Monday, March 25, 2013

The burning house, or, how I re-discovered my sassy pre-blog blogging

There's a neat project called The Burning House that I've followed for some time.  The premise is that your house is burning, and you have predetermined that these are the items you'd save.  You can pick anything -- the practical, the emotionally important, the irreplaceable, anything.  I decided that once my too-high-energy-to-sit-still-for-a-photo-near-my-prized-possessions dogs were accounted for (along with my bunny, hedgehog, and husband + wedding rings + fire box with important documents) that these would be my keepers:

 Also, this is why I need new glasses.  Is this blurry?  I can't even tell anymore.  Eye exam is next Friday thank god.


  • Quilt that was a wedding gift from Patrick's aunt who makes quilts --if I could save only one thing, it'd be the quilt.  Plus, if my house burned down, being warm would be nice, and if I were staying with someone, it would make wherever it was feel like home.
  • Box of BPAL -- some of these are specific and are extremely tied to specific places and times and events for me because olfactory memory is legit.  Memoriiiies.
  • Little Etsy-found "stuff" bag because it's adorable (+ contains: USB devices, so added win there)
  • My first journal -- we'll get to why in a second here
  • A copy of my favorite out-of-print childhood book "The Mouse Who Liked to Read in Bed" (see below for adorableness) 
  • Little glass penguin that I got when I was five-ish?  The fact that this glass figure survived a five year old and a lot of moves just makes it seem unfair that it would be abandoned in a fire.  Plus, penguins are cute and I feel like if my house burned down, some cuteness for posterity would be nice.
  • Little wooden box from a renn fair, not all that important, but I love it (+ contains: earrings, bonus)
  • Small wooden cutout of the house on Floyd in the RVA Fan that my dad made for Patrick and me one Christmas.  Handmade family stuff is important.
  • Wedding album -- cliche but it's special 
  • Favorite corduroys because good pants are hard to find
  • Favorite shirt
I guess if this had to reflect something about what kind of person this makes me, "nostalgic while trying to be reasonable" would probably be an understatement.  But, my theory for not saving stuff like the laptop is simply that I store pretty much everything important in Google Drive or my USBs, so as long as my data is safe, I'm not so concerned about the tools.  Even my phone is on its last legs, so if I can only carry so much, it's not the high on the priority list.  I can replace my favorite in-print books.  All in all, there's really not that much *stuff* I'm bound to.  Ideally I'd add my wood kitchen table and the good octopus china (not to be confused with casual octopus china) to the list, but I think it's supposed to be Stuff You Could Reasonably Carry Away Quickly.

Open question: what would you save in your burning house scenario?

This whole quilt is just plain fabulous.  Succulent bits!  There are some moose in there!  Leaves!  Marbled greys and blues!  I LOVE IT.  And it's handmade, so that makes it extra-awesome.

So there's the mouse who liked to read in bed...and then, about that first journal...

I flipped it open, as it's been a while since I peeked in there, and Patrick was begging to hear was 1993 Hayley was writing about.  It turns out that 1993 Hayley (having just turned 7, I believe I got the journal as a birthday present) was writing her journal as though people were going to be reading it for sage wisdom and guidance, essentially blogging before she turned to blogging.  I'm sure it's super narcissistic to say that I feel this journal is worth saving since it's all meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, but...

To sum up, you can make Indian (or, INDIAN) paint by adding some berries to paint.  Red and blue are tried and true, but "If you wont to make orange, dont ask me. We havent TRIED IT yet".

Snap-a-do.  Don't ask me, y'all.  Also, my logic skills were lacking a little if I couldn't extrapolate from previous recipes that orange berries + paint would do the trick.  But maybe there weren't orange berries around so it was remaining elusive.  Also, why I didn't write about purple paint (with those awesome purple berries that would stain EVERYTHING) I'm not sure.  Don't ask me.  


  1. Oh my gosh, how awesome to have that journal!

    I have a bit of a cheat on this exercise in that my apartment burned down 5 years ago, so I have some real life experience. These are the things I miss:

    Photos. Now I upload all my photos to Flickr, but I lost all my childhood photos (my parents had just passed the childhood albums on to us kids), including all my photos of my grandmother who Frances is named after. I really wish I still had some good photos of me and her.

    The first quilt I ever made. It wasn't much to look at, but sentimentally I do wish I still had it.

    That's about it for me. Jami really misses her iPod still - she had so much music saved on it (way more than me) that it would have been to expensive to repurchase. I think that's the thing she would grab.

    Things I am actively glad we brought with us: Phones and wallets. I can't imagine trying to start over without a license or without everyone's phone numbers (which are all saved in our phones these days).

    Now I think I would want the box with Frances' outgrown baby clothes. And I would get the fire safe with our birth certificates and social security cards.

    It may seem weird to say, but this was fun to think about. Thanks.

    1. Oh no! That is brutally awful, particularly the childhood albums. Patrick's parents recently gave us his, and I should probably mentally add them to my Fire List, now that you've mentioned it.

      Having a fire safe makes me feel way more secure with important documents, for sure. Do itttt!

  2. I keep thinking about this but despite being an ultra-obsessive planner in so many other ways, I can't seem to wrap my head around the real answer. I know the absolute first priority is the dog, but then ... um, my electronics because I store everything (pictures, data, etc) on them. I have so many books I love that I almost just want to insure everything and not worry about it because there is No Way. I think it's time for the fire safe ... :)

    1. The books! It's so hard to think of losing them all, especially the ones I've had for years and years. :(

  3. Your diary is hilarious :)
    That book is so cute, and special, for being a childhood favorite. Quilts are so so special, my mom also quilts and they really mean a lot.
    And books, I don't know how I would save them all, or my data, or my boxes of trinkets (random newspaper cutouts, magazines, maps from trips, old tickets...). It's crazy how we get emotionally attached to *stuff*, how it becomes something else.