About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

School Supplies Stress Syndrome Sets In

It happens every late summer.

You get the list of supplies for your child's new school grade. You put it off as long as you can, not wanting to wade into the throng of parents. Finally, realizing you can't put it off any longer, lest the store will be stocking Halloween merchandise, you dive in.

Peace signs are girly, I'm told. Flickr photo, hartsdelights
Feeling lucky that I have one student to buy for, and not two or three or four or more, I gamely try to help. "What about this one?" I asked my 14-year-old son Wyatt, showing him a notebook with peace symbols on the cover.

"The peace sign has been co-opted by girls," he said.

Maybe that's why peace eludes the men who are in power.

Ready, Set, Shop
This year it took two trips, one with Wyatt and one without, to acquire everything. My solo excursion took just under an hour. I kept one eye out for the supplies on my list, one eye on the time as I had to meet Wyatt in town, and one eye on my barge of a shopping cart. I was reluctant to leave the cart unattended, for fear the merchandise would be returned by a sales associate or mistakenly spirited away by another customer. And I did not want to start from square one.

Really, I get it. Schools are getting their budgets whacked, so they're passing expenses onto the parents. But sometimes I feel the need to test what they request. Wouldn't a three-subject notebook work just as well as three one-subject notebooks? Students would be able to carry one book instead of switching out different ones. Or is there a reason someone requested three one-subject notebooks?

If you've ever had your cubicle set up by someone who doesn't share your brain type or organizational style, you'll understand the reluctance to slavishly follow a school supplies list that someone else created. It may work for the person who created it, but not necessarily for your student. I realize the organizational system has to work for the student, not for the parent. But considering the number of papers that get misplaced, some parental intervention is necessary.

Don't Have a Meltdown Over School Supplies
Perhaps School Supplies Stress Syndrome has taken hold of me because crayons are no longer on the list. But really, you're never too old for crayons.  Supermarket Spa author Joey Green suggests keeping a box of crayons for their aromatherapeutic benefits, and for the stress relief that coloring offers.

Suerae Stein wrote an absolutely delightful post on her blog over at RedBarn Artworks. She doesn't write about school supplies per se, but about crayons. Suerae collected images from all over the Internet, including this melting rainbow image from etsy.com. You can't not smile when holding a crayon or even thinking about them.

To all parents who are faced with School Supplies Stress Syndrome:
This too will pass.



  1. As a teacher, I agree totally on the benefits of crayon-sniffing!

    I was going to explain the need for the 3 notebooks (and it's a big one!) but the comment wouldn't let me write it out. I'll try to send it to you if you like. :D

  2. Meant to say: the peace sign and men comment? Sheer brilliance, my dear! Succinct and 100% true.

  3. Paula, I'd love to publish your comment as a followup blog post.

    Buying school supplies is nirvana for office supply junkies, but I confess I'm not one of them. Thanks so much for reading and sharing, Paula. As a teacher, your opinions are highly valued! Susan

  4. OMG I can totally relate to this post! And not just because you mention me in it - lol! Thank you, by the way!! It's even worse where I am because the teachers do not give the list until school STARTS so we have to race out THAT NIGHT so my kids will have school supplies for the second day of school! It's ridiculous! Thank you for giving me a chuckle! Is there any way I can get your posts by email? Thanks! ~Suerae

  5. Suerae, you asked for it, you got it! I added the follow by email gadget. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    Our local weekly paper would print the school supplies list the week before, so we were lucky. School supply shopping on the second day!! I feel your pain. Susan

  6. Terrific! I look forward to getting your posts in my inbox! Thanks for adding that feature! I enjoy your blog very much! ~ Suerae


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