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    So, it’s time for me to downsize—a nice expression for “throw stuff away.” I have found that some “stuff” is easy to toss. Worrying that the tax auditors might come after me one day, I had kept lots of unnecessary paperwork in my garage dating back to 1998. Consequently, my paper shredder and I had lots of fun destroying enough paper to fill, not only my recycling can, but also the receptacles of several of my more amenable neighbors.

    Taking a temporary break from paper demolition, I turned my attention to my photo albums, where I have been collecting pictures since 1958. I discovered that there’s enough blackmail material in some of those albums to set me up for the rest of my twilight years. However, I’m not sure that some of my friends with memory problems will remember their first, second and third wives.

    I was once on a cruise where a lecturer said, “I’m not able to throw any of my old photos away.” Then she came down from the stage, handed a photo to everyone in the audience, and said, “So you do it!” “Here’s a picture of the Eiffel Tower. Here’s one of my dog.” and, “Here’s one of my second husband who won the dog in our divorce settlement.”

    Throwing out pictures wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.  I had no idea how many photos I had taken of churches, old houses, ocean waves, and people I didn’t know. However, I know that I just can’t throw away pictures of friends or their children and grandchildren. That will be difficult, but taking a page out of that lecturer’s playbook, some of you may soon receive some photos taken long, long ago. You throw them away!

    It’s amazing how much “stuff” we accumulate. Some of my collectables are comforting and memorable. I will keep those, but why in the world did I buy a movable frog. His eyes followed me all the way to the Goodwill bag.

    I am, however, going to keep my movable, wooden snake. I purchased it at an exhibit of Chinese art in a Museum shop many years ago. It is sitting on a fake rock in my living room. Watching the pest control guy scream and levitate three feet off the floor was worth the price of the snake. It is definitely a keeper!

    Haven’t tackled the kitchen or closets yet. That’s what’s “waiting with baited breath” is all about. I will let you in on how that goes later. Do I really need a rolling pin?

    Esther Blumenfeld

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