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167th Friday Blog Roundup

I finally tackled the paper pile in the living room so I could get to the glass cabinet where we store serving pieces.  The pile had bills going back to 1997.  It also had photos and old letters and magazine clippings.  I found dozens of birthday cards sent from my grandma.  Sorting through bills was a bit mind-numbing, but I got to relive old favourites such as multiple bills from the Philadelphia hospital for a miscarriage, requests for payment on unsuccessful cycles, and a prescription receipt for zofran.

I unearthed old theater tickets and notes from Josh.  An essay about my great-grandmother written by one of my great-aunts.  Agency agreements, old lesson plans, feeding specialist instructions.  This is why I love cleaning.  It’s not just the sense of peace you feel afterward when you look in the corner of the room and find order.  It’s the peeling back of time.


The Weekly What If: what if you could find one piece of paper from your past–a lost story you wrote, a letter, a report card, a picture you remember drawing–in a pile while cleaning up.  What would it be?  It doesn’t need to be specific; it could also simply be a birthday card from your grandmother or one of many random notes passed back and forth in high school with a friend.


It was the 500th issue of the LFCA this week.  In order to keep the LFCA trucking for many more years to come, I wrote about the changes that have taken place over the years, why the LFCA is as it is, and how people can help use the space in the future.  I’d love it if you dropped by and caught up on how the space continues to evolve.  Give your thoughts and ways the LFCA has helped you over the years.  Those stories help me to make smart tweaks in the future.


It’s getting towards the first cut-off for the Creme de la Creme.  It’s not that you don’t have plenty of time to get on the list (after all, it doesn’t truly close for good until March 1, 2010), but if you want to be guaranteed that you’ll be on the list when it goes up January 1st, you need to have submitted your choice by December 15th. Which is next Tuesday. If you fill out the form after December 15th, you will go up as I keep adding to the list, but you probably won’t be up there when the first wave of people start reading on January 1st. So if you’ve been dragging your heels on picking a post, I’d get on it this weekend.


Tonight is the first night of Chanukkah which is sort of one of my unfavourite-ish Jewish holidays.  But we’re having over family and friends for latkes and we’ve dragged out chanukkiah and decorations.  Equally as exciting is the DC IF bloggers (otherwise known as TOOTPU or The Order of the Plastic Uterus) cookie exchange on Sunday which I will be live blogging on my on the road blog just to be more annoying that usual.  Look there Sunday starting around noon EST for pictures, video, and quotes from the DC bloggers.  You’ll practically be able to taste the brownies I’m bringing.


And now, the blogs…

Still Passing Open Windows has a gorgeous post about the benefits and drawbacks of home.  It is about reflecting backwards and looking at the possibilities that come with an open door.  It is about loss and the unknown.  It is wistful and quiet and the entire post reads like a sigh.

Out, Damned Egg!  Out I Say has a post that will make you smile.  It begins with her anniversary; how this year is different from all other years and then moves into a happy announcement for a fellow blogger.  It is about the bonds we make with others along the same journey.

The Girl Who Wants to be Anywhere but Where She Is has a post asking where her friends are when she needs them.  It’s a simple cry, a straightforward stating of need.  And it’s just beautiful in its honesty.

And lastly, Frustrated Musings of a Seemingly Calm Gal has a post about waiting.  She wonders if her difficulty with waiting is tied to being an only child, or if it is merely the fact that when you are waiting, you are still being confronted daily with your infertility.  The post meanders into appointment news and other musings, and truly, it is the fact that this post is a little slice of the infertility blogosphere–as accessible as apple pie–that made me bookmark it as I read it.

The roundup to the Roundup: Clutter gone.  Answer the Weekly What If.  It was the 500th issue of the LFCA.  Get in your Creme de la Creme submission by Tuesday if you want a guarantee to be on the list when it first posts.  Join the TOOTPU cookie exchange via live blogging.  And lots of great posts to read.


1 Angie { 12.11.09 at 8:49 am }

I would love to find a missing letter from my ex-husband. He wrote great letters. I actually believed all the stuff he wrote. He was lousy at being a husband, but a wonderful writer. Oh, and YAY to the 500th of LFCA. So much good works in the good works. With love. XO

2 Mrs. Gamgee { 12.11.09 at 9:30 am }

Right now, it would be two pieces of paper that I know existed 10 & 15 years ago respectively. I know I copied out the family records from my grandmother’s family bible, and I took notes on a conversation I had with my mom about her side of the family… but now, when I’m trying to build a family tree I can’t find any of that info.

3 Palemother { 12.11.09 at 9:37 am }

Happy Chanukkah!

Ah yes, the kind of decluttering that is part cleaning/clearing and part archeological dig. We have two trays in our bedroom (just to name one hot spot) that go months and years collecting strata between clearings. Always a trip.

Hmmm. I’m not sure what I’d like to find. DH and I did the long distance gig in college and we wrote (LONG) letters religiously for a long time. I have NO idea where either collection ended up, or if either has been preserved. I am afraid the letters would make me uncomfortable … the way an ugly photo from adolescence will make you squirm when you realize you had no idea just how painfully awkward you really were back then.

I also had a long correspondance with my two BFF’s from high school when my family moved before my senior year (devastating in the teenage sense of the word). I used to write them each serial fiction. No doubt those letters and stories would be interesting … and would also have high squirm factor.

Three cheers for LCFA! And the round up!

Love ya, Mel.

4 a { 12.11.09 at 9:48 am }

Like Mrs. Gamgee, I did a family tree. Of course, I did it in 3rd grade or so – that’s a lot of years for it to be gone. I think my mom might have it somewhere. I would have sworn I saw it in her files. I also had a list of rules to live by developed with a friend in college. It was quite awesome, and that disappeared when my mom moved out of our family home.

However, I could live without the years of Christmas and birthday cards that I can’t bring myself to throw away!

5 Journeywoman { 12.11.09 at 9:57 am }

2 letters that my grandfather wrote my grandmother. They were married for 65 years. The first letter was his “annual” anniversary note–for their 60th. I remember him reading it to her at the party and I remember seeing her cry and embrace him.

The second letter was a letter of hope. She’d been sick, but she was getting better. He wanted her to know how very much he loved her and how all she had to do was smile at him and he was able to take on the world. That letter was dated the day before she passed away.

I saw them both at my parents house but they don’t know what they did with it.

6 Sarah { 12.11.09 at 10:11 am }

I’d love to recover the emails DH and I sent each other when we first met. We dated long-distance through deployments to Kuwait, then Afghanistan, and he wrote me poetry and song lyrics and love letters. Stupid hotmail deleted my entire account…

7 Lavender Luz { 12.11.09 at 11:17 am }

7 summers ago, my mentor/mystic gave me a Sanskrit chant to do that invited a wise spirit into my life to teach me. I did that chant on mala beads daily for months.

7.5. months after I started doing mapa-mala, my son was born prematurely.

I have looked everywhere for those words. My mentor has no recollection of what they were. I would like to share them with others.

That’s what I would like to find.

8 loribeth { 12.11.09 at 11:32 am }

Being a packrat, there isn’t much that I would really want to get my hands on that I don’t already have (or know approximately where I could find it). I also found some long-forgotten gems while helping my mother clean out her basement this summer, including my baby book, which has we hadn’t seen in years & thought might have been lost. And, funny you should mention notes passed in high school — I found a collection of notes I had passed in biology class with a girlfriend. I remembered them but hadn’t seen them in years & years, & it was funny to see what passed for humour between us then. I’m going to make copies to send to her one day!

I can think of a couple of things I wish I could find or have back, though:
1) My mother’s baby book, which used to be at my grandmother’s, but Mom can’t recall seeing since all their possessions were divvied up.
2) Dh & I had a big fight about clutter once, & I got mad & chucked several cartons of newspaper clippings I had collected over several years. There was some stuff in there I wish I had retrieved first — including all my programs from all the ice shows I attended over several years. 🙁
3) This isn’t paper-related, but a plastic envelope full of all my award ribbons & figure skating badges, etc., has gone missing from the desk drawer of my old bedroom at Mom & Dad’s. It’s often used as a guest bedroom, & I am thinking that someone’s kid helped themselves. 🙁

9 Kim { 12.11.09 at 11:40 am }

I’d like to read a few of the songs someone once wrote about me. They were beautiful, and I think they might make me feel a little more beautiful and lovable right now.

10 Hevel { 12.11.09 at 1:06 pm }

It would be a notebook in which my grandmother wrote down her thoughts on the Shabbat in the year she finished high school (1936) and her first year of University (1937) .

Happy Chanukah!

11 LJ { 12.11.09 at 1:38 pm }

Without a doubt, it’d be my autograph from Jim Henson. My dad spotted him when I was out shopping with him in grade school and he signed his autograph. My dad asked if I knew who he was, and when I didn’t know, he told me it was Kermit. I was awestruck and in heaven and have no idea where that paper went.

12 Kate (Bee In The Bonnet) { 12.11.09 at 1:40 pm }

When my mother recently cleared the attic, she brought me several boxes of random stuff that had been in my closet when I moved out of their house. Among that stuff was a box of letters (I never threw anything away), from back in the day when we used to actually send things in the mail because long distance phone calls were expensive and email hadn’t really been invented yet. And OH, how I enjoyed digging through that box.

But there was one folder of letters that was missing. It’s a weird thing that not a lot of people have (but I think everyone should), but when I was a teenager, I went on this sort of unique religious retreat thing. And as part of the retreat, your “sponsor” had your friends and family and church members and anyone in your life at all who wanted to, to write a letter to you telling you how much you meant to them, and why they loved you so much. And at the end of the retreat, the letters were delivered to you, so you could sit there and read them all and feel cocooned in love and caring and wonderfulness. For years, I would pull out those letters when I was feeling particularly bad about myself, but somewhere along the way, I guess they disappeared, because I cannot find them to save my life.
So, the one thing I would want to find in a pile of stuff would be that folder of letters. Or if it had to be just one, it would be the card my dad wrote to me that was part of those letters. My dad is not a super talkative fellow. He kind of quit talking to me when I started growing up (around 8 or 9 years old), but before then, I was a total Daddy’s Girl. I mean, we lived in the same house, but other than orders to do chores or to tell me to get off the phone, I don’t think we had any real conversations until a year or two ago. But with his usual word thrift, he said exactly what I needed to hear: a card with a silly saying on it regarding how messy I can be, signed not with his name, but just four words, ‘We are so alike.’

I’m tearing up now remembering it.


One of the casualties of living with The German is that he doesn’t like clutter, at all, which means I have very few of these treasure-excavating scenarios, because the longest amount of time that clutter is allowed to pile up is for a couple of months. I kind of miss it. Most recently, when I did a little winterizing project in our office, I had to clear part of my desk to get to one of our windows (my desk being the one remaining place where I am allowed to let the clutter go unfettered, until H finds a reason that I need to clear it up, like this little project we just did). And what I found were square after square after square of post-it notes with various phone numbers notes and and dates and follicle counts and appointment times and questions regarding this last cycle. It felt kind of weird to throw that stuff away, because all of that information is filed elsewhere, and I don’t need to have it at fingertips availability anymore. I no longer need to know the direct phone number of the IVF cycle coordinator nurse at my clinic. I may eventually need it again, but I don’t need it stuck to a chinese restaurant menu next to the phone. Weird.

And now, I’m off to finally pick out a post for the Creme de la Creme… It’s just so hard to pick one, so hard to be objective about your own writing, I think, to determine what you’ve said that you’re truly proud of having said.

13 meggowiggle { 12.11.09 at 3:38 pm }

I would want to find a large manila envelope filled with pictures of my DH as a child and a letter his dad wrote to his grandma about DH’s birth and newborn-hood. We believe we accidentally threw the envelope away with a huge pile of junk mail, because it was there one minute, and gone the next. We haven’t seen it since. There are VERY few pictures in existence of him growing up (darn in-laws!!!!!!!), and the letter is irreplaceable and so precious. 🙁

14 Heather { 12.11.09 at 4:04 pm }

I want to find old high school notes passed amongst friends. So I can laugh.
Because, back then, things were “like so important” and “the world could come to an end momentarily”—only then you grow up, and you realize…

nah, life is never easy.

15 Manapan { 12.11.09 at 5:39 pm }

I’ve never met my father. He got into trouble in his home state and his parents sent him here to avoid the law. When the police caught up, he left. He has a relatively common name, so tracking him isn’t easy. Even if my mom had wanted to tell him she was pregnant, she couldn’t have found him at the time because he was bouncing around jurisdictions.

Many years ago, I found one of my aunt’s deposit slips. It had my father’s name and a general delivery mailing address on it. I was too afraid to ask my mom about it at the time, so I tucked it into my wallet. And then, because I was so young and careless, I lost the wallet. I’ve regretted it ever since, and I would do almost anything to have that piece of paper back now. It could make it so much easier to track him down!

16 Rachel { 12.11.09 at 7:02 pm }

DH and I were friends in junior high & high school. He once wrote me a beautiful letter detailing why he loved me then (when I certainly didn’t reciprocate). Now that we are married some twenty-years later, I would LOVE to have that piece of notebook paper with his pencil scrawl. I can pinpoint from journals the first time he kissed me (my first kiss!) but I can’t find that letter.

17 Jamie { 12.11.09 at 9:15 pm }

I had a friend who was a professional note writer in high school. Colored ink pens, drawings, folded in all kinds of crazy shapes. Once she wrote me a 10 page letter full of jokes, random thoughts and funny stories before I left on a road trip. I read it over and over for years because it always made me laugh. It is something I can’t believe got lost because I looked at it so often.

18 Orodemniades { 12.12.09 at 7:36 am }

I would love to get my grandmother’s immigration paperwork. She came to Chicago via Canada from Poland and my estranged aunt has all of her paperwork. There’s no birth certificate, of course, but maybe a hometown or siblings listed…that would be fantastic.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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