Sunday, May 31, 2009


Since I have no memory to speak of any more I try to jot down a few words when I get back in my car after a sale, to remind me of things I want to include in my blog. But more than once I've found that my notes are too cryptic to jog any of the memory cells I've still got left.

The latest says simply: Wrong way.

No idea what it refers to. Did I see someone going the wrong way? Did I go the wrong way? Was someone doing something the wrong way, or did I overhear a conversation about some wrong way? But don’t worry, this will not drive me crazy wondering what the heck it was about, because about ten minutes after I write this I will have forgotten what I was writing about. My motto: embrace your geezerhood!

The first sale on Saturday was on Peace Street. Doesn’t that seem like a good place to start? Bought a big plastic container with many, many sheets of expensive scrapbooking paper. Not sure what I'll do with them (other than not scrapbooking) but it's really nice paper. I'll think of something. The seller told me she no longer does scrapbooking. I admitted it's one of those things I've never felt that I got. She said it seemed to her like the modern equivalent of a quilting bee; she must have been a social scrapbooker. She also laughed and said that it was one more thing for people to spend their money on, and that some of this papers originally cost a dollar a sheet.

I stopped at several sales that were fundraisers, the largest for a church preparing to send a group to Africa for a month. As I was paying for a couple of items, one of the men standing nearby grinned at me and said, “Your hat makes your eyes pop.” I was wearing my denim sun visor and yes, my eyes are blue. I laughed and batted my eyes at him. Then the phraseology made a cartoon character jump into my mind, so I used my hands to indicate my eyes popping out on stalks. Okay, you had to be there, but the amazing thing was that all of the 4 or 5 people listening got it and everyone cracked up. One of the other guys said, “You know, like your eyes stand out.” Which made me laugh even more. “That sounds more like the cartoon version,” I told him. The first guy said, “It was a compliment. Really!”

Across the street was a lady who really liked my car, especially the color (it's dark green). I told her I'd recently noticed that 95% of cars today are black, white, gray or beige. We looked around—the street was full of cars and yup, only mine and one other were not one of those colors. She said she was probably going to become obsessed with watching cars now. When I left she shouted, “Goodbye, Miss Hotrod!”

Around the corner I noticed a couple of those robotic sweepers, Roombas, on a driveway. I asked if they worked but the guy said they both had issues, and that sometimes people liked to part them out to build robots. Then he started telling me what a great tool it is. I wanted to run right out and get one—the company should film this guy. He said he’s an engineer, and he took his newest one to work to show all the other guys how it works. Can't you just see an office full of engineers excitedly gathered around a little robotic vacuum cleaner?

It was a low-pet day, but I had no trouble getting a picture of Arlie:

Her owner said she began setting up her sale at 5 a.m. and as soon as she put the sheepskin on the driveway Arlie had settled in and slept there ever since. I didn’t think the sheepskin would sell, because not only would no one want to interrupt Arlie’s nap, Arlie was not going to budge. I spoke to her and scratched her head, and all I got was eyes slightly open and a soft “Murp” before she went back to sleep.

I spent $18.75 and came home with:

A silk lampshade to try on the brass floor lamp we got a few weeks ago. Not sure this will work, but the price was within my gambling tolerance.
A few gifts—some cute flannel jammies...who knew Victoria’s Secret made flannel pj’s with dogs on them—

or that they have signature buttons?)…
…a copy of High School Musical for someone I know has never seen it…
…and a sweet vintage butterfly pin to put in my mother’s birthday card in a couple of weeks. Hey sis, don’t tell!
I picked up a couple of items for the children’s librarians I work with—stack of felt squares for making flannelboard stories
and a wonderful porcupine hand puppet.
These vintage linens all have spots on them, so I'm hoping the oxy cleaner stuff will work its magic. They were a quarter apiece, and no way could I leave them behind!

This one, the world’s largest dish towel, fooled me—I thought it was embroidery but the design is just drawn on. Heck. Probably won’t keep this.

Found a nice shirt for my husband, a brand he often wears. It looks much better on him that my dress form!
I'm going to put cooking oil in this little container to keep on the kitchen counter. I've been looking for something so I can get the big bottle of oil back in the pantry.
These sweet little note cards will come in handy—especially now that Hallmark is charging for most of its e-cards (dang it!).
This is the box of nifty papers from the former scrapbooker.
And for the first time in several weeks I scored a bunch o’ movies.

Aside from Arlie kitty snoozing, this had to be the cutest thing I saw all morning:
This little girl was enraptured by a music box playing a Christmas tune. She stayed perfectly still the whole time, her eyes glued to the box’s slow turns. When it finished she sat still for a moment longer, then carried the box back to where she’d found it.

A very nice child.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


This was in the driveway next door to the first sale we stopped at:
Aren’t neighbors fun?

I was reminded of a simple yet profound truth Saturday morning: Happiness really is a warm puppy.
This is Lola. She is ten weeks old. I got to hold her and yes, it did make me happy! Is there anything like that puppy warmth?

Being a holiday weekend, the number of sales was down, but it was a good day for pets, including a pair of freckled cocker spaniels…
…cute little Maggie…
...and a handsome kitty boy whose name has complete left my brain. By now it feels normal not to be able to remember a person's name, but it makes me feel really old not to recall the name of a pet!
We also enjoyed visiting with a lady who has a pair of ducks living in her neighborhood. She felt they needed water, so she went to Big Lots to buy a large container that they could splash around in. Not only did she find one (which gets refilled every day because ducks are enthusiastic splashers), they also had bags of duck food! So Mr. & Mrs. Mallard are very much enjoying their stay in her neighborhood.
I enjoyed having my colleague Trish join me for this week’s garaging. Hopefully next time she comes along there will be many more sales, but we both managed to find some goodies. Trish’s loot included a book by one of her favorite authors, and a large glass bowl embossed with roses.

I spent $6. One find was a new roll of bender board for yard projects. Didn’t bother to take a picture of that! Also found some door prizes, including a new storage case for an iPod and accessories…
…and a brand new Folkmanis mouse puppet.
When Trish saw this she gave a squeal of excitement (she’s a former children’s librarian, and no matter how far into management we migrate, we still get excited over a good puppet!) then clapped her hands over her mouth, lest the sellers decide they should charge me more than a quarter for it.

This will probably be a door prize too, unless I become really good at using it—one of those juggling thingies called a diabolo.
The seller told me her daughter spent a whole bunch o’ money on it when they saw Cirque du Soleil and she was inspired by the performers there. Inspiration was not enough however and apparently you have to actually practice to acquire this skill! Realistically I know I will probably not practice enough either—but just the fantasy of dazzling friends and acquaintances is worth the fifty cents I paid. Actually, I just hope I turn out to be better at this than the marble labyrinth I bought a few weeks ago. Still haven’t managed to get past hole number 3. But then neither has my husband, and for some reason that makes me feel much better about it!

From the duck lady I bought a nifty little clip-on flashlight. I think I'll keep it in my purse, seems like the kind of thing that could be useful.
I'm always looking for garden inspiration…
Been hoping to find a chenille bedspread for my guest room. Haven’t yet, but thought I'd try this matelesse spread for now.
It's a tad formal for us, but heck, it was two bucks and included two pillow shams, and it's from Portugal and I don’t think I own anything else from Portugal. Used to have a spoon rest from there, but we broke it a few months ago. Don’t you think a person ought to have at least one thing in her home from Portugal?

The spread is heavy and I needed both hands to pick it up and check it out, so I stuck the two bottles of dog shampoo I was holding in my pocket. (Yes, my garaging pants have big pockets!) Almost forgot they were there but felt them bouncing around as I was leaving and went back to pay. The lady said just to take them; wasn’t that nice?
My last find was crammed into a plastic bag with a bunch of other linens. The colors called out to me…
…and when I pulled it out I found a round tablecloth. Pretty big, looked like it wanted to be on my patio table.
The price, when I inquired, was reasonable. Very reasonable. In the bag were matching napkins, and I got it all for a buck. I said they were reasonable!

When I got them home I discovered the set is by April Cornell, so the fabric quality is quite nice. Not only that, but two of what I thought were napkins are actually pillow covers, and would you believe her pillow covers are something like $39 each on her website? Tablecloths this size are $89, and 4 napkins are $18. So if you didn’t already know why I shop on driveways instead of stores…now you do!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Here’s what I'm pondering: when I head off on Saturday mornings in my usual direction, I consistently find sales with interesting merchandise, great prices, pets to pet, and conversations. But when I go instead to a certain community in the opposite direction, the feeling is entirely different. While I do find some deals, I never seem to be handed people’s life stories at the drop of a hat. So I'm wondering—is it them, or is it me? Are my expectations creating the experience? I suspect this to be true. Perhaps the first time I tried that area it was a dry day, and after that I've never put in the same energy that I normally use.

Some weekend I'll try that side of the county again with the conscious intention to find the best stories and catch the best overheard remarks ever. Of course, this is just yard sales. Makes you wonder what other parts of your life could be much more fun—if you could just get your expectations elevated to the proper level. Perhaps yard sales are a good place to start though. I can practice expectation-management in private, with little in the way of negative consequences if it doesn’t work. And if it's like today I'll still come home with some deals!

This was actually quite a special garaging day. My friend Marcia had serious heart surgery two weeks ago, and this was her first outing. After only two weeks! What a constitution she has. She mostly hung out in the back seat so as not to get worn out too soon, and her SIL Carol and I checked out the sales. Marcia commented on the way home that she got out of the car three times and found deals at each. Perhaps her expectation management is more sophisticated than mine! Marsh, hope you’re not too exhausted!

She certainly got one of the best deals of the day. Marcia is a major music lover, and found a stash of CDs at one sale for a buck each. She picked out ten, and without prompting the guy said she could have them for $8. So she got entire CDs for what one song would cost to download on some sites. Even better, the Frank Sinatra one had a note on the case that if you turn down the right hand channel, it takes out the vocals so you can do your own singing. Instant karaoke! I wish more CDs offered that. I admit to singing along with anything, including classical music. Marcia gave me this Randy Travis out of her stash, and I had an awfully good time singing backup to Randy’s greatest hits on the way home.

Carol’s favorite find was a vintage wooden rolling pin with green handles for fifty cents. Isn’t it wonderful how happy something like that can make you?

Today's was an extremely low-pet outing. This little guy was the only dog I met all morning:
Didn’t get his name, but his owner said he is amazingly smart. He goes off into another room and hides something, then comes and gets one of the family to play hide and seek! My dog Lizzie and I play that too…
…but I'm the one who hides the toy or treat. Then I bring her in and tell her to find it, saying “You’re getting warmer…no, you’re getting cooler…” until she finds the treasure. She participates with a slight air of indulging someone loved but not terribly bright; she is a very good sport.

I only spent two dollars—which may actually be a good reason to keep going to that other side of town! I found two sweaters to felt, one of alpaca, the other Icelandic wool...

...from a group raising money to send their youth group on a trip this summer. One of the dads commented, “So far we’ve made enough to get them to Carson.” (About 30 miles away.) After our transactions, they could just about buy a single coke to share!

I also found a pair of slacks in that slinky travel knit fabric. Should be fun with a black top—though with all these colors in it no doubt there are others things in my closet that will work.

My last find is strictly utilitarian—a can of orange peel splatter. Our house has this kind of texturing on the walls, so next time we need to repair something we’ll be all set. This stuff costs ten bucks or more at Home Depot, so at fifty cents I'm a happy camper.
Perhaps more fun were the items I didn’t buy. These included a pair of life size octogenarians:
The lady told us she paid over $600 each for them and is hoping to get $200. My reaction is, not at a yard sale—and not with that grumpy expression on Gramps!
This little salt or pepper shaker was missing its mate.
Personally, I find its mode of delivery less than appetizing!
Sometimes it's the packaging I find amusing. Hope I didn’t pass up some fabulous vintage ornaments here.

I fear I may regret not at least asking the price of this last item:
The Pocket Bass. You squeeze the sides—it's a little flashlight. What amazes me is not that something like this is at a yard sale (that’s a no brainer)—but that it was actually designed on purpose and someone convinced to manufacture it. It's a strange and wonderful world we live in—at least that expectation of mine always gets met!

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