Monday, June 27, 2011


How are we perceived when we display symbols of our accomplishments, interests, and opinions? What about the “labeling” words from our mouths?

Labels (literal and figurative) are descriptive and sources of information - nothing wrong with that; right?

I read a book titled, “The Year of Living Biblically,” by A. J. Jacobs, author of the bestseller, “The Know-It-All.” He is an avowed Jewish agnostic who tried to, literally, live according to the bible for a year - long beard and all.

A very humorous book, and also thought provoking, his attempt to obey the Ten Commandments made me think of the 18” x 24” framed print of the Ten Commandments that my darling husband brought home a few years ago. It took a while for him to find a home for it on one of our walls, and when he did, I was slightly taken aback.

I stepped into our 5’ x 6’ half bath (powder room) and there it was.

“Hmmm… I’m not quite feeling this. Am I not a ‘Good Christian’ because I don’t want it there? Am I being a bit heathenish?”

Sooo…I tell him. Plus, I mention that our non-Christian guests may feel that it’s a little “in your face” as they relieve themselves.

My husband’s display of Christian books, pictures, hats, and t-shirts get him the “religious” label, which is not his favorite because of its catch-all meaning. He just prefers, “Christian.”

Other Labels

* Athletes: Super athletes in particular. They have trophies and ribbons everywhere. My stepfather’s family room was filled with certificates, ribbons, and pictures of him running until my mom had enough of it.

* Personalized license tags

* Mommy vans and SUVs: Many have the little characters stuck on the rear windshields – one for every family member and every pet.

* Other vehicle stickers/emblems:
......College/University alumni
......Kids’ schools – especially private schools
......Sororities and Fraternities
......“My Child is on the Honor Roll”
......The ovals with an acronym of favorite vacations spots; ex. OBX for Outer Banks, CM for Cape May
......The Christian fish
......The Darwin fish
......The Democratic or Republican presidential candidate
......The Confederate flag

* Designer clothes and accessories: My girls like swimsuits and backpacks with “Roxy” visibly weaved into the fabric.

* Professional offices (away and at home): walls plastered with degrees, awards, recognitions, honors, framed newspaper and/or magazine appearances

And what about the labels used when we speak? Typically, our tangible labels correspond with verbal declarations.

Mine is, “I’m a reader and a writer – love to do both.” My “labels” are journals that are stashed throughout my home. Pencils, paper, stationery, and favorite pens are abundant. Shelves of books are in every room. Every time I finish a book, it feels like an accomplishment, the physical book representing the trophy.

A friend commented on one of my blog posts telling of a Seinfeld episode where he asked why people keep books. “Are they trophies to prove that you can read?”

Guilty…only the trophy part, though. I guess everyone knows I can read.

Still, I thought, “Yeah, why do I do that?” So I donated a few (okay, only 3) to the library for their fund raising sale. And guess what? I miss seeing those three books on my shelf.

I realized that I don’t keep my books for other people to see hoping they’ll be impressed. I keep them for “me.”

What label(s) have you attached to your life? Is it for you, or for others to notice? Showing off a little or sharing your interests? :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Whadduh Woman! Conquering Maggots

maggot – the legless, soft-bodied, wormlike larva of any of various flies of the order Diptera, often found in decaying matter (


Anyway, I’ve come in contact with these little creatures. My trash can is at the curb in front of my house after being emptied by the trash collectors. The lid is open; odd, but no big deal.

As I begin to pull it over to close it, my olfactory senses are punched with a hard blow. Simultaneously, my eyes are transmitting the disgusting sight of maggots to my brain, which instantly gives me the heebie jeebies.

The trash can has been smelling a few days, but the hectic pace of my life would always cause my thoughts to be elsewhere. For five seconds as I emptied trash into it, I just assumed the smell would leave when the contents left on trash day.


“Gosh! Umph! Great!” I utter as I hesitate, prolonging the inevitable.

I’ve got to clean it.

I roll it up the driveway where a faucet and hose is near. I go into the house, get the Clorox, come back out, hose in some water, and pour in a little bleach.

I roll the can back to the curb, gently put it on its side, and then lift it from the bottom to form a tilt to empty the bleach maggot soup into the sewer drain.

The stench is still unbearable, exacerbated by the ninety-four degree weather.

Peeking in again, I notice a material stuck to the bottom, like thick wadded string. There’s also an orangey brown substance on the inside wall.


I’ve got to clean the whole can.


I’m not sticking my arm in there!

Think Anita.

A broom.

I see two in the garage, and we hardly use them. (preferring the vacuum)

Back out again with my broom and dishwashing liquid. Hose in water and add soap; then swish, brush, swish. Back to curb. Empty.

String and unidentifiable substance still there.

Repeat process.

Stench has lessened.

I leave the can in the driveway, hoping the sun will cure it.

A few hours later…

Still stinky. After the trash is collected again, I’ll spray more bleach at the “substance,” even though I’m not sure if it is the culprit.

And, my days of not securing the lid with a bungee cord are over. Gotta keep our animal friends that live in our back yard wetlands, out of my trash can.

What have you done that qualifies for “Whadduh Woman?” (Translation: What a Woman!)