Our Handbags, Ourselves


As questions go, it’s a bit personal, but for Taryn, I’ll answer it:

What’s in my purse?

Where do I start?

In the movie How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days, Benjamin Barry tells his friends that a woman’s purse is her “secret source of power.” How right he is. Whether she carries a tiny clutch or a tote bag equal to half her body size, a woman’s purse can reflect a lot about where she is in life, what roles she plays, and what’s important to her.

Or, it could just be a catchall for her junk.

Here’s a picture of my current purse (yes, I’m sorry to say, Perfect Purse: Mark Two disintegrated, so I am using New Purse, brought forth from the deep and dusty recesses of my closet.) Please tell me that it doesn’t have Frumpy Mommy Purse written all over it, even if that is, in fact, what it is.

When I started digging stuff out of all the pockets and compartments to take photos of it, I was amazed. I felt a bit like Mary Poppins unloading her bottomless magical carpet bag. Turns out I have some of everything in there.

For example, no geek’s wife could go walking around without a full compliment of personal electronic gadgets and doodads with her. I carry around my iPod, Sony Clie organizer, cell phone, and that little yellow thingy is the nifty 1 gigabyte USB memory stick Paul gave me for easy transfer of data files from one computer to another (very nice if you like to share photos with friends and family, or take documents you’ve created at home somewhere else to print or use them.)

And it might be a result of my brief stint with the Boy Scouts (as an Explorer Scout, actually), but there are a lot of items in my purse that fall loosely under the Be Prepared category: sunblock, ibuprofen, bandaids, lotion, safety pins, a Swiss Army knife, kleenex, an assortment of sanitary items we euphemistically call “girl stuff” at our house, and a protein bar that I can dig out triumphantly on the day my car goes over an embankment and I have to survive in the wild for a week while waiting, with a broken leg, for rescue. That protein bar will definitely buy me at least another…eight hours.

The Smarties candy, on the other hand, is for Katie, who is on a gluten-free/casein-free diet, so that when someone is handing out treats in her class or when Caleb is scarfing down free Costco samples that she can’t eat, I can pull out something for her to enjoy, too. (Of course, I’m sure she won’t mind if I eat them instead while I’m lying there alone in my wrecked car.)

In this photo, you’ll see something I rarely ever have in my purse: cash. Four dollars, to be exact–oh, the riches! For most purchases, Paul and I use our bank cards.

At the top middle of the photo is my little Bible, originally bought years ago to take on backpacking trips, but now leading a newly purposed life in my purse. Since I always have it with me, that’s one less thing I have to remember to pack up and bring to church along with crayons, fruit snacks, and books for the kids. And, to be honest, there are some times when having the comfort of well-loved Bible verses at hand makes the difference between a merely challenging day and a disastrous one!

I also have scratch paper (although Paul, who gave me my handheld organizer, can’t understand why I’m still hung up on that whole pen and paper thing) and my purse pens, which are sacred and untouchable. Woe unto the child or man who removes one of them from its convenient side pocket and spirits it away. They will incur the wrath of me. I can be frightening, let me tell you.

Random other items: scratched notes I’ve made of book recommendations from friends (they’re en route to the library), a zipper pouch with iPod charger and earbuds in it, business card holder, and wallet. If you look carefully at the wallet, you’ll see not only my Costco card, debit card, and insurance info, but the green of my incriminatingly crisp and new-looking gym membership card. I just can’t bring myself to throw it away until it expires.

Somehow, I know not how, all of that stuff fits quite comfortably inside the inner sanctum of my twelve-by-eight-inch personal inventory transport device. I even have room to tuck a can of diet Coke in the top and still zip it closed. How? It’s a mystery. I guess it must be some of that secret feminine power at work.

13 responses »

  1. Oh! And I forgot to tag anyone, so if this meme interests you, please consider yourself tagged! I’d love to see what’s in your purse!

  2. Your purse is filled to the rim. I’m amazed.

    I carry as little with me as possible. If I do this meme it’ll be a short post for sure. Nowhere as interesting as your photos and explanation!

  3. Very interesting! I loved this little peek into the inner sanctum of your personal inventory management device.

  4. You failed to mention the alternate universe located in the zipper pouch. Ever seen the tent at the World Quidditch Championship in the Harry Potter tale? THAT is Katrina’s purse.

  5. Wow! I am amazed. My purse contents are not nearly as interesting…but maybe I will accept the tag anyways! I did do the seven random facts/habits on mine yesterday. Fun! Reading your blog shows me that I think I need a bigger purse so as to be more prepared!

  6. Wow. If ever I am in a wrecked car with a broken leg, girl, I hope you’re with me!! I suddenly feel like such a bad mother. I will have to do this post as well, but it will have to wait until I have something better than my camera phone for documentation.

    Is Katie allergic to gluten? My neice is, and that’s been a real eye-opening experience for us.

  7. Wow, that’s quite a purse! Does it convert to a parachue or a flotation device as well? Seems like you’ve got all other bases covered.

  8. Oh, I’m in! But it’ll doubtless be after mama’s day–I still gotta pack for tomorrow morning’s departure.


  9. Fun post! I did it myself on my blog! (By the way, I can’t say that you have a frumpy mommy purse, because that was the same bag I carried to work this last fall/winter.)

  10. Ok, so maybe you have a mommy purse, but I wouldn’t call it frump πŸ™‚ But, it has to be ‘mommy-sized’ to carry all that you have inside of it! Geez girl! I may do this post, just because it’s time to clean my purse out…no telling what I might find in there πŸ™‚

  11. It’s not frumpy; it’s functional.
    It’s not an external uterus – it’s smart and polished and I like it.

    So there.

    I’m so doing this meme thing. You know. Just as soon as these people leave me alone.

    Love it!

  12. oh my god. it’s my first time visiting your blog, and i just LOVE this post! LOVE it. i just wrote about purses the other day, and how they are so telling of a person, who they are, their story, etc. i might just have to steal this idea, if that’s okay?! πŸ™‚

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