Daily Archives: July 18, 2013

Voila! Quite a transformation.

Not Just Another Empty Mustard Jar

I’ve been on a mission to organize and remove clutter from my home for about five years and it continues to be a work in progress. Every room has unique organizational challenges. In the bathroom, I have an assortment of jewelry, hair pins, cosmetics and other woman stuff cluttering the vanity, (The man stuff consists of a can of shaving cream and razor.) Things I use frequently were tucked inconveniently in a drawer. Since there is a decent amount of space on the sink top, especially when all those girly things are put away, I decided I could spare a little space for a nice glass container to hold cotton swabs, which were hidden away in a drawer. This container had two jobs to do – organize my Q-tips and look pretty.

I checked out the bath section at two of my favorite discount stores. All the glass containers looked pretty similar and the cheapest ones were $6, which is not a lot of money but then again, this project is small and kind of frivolous. In the interests of saving money, I left the stores empty-handed.

As I washed dishes and cleared off the kitchen counter, I noticed the nearly empty jar of Anna Mae’s Smoky Mustard from Robert Rothschild Farmmustard jar with label, small

It brought back delicious memories of potato salad, sandwiches and pretzels dressed up with this spicy condiment  What a pretty container, I thought as I examined the octagonal-shaped jar. Can this jar be repurposed? Hey, it’s just the right size for cotton swabs.

I washed it very carefully by hand, then again in the dishwasher. Removing the label, especially the glue, took the most time. The yummy memories remain but the smell of mustard had to go. I let the jar air dry with the lid off to allow time for all traces of mustard aroma to fade.

Now the pretty jar has a new life and location in my bathroom. Ah, I feel so clever!  mustard jar holding cotton swabs, small

Discovering Family

I am enjoying Richard Hill’s engaging memoir, Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA (2012), Hill, a Michigan native, discovered he was adopted accidentally at the age of 18. In his well-written book, Hill takes readers on a decades-long journey to find his biological relatives. Along the way, he meets and establishes real relationships with a few of his living relatives and learns about the lives of his biological parents. Hill’s story is uplifting and fascinating.



What’s especially valuable to adoptees is how Hill used DNA testing to determine the identity of his biological father. Hill has a website that looks like a great resource for adoptees who want information on their biological roots. I plan to use it.

Many aspects of Hill’s story strike a chord in me. Like Hill, I was an adult – 38 years old in fact – when I found out I was adopted. In his book, Hill notes how some adoptees fantasize about having their birth mothers enter their lives. That was not the case for Hill, who was about to leave home for college when he learned the truth about his past. At that point, he was eager to start the next phase of his life with less parental supervision. “I had no desire for a second mother in my life,” Hill wrote.

That’s exactly how I feel. My adoptive parents are long gone. My mother died in 1998 and my father passed away in 1999 so I’ve been free of parents for many years. Like 99.9 percent of the population, I had issues with both of them. They raised me in a loving but  ultra protective environment and I often felt stifled. Moving out of their house at age 23 was the happiest day of my life. Pure joy! I felt totally relieved of the burden of parental interference in my everyday life.

The relationship we have with our mothers and fathers, whether they are birth parents or biological parents, is intense. I had that relationship with my parents and now it’s over. I have no interest in having a relationship with another mother or father but I would love to know what type of type of people they are (or were), what the circumstances were when my mother gave birth to me and whether she felt any pressure to give me up for adoption. For her sake, I hope not. I would also love to see photos of my birth parents.