11 objects that define my life

Inspiration comes in many forms for me. I spent last night indulging in delightful conversation with individuals who possess the ability to think on a intellectual plane.  I loved it. I love sitting around a table discussing everything from values to books to movies to knowledge. I haven’t found many people who enjoy that type of conversation, but this week for me it happened three times! This morning I took a look at how I got here.

As a child I never felt particularly smart or clever. Learning to be a critical thinker was challenging but the payoff has been marvelous. Once again I find myself inspired by Broadside Blog. She wrote this piece that discusses her life defined by 10 objects. What is interesting to me is not the objects themselves, but the meaning behind them and the way they shaped her life. Of course I need to think about that now too! However, because 11 is important to me, I must think about 11 objects that shaped my life.


1. A worn out ragged faded blue towel.

This was a towel of power. It transformed my life from dull and ordinary to exciting and powerful. I wore it proudly around my neck and became Danger Girl. The super hero who was fearless and could conquer anything she set her mind to. I learned from Danger Girl and the metaphoric cape it is not the actual power you possess but the perceived power that will help you reach new heights.


Petit point sugar bowl


Everyday after kindergarten I walked to my Great Grandma’s house so she could look after me until my dad came to pick me up once he finished University. My Gram would be waiting for me with tea and cookies, as well as a lunch suitable for a 5 year old. The sugar bowl was waiting for me to sweeten my milky tea and share about my day. I learned the importance of debriefing a day, either good or bad and having someone who cares about you to listen to the hardships and good stuff without judgement. Without judgement is the hard part. It is rare to find a person who loves you that much.


3. My first Novel

I was 9 when my dad stopped reading bedtime stories and gave me my first novel to read. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I remember being drawn into the story as if it was a movie playing in my head. I was captivated by story and make believe. So much so, that I have never stopped. Reading is my escape, my refuge, my inspiration. I still have Charlotte’s Web. Both my children have read it and became readers themselves.


4. My first pair of (pink) pumps

The 80’s, with everything ugly, led me to my pink pumps that I bought with money I earned from working at a ski hill. These shoes meant independence, style and flair, as well as emergence from childhood. I loved the comfort, the look and how I felt in them. They taught me that feeling good about yourself is as important as liking yourself. I had forgotten this lesson along the way but regained it in 2010.


5. My first diploma

It had my name on it. I earned it. I was not proud of it. I knew I could do better. I felt shame. I went to secondary school because I thought I should. I took classes that I didn’t care about but knew I could do it. I never felt motivation. I never loved it. I never felt pride. I changed that in 2010. I still am not in my dream program, but I love what I am taking. I feel smart and I feel pride.


6. My cedar chest

I asked my grandfather to build me a hope chest. I wanted to fill it with dreams of marriage and family. He did. It is beautiful. I am one of the few girls in the family who is blessed with his craftsmanship. I filled with china, lace doilies and quilts. It became tainted with hatred and resentment. I emptied it out and refilled it with my children’s objects. First blankets, haircuts and stuffies. It’s filled with pictures and memories of good things. The resentment I threw away. Now it is special once again.


7. Gold Bracelet

August 22, 1990 I received a gold bracelet from my father with the date inscribed on it. He put it on my wrist and said “You don’t have to do this.” I replied “mom will kill me if I don’t” and we laughed. 4 horrifying soul sucking brain numbing lonely years of keeping that bracelet in my jewelry box. One day I took it out and remembered the day dad gave it to me. His words rang loudly in my ears. “you don’t have to do this” So I didn’t. Those words saved my life.

8. Crayola Collectors Tin

Christmas 1990 my mom gave me the Crayola Crayon’s collectors tin filled with the retired colours and the new colours. The smell brought me back to being 5 and colouring on the step of our home. Crayons and colouring were my refuge. Drawing, designing and colouring got me through some very dark times. Now it is worth $50 on ebay, but it is priceless to me.


9. Baby Cradle

January 1996 I was lent a baby cradle from my aunt. My grandfather (the same one who built my cedar chest) built this cradle. We set it up in the nursery and filled it with homemade quilts. I would sit in that room rubbing my belly and talking to my son, who hadn’t arrived yet. I wanted this child more than anything I had ever wanted in my life. I knew what kind of mother I wanted to be and how I would go about raising my children. I did it. I have amazing kids. My greatest accomplishment to date. Who are we kidding, ever…


10. The Edmonton Tourist blog

August 15th, 2010 I started this blog. It was meant as a life raft to save me and change my life. I realize the blog didn’t do that, but the life I led to write about it did. For the first time since I was small, I really like who I am. I finally love myself and it only took 44 years to do it. I am one of the lucky ones.

11. Return To Tiffany Heart and Key

2011 I drove to Calgary and went to Tiffany and Co. I bought a piece of jewelery that I love. What it looks like is insignificant. What it means is invaluable. I set of goal of working an extra job and earning money for this purchase. I always wanted to have a blue box with white ribbon. It symbolized independence, goal setting and achieving. I learned that setting goals and working toward them are as important as achieving them. I wear it like a talisman or badge of honor. It is a full circle moment because it is the perceived power of the pendant that has the same meaning for me as the ragged blue towel of my danger girl days. Only I can wear this pendant without the odd stares I get when I wear my cape.

Danger Girl rides again.

This may lead to the Top 11 people who shaped my life post…



13 thoughts on “11 objects that define my life

  1. There are two here struck me…. the first was the one about your blog. I feel similarly. It’s like my blog was the train, chugging along, transporting me into my new life and the new person I’ve become. It didn’t change me — I did that — but it gave me the vehicle to move emotionally from one place to another. Thank god for that.

    The other is the Tiffany present to yourself. When I read that one, tears sprang to my eyes and I’ve been contemplating why. It’s because I, too, always wanted the little blue box with the white ribbon. I’ve been given some lovely jewelry, but no one has ever given me the blue box. Maybe I will have to set the same goal for myself…. 🙂

    1. The blue box is something I have taught my girl. My second trip to tiffany’s had my daughter buy a heart pendant. We talked about wanting something and being able to do it yourself. Never rely on a man for things you want. That way when he gives them to you, it is special. Buy your own blue box. It means more. 🙂

  2. Great list – i was attached to a sugar bowl (loved the sound of the lid being replaced) it was broken years ago but I can still recall it and the comfort the sound of the lid being replaced brought back! Thanks

    1. I loved how teachers would read to us in class. We had one who would only get us hooked on a book and then we would all fight over it in the library to see how it ended. I like how a good book will live with you like they are a friend. 🙂

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