Had I made it, that would have been a catch for the ages. Unfortunately, instead of finding the ball, my hand found the quarter-full glass of milk I had next to my bed. It tipped over as the ball fell to the ground. "Lucky it was empty," I told myself; then, realizing it hadn't been, I told myself... some other things.

An old teddy bear, which I made from a kit about a zillion years ago. Two pieces of felt sewn together, with stuffing in between; I had put the eyes too high, and he looked sort of like an alien. His blue polka-dot bowtie stayed tied all these years.

Another stuffed animal, a small husky dog. It was a gift from my uncle who died about eight years ago. He won it in a game on the boardwalk, I think. Its leg was torn, but mom sewed it up. "Good as new." I didn't get too much milk on them, so they should be fine in a couple of days.

A cut-out from a magazine listing the values of poker hands; printed below it are some Texas Hold'em terms. The most valuable lesson I ever learned about poker was that I shouldn't play it for money; my housemates played it a lot during our senior year of college, and this is when I discovered my lack of skill at the game. Fortunately, I only lost a hundred dollars or so. Some people lose a lot more....

A February 2004 issue of Oggi magazine. My Italian must have improved since then -- I understand the cover almost completely. The cover proclaims that three soccer champions are at the service of Lorella (whoever that was -- an editor, maybe?) for the benefit of our elderly. (I am reminded of my septuagenarian cousin's correction of someone who called him old: Non sono vecchio, sono anziano.) A sidebar on the left says John Forbes Kerry è l'incubo di Bush: Kerry diventerà presidente degli USA. Perhaps not! I wasn't brave enough to try to read the interior; maybe tomorrow.

The four-part arrangement of "Stille Nacht" in the original German, wrinkled to oblivion and coated in dust. It has an extra part repeated after the verse, marked "Full Chorus"; the text is just that of the last line repeated, but the music is different. It's one of the pieces of music I kept from college choir. I fondly remember us singing at some little Polish festival they had one December night at the multicultural center; we sang that because it was in German, and, as Maria said, "It's the closest thing we have to Polish." I also remember that there was more that I wanted to tell her, I remember wishing that I had not let her walk away so soon or so quickly... but she was always one to talk and never one to listen.

I really should clean up more often.

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