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A Year of Trash

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My 2006 new year's resolution is to throw one thing out of my house each day. I amended this to include giving something away. I'm not interested in selling anything on eBay or Craig's list. I just want it out of my house.
If you see something on this site that you gave me... well, I'm sorry. It's not that it wasn't the perfect gift, because I'm sure that it was and that I got a lot of use out of it. But it's time to move on.

Don't get excited. It's not like I'm tossing out something huge every day. My living room isn't echoing. Far from it.

January 24, 2006


January 1
I love this nightshirt. It's comfy; I've had it forever. But the neck has long since come unsewn from the rest of the shirt and most nights I go to bed wondering if this is the night I will be strangled in my sleep.
Adios old friend. See you on the other side.
January 2
You know, you just can't beat a wooden-handled spatula. They last forever. The wooden part, at least. The plastic end gets kinda cruddy and disintegrated after 20 years and you can't always convince people that the chewy white thing in their scrambled egg is egg white.
Pampered chef sales reps, please don't call me. I have other spatulas. I don't like them as much, but I have them.
January 3
I need a manicure. Normally, I'm loyal to Coney Island Cotton Candy, my color of choice. It's light enough that you can't really tell if you chip it. There were days in my past when I grew my nails long & painted them dark colors. But now, I don't have that kind of time. Into the trash went one, two, three old bottles of nail polish--with snazzy names like Life's a Beach and Glass of Port.
January 4
You can never have too many shoes. However, I have discovered that you can have too many shoe boxes. Oh, I harbored elaborate plans to use them to file photos and blah, blah, blah. Three years later, the boxes are empty and gathering dust. Out ya go. Here, take some of these old photos with you.
January 5
Who doesn't love s'mores around a campfire? Communists, that's who. I've had my marshmallow on sticks, coat hangers and even my trusty, twirling s'mores fork. But now it's back to the basics. I came to a fork in the road, so I trashed it.
January 6
This is just silly. No one needs this many hotel shampoos and conditioners. Most of them go to my mom, who donates them to her local shelter. Heaven only knows how these missed the cut. Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk, to steal a phrase from Blueberries for Sal, only the greatest children's book ever. They're gone. Wait a minute......... (reaches into trash)... this one stays. It's from the NYC Ritz. Frederick Fekkai (he did Martha's hair when she was released from prison). Great shampoo and way too expensive to buy on my own. Crap, this is the conditioner and I hardly ever use conditioner. I better save it anyway.
January 7
Now that I've irritated the Pampered Chef sales people, it's time for me to irritate Avon ladies. I don't know if that story about Skin-So-Soft being a good mosquito repellent is true, but this bottle has been in my linen closet for at least 10 years. I don't guess I ever tried it as a bug spray or even a bath oil. Now, after all this time, I'm too afraid to.  
January 8
What in the hell was I thinking buying Thai coconut milk? Probably thinking "satay--how hard can it be?" I'm sure it's really easy, but this 3-year-old can can't be full of anything edible. Chunk. Out it goes.
I'm on a roll. This is liberating. I haven't felt this empowered since I dragged Ron's crap to the recycling bins. I practically have things lined up to be tossed out on the right day.
January 9
Ahh, Bill, you made for interesting headlines. I have no clue how I got on your and Hillary's Christmas card list. The Bushes don't send me greetings. But now, neither do you, so here's a post-holiday so long to the three cards you sent me ten years ago even when I didn't contribute to the DNC.
January 10
It's Warm & Wooly Week at church. I  have scarves and hats by the dozen. Especially scarves. I spent a lot of time on planes last year. Did you know you can knit almost an entire scarf on the ferry between the San Juan Islands and Seattle? Someone needs these warm things more than I do.
January 11
Bang! Crash! Pound! Whack! It's like a damn Batman episode trying to get this hard-as-concrete brown sugar out of the box.
But you know what's easy? THROWING IT OUT!!!
January 12
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I love the repeating part. Especially when it's my Amelia Island mango shower gel. But this scrunchy is gross. And kind of unraveling. I've been meaning to toss it out but I only think about it when I'm in the shower and then it's wet and I don't want to throw it away wet. I don't why. I just don't. Finally! I remembered to Toss. Out. Scrunchy.
January 13
It's past Epiphany, the traditional taking down o' the decorations. Sorry, candle, you've outlived the season. I didn't really like you all that much to begin with. Although I did need the glass base, having dropped and broken the one I use in my CCD class.
January 14
I love free stuff. That's probably why I  need to throw out one thing a day. On those days I get the free upgrade on Continental or the free headset coupon, I take the free headset, even when I know:
  • I'm just going to listen to my iPod the entire flight
  • It's probably a Jim Carrey movie and I won't want to hear it

But I only have 2 ears, so there's really no reason to have three extra sets of cheap-o headphones.

January 15

I really should have waited until Super Bowl XL to throw these away or at least tried to hawk them on eBay. But I decided to call an audible and trash them right away. After 5 years, I decided the lovely engraved Super Bowl stemware needed to be retired. I got them at the very excellent party the night before the Super Bowl. Or maybe the Taste of the NFL, I really can't remember. But no one needs a single wine glass and a single champagne flute commemorating a football game. Least of all me.

January 16

Today is MLK Day. Used to be, you couldn't say Martin Luther King was assassinated, because according to AP style, only political figures could be assassinated. Same with the Pope. But now... AP says that an assassination is to kill a "politically important or prominent individual by surprise attack." Which makes me wonder what sort of assassin would advertise his/her motive, thus rendering the attack not a surprise and therefore not an assassination. And if you publicized it, wouldn't the person take caution and thus foil the plan?

Anyway, what was I talking about?

Right, stuff I threw out. It was a big day today. I was cleaning out my office upstairs. I have three AP Stylebooks. At home. (I have 2 in my office downtown.) Knowing this about me probably explains a lot. Knowing I had at least one newer spare version at work, I decided to toss these old ones. All of them. Including the first AP Stylebook I ever owned, (c) 1980. The one Hilton Waldo Hearn, Jr. made us memorize up in the hallowed halls of Old Main. I considered keeping it. Under my pillow, if necessary. But in the end, I tossed it in the trash and took the bag out to the trash cans right away before I changed my mind. After all, there is no reference to World Wide Web in the 1980 edition. No v-chip. No sport utility vehicle. You could look up Soviet Union but not Kwanzaa. If you looked up MP3, it said, "What? Are you kidding me??"

Throwing out my 1980 Stylebook was more traumatic than the day I threw my wedding dress in the trash.

January 17
And speaking of things that have outlived their usefulness, here's my trusty red cassette player that  I hauled to CCD for who-know-how-many years. I considered taking it to Houston to keep my 8-track player company.
January 18
Oh dear, today is a sad reminder of things that have outlived their usefulness. From what I can remember of the cinco de mayo parties of my past, they were really fun. Even when we were getting kicked out of bars. Even when a certain tequila-swigging someone (not me) ended up in the lap of a certain Channel 4 entertainment reporter (Arch Campbell).
So I think it's time to admit that the chili pepper lights are never going to shine again on the "Pin the Sandinistas in Mexico" game. Nor will they give off the comforting glow as we sneak up behind some unsuspecting drunks and crack cascarones on their heads.
On the other hand, there are a whole bunch of people who are going to wake up on May 6 and feel just fine.
January 19
And then, there are occasions where I like to relive the past. But really, do I need to keep three years' worth of old work calendars? Am I really going to need to see who I ate lunch with on March 8, 2003? Doubtful.
January 20
I admit it, I'm a loyal kind o' gal. When I find something I like, I stick with it. (Hence, my total disregard for any toothpaste that isn't Colgate or say... a spatula with a *gasp* plastic handle.) Back in 1979 (that's right, in the dark ages, Megan), I went to work at Camp Robinwood (followed by Camp Peach Creek in 1980) for a summer. The only problem was that girl scout camps are notorious for being full of bugs and spiders and things that slither, and everyone is required to  wear socks that cover their ankles to protect against the aforementioned critters. Being a tennis player, and especially a tennis player in the seventies, all I had were tennis socks with little dingle balls hanging off the back. I often wore two pairs with color-coordinated dingle balls that matched my outfit. Oh, yeah, I was two pounds of style in a one-pound Gucci knockoff bag.
My mother bought me a bunch of 3-for-99 cents, over-ankle-socks in various colors at Marshalls. Of course, I hated them because they were going to interfere with my tanning regimen. It was one thing to have white feet, but quite another to have white ankles. But I wore them. A lot. For 2 summers and then some.
So it was with no small amount of nostalgia that I had to finally conclude that my blue anklets, the last of my girl scout socks from 1979, were worn out. Thirty-three cents just isn't what it used to be, so I washed them one last time, sang one final round of "Make New Friends," wiped away a tear with my worn-out blue friend and laid them to rest.
I only wish I had kept a shoe box for a decent burial.
January 21
Now that I no longer own a cassette player, there's little use for these cassettes. Especially since one of them was my oh-so-special Cinco de Mayo mix tape and since there aren't any more cinco de mayo parties......
Out went my pre-iPod walking tapes from 93-94-95 when I choreographed my walks to music. I still do it, but it's way easier with a playlist. Especially when I decide I'm tired of the song.
Mile for mile, though, there were good songs on there. I need to download some of those now-oldies. I think I could click off some serious mileage with the Ramones.
January 22
Two weeks to go until Super Bowl Sunday. It brings back memories of my Christmas in April job when I never thought I'd survive the project. But I did, and I remember the good work we did that day in Miami. I remember going to the pre-game party where I quickly realized this was the best party I would ever attend. It must be what Oscar parties are like.
With memories like that, I don't think I need to keep these fruit shakers any longer. They were fun little musical instruments and if I knew some elementary school music teacher, I would donate them. But I don't.
January 23
This is a thrift-shop owner's dream. I entertained a friend's granddaughter with a day of touring a few years ago while my friend was in meetings. She was a really cool kid and we had a good day. I was telling her about my aversion to being one of the "umbrella ladies" you see leading tours. So she found this electric pink flamingo pen with feathers and feet and gave it to me to carry around on tours. I loved it. I didn't carry it on tours, but I thought it was a really sweet thank-you.
Unfortunately, it's time for this flamingo to get the flock out of my house.
January 24
I would rather have returned these prescription eyeglasses to their rightful owner, but I can't, and it's not for lack of trying. I found these glasses outside of my house and no amount of neighborhood advertising would persuade someone to come get them. I'm not throwing them away; they're going into the Lions Club (or whatever that group is that recycles eyeglasses) box at my eye dr's office. I feel this person's pain because last year, I went through three (count 'em three!) pairs of clip-on sunglasses for my glasses. One now lives in somewhere in my local grocery store. One is enjoying a Caribbean lifestyle just off the beach of Caye Caulker in Belize, where they landed in about 6 feet of clear blue water when they flipped off my face and slipped through a net on the sailboat I was on. The third pair rests in my purse, but I can tell it's biding its time until it can free itself. Sort of like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption.
January 25
Do tennis balls go bad? They're still vacuumed packed. I have 2 leftover cans from who knows how many years ago. Somewhere a tennis player and/or some ball-chasing dogs are getting an excellent gift.
January 26

Pelican! Pelican! If you’re my high-school friend, Kelly Martin, you’re laughing hysterically. Kelly and I went to high school with a girl who had one of those really large mouths and an underbite. (She looked sort of like Janice, the singer from the Muppet band, Electric Mayhem.) Note to my school friends reading this: It is not you. If I mentioned the name, you’d know it, but trust me, it isn’t you. We saw her at one or more of our reunions. I can’t help it; she looked like a pelican. Every time we saw her, we’d call out (or whisper if we were in, say, assembly) “Pelican! Pelican!” And then we would double over with laughter.


I’m not proud of this. But once when Kelly had won some big award, the principal was reading her name over the PA and called her Kelly Martian. So for the next four years, she was “KellyMartian.” One word. Luckily, she had a good sense of humor. Me, I was in the same boat, having been announced to the whole school as “Kathy Harrigan.” So while The Pelican might not have been the most sensitive of nicknames, at least we didn’t use it during morning announcements.


One day, KellyMartian and I were in the lunch line and The Pelican was a few people in front of us. She took one look at the day’s offerings and said to whomever she was with: “Oh boy! Fishsticks! I love fishsticks!”


Kelly and I reacted in just about the way you think we did. Only worse. All I remember is the two of us, bolting from the lunch line.


I told you all this so you’d know why I laughed out loud when I tossed out the big, stuffed pelican I got from the Monterrey, California CVB for turning in an RFP last spring. If I knew where KellyMartian was today, I’d mail it to her. I got a postcard from the CVB that says they’re giving away stuffed otters this year. I didn’t go to high school with anyone I called Otter, so I guess I’ll just skip that booth.


January 27

I bought this pedometer while standing in the WalMart check-out line a couple of years ago. Then I gave it to my mom to give to me for Christmas.Turns out, the pedometers sold in the WalMart check-out line aren't super-high quality. Eventually I went back to my old method of tracking distance--number of songs on my iPod playlist. If I can get from my office to National Aiport before Rosalita, that's a brisk 7 miles.


January 28

This might be a first. I tossed out a beaded necklace. I didn’t wear all the time, but it was handmade and a gift, so I kept it. My CCD co-teacher from a few years ago made it for me. But then she ditched me halfway through the year and I had to fend for myself each week. I got over it soon enough, but I saw her at a Christmas party last month and she pretended like she didn’t know me. Kind of odd since I walked up to her and said “Hi “______.” I talked to her husband, played with her kid and still, nothing.


So any Catholic guilt I might have had about not keeping it is long gone. As is the necklace.


January 29

Well, hell, if I’m throwing out blue socks, I guess I should toss out my blue underwear. I’d hate to be hit by a bus and hear some paramedic gasp when my socks and underwear don’t match. “Sure, they’re clean, but they don’t match her socks! Toss her back into the roadway!”


January 30

On a hot day, there’s nothing like a mug of something cold and frosty. This blue freezer glass lives in the freezer and when you pour your drink into it, it becomes all slushy. That’s great for Diet Coke, but beer slurpees aren’t as tasty as they sound. Plus, I need the room in the freezer for important things like leftover buckeyes (see February 8) and ham bones and chocolate chips and chili and pecans.


January 31

I make great* Caesar salad. I can’t remember where I got this dressing recipe, maybe from The Frugal Gourmet. It’s easy and you can just shake it up in a Tupperware container (although Cuis-ing it works better). It is also non-flammable, unlike the time at the beach when I made a salad dressing that caught fire. Literally. I can’t remember why but you put something into a skillet where you’d been sautéing something and I don’t remember much else after that but the fire. “What’s in the dressing? Fire extinguisher foam?”


But I guess it’s been awhile since I made Caesar salad because when I went to open the tube of anchovy paste, it wouldn’t budge. Those little anchovies held tight. I thought I could probably get it off with the needle-nose pliers. Then it occurred to me that if you need pliers to make salad, that can’t be good.


So long little fishes; see you downstream. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.


*Secret of great Caesar salad—make it the day after Kathleen R makes her New Orleans shrimp. Then use the leftover buttery shrimp goo to make homemade croutons.


Go to February


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