reading it.  (Of course!  She read mine when I was a teenager!  Her excuse?  "I was worried about you...")

Alas, Google demystified where the words were from, but even though I know she was reading Taylor Caldwell's "Lion of God: A Novel about Saint Paul", I still don't know what she was thinking about as she chose these words in particular.  I can only imagine.

Knowing her...if it was really a secret, she wouldn't have written it down at all, and definitely wouldn't have NOT burned it already!!

Knowing her...

Ironic, and not, that she lost her voice the last 2 years of life.  Oh, the things she typed to me on that phone, and then promptly deleted. Oh, the things I learned, and things I will never learn.

As Laurie Anderson says, in "World without End"...when my [mother] died...it was like a whole library burned down.

Onto the list:
Fascinating.  Trivial.  Frivolous.  Boisterous.  Impulsive.  Circumstance.  Ecstatic.  Contentment.  Apathy has seized.  Rippling gently.  Closed and peaceful.  Radiant face.  Declining.  Contempt.  Lenient.  Refraining.  Beyond bearing.  Tedious.  Turmoil.  Tremendous.  Scrupulous.  Reviled.  Authentic.  Disheveled.  Incoherent.  Subdue.  Resistance.  Sorcerer.  Preposterous.  Shattered.  Stupefaction.  Enthusiasm.  Exuberance.  Inquisitive.  Assertive.  Condescendingly.  Bafflement.  Reluctance.  Vivid.  Glistening and translucent. 

Gave himself up to grief and remorse.  Rain came in long, gray spears of slashing water.  Mysterious dreamlike peace.  Passion made his spirit soar.  The sweetest wind frolicked among new flowers.  Whispering and singing life all about him.  The pond was like a liquid sapphire.  His heart was like a ready cymbal ready to be struck.  The light was so incandescent it hurt the eye.  Quivering with brilliance.  

That's all she wrote....

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Life is for the Birds...

And just like that, a year and a half whooshes by.  A month after my last post, I lost my mom to ALS.  Several times I've attempted to *blog* about it but I didn't know where to start.

Now, as I go through 72 years of memories, I'm finding jewels worth sharing...the nostalgic bits that fill in the blanks.  No need to start at the beginning...let's start in the 70's, shall we?!

I found a little green notebook that appears to have been dipped in oil.  The words are fading but I managed to transpose them. 

It contained a long "memoir" of sorts that my mom (Pinky) wrote back in 1975 when she and dad were done skating with the Ice Capades (my fault!) but were still with the show in technical positions. 

It will make more sense to those of you who knew Pat and Bill, or Ed Krieg, or how the birds functioned in the Ice Capades finale.

(Some spelling has been corrected as well as a few bits of grammar...but most I left as she wrote it because it wouldn't be mom's writing without some good, long run-on sentences! :)

Time in a Bottle
“My Life is for the Birds”
Memoirs of Patricia “Pinky” Brenner (Forbes)

Traveling with a road show has its ups and downs. When most people find out that we travel eleven months out of the year they say things like; “What a rotten life that must be, no roots, someplace different each week, you have to find a new grocery store in each city, can't do your laundry at home, only see your relatives when you play your hometown, your children won't have playmates, can't go to school like the other kids, no excitement...”

And we say, it's great! WE love it. No neighbors to have petty arguments with over a tree that's planted on your side and the limbs are growing over the fence to their side. Who's going to cut them down, you or us? It's cheaper to do your laundry at the laundromat. The initial cost of a washer and dryer takes six months to pay off or longer, then there's repairs, water, electric, baskets to put your clothes in, repairs...and repairs...

Relatives love to visit and talk, you know? “My niece is in show biz, bright lights, famous!” they say.  Mother (Leah) doesn't get all excited anymore because we've been here since [“22”] and my daddy was in show biz, the real show biz...”Vaudeville”, for 20 years.

As far as my daughter goes, she loves it. You ask any child if they'd like to travel or better yet, come backstage, and see costumes up close, people put on make-up?  And even better than that be able to ice skate – free of charge every day?! She has seen more of this good old mother earth in her two years than some folks see their entire life time. When you stop and think about it, how many city kids do you know that have seen a cow close up? Or can read a map, and know which way is north – she can! What better education can she get? She sees all the sights from Atlantic City to as far West as Hawaii, as far North as Toronto, Canada to as far South as Atlanta, Georgia and Texas.

As for school work, she's two and she already knows her alphabet and can count to twenty. And, there is always correspondence school. My sister took correspondence when we were on the road with daddy and she was a lot brighter in school than I was when we finally settled in Philadelphia. She had a very close teacher, my mother. Playmates are no problem. There are 3 families with our show with children and one family with one on the way. Living in a motorhome is the ideal way. And, as far as excitement goes, well, let me tell ya!

Things were getting a little routine for me after the birth of our baby girl, Kimberley Erna. But things always change, nothing stays the same. When we landed in L.A. From Hawaii, we went to the studio to say hello to everyone and show off our gorgeous tans, and Kimberley's fancy Hawaiian clothes. We were hit with some exciting news. Our Vice President said, “Bill and Pat, we have an extra job for you guys next year, and extra money. We'd like you to take care of 32 birds (pigeons)”

“Sure…” says Bill. But later, when we got home he says, “No way! You're taking care of the birds. I'm not going to even look at them!” But I don't know the first thing about pigeons. All I know is that they hang around statues and turn them white! I didn't want a single solitary thing to do with them and I made myself perfectly clear.

Summer vacation came and with our trip to Lake El Mirage to run our land sailer and ride our motorcycles, canoeing on the Colorado River, stopping at Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands National Park on our way back to Bill’s home in Kansas...we completely forgot about the birds until summer vacation was over and we were in Atlantic City again with a new show, new props, new costumes, new faces and a new project. “The Birds”.

After our first week there, we get on inner-office memo; “Re: pick up Mr. Ed Krieg at Philadelphia International Airport, United flight 426 at 5:17 pm.”

So, off we go in a rented station wagon to Philly. We took advantage of a little small side trip to visit my mother in town. Did you ever have the opportunity to pick someone up at the airport that you hadn't a clue as to what they look like? It's an experience in itself. All the way to the airport we tried to visualize what he might look like. By the time we got to the airport, he was; very, very tall, skinny, lanky, with long, jet black, straggly hair, sunken cheeks, bearded, milk bottom glasses, wearing a black suit...and all hunched over like a vulture!

What a surprise it was when this nice looking, short blond hair, pleasing glowing smile, nicely dressed man sat down in the front seat, turned to me in the back seat, shot out his hand for a hearty hello and said, “Hi! I'm Ed Krieg, you must be...” Stunned, I said...”Pat Brenner...and this is Kimberley our side kick” Thinking to myself while all this was going on...was right about the glasses, not milk bottom, but glasses nonetheless! When his hand touched mine it was like instant friendship, such a warm, strong hand. Hands are the way through the years I've learned to judge people. The way they look, how they move and the way they feel when you shake to say hello project a lot about a person.

Now the ball was rolling. Ed and his pigeons were there. We talked all the way from the airport to Atlantic City about each other, different experiences, places we've been while all the time Kimberley was tantalizing the birds! (Ahem, I need to step in here and say I was not tantalizing the birds, but merely...showing them affection!) Needless to say, as soon as I met Ed and his 32 foster children, I fell in love and from that moment I knew...this job was MINE!

We got the birds all set up in their new home, Ed in his hotel and when we finally got home ourselves, I couldn't sleep a wink from the excitement. The next day, we flew the birds in a closed room so they couldn't fly away. They had to get used to the box they have to land on during the show. When they flew for the first time it was the most breathtaking sight. I fell in love again. Every day after that first flight they got better and better till we took them onto the ice. Each day, we moved farther and farther down ice till we were right smack up to the front dash.

Once we had a couple of birds fly away and we spent most of the day running up and down the steps of the auditorium trying to net them down. But suddenly, victory. Ed caught two in the net. That's a thrilling sight to see Ed catch a bird in flight with a net! And, I know from experience it's not an easy chore. The final result was...sore legs.

The birds are quick, and very clever. We got them all back thanks to Ed and I thought to myself, “I'll never be able to get them back if they get away when Ed's not here” After a week, I got a little discouraged and I wanted to give up. It seemed like so much to learn in such a short time. Ed was only staying three weeks. Three weeks is a short time to teach someone all there is to know about birds. When I'm sure it took Ed years of trial and error and lots of experiences to gain his knowledge of raising and rearing birds.

Each bird is like a person. They all have different personalities and I've named them to match the personalities of people I felt they portrayed. One is feisty, one a complainer, one is quiet, a couple like to be the center of attraction, one is elegant, some are prouder than other others and some just blend in. But when it comes to their job, and they know what there job is now, they are all the same...beautiful! None more beautiful than the other.

I had so many questions to throw at Ed before he left for his home in Vegas. I'm sure it made his head spin - “What do I do if they don't eat? How do I know when they are sick? What about mites, lice? What if one lands on the ice and one of the kids skates over their foot?! What do I do when they lay eggs? What do I do when one flies away on the last show and we move out that night?” If his head didn't spin, mine made up for his!

Finally, the day came and Ed had to leave. He watched the show that night and it was all ours backstage. Up until that day, Ed was always there. We panicked, but with help from above, we did it. We got them in their flight boxes and backstage on time. The feed was put into the box they fly to, the lights on the box all worked, the nuts ready, the cover for the catch box...and the birds flew beautifully.

The day after Ed left was the worst. When I walked into the building and didn't see his face, a slight sadness came over me. Not only did I miss his knowledge about the birds, but I also missed the man. I never noticed while he was here, but when he was gone, I realized I had become quite attached to him. If I could save time in a bottle, I'd save those three short weeks in it, and put the bottle where everyone could see it.

Another thing we noticed after Ed left was how everyone was suddenly an expert on how to care for the birds! They'd say, "I had an Aunt who raised chickens..." or "We had a parakeet once and he.....well, he...." or "We used to feed the pigeons in the park?!" 

During one performance, one bird had no room on the catch box to land and he flew back out and circled around to make another try at it and when he got halfway there, the fireworks went off and that was all he needed. He split to the rafters. Not that I blame him. I'd split too if I thought my tail feathers would catch on fire. Such confusion you've never seen or heard.

My first thought was to call Ed, he'll tell me what to do! Then I thought, "Don't call Ed...the bird will come down, we'll leave the catch box out with the lights on and he'll come back when he sees it." Well, I didn't listen to myself and called Ed! He told me what to do – you go to a dentist when you have a toothache, you don't mess around with home remedies, home remedies pacify for a while, but you go to the expert to solve the problem.

That night, before the show, we pulled their home they live on during the day out onto the open ice with a light over it. Sure enough, just like Ed said, down he came first to the balcony to look around, then to the light nearby and finally, right on top of the cage. Bill netted him and he was in the show that night!

With all the traumas that happened, like birds laying eggs and everyone wanting me to let them hatch them out (but you can't because of traveling every week), cleaning cages, picking up feathers, washing out bird droppings, getting beat to death with flapping wings while trying to catch them to put them in their flight boxes....and making sure they are fed good, fresh water, washing down rocks for the bottom of their cages, making sure people don't feel them popcorn, getting them an hour or more of sun and fresh air every day, as if it's raining...a sun lamp. Making sure they are healthy and happy. It sure sounds like a lot of work.

At times when I'm up to my eyeballs in feathers and droppings, I feel like walking out and forgetting all about them. Someone walks by and says, “Gee Pat, these birds are beautiful, and when they fly, it's breathtaking.” I melt inside and apologized to my friends in the cage, and make sure they're all bedded down for the night, say my good nights to them, and tell them I'm glad my life this year is for the birds.

 Pat "Pinky" Brenner
Pictured here with...2 white pigeons, and her two show ducks, Merna and Clark.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Burnt Camaro...

I've been decluttering again...and I have a tale to tell.

Today I encountered this picture:
This is my dad harvesting parts off my Camaro that got stolen by teenagers one October 1993 evening.  They took it for a joyride and then torched it.  It was found abandoned in a grassy, vacant lot in the heart of Kansas City KS.  While it sat there, the neighbors stole the mag wheels off it's charred remains.  The kid that did this was caught, charged and then spent the next few years slipping in and out of juvenile detention, never paying for his crime.  It took me a year to get a new car and the whole thing was traumatizing to say the least.

That Camaro was my "fun mobile'.  I'd just used most of the money I'd made on a job to get some repairs done, plus new shocks, tires and a radio installed...I'd filled it up with gas and remember looking at it as I went inside thinking, "I love my car".  Anyone who's had a car stolen knows that sick, empty feeling of walking out your door to see the oil spot on the ground where your car once was!

The weird part is that I'd had a startling dream that night that woke me up.  I saw a faceless figure standing in the doorway whipping flowy black fabric all about it, and it disappeared into thin air.  I wonder in retrospect if it was my Guardian Angel saying, "Hurry!  Get up!  Look outside!"  Or, it was Batman.  Either way, I felt I was being warned...had I only known.

Nevertheless, every time I get the bug to declutter and start going through papers, I come across all the legal documents surrounding this incident and it rekindles dark feelings.  I've always felt like I couldn't or shouldn't let it go, so I would tuck the papers away only to find them again the next time I decluttered for more emotional rekindling!

Usually they would stop me in my tracks and I would sit and read through each document...reminiscing and wondering what I could have done differently, always wishing I'd kept after this kid to force him to pay the court ordered restitution.

Today, I tore them up and threw them away.  I didn't even shred them, just ripped them up with my hands.  I'm ready to stop chasing my own tail and let it go.  The answer to "why do some people pay their dues, and some seem to always escape?" is obvious...they don't escape justice.  I just may never see it happen, but God evens things out in the end.

I scanned this picture of my dad to save because although it does remind me of the incident, it's more that it shows him doing one of the things he did best...recycling!  Also, I'm reminded of how hard he would work for people and a cause dear to him.

When the car went missing, the police had no answers and obviously weren't looking too hard for the car.  Three days after it was stolen I got a phone call saying it had been burned and was taken to an impound lot.  My dad started making phone calls and found out where the car was retrieved from and went door-to-door in this little Kansas City Kansas neighborhood talking to people and getting names and eye witness accounts!

He discovered the name of the kids that stole the car and one neighbor told him that they knew these kids personally and that they were planning more "stolen car bonfires" that very evening.  We passed all of this information to the police.  The next day I got a call from an investigator confirming that the kids did it again, just as we told them, but this time they tracked them down and boy, were they in trouble!!

My dad should have worked for the police department, I'm tellin' ya!  He was not going to let some "punks" do his daughter wrong, and even though he couldn't fix THIS car for me (ha!) he sure wasn't going to stand for what happened next.

Dad called the impound lot to inquire about the Camaro and the owner "copped an attitude" with him and tried to convince him that the car was a complete loss and that we should just leave it there.  That didn't smell right to my dad at all, so he went down to look at it and saw that the engine was perfectly fine.  We paid the nominal fee to get the car and he turned around and sold the engine for $500! And then he took the burnt shell to the scrap yard and made a little more.

Somehow, dad knew this guy was trying to deter us from getting the car because he knew how much the engine was worth.  I'd bet on the "takes one to know one" two-of-a-kind concept...imagine two dueling, industrious men caressing their mustaches while contemplating the dollar value of the heap of junk that lies before them! 

After selling the engine and confirming his suspicions about the impound lot guy, he then threw his head back and laughed with victory and said, "Can't fool a smart Indian!"  That sort of victory always energized him.

A picture that I tore up and did not scan was one of me, covered head to toe in black stuff, sitting on my destroyed car doing the "Rosie the Riveter" pose...it was my way of trying to have a good attitude about dealing with the charred remains of my "fun mobile". 

As I declutter these papers and pictures that tether my mind to this unpleasant event and are not beautiful or useful, I know that I'm freeing space up in head and heart for better things.   And as I go about this task, I've found that it's necessary to take some friends with me...those who have done this before.  Here are The Minimalists talking about Sentimental items. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Being a Finisher...

For as long as I've been a female, which is since birth, I've been a "starter".  Ideas come to me like flies on roadkill...and while that may sound disgusting, it's appropriate.  They arrive out of nowhere, are plentiful and persistent!  

This relates to a skill of mine which I am proud of and simultaneously loathe...I can kill a fly, ANY fly, ANY where, ANY time...with my bare hands.  If I want to. Sometimes I "miss" because I get grossed out and don't give it my all, but usually, I'm a sure shot.  Yes, my family will attest, I'm a notorious and ruthlessly accurate fly killer.  It's disturbing to feel so victorious and at the same time, repulsed.

Back to what I started talking about...see, I started and took a detour!  

Starting projects (as long as they're inspired ideas and not "drudgery items") is my milieu.  Thank you, spell check...I can never spell milieu without you. 

The problem would arise when I'd hit some sort of catch point, like I needed a certain material...or life would get crazy...or I'd start something new that I was more interested in than the last project!

Well...I've not only turned over a new leaf, I've pulled the tree out of the ground and replaced it roots up!   Finishing this piece made me feel so fantastic, it made me finish another...and then I've jumped on yet another long-standing project that needed completion.  Let the dominoes fall.

This is a design challenge embroidery "sampler quilt" I started with a friend on the first of January.  Every square was worked off of a prompt chosen by one of us and it was so much fun that we literally raced through and had mostly finished in a few months.  

Then...some other projects came up...life got crazy...it got put on the back burner, same old scenario.  It was hanging from a clothes line in my studio and I'd bump into it for a daily reminder of yet another incomplete project. 

The "how and why" of  this happening is essentially a by-product of decluttering my house and being a "budding" minimalist. Freeing up my visual space from junk has made the important things shine.  One day, out of the blue, I just grabbed it and finished it...totally on a whim.  

The quilt is mostly about my obsession with the desert but is also a collection of many other tiny, personal loves.  The leather straps are made from one of my dads' old belts...and the cholla cactus spine is from our New Mexico honeymoon nearly 8 years ago.

A few days later, I finished this one...which has been sitting unfinished for a lot longer than the first.  Yet another "desert love" embroidery of an ocotillo cactus alone in the desert.  The fabrics were dyed with red cabbage and homemade walnut ink, and some were rusted with metal wires.

It feel so good to finish.  I've now switched to painting on 3 large crucifix bodies that have been waiting for me since March.  They're due this weekend.

After that, I'll continue to search and destroy the un-finished-ness in my life so I can feel clear and ready to take on my next idea which came to me as I was falling asleep the other night.  My best ideas sneak up on me when I least expect them...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Don't trash my DREAMS...

It's official...I posted my first Instructable today...a gallery "canvas" made from trash that I've lovingly called, "Don't trash my DREAMS".

I entered it into the "Trash to Treasure" contest and while it would be fun to win, I am just so pleased to have gotten it done!  It was a learning experience and now I'm hooked.  I've got 5 days to enter two more projects...better get busy!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Getting back to art...

Whew, June was a whirlwind month of decluttering!  I've taken a slight break in the dejunking-fest to get back to art projects.  My muse tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey...remember me??"

One thing I accomplished recently with the help of my darling dear...my Etsy shop is finally up and running.  It will be a vintage shop for a while until I can stop purging junk long enough to rollout some art.

When it comes to art...I love a good challenge.  That's why I was giddy when I saw this contest on Instructables.com.  Trash to Treasure!  You know I'm ALL about a good dumpster dive!  

No diving will be necessary given the sheer volume of "treasure" in my basement and attic. Materials are a mere flight of stairs away. 

I'll report back here soon with my gloriously trashy entries!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Moths and rust...and ceramic dust...

We interrupt the Minimalism 30-day purging for a nostalgic roller coaster ride!

That's what I get for venturing into the attic to nonchalantly find something to get rid of!  Papers.  Pictures. Grade cards.  Newspaper clippings.  Letters to Santa...apparently I wanted a basketball?

As I dug through a box in the stuffy, 105 degree attic, I could feel the life being sucked out of me.  The heat got to my brain and with decision fatigue setting in, I became overwhelmed and started ripping things to shreds.  When it got too hot to breath, I brought as much as I could carry to the first floor where I continued the task.

As I mindlessly and ruthlessly tore up a paper I wrote in a college class called, "The Human Experience"...I saw the words, "Kim...you are a true romantic!"  Oh, darn.  (slump over)  Do romantics destroy any part of their own history?  Maybe I'm just tired of feeling buried under the weight of physical things. 

This is where the nostalgia gets "really old".  These are my grandmother's sea sponges that she used for her pottery.  One was full of clay, the other with glaze.  (Lord knows what sort of toxins they contained seeing as most of the compounds they used back in the late 60's are now considered poisonous and not used anymore).  

They seemed old and crusty at first and I was about to toss them, but as I washed them out I realized they were fine...just full of material from the very last time my grandmother made pottery back in 1971 before she died from an aneurysm.

It occurred to me that even though I never met her, never got to see her make pottery or enjoy her company...I just got to do a chore for her by cleaning her sponges.

Even though I'm disposing of some of my own "now forgotten" past, I will keep her sponges and use them in my own art making.   The best part of nostalgia is the part that lives inside of you that moths and rust can't destroy and thieves cannot steal.  I believe that does make me a true romantic.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Purging in the studio...

Come and get it!!! (Actually, it's gone...things don't last long on the curb in our hood!)

Sometimes I just can't wait for Saturday to take donations to the thrift store...I open my own little shop right on the sidewalk.  Everything on that curb was either given to me, or purchased at a thrift store.  Easy come, easy go. 

What hasn't been so easy is purging my art studio(s).  There are 3.5 rooms in our house dedicated to my love of art...metals on the back porch, a sun room and adjoining "kitchen" are my main studio and supply "dump"...and then half of the bathroom we had slotted to be a huge walk-in shower, well....that's my sewing room!  

As I go through things in these areas I've realized that where I once thought of myself as "multi-talented" (and I still may be...but...) I now see myself as scattered.  I've never been able to decide on one or two genres of art, and my tools and supplies reflect that wildly.  

I have, however, recently decided that I'm done with two departments....tiny beads...and magazine collage.  I've spilled more beads than I've ever used, and although I will one day face the daunting task of sorting and deciding which beads to keep and which to hock, the tower of beads stands erect and abandoned in my studio beckoning my 2 year old to open each drawer and fish for treasure!

And magazine collage?  I've decided to ONLY keep my grandmother's American Home magazines from the 40's and 50's...the rest of the paper bits waiting to be collaged are, well...a fire hazard at best!  I'm over it...and the recyclers will get their arm workout on Monday because 90% of it is going curbside.

My studio might just hover off the ground this weekend from the unburdening! The downside I'm experiencing is...even though I've been purging like mad, it doesn't seem to make a huge dent?  

Drastic deeds are in order...I might just have to...MAKE ART!!!  That's really what I want to be doing with my time and materials. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

So many books...

I'm still purging like crazy for the Minimalism Game, as well as the Joshua Becker "Uncluttered" course.  June 16-20, I discarded 90 items...37 of them were books from my studio about art forms I'm not really interested in anymore, or that I know well enough to NOT require a whole book on the subject...like glass bead making, bead weaving and dough craft?  Not an appropriate genre for a gluten-free household!

I purged 15 blank reward certificates from when I taught 4th grade back in 2007.  They were as old as the kids were in my class at the time....those same kids graduated from High School this year.  What a spiral.

Indeed, I've been "spiraling into the location" of minimalism.  It's not a straight line by any means...the clutter moves and I chase it around the house, but I'm slowly getting down to essentials. Today I heard an echo in my dining room!

The other challenge is avoiding garage sales, thrift stores...dumpsters.  I'm discovering that "free" items often come with unseen costs.  They require a manager and a cleaning lady too!

More purging has included blank journals with 4-5 pages used in the front of each.  I've tossed at least 10, shredding those old pages or tearing them out and inserting them inside of a different journal.   I need a program called "unScattered" for my artsy brain...something to help me gather thoughts and ideas into ONE journal instead of 4.

If I were to execute merely half of the ideas that actually survive the path from my brain to a piece of paper...I could open my very own curio shop!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Junk galore...

For the past 5 days, I've been purging like a mad woman.  I've placed a table right outside the back door of my kitchen and I dump items out there if I'm trying to see if I miss them.  So far, nothing has been reclaimed.  I'm so far beyond the 65 items I needed to purge for the Minimalism Game this week, I've completely lost count.

And besides this trash pile above, there really hasn't been anything worth photographing.  I've tossed dried up paint, broken toys, old sheets, dried up markers, crunchy rolls of tape...seriously, JUNK!   As I purge these things, I feel a great lightening of my visual space and my mind as well.

Many items I hold onto likewise hold memories.  Lately, I've started to feel that memories, even good ones, are better when they're NOT attached to a physical item.  5 years painting for the Des Moines Metro Opera isn't upgraded by having a company mug!  A jar of hot green chili sauce that expired in 2010 doesn't make or break our New Mexico honeymoon!  And a heavy ceramic bowl made by a friend...feels too heavy now that that friendship has dissipated completely.

As for my wardrobe, which I'm also purging..I've got a strange problem.  From what I've seen, most people have tons of unworn clothes jammed into closets...or they have a shopping addiction and continually add to their wardrobe.  I have neither of those problems.  What I have instead is...I have about 4 pieces of clothing I like, the rest I tolerate.  

I'm also a clothing "under buyer" according to Gretchen Rubin.  I will stock up on art supplies even though I have plenty, but when it comes to clothes...I'd rather trim the toenails of an angry wolverine than go to a mall or other such place.  

And my kids?  Well...they have holy socks.  I've been taking so much stuff *back* to the thrift store lately, I finally "splurged" and went into the store and replaced some of our holy frocks. It took me an hour to spend $36...meanwhile, the kids happily played with every dirty little toy in the place!  That's cheap fun.