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(I spent my entire morning doing this. You will click on every link. Thank you.)

I get the urge for change. I move furniture and rearrange cabinets and decide to come clean and binge and purge myself of the clutter that's stuffed away in bins and bags. Attics and basements hold too many things that I should be rid of, boxes hold pain and scenarios better left forgotten.

I go through photos and watch the news at the same time and I realize that if I ever go missing and they needed a recent picture that the latest one of me is nothing more than my cleavage fronting a bowl of oranges. Missing woman, 36C, black bra, last seen with bowl of fruit. I find pictures of people I don't want to remember and people I don't want to forget and reminders of a day that never ended.

A drawer holds reciepts of items long given to garage sales and garbage dumps, manuals for appliances since replaced. There's an old game piece behind the couch, a Death Star on the shelf and the memories of that party and the occassional happy moments that were imbedded in those bitter years.

There are placemats in the unused microwave cabinet; no one here uses placemats anymore. We eat standing up, ready to go, on our way out to another game, another activity, another hour or so away from home.

There are books that bring back memories, that haven't been read in years but mark the passing of one stage to another, growing up, moving on. Songs on vinyl that make you think of long summer nights and the sweat of a dance and the secret kiss in the parking lot.

When was the last time we watched that tape or used that game or listened to that cd? When was the last time we needed this or used that and if I don't know the answer it goes in a bag, headed for a shelter or a clothes bin or the garbage truck.

I linger over things; letters and school projects and holiday decorations. It takes so long to purge your collection of junk because you hold each thing and feel the moment it was created or bought and live the memories and decide if you want to keep that thought or not.

Life is fleeting. Life is not a box of chocolates, but a box of photos and train tickets and hastily scrawled poems. Life is ripping pictures in half to cut away the pain and putting in frames the parts of you that you want to display. Life is cleaning out closets and grinding the skeletons into dust until your shelves are lined with smiles and your heart is no longer broken.


Wow... that was an amazing photo story.

stories + photos are why i like the internet. you just happen to do it exceptionally well.

This. This is why. This is why I visit your site at least twice a day. Thanks Michele.

Beautiful. Thank you.

On my part, it's 139 bytes of bookmark space well-spent.

Absolutely awesome - I truly enjoyed that a lot! :)

You have Star Wars glasses. I am envious.

I enjoyed the part where we got to see the china cup in the Christmas pattern.

wonderful photo story. something i identified with. going through the paper memories is always an event.

Having had to clean the home/office recently, I know just what you mean. A ten-minute cleanup becomes days of reliving memories, and deciding which you intend to keep.

I especially liked the picture of bitter-sweet memories of the parties spent during the bad years. Is it a coincidence that the letter-cube shows the word "FIGHTS"?

Hun, the fruit cleaveage photo rocks! This coming from someone who's usually only a breast man when it comes to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

One thing that helps is watching that very video. One should watch "Dazed and Confused" about 4 times a year. (It certainly does wonders for me - though afterwards I always wake up on the road wondering why I'm trying to score Aerosmith tickets.)

Chele, what am I eating in that picture? A tub of butter, perhaps?

That was amazing. I just love coming here. thanks.

I love the ripped-in-half photo almost as much as the one of your kids when DJ was a baby.

Can I have your Han Solo glass? Pleeeease?

Just to clarify:

That picture is of me and my sister Lisa when I was 8 and she was about 1.

It looks amazingly like Natalie and DJ.