Monday, April 30, 2012

Books read in April 2012

A lot of book group selections, reading projects and YA stuff here.

Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber
Matt and I read aloud.
I wish I read the afterword before I read the book because in it Lieber discusses the various ways he used to depict the Antarctic.  That would have been interesting to observe while I was reading the book.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs (no really, that's his name)
A great combination of good storytelling influenced by old photos.  It feels like there is probably a sequel coming, but this is still a good stand-alone book.

Rilla of Ingleside
L.M. Montgomery
I read the edition edited by Benjamin Lefebvre and Andrea McKenzie.  I had to special order it from Canada as American booksellers don't have it yet.

I've now read all eight books in the Anne series, and I can say that this is by far the best one.  I liked the Anne books only somewhat as I found Montgomery strong on character and incredibly weak on plot in most of the books.  This, however, was an actual novel that was gripping to read.  Clearly World War I had a great impact on the author and she channeled her feelings into this novel, with great results.  It has such a clear plot, it could even be read without reading the other seven books in the series.

This edition also includes a handy glossary to define WWI era things that have gone out of our collective memory.  My favorite entry is "soup tureen."  I figured people still knew what that was.  However, I saw one at the Goodwill the other day and asked Matt if he knew what it was and he did not.  Granted, he's probably not the best representative as he continues to put "salad roaster" on shopping lists.

The Human Experiment: 2 years and 20 minutes inside Biosphere 2
Jayne Poynter
One of the crew of the initial Biosphere 2 mission tells her story.  This was interesting to read after reading Dreaming the Biosphere  as Poynter gives her view of the split that happened with the eight-man crew.  I also got a better picture of her work at Synergia Ranch and around the globe in various Synergian ventures.  Now to read the book written by the couple in the other faction.

Don Barry
Read for Kenton Book Group
This is a really fabulous early settler/Indian Oregon narrative that is also a gripping story. It's slow to start (in fact, several people in the book group commented that it was a bit slow, but they liked it even though they hadn't yet finished it.  Every single one of them had stopped around page 50) but picks up rapidly after that. The book included great characters, what I felt was a sympathetic portrayal of Oregon cost Indians circa 1840.  I'm not sure why this is not required reading in various high schools around Oregon, but it should be.

The Silent Boy
Lois Lowry
I grabbed this one day to read during lunch because I forgot my newspaper. It uses historic photographs to supplement the story.  Lowry is a darn good storyteller so this is a good story and with a non-standard character as it includes an Autistic boy in the early 20th century.  When I was younger, I never saw anything but "regular" children in the books I read, so I came away with the impression that people with cognitive disabilities didn't exist except in the present.

The Magician's Nephew
C.S. Lewis
And I'm off on another children's series.  I can't say I loved this book as it was fairly paternalistic, but it went quickly and had some memorable images, notably Jadis standing on top of the handsome cab whipping the poor horse through the streets of London.

Blue Pills
Read for Kenton Book Group
As mentioned several times before, the graphic novel is not my genre.  However, it was very nice to have a book group book I finished in about three days (rather than three weeks) and which explored an interesting topic.  Because the Kenton Book Group is made up primarily of people who don't read graphic novels, we had quite a lively discussion, where I found myself championing the genre.  There's some really great "early relationship" stuff in here and though the woman in the group who identifies herself as an artist said she would have given the author a bad grade because he couldn't draw, I loved the art.

Happily, one member had never read any graphic novels before and was so taken with the genre he made it a priority to select another graphic novel for us to read next year.

Started and did not finish
Lani Taylor
I like fantasy, I think.  But the I read something like this and wonder.  Do faeries (even somewhat bad-ass ones) sink the story for me?  Perhaps.

I want my MTV
Marks and Tannenbaum
This is the second book every which I have desired to read in some electronic format with internet connection (the first being 1Q84 because the darn thing was HEAVY.)  Reading this book, I greatly desired the internet as I was reading because I wanted to watch the videos as they discussed them.  Because watching videos while reading a paper copy involved me getting up out of my chair and booting up the laptop (which is chained up so I can't bring it to my chair)I didn't watch as many videos as I would want to.  Once I get that whole issue worked out, I will happily finish this book because it is FAN-TAS-TIC especially for me who came of age watching MTV during the time period the book covers (1981-1992)

The format is excerpts of interviews with people involved in MTV, the creation of the station, the VJs, the bands, the people making the videos.  It is very hard to stop reading, especially when you get multiple viewpoints of a single event.  This is pure delightful candy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Three sentence movie reviews: The Tempest

Because Julie Taymor directed this, it is quite lovely and I must say the casting of Helen Mirren as Prosper(o/a) was interesting.  However, I did not enjoy this movie version as much as I enjoyed the bare-bones Shakespeare in the Park version I watched last summer.  That aside, it was not a bad way to spend two hours.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Requiem: Curtis Swimming & "wedding" dress

At Cottey College we lived in suites, a group of dorm rooms joined together by a living room, kitchen and bathroom.  At the end of the year, most suites would have Free boxes, which we wandered about taking advantage of, kind of like an early form of naked lady parties.  It was from a free box I got this sweatshirt.  I can still picture the woman who owned it previously, she was tall and blond in that reassuring Nordic way.  I wore the bajeesus out of this sweatshirt and then tried to make it last a bit longer by practicing some needlepoint on the frayed edges.  This was a great companion.

Interesting coincidence.  Cottey College is located in Missouri and when I was living in Somerville, Massachusetts, my downstairs neighbor saw me with this shirt and excitedly queried me as to where I got it. It turns out that he went to the very same Curtis High School as the original owner of this sweatshirt, though he didn't know her.
I call this my wedding dress as it has made appearances at many weddings.  I bought it for Teresa's wedding   in the late 90s, but that was just the first of many.  I love that it's red, form-fitting and has an interesting pattern.
But what I really love is the back detail with the fabulous crisscross straps.  Many other people love this detail too and have told me so.  Goodbye beautiful wedding dress.

Four hours of Hamlet? Have I got a project!

I couldn't really just sit through four hours of Hamlet with nothing to do.  So I assigned myself a project.  I went through five Rubbermaid storage containers and culled things.  It was a great success, I now only have three storage containers and the project lasted the entire length of the movie.

Found it!

In my essay about Mrs. Brown I reference a stir fry recipe.  I still have it, it was in one of my memory boxes.
Are you hungry for stir-fry, made in the style of 4-H circa 1985? Here's the recipe:
You need:

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (if you have it)
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2/3 cup carrots, sliced thin
  • 2/3 cup celery, sliced thin
  • 2 cups broccoli, separated into flowerets; cut the stems into think slices
  • 1/3 cup onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (or use canned green beans) [Here I must interject and say, no, do not use canned green beans as they are nasty]
  • large skillet with lid
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • measuring cups (nested and liquid)
  • measuring spoons
  • wooden spoons
Note: you can use frozen vegetables in this recipe too.  Be sure they are defrosted. Then dry them with a paper towel to prevent splattering.

1. Mix cornstarch, ginger, garlic powder, soy sauce and water in a glass measuring cup and set aside
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid
3. When the oil is hot, add the dry carrots, onions and the celery
4. Cook for one minute, stirring occasionally
5. Then add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Stir constantly.  The broccoli will turn bright green.
6. Add the liquid and continue cooking for 1 minute or until it's bubbly.
7. Then add the bean sprouts, reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook for 2 more minutes
8. Don't get your face over the pan when you take off the lid.  Steam will rise up and could burn you.
9. If you want, serve over rice.  Makes four servings.

Three sentence movie reviews: Hamlet

It's four hours long, but not boring.  I get the Kenneth Branagh "thing" now.  It was very cinematic in scope and I liked it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chartreuse stripes

My walk to the train was a bit greener today.

Three sentence movie reviews: Captain America

I liked this last summer in the theater and I liked it when I watched it as part of the Avengers Assembly movie series.  I think Hugo Weaving playing the villain was the best of the Avengers villains and I think that Chris Evans manages to project a vulnerability left over from his scrawny days that suits his character.  However, the people we watched the movie with pointed out some inconsistencies in the ending which I hadn't considered, which prompted Matt to show us a clip from How it Should Have Ended which was incredibly funny, given that the point had just come up.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Essay: On houses, homes, corporations and large armies

Women who make a house a home make a far greater contribution to society than those who command large armies or stand at the head of impressive corporations. Gordon B. Hinckley. 

One of my friends posted this quote on Facebook.  I have several problems with this quote and Facebook was not the place to dissect it.  But luckily, we have the essay of the week.  And so:

Making a house a home is an important part of society.  Let’s just get this out of the way right now.  People (right now primarily women) who “do not work” outside the home are a valuable part of our society.  Families who can have one parent happily stay home full time not only benefit their own children, but the availability for volunteering, carpools, baking and the like has a ripple effect around them.  At the school where I work, we have parents who work outside the home who volunteer.  However, a lot of the heavy volunteer lifting gets done by parents who do not have paid employment outside the home.  If you are a “stay at home” mom (or dad), I greatly salute you.

Why only women?  I think the part of this quote that irks me the most is that it takes one gender and assigns them a role.  This closes the door for people of the opposite gender to take that path and it relegates the assigned to that role.  This is often done blatantly by religious leaders, and subtly by a good portion of the society.  Once upon a time, a Muslim man came to talk about Islam to the high school youth group I was advising and he stated that women spend so much time raising the children, they don’t have time to be involved in politics.  I wondered if women who did not have children and thus were not busy raising them could trade in their free time for politics instead, if that was what interested them.

I think I would also like a better sample size before making Hinkley’s pronouncement above.  Few women are the head of corporations and fewer still command large armies.  If the few that do those things do those tasks well, are they still not making a great contribution to society?  And is it because they are women and not making a house a home?  That seems a little unfair. Given that we don’t yet have a representative sample, I would say that the data is not yet in.

This quote also gives us a false choice of either “house/home” or “armies/corporations” Can one not do both?  Granted, in the United States today we lag far behind the rest of our peers in the world in making jobs friendly to families, but say that a woman works part-time outside the home and part-time inside the home?  Is she still making a great contribution to society, or is she required to only be a full-time homemaker?

If a person does not want to make a house a home, but does it under duress, that person’s home probably isn’t much fun to be in.  The fact is, if you are a woman who is not into making a house a home—and there are many such women out there—but you do that because you are “supposed to” your results might not be very good.  Better to outsource some of your homemaking work to others who are more into it and put your energy where your interests are.  As the needlepoint says, “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  If full-time homemaking isn’t your thing, find something that is.

I must take a moment to note the speaker.  Gordon B. Hinckley was the President of the Mormon Church for nearly 13 years.  Why is it that powerful men make statements such as this?  While it supposedly lifts women up, it also cuts them off from roles other than homemaker.  Currently, no woman can be head of the Mormon Church, as Hinckley was.  His job is not available to women.  Thus his words seem to put women in their place, hand them a bit of candy and pat them on the head, as he gets on with other business.  Business that no one will ever question the value of.  Making a house a home is an important part of our society and I think both men and women should be able to do it, if that’s their calling.  But if it isn’t their calling, society is best served if they go into the world and do what they do well, even if that is heading an army or running a large corporation.  And even if they are a woman.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Three sentence movie reviews: City Island

This was one of those movies I want to just go and live in for a few days.  Great acting, funny, complex without being confusing, and full of warmth.  I enjoyed it so much I requested the director's other movies from the library and I highly recommend you watch this one.

Three sentence movie reviews: Thor

Last year, I mostly did not like this film, finding the main actor cheese-o-riffic, though I liked the special effects. Upon re-watching it for our Avengers Assembly, I liked it quite a bit more.  I think it was because I was prepared for Thor's he-man looks and funny facial/head hair, but somehow the whole movie seemed a bit deeper the second time around.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Essay: On Gradual Changes

Around this time of year, I begin to catalog the many tiny changes that mean we are finally on the road to my favorite time of year: summer.  Just recently I noticed that rather than putting on my warm wool socks immediately upon crawling into bed, I had been going to sleep with my feet bare.  Instead of wearing both my warm flannel top and bottom pajamas I have switched out the flannel top for a long-sleeved cotton shirt.  Not only do I not immediately grope for my robe upon waking, I haven’t worn it in weeks.  And most importantly, I’ve stopped constantly checking the thermometer next to the thermostat to see just how cold it is in the house.  I haven’t turned on the heat for weeks.

So we’re on the upswing to warm weather, hallelujah!  And I’ve been thinking about how trying to make big changes in my habits and patterns follows a similar process. Just as the weather can’t change immediately from lows of 20 degrees to lows of 70 degrees, but instead must move slowly from one day to the next, so do my attempts at change make a transition at a pace that seems almost glacial.

Recently, I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of an early morning walk.  For most of last year I successfully rose early enough to wander around my neighborhood for a half hour.  I liked my walks because they ensured I had a minimum amount of fitness every day, I got to see the small changes in the neighborhood and they were good for my mental state.  The exercise was not difficult, and though it was hard to get out the door on those freezing cold days that just kept on coming last spring, I persevered and was rewarded on many levels.

At some point, I fell off the horse.  For some reason, remounting proved to be incredibly difficult.  For months I tried various strategies to wake myself, get up and out of bed and out the door.  I tried gradually moving back my waking time.  I tried going out for only fifteen minutes.  I tried plunging in and setting my alarm earlier.  I bought a dawn simulator. I made deals with myself that were continually broken.  It seemed I would never rise at 5:00am ever again.

Many years during Lent I assign myself a Lint Project.*  They generally have to do with self-improvement and some years are more successful than others.  This year part of my Lint Project was a 30-minute walk every day.  At first nothing changed.  I set the alarm, the alarm went off, I reset the alarm and no walk occurred.  Even three weeks into the project I wasn’t having very much success.  But something clicked near the end of the project and I’m headed back on track.  I haven’t made it out for a walk every morning, but there are more mornings that find me wandering than find me in bed.  It might have a lot to do with the return of the light.  Though sunrise still happens after I have returned home from my walk, there is at least the beginning of light when the alarm goes off.  But I also think it had a lot to do with my perseverance.  I wanted to get back outside and so I kept at it. 

A few days ago I came across this quote by Marian Wright Edelman in my quote pile:
We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.

I was reminded of the many daily differences that deliver summer to me each year and the many daily differences that resulted in my change in early morning walk habits.
*So named because one of my first official Lint Projects was revitalizing my wardrobe during the season of Lent.  Because I don’t think improving the clothing in my closet is what the Christian season of Lent is all about, I renamed it the Lint Project.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Something to consider.

They ask so nicely, it's worth considering.  This is the same corner that had the dueling Obama/Clinton signs during the 2008 primary season.  I can't remember if the Atheist house was Obama or Clinton and I can't find my old post with the picture, either.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Watching a crane on a block.

Checking in with our North Portland block, a crane has made an appearance.

Yes! I boiled them!

Thanks to my new cookbook Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese I made bagels.  When I told people I was going to/had made bagels every single person asked me, "Are you going to/Did you boil them?" And yes I did.  Here's proof.
I have to say that making the bagels was incredibly fun.  It was a bit labor intensive, but well worth the time.
I love my new cookbook!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Essay: On being engaged

“I had no idea that was happening!”  “I never heard that!”  “I wish I would have known about that.”

Do you find yourself saying those phrases a lot?  Perhaps you are disengaged.  Would you like to be more engaged in your school, a club, your church, your child’s school?  Here’s why you should and how you can.

If you are involved in something on a surface level, you don’t really feel a part of things.  In my work as an office manager of a school, I often hear that parents feel disengaged from what’s going on at school.  Becoming more connected to what’s going on in an organization gives you satisfaction because you know what is happening, but also because you feel more connected to the organization and thus you feel better about not only yourself, but also the organization.

How can you become engaged?  I guarantee you that the organization is probably trying desperately to communicate with you.  At my school we have a web site with new content updated frequently, a weekly email drawing attention to content on the website, weekly newsletters posted electronically and on paper, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed as well as individual emails.  You don’t need to follow all of those things, just pick the one that will give you the broadest coverage and keep up with it. 

Set aside time to keep up with things.  Yes, that means that you have to take the initiative.  If an email comes to your inbox about the organization’s activities and you have decided that reading the emails is the way you are going to keep up with the information then you need to actually open and read that email.  Remember, you want to be a part of this organization which means you need to put in some effort to learn about what’s going on.

If you still feel out of the information loop, ask someone how they know what’s going on.  They may tell you about how they get their news and their story may inspire you to follow their lead.  Or, if you can’t possibly follow what’s going on, ask an informed friend if they will keep you abreast of developments.  In doing this, you are depending on someone else to prompt you, but if they happen to be a person who enjoys disseminating information and you actually listen, then everyone is happy.

Once you get in the flow of information, make some friends.  If your only contact with the organization is reading the emails you might lose interest fast.  See if you can volunteer for a one-time event, serve on a committee or host a social of some sort.  When you meet others who are also interested in the organization introduce yourself and do your best to get to know them.  Having friends in the organization will make you feel like an insider.

If you are not going to do your part to be involved with the organization, don’t ask the staff to go out of their way to accommodate you.  Accept that you won’t ever know what is going on and it is not their fault that you didn’t hear of something in which you were interested.  There are many organizations in this world and you don’t have to be a member of any of them.  The organizations do welcome your interest and enthusiasm, but if you don’t bring those things, this organization might not be the right fit for you.

Both in my paid work and at my church I constantly hear people express surprise about information that has been made available to them in a variety of ways.  Being engaged is a part of being human.  Get yourself in sync with the flow of an organization you care about and feel more alive.

Monday, April 9, 2012


This has been an empty lot for all five years I've lived in North Portland.  For awhile there was a "gorgeous Town Homes coming in 2009" (or something) sign posted on the site, but the picture eventually fell off and the sign disappeared.  However, something is coming now.  I feel a bit sorry for the house next door who is suddenly living very close to a massive structure, but that's life in the big city.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The most wonderful time of the year.

There's a Christmas song that purports that Christmas time is the most wonderful time of the year.  I enjoy Christmas, but that holiday is a lot of work.  MY favorite time of the year is when my tax return comes.

I ignore all the financial advice in books and have the government withhold more than they should to ensure I get a good refund.  I know that I could do a savings program of my own, but quite frankly, interest rates are pretty much non-existent so it's not like I'm losing much interest.  And it's just more fun to get a huge chunk of cash at once.  I use it to put aside money for Christmas and the meat purchase and I buy big-ticket things I've been needing which usually means a pair of shoes.  And then I buy big-ticket things I've been wanting.  This year: Knife sharpening kit.
Also:  potato ricer.  In this case I riced the last of the potatoes I grew into mashed potatoes for Easter dinner.  The cookies were the Easter Bunny treats for everyone.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Essay: On hiatus.

No essay this week.  I'm not sure why, but I think I got busy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Watching a block returns.

When we last left our block, the liquor store was still standing.  That was in September of 2009. After they took down the liquor store, nothing happened.  Weeds grew, it was very unsightly, there was a newspaper article published about how the people who now own the block lost their financing, but were going to turn the block into a park while they waited for things to improve.  This was a nice story, but the park did not come to pass as we spent two years looking at the weeds grow behind a flimsy fence.  

But it's a new day.  Things are happening.  There is a construction trailer on the block and heavy machinery is beginning to move in. We will keep a watch on what develops.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wheel! Of! Fortune!

Mom, Aunt Carol and I got to see a taping of Wheel of Fortune at the Convention Center.  It was great fun.

Things you should know about going to a remote taping of Wheel of Fortune:

  • The information emphatically requires no cell phones and no cameras.  If you follow their instructions and do not bring your cell phones and cameras you will be annoyed because the vast majority of people DO bring their cell phones and cameras with no consequences.
  • There is a lot of waiting around.  First there is the waiting around to get in when you are herded, cattle-like, through a switchback of a line.  However, Wheel of Fortune knows their audience and there are chairs in which to sit all along the line, for those who aren't able to stand the whole time.  
  • For those who can't really stand long at all, they just get to go to a holding area to wait for the rest of their party.  This brings up unfortunate images of "culling the weak ones" in my mind, but rest assured that your loved one will still be waiting when you get to the front of the line.
  • When you are herded into a seat, you may not really like your seats.  That is okay, as they will be taping multiple shows and there are a lot of people who leave after the first show is done.  Then you can get much better seats.
  • They will want you to clap a lot.  So if you try and keep up with Vanna's clapping as the Wheel is spinning, your hands will be quite tired by the end of the session.
  • It takes a very long time to tape three 20-minute shows. The taping itself lasted about 2.5 hours and that doesn't include waiting in line.  So get ready to settle in.

Observations gleaned from my session:

  • Pat Sajak spends very little time on stage.  When they have finished the round he immediately leaves the stage, returning just as the next round is going to begin.  There is very little schmoozing
  • Vanna is the only one on stage who knows the answer to the puzzle.
  • When Vanna walks around answering questions, 30% will be interesting questions to which I want to know the answers, 65% will be the eye-roll inducing and grammatically incorrect "Can I have a hug?" and 5% will be people wanting to take their pictures with her.
  • Vanna does not get to keep the clothing she wears.  Given that she wore three different one-piece outfits that I found a bit ugly, I see this as a blessing.  She does, however, wear her own shoes with her outfits.  She reports that she has a lot of shoes.
  • It takes eight people to move the mini-Wheel used for the final puzzle on and off the stage:  four to push/hold up cables, and four more to place a rotation of press board on the floor for the mini wheel to roll over.
  • I find the TV industry to be incredibly inefficient in the realm of labor.
  • WOF has a "remote crew" out of Florida who do all the remote tapings.  The regular crew stays back in California.
  • There is only one Wheel and it is very heavy.  Watching the crew change the wheel between segments was my favorite part.
  • The reason the contestants tend to yell out their letters in a rather obnoxious fashion is that there are two people employed to make sure the candidates can spin the wheel and they hype them up as much as possible.
  • When Pat Sajak mishears a contestant's letter choice the stage goes dark, the contestants are ordered to turn around, there is a general murmur of discussion on the stage and then they restart the round with a brand-new puzzle.  Also, Pat Sajak will tell you that it's the first time it has happened in the history of the show.  Don't believe him.
  • Because contestants are not allowed to name their actual employers, when a contestant identifies hers as a "local athletic apparel manufacturer" half the audience will lean to the other half of the audience and whisper "Nike."
  • The "kissing cam" was a hilarious part of the experience, even if I felt dumb the whole time for laughing.  This was where they would show two members of the audience framed in a heart and the couple would laugh in recognition and kiss, to the audience's approval.  Or, they would lean over a row and down three chairs to kiss their spouse who was not the person in the frame originally, or attempt to hide their eight-year old selves as their older sister attempted to kiss them, or sit uncomfortably as their wife moves in for the kiss.  Good clean fun.
  • When the productions likes us, they give us super cool Wheel of Fortune blinky pins that are very fun to wear at school the next day.


Paul Bunyan gazes at the rainbow arching over him.  I could see both ends, but Paul doesn't have the ability to turn around.

I also saw another huge rainbow on my way home.  It was a very good rainbow day in Portland.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Requiem: tank top, jewelry box, mirror, bag.

This was a great tank top which I bought at the Junior League Thrift Shop soon after I came to Portland, when that Thrift Shop was located downtown.  It moved (there's now a vitamin store where it used to be) and eventually closed, much to my horror as it reliably had good stuff.  There was a mattress store occupying the space, but I think that's turned over too.  I loved the stripy nature of this tank top, but I think my advancing age means I can no longer go without a bra.  And I don't care to invest in a strapless bra just for one shirt.
I was 18 and off to college.  My family dropped me off at my school, but before they did we stopped to visit Aunt Fran and Uncle Stacy.  At some point in the visit, Aunt Fran offered me this jewelery box.  "I thought you might want to have some place to put your jewelry," she told me.  I hadn't thought of that, and I didn't really have much jewelry, but I liked the idea and happily accepted.
It's been a good jewelry box and served me well. Now it's time for someone else to use it.
I can't remember when I bought this mirror, but it was pretty significant for a stage of my life.  It might have been the stage with roommates, when you can't spent forever in the bathroom, so some of the grooming migrates to your room.  It's a great mirror, with standard and magnifying options.
I find it strange how I get attached to the oddest things.  I've had this bag from the Gap for over ten years.  I can even remember the two pair of jeans that the bag transported home for me.  For years, this bag has held a leotard, tights and ballet slippers.  I've decided to let all of the objects go.  Thanks Gap bag, for being a plastic bag in my drawer for so many years.