Homemade holiday decor hung on my front door, for one thing.
Or the three turkeys who clamor for my attention when I’m trying to take pictures of it, for another.
They make me smile a lot, too.
I haven’t done much blogging lately but it seems prudent to tie up a loose end that the few who read this blog might still be wondering about.
I kicked my husband out of the house.
Right back into the employment rolls. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Between the hours of 7 AM and 4 PM, Monday through Friday, he isn’t allowed at home. Yes, he’s now officially (under) employed with the City. If you want to know the truth, he’s working at the Waste Water Plant. In other words: sewage. Before ugly rumors start flying, let me state that it is safe to shake his hand. He is not working with sewage. But he is working near sewage.
Being a government employee would make me want to drown myself in a clarifier, but my hero is much more pragmatic than I. And I am thrilled he has a job, even one that stinks. So to speak. Thank you, Lord! And thanks to all of you who have offered kind words — and potential job contacts! — over the last couple of months.
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Or you could read all of these updates on my Twitter account. Except that I don’t tweet. I’m not even on Twitter. I’m not cool like that.
Which means if you read tweets from me, they’re fake. Which could mean I have a clone trying to steal my life. Which means she’ll be disappointed: I’m not very exciting.
But maybe her version of me is exciting. And cool. Maybe I should meet her for coffee. Maybe I should try to steal her life… Is that wrong?
In light of my previous post, cue the refrain of Creedence: “Before you accuse me…”
Yes, I am a book hoarder. I tried to get therapy but the support group met at the Public Library.
The only sure-fire cure is … a fire. (God forbid.) In vain, I suffer. And binge.
“I only spent six dollars.”
True. Cabbages and Kings and Man-eaters of Tsavo: $1.99 each. Ramona the Brave: 75 cents. Runaway Ralph and Stuart Little: 20 cents each.
“I need new books to read.”
Only about 50% true. I’ve read all three of the kids books many times. I even have a copy of Stuart Little on my shelf already. (But who doesn’t need an extra Stuart Little lying around? For 20 cents? Come on. Tell me you’re not that hard-hearted.)
“I buy books for my kids.”
Lie. Total and complete lie. Yes, Griffin is approaching chapter book readiness but I bought the Cleary books because I wanted to read them. (Again.)
As far as Cabbages and Kings and Man-eaters of Tsavo: well, I bought them because I just like old books. I like the shiny-dusty contrast of embossed gold on worn book covers. I like deckle-edged pages and bright illustration plates peeking through tissue leaves. I like the penciled-in prices and formal insignia of the original booksellers. I like the carefully inked personalization of the original owner. I like the somber weight a stack of old books gives to a shelf of more frivolous decor.
It helps if I want to read them, of course. I had to give this one a try.
William Goldman [INSERT: an awed hush falls over the screenwriters] used this book as the basis for a film which fell flat at the box office. But, hey, I enjoyed it and that’s all that matters.
In the interests of full disclosure, I balked at the price. For $1.99, I could have gotten ten copies of Stuart Little after all. But I couldn’t leave the Old Gentleman to rot on an ignominious shelf of a derelict thrift store until his binding crumbled with despair. It’s a disease, people.
I didn’t start wondering if this book was valuable until after I got home. This may be the only time in history that I’ve actually made money (strictly in theory, of course) while spending money.
I have no plans to actually sell this book but I find some small satisfaction in the knowledge it retained value over the last 80 years better than, say, your average Beanie Baby.
It gives me a little hope for humanity yet.
I suppose a New Year is all about transformation. Old becomes new again. The Future becomes The Present. Blah, blah. You get the idea.
I’ve been doing my share of creating lately, only some of which has been posted. Pictures of “The Castle” are still outstanding (mainly because “The Castle” is still under construction…) but that’s not the only thing I’ve been working on.
My only regret is that I didn’t go with green to match the new stockings and tree skirt. Next time.
In addition to making new, I’ve been making over. Which means I’ve become one of “those people” trolling the thrift stores. But let’s back up a few decades.
I can’t tell you the number of hours my siblings and I spent as children, lurking in musty flea markets and thrift stores, enduring many a glare — and sometimes a scolding if we breathed wrong — from a watchful merchant as we waited…and waited…and waited for my mother to stop staring at JUNK and take us home already!
To be fair, my mother was not really an enthusiastic shopper but she had an insatiable lust for books and nary the means to satisfy. Keep in mind that these excursions predated Amazon by about 20 years and our public library was a pretty small affair. With limited resources, used books were the way to go. Any thrift store or flea market with a passable supply of dusty old books read like a tragedy to us: we knew the wait would be interminable.
Occasionally, the boredom would abate when we found something interesting to look at or do. All it really took was an inattentive shopkeeper and we managed a little DIY respite from boredom. Or some level of gothic horror.
I have a vivid memory of a certain flea market in a dilapidated building in downtown Rogers. Time has obscured the particulars into little more than the impression of the maze of oddly-shaped rooms, sloping board floors, and creaky staircases, but I remember my sister and I finding a certain painting, or perhaps a poster, that terrified us. I don’t have a very clear recollection of the image itself: it was a woman’s face, half-covered — or maybe buried — by something. It seemed she was drowning or smothering.
To understand the enormity, you should know my greatest fear at that age was — wait for it — quicksand. I’m not sure what TV show I might have seen (Gilligan’s Island, maybe?) that featured this rare doom but it was a source of unspeakable dread and many nightmares for a good bit of my childhood. Anyway, something in that painting seemed to indicate quicksand and that was it for me. F-r-e-a-k-O-u-t-C-i-t-y. We never wanted to go back to that place.
In retrospect, we kids reveled in the fruits of Mother’s labor via an ample supply of books of all kinds. It was enough to infect at least my sister and I with an equally serious case of bibliophilia. Thank you, Mom!
And I eventually got over that quicksand thing.
Eeek. How’s that for a rabbit trail?
Back to transformations, not only has the New Year come upon us, I have become my mother. I’m not ashamed. I love dragging my kids to thrift stores.
Actually, I hate dragging my kids to thrift stores. (Yes, Mom, we thought you did it to annoy us on purpose. I had to become a mom to learn the truth…) But I love going to thrift stores and I usually have to bring my kids. I suppose this is the equivalent of hazing in the Greek system. “I was hazed and now it’s your turn, dirtbag…”
[Confession: Though I did go Greek, I never was actually hazed. I never went to prom either.]
Anyway, my kids usually hate going to thrift stores. And yet it feeds some nascent urge in me to save money and rescue beautiful (or soon to beautiful) things from the company of kitten figurines and tacky dishes. And when it comes down to what my kids want and what I want…well, we know who wins. Sorry, boys.
Primed with Christmas money and the critical mass of ten weeks’ stifled shopping urges, I’ve been thrifting like a lunatic lately. I have bought lots of kids’ books but I’ve also found a number of useful household items, not to mention a plethora of fodder for my creative wheels. Example follows.
This is a great Mirro canister set I found at Salvation Army. It’s actually copper-finished aluminum but the copper has aged to a lovely pale pink finish which allowed me to look past the hideous wooden knobs. A little cleaning and some new knobs, and voila!
And I’ve by no means done. I’ve laid in a whole supply of “canvases” with which to fool, projects that will likely carry me into the next decade. Some of my favorites:
Let the transformations commence. See you in 2020.