Monday, June 09, 2008

One person's treasure is another person's toenail...or however that expression goes

I have been slowly slowly packing my things and moving into Nick’s house.

I show up with the most random conglomerations of stuff.

But for the fact that I generally look like I've bathed and am wearing clean clothing, I’m sure I look like a homeless woman wandering down the street. I'm constantly carrying too much, laden with piles of clothing and the occasional household goods.

One evening I showed up with my food processor packed in with my clothes in one of those rolly carry-on bags. This past weekend I brought my laundry basket, which is actually this really lovely woven basket rimmed in cowrie shells, which I bought in Cape Town.

Incidentally, if you’re ever visiting somewhere far away and you know you have to change planes three times to get home, a large exotic basket that you have to carry on the plane and worry about someone crushing with their luggage is one of the least practical things you can purchase. Likewise a large, brightly painted, carved wooden turtle with a long neck and the head of a woman. And bright red toenails on her turtlish feet.

Just FYI.

So anyway. I showed up with this basket, inside of which I’d layered towels and wooden bowls and my electric teakettle. Under one arm I had a long grey duffel bag with an Afghan carpet rolled up inside. Plus some hangers. And in my purse, crammed full of books and lotions and whatever else I could fit, I’d stashed a bunch of my jewelry.

There are many detestable things about moving, but the fun part is rediscovering bits and pieces of your past. For example, yesterday I found my childhood charm bracelet, in need of a slight bit of repair.

I haven’t worn it in years and years. I imagine plenty of you had charm bracelets, but if you've never had one, as a child, they're really fun. You’d add a charm when you went somewhere, or you’d get a charm as a birthday or Christmas present. The charms were special memories.

What I realized yesterday is that at first glance it’s not remotely unusual. It's a girly charm bracelet.

Until you start looking at individual charms.

There’s the little silver coral-studded elephant. And the miniature bullock card with wheels that turn. There’s a diminutive gardening shears, which actually can cut paper, as I recall. There are tiny Thai bells that ring. And an itty-bitty Taj Mahal, with four delicate silver turrets, one in each corner.

But my favorite favorite charm at that time? A tiger’s claw, rimmed in silver.

Looking at it now, I realize two things. One, that a tiger’s claw actually seemed like a normal kind of charm back then. And two? That a claw is really just a toenail. I have a bracelet with a toenail dangling from it, albeit one that used to belong to a tiger.

It’s kind of creepy and gross if you think about it.

As soon as I get it fixed, I’m totally going to start wearing it.


  1. Creepy, yes, but not as creepy as the once popular rabbit's foot key chain with genuine rabbit's paw in shocking pink or lime jello green.

  2. No kidding! So bizarre. I once saw this cartoon of two rabbits at a train station, and the father rabbit was handing a rabbit foot to the son and he said, "It's your mother's - she wanted you to have this for luck." or something along those lines.

  3. it's delightful to find concrete evidence of your exotic childhood . . .
    regarding schlepping your unique laundry basket onboard three flights, it reminded me of the time i had the unenviable task of storing a ginormous sombrero from tijuana in a plane's overhead compartment . . .


  4. Me being me*, I can't help but think, "What would customs think if they knew you had a real tiger part on your wrist?" That has to violate some sort of endangered species trafficking embargo...


    *the TSA and Customs don't like me for some reason... so I tend to think the worst of them.

  5. I am sooo disappointed now. How can you post all of this, and NOT post a picture of the large, brightly painted, carved wooden turtle with a long neck and the head of a woman and bright red toenails on her turtlish feet???

  6. Charm bracelets and other treasures, oh my! What a fun post. I'm going to examine my charm bracelet tonight. Great silver lining perspective on moving, too.

  7. I was reading this and wishing for pictures, too. Aren't we readers a demanding bunch?

  8. LJ - It would be similar to the hassle of a sombrero, for sure. I've vowed not to carry back anything enormous and inconvenient again...we'll see.

    VVK - Yah, I'm sure that's true. But I'm also sure they're too busy focusing on random bullshit like how many ounces of liquid you have in your makeup bag to notice. I agree with you on thinking very little of them.

    Beach Bum - I will, I will! I didn't even think of it. Dolores (the turtle lady) is so great.

    HKW - Thank you! I didn't think of it that way, and tend to think I'm not a silver lining person, but I'd like to be.

    DCup - Ha ha! I will take pics, for sure!


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