Thursday, December 2, 2010


Before I retired I always used a huge purse. If trendy messenger bags had been available, I probably would have used one of those, and it might have been big enough. As it was, mostly I stuck with the big Liz Claiborne totes, nice looking enough to carry to work and big enough to contain anything I might need while I was away from home. Not that I had far to travel, mind you, but certainly more distant than just walking into the kitchen to get a couple of aspirins.

I always envied women who could be satisfied with a tiny purse. And so it was that when I retired back in 2000 I started downsizing my purses. I shouldn't need big purses any more. Going "small" was not easy to do, but I forced myself to get rid of the totes. The picture above represents the size of the purse I have been using this last year. (I have already tossed the old purse so I simply used this little kit to give you an idea of its size. I photographed my wallet next to it so you could see that I certainly didn't have much room for anything else!

I made it work, but honestly I felt about half of me was still somewhere in the house; it certainly wasn't close to my person.

Now although I'm not really a "collector" of things, there are certain things that I really should have close at hand all the time. Spread out for you in the picture below are what I consider the "necessary" contents of my purse. (And no, the cat isn't one of them. She just happens to be a VERY nosy cat!)

Let me explain a little: Aside from the glass case (which Squeaky decided to lie on), you can see the little glass cleaner satchel next to it, my date book, check book and notepad, my wallet and my makeup bag all on the top row. Across the center I have some Breezers for my raspy throat, Wet Wipes for my hands, pills for emergencies (never had to use them yet), an Epi-Pen for use if I am attacked again by soft-tissue hives in my throat!, and Band-Aids, "just in case." Then there are some ordinary items: extra batteries for my camera, gum, my cellular phone, the Bluetooth (carefully secreted in a pill bottle), matches and hand lotion. All are absolutely necessary to have on hand, I think. You can understand why I felt like my existing purse was not entirely adequate and why I set out yesterday to buy myself a new one.

And of course, I ended up with a wonderfully big satchel, not a Liz Claiborne this time, but one that could almost pass for a messenger bag if it had a long strap with it. It has nooks and crannies for everything. It came close to being the perfect bag for me. (The perfect bag would have been one exactly like my daughter Kerry's but which I learned was no longer available.) Her bag, from Lord and Taylors, had real class, but what is important is that I am exceedingly happy with what I bought. Happier yet because it was on sale for $29.99!

So I've simply called it my Christmas present to myself and didn't beat myself up over buying things for myself when in the midst of the season of giving to others.

Now, there is one thing I need to tell you about what else will be going into the purse. It is such a peculiar thing to want, yea need, that it needs its own explanation.

I have a quirk, and that quirk is that I want to be sure a pen is always available in case I have something I must write. A single pen won't do. It might be out of ink, or worse, has disappeared. So I must have more than one pen. In fact, I like to have lots of pens to choose from when I need to write something. I might want to write it in green ink, or with a fine point, or .... or....or. So my solution has been carry a bunch of pens, one for any occasion or for all occasions. And rather than let them languish on the bottom of my purse, many years ago I came by this old cigarette holder and quickly conscripted it for my pens. I love my pens. They are El Cheapos, none of any real value at all, but valuable in quantity to me. You can understand that all these pens never would fit in any of the tiny post-retirement purses, so the cigarett bag of pens has been waiting on my desk for ten years now. Finally I am back in business with my new BIG bag, and having my pens back with me again full-time is like discovering and enjoying old friends. I really should check them to see if they are all still in working condition. But that doesn't matter right now. It's enough that they are back where they belong.

I am ready for anything, me and my new bag. Need a match? I've got one. Need a cough drop? I can give you a Breezer. A little scratch? I've got a Band-Aid. I've got an aspirin for your headache. Held a banister while you walked down stairs? Get the germs off your hands with a Wet-Wipe! So I'm perfectly outfitted for the holiday season and the rest of my life! I'm finished with tiny purses!

I love my Christmas Present. It is just what I wanted.


Arlene said...

I found this hilarious. My approach is so different. I'm always trying for the smallest bag I can get away with. True, I need a pen (just one) a comb, lipstick, ID, credit card, insurance card, kleenex, cough drops and aspirin. But my bag is much smaller than yours. If I could, I would just stick my key in my pocket and go.

marciamayo said...

I like to travel light myself, but I think I would like to have some hired help to follow me with my purse.

Olga said...

I keep offering to buy my own presents, but my husband never goes along with it. Oh well, i buy what i want anyway and whatever he gets me is gravy.