Well, The Coyote Is Outta The Bag

Just when you think you know a girl, look in her purse.

Here’s what went down.

Last weekend was the 10th Annual Sisterhood Mother-Daughter Christmas Tea Party.  Are you doing the math? It was JANUARY last weekend—NOT December.

Ten years ago, when we were young mothers, we thought a tea party would be a grand idea—one more chance for the sweet babies to wear their pretty Christmas dresses! We even had little tea pots, and there was, and still is, a book exchange among the not-so-little-any-more girls (yep, we started the love-of-books-brain-washing young!).  This year, an evil virus took down one of the families over Christmas, hence, the post-holiday date.   With our combined schedules, we are oh-so-lucky we weren’t singing yuletide carols by the pool in June, but, whatever, on with the Fa-La-La-ing.

Yep, that is a coyote skin the girls are dangling over the balcony. Perhaps “Tea Party” is a little too high rent for what we have going on.

We were all just sitting around coffee-klatching it up.  Yes, we know we JUST said it was a TEA party, but it was decided about 3 seconds into the first tea party that the tea was really just for the girls. (And really the “tea” was water because we’re not insane.) We Moms require something with a little higher octane. The lovely afternoon hummed with the sounds of old friends catching up and the girls playing oh-so-beautifully when . . .

Ellen: Why on earth do you have a paper towel roll in your purse? You don’t even use paper towels.

Erin:  embarrassed giggle

Ellen: I feel like I just walked in on a vegetarian devouring a Big Mac.

Suddenly all eyes are on Erin. The Sisterhood all know The Big Secret, but most people do not: Erin’s family does not use paper towels.  They broke their Bounty habit about 4 years ago and haven’t looked back. The only negative is when people find out. Nothing gets a room whipped into a frenzy faster than a woman who has abandoned her paper products. They start sputtering, “HOW can you do that?” Then they belligerently berate, “But what about raw meat juices and vomit!?!” And it goes on and on.

So Erin is quick to go on the defensive when someone shines a spotlight on it— like lightning-fast, hair-trigger defensive. You CANNOT believe how crazy people get over the No-Paper-Towel lifestyle. Or can you? Calm yourself. It’s not like she doesn’t use toilet paper.

Ultimately, this was not a grand confessional moment. She was only the runner! Erin was ferrying the paper towel rolls to a neighbor to be transformed into swords for a birthday party. Can we all just agree now that Pinterest is going to be the death of us all?

But it definitely got us to thinking about what other secrets might be uncovered in the great abysses known as our purses. So here’s . . .

10 Things Our Purses Reveal About Us



Erin is not the only environmentalist in the Sisterhood — her with her radical No Paper Towel Policy. My purse shows that I’m trying to save the planet by keeping the world’s garbage in my purse instead of sending it to a landfill. Here are some highlights.

1. Same red bird ornament as Erin.

The first rule of Red Bird Club is do not talk about Red Bird Club.

2. Sunday School ornament nestled up to some screws.

Can we take a moment to respect the character that is my baby? In church, my 12 year old sunshine created a Christmas decoration hashtagged  YOLO and SWAG. While SWAG might be fitting for my Savior, He definitely was THE exception for “You only live once.”

Can we not talk about why I have not one, but two five Christmas ornaments in my purse in February?

By the way, matching up those screws is what is standing between me and a finished laundry closet. That and 13 hours of labor.


3. USB cord.

I’m a gal who is always prepared. In the countryside that I call home, it is not uncommon for internet to drop out. When you do something as important as blog for no profit, you need to be prepared to tether your cell phone as a hotspot . . . that is, if you happen to have any bars. I should blog with smoke signals.


4. Two wallets are heavier than one.

See that super cute Coach wristlet on the left? That was going to be the answer to lightening my load – only the essential cards and cash AND I could just grab it and go when I didn’t want to drag around my whole garbage can, I mean purse. The reality? I haven’t cleaned my wallet out to make sure I have all of my essentials, so now I’m dragging them BOTH around.


5. A card is worth a thousand words.

This trio of cards landed together. It was like a tea leaves reading: a Dunkin’ Donuts card, a Lego card, and a Kohl’s coupon for Black Friday. (Once again, I know it is now February.) Make of it what you will.



 I kind of suspect that this is what the inside of my head looks like.

6. Same Red Bird as Ellen

First Rule of Red Bird Club is do not talk about Red Bird Club.


7. 400 Speed Film

Hmmm. I don’t even use my film camera any more since I took up with the fabulous DSLR Nikon. Yes, ladies, sometimes shiny and new can sway you from tried and true. I suspect I found these when cleaning out a drawer and said “Wow, I should really get that developed”, but I have no recollection of having this conversation with myself. Perhaps the person who swiped my camera bag left these in exchange. It’ s a Nancy Drew mystery.

8. Business Cards

Super important to have on hand when you are blogging for no profit.

9. Survival Stockpile

Purse or Suburban Mom Survivalist pack? You decide. You can’t really see it in this picture, but there’s even an emergency medical kit hidden in an Altoids tin, complements of my little Cub Scout. With this bag in tow, just grab a great hat, put on your best Indiana Jones swagger, and pilot that mini-van towards your next adventure.  You could survive for days in the suburban jungle with this mess.


10. Birth Certificate and Social Security Card

All apologies to my mom and dad who actually spent one Saturday morning looking through THEIR files for these documents. I found these nice and safe in an envelope in my purse.

Who carries around their birth certificate, you ask? This girl!! You see I am going away with my husband for the first time in a long time. Not away, like “Hey, kids, we are hanging out in the basement. Go destroy the rest of the house” away, but more like “Hey, we’ll send you a postcard. Please don’t kill your grandparents before we get back” kind of away.

We are going on the kind of away that requires a passport and about 40 mom-hours worth of work before the magical, hanging-out with my husband sans kids can happen. Super-excited for the trip AND that I found these documents!

Of course, our souvenir from the last trip like this is in kindergarten now, which reminds of a few more things that I should put on my to-do list.

PS– Do you see that I carry my husband’s old swiss army knife?? Wasn’t kidding about that Survivalist pack.

 So, in the end, this look inside the purses doesn’t end up being a grand confessional either. Just more of what you have come to expect: a little silly, a little sensible, a little sweet.

Click the link to read some other great posts over at  Monday Listicles !


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Thanks! Erin and Ellen


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45 thoughts on “Well, The Coyote Is Outta The Bag

  1. Nikki

    2 things:
    1) Ellen, honey! How big is your purse?! 🙂
    2) Erin, it sounds like you’re the person we want around in an emergency, thanks to your survival essentials kit 🙂
    You gals are brave, thanks for baring all (purse stuff). What about the coyote?!
    Nikki recently posted..Still Holding StrongMy Profile

  2. sparkling74

    My name is sparkling. And ummm, I don’t use paper towels. I haven’t bought them since 1996. And I’m not kidding. People think I am crazy. I don’t hesitate to use paper towels at someone else’s house, I’m just not going to spend money on them myself. I just use dishtowels or rags. And then. I WASH them. They can’t be any more bacteria laden than our underwear and just wash them instead of throwing them away, right? And I usually will at least rinse the dishtowel or rag before putting it in the laundry. I bet none of you ever rinse your underwear before it hits the laundry basket.
    sparkling74 recently posted..This Is A Boy FestMy Profile

  3. Nicole

    Hi. My name is Nicole, and the reason I need Erin to be my contraband paper towel roll dealer is….we don’t use them either! The swords didn’t come out quite the way Pinterest said they would, but I’m going to blame The Husband for that one. He insisted on spray-painting them silver instead of just covering them in foil like I wanted to, and now we have 3 sets of silvery-colored hands here at my house. I suspect every household who attended our party has at least one set of silvery hands right now, and are cursing us for not only having a party on Super Bowl Sunday, but also for giving their kids Tin Man Hands as well.

  4. Alison

    So Ellen, you’re the go-to if I need Internet access when out and about, and Erin, I’ll come to you if I’m ever in a Bear Grylls survival situation, sans his smarts, agility, strength and ability to eat live things without gagging.

    Good to know!
    Alison recently posted..Dear NutellaMy Profile

  5. Chris Carter

    Oh this is SO funny!!! I love the “because I blog for no profit”… HILARIOUS! (I so get that) And what’s with the ornaments? That one intrigues me… and I can’t LIVE without my bounty. Just sayin’ Erin. 😉
    Chris Carter recently posted..February Friend #1My Profile

  6. Lisa C

    LOL, yes, it’s VERY important to have those biz cards. I’m in the same boat. I always feel good when I say, “Let me give you my card” & I actually have one for my blog. That makes me no money. Well, almost none… 🙂 Good list–entertaining as always!
    Lisa C recently posted..Ten Things That are NOT in my PurseMy Profile

  7. Lucy

    Hi – my name is Lucy and little did I know what I was getting into when I asked Erin to take the empty paper towel tubes to Nicole. I had no idea that neither of them used paper towels.

    All those toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste and dental floss remind me of my purse on the day I bring home the kids from a visit to the dentist. I cleaned out my purse a few days ago and still have my travel toothbrush and some mini-sized dental floss.

  8. Bridget

    I think the red bird should be you new logo. Seriously. I’m not kidding. I mean, there has to be a reason you both are carrying it around. Why can’t that be your reason? Or can you not talk about it?
    Bridget recently posted..Monday ListiclesMy Profile

  9. Wayne

    I am very afraid to go visiting and commenting this week. So much trouble I could get into as a guy. As such, I will be safe and just say that was a fun read. That is safe right?
    Wayne recently posted..Monday QuizMy Profile

  10. Jane@FromADoctorsWife

    I don’t carry a purse! I do have a coach wristlet with my phone a credit card, debit card and my id that I never leave without. And when I do use a purse it is obvious it is only for fashions sake. The only thing in it is the wristlet and a tube of lip gloss. If I should run into trouble, I won’t last long!
    Jane@FromADoctorsWife recently posted..Medical Monday’s – I Love it!My Profile

  11. Kate Hall

    Blogging with smoke signals – Awesome. It’s so funny how you have all that stuff from months ago. I guess if I were evaluating my diaper bag I would come up with some major surprises from the past months – like bad, smelly surprises, like I did last week when I found my daughter’s soiled pants, trapped in a ziploc bag for a week. Gag.
    Kate Hall recently posted..Crap In My Mom’s PurseMy Profile

  12. Stacey

    I’m so glad your purses have random stuff in them! It makes me feel so much better. The paper towel story is just a classic! And yes, Pinterest will be the death of us all!
    Stacey recently posted..Oh the ironyMy Profile

  13. Delilah

    I don’t feel so bad anymore. There are others like me out there. I seriously giggled at the film. I once found a disposable camera in the bottom of my purse and had it developed. I had no idea where it came from, whose it was, or what was on it. Let’s just say I saw parts of my brother in law that I NEVER wanted to see. Clearly the camera was not mine. Lesson learned.
    Delilah recently posted..Staying Healthy During the Sick SeasonMy Profile

  14. Mary

    I grew up in a no paper towel household. I didn’t even know they existed until I went into a Kmart one day after I was married (didn’t know Kmarts existed either) and bought some paper towels. I have been hooked ever sense and use them with a vengence!

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