Saturday, October 31, 2009


Another very fun morning on the yard sale trail. Beautiful sunny fall day, chilly at first but warming nicely as I went on. Talked to nice folks, nice dogs, nice snake…

That’s right. I said snake. I always say you never know what you’ll find on driveways on Saturday morning, and today is further proof. Absolutely the first time I have seen a snake for sale at a yard sale! If you feel about snakes the way I do about bugs, you’re going to want to scroll quickly with your eyes barely cracked open until you get past the pics. For the rest of us, let me introduce Snickers.
I believe they said she is a ball python. This family is moving to Nevada and decided to give up snake keeping, though the mom said to me, “We’re asking a hundred, and if I don’t get at least seventy five she’s coming with us.” Somehow the emotional attachment to a snake does not seem the same as that with furry creatures (though that may be just my fur bias showing). Snickers’ original name was Sergeant Slither, until they found out he was a she. (I did not ask how they discovered this. After all, I had a girl kitty named Tim many years ago.) The mom said she suggested they change the name to Sergeant Sally Slithers, because a girl can certainly be a sergeant. But her boys decided to go with Snickers.

I may be off candy bars for a while.

The morning was not without its fur people. Billy turned out to be a girl as well.
Six months old, pound puppy, anyone’s guess as to parentage. I asked what kind of dog she was and the girl petting her cooed, “She’s a Great Big Soft Kissy Bug.” The Kissy Bug swerved over to me and got in a goodly lick on my ear. I thought she lived at the house having the sale, but turned out her family live down the street and they were taking a walk. I heard the dad ask how much the stuffed toys were, and when the answer was “a quarter,” he gathered up an armful. “We let the dogs play with them until they shred them, then buy a new batch at another yard sale,” he said. When I returned to my car I saw them heading down the street. Billy the Kissy Bug pup had a purple toy and was shaking it as she went. I heard the dad saying in a really satisfied voice, “Three dollars for all these toys!”

When I walked up to the last sale of the morning I heard a high pitched whimpering from the garage. Hercules just couldn’t wait for me to get close enough for some petting.
Don’t be fooled by this deceptively scary-looking mug. He’s a total sweetie pie, a bulldog/boxer/kissy bug cross. Another pound puppy, much loved by his long-suffering (literally) owner. She told me he’s so strong that she’s broken her ankle twice while walking him. It was quite a struggle to find a restraint that would let her walk him. She finally tried a ‘pinch’ collar and that was working for them. Lest you think he was being cruelly treated, I think this style exerts much more even pressure on the dog’s neck than a choke chain. It's not something I would use, but she tried a number of other methods first. And he was one happy dog.

Speaking of happy dogs, remember the terrier mix I wrote about last week, who needed to find a new home? I emailed my children’s librarians about her, and Rebecca, who has a soft heart for terriers, called Abby’s owner. She learned that they had seen an apartment that would let them keep Abby, so we think all is well. Whew!

Didn’t buy much this morning, only four items for a total of $4.75. Found another children’s librarian door prize—a sea creature drawing book.
A DVD I’ve heard good things about.
A large candle lantern for the yard.
And my favorite—this sweet Christmas decoration.
It's a 2005 piece by Nicole Sayre. Have to admit I wasn’t familiar with this line, but evidently her pieces sell for $50 to $100 retail. I am quite smitten with him, the goofy little smile and the dictionary-page hat.
He’s about 11” high, and the box he’s standing on adds another 3”. Inside the box is an extra little ornament, I guess in case one gets broken—kind of like that extra button sewn into the side seam of a piece of clothing.
One of the ladies at the sale where I bought him told me they’d already sold a lot of stuff, people had been there at 6 a.m. I said I leave my house about seven; earlier seems uncivilized. She said something about early birds, so I recited this little poem by Shel Silverstein:

If you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird be an early bird.
But if you’re a worm—sleep late.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Saturday morning started off with a bang—on my head. I was getting cash from the ATM and a piece of it fell on me!

I was so startled I let out an expletive a lot louder than you might think a middle aged librarian would do. Which alarmed the older gent passing by, and if by any chance he’d been thinking of ATM robbery (which he most likely was not) he moved off quite quickly. I'm thinking of sending a slightly huffy email to the bank, suggesting that they secure their signs more, well, securely.

But almost immediately the morning improved. A nice lady was walking by with her greyhound. This is Russki.
She’s a retired racer from Texas (a dog who has run 45 miles per hour!) who is now a beloved pet and a blood donor. Her lady said she’s a universal donor (I never realized dogs have blood types) so she gives blood which is sent to vets all over the world. What a good dog!
Met two other nice dogs. Bailey here saved me from a little bit of embarrassment.
After I left their sale I drove to a couple of others, and followed some signs around a few corners, and approached a house where I saw a big yellow lab. Wow, I thought, two in one morning—and then realized it was the same sale and I'd approached from a different direction. (Not the first time I've gotten lost in the winding streets of a housing tract.) So I did a quick U-turn and was saved from showing up at the same sale twice.

But this is the dog I really want you to meet. Abby. Because she needs a new home.

Wish my pictures were better, but she was so happy and wiggly that she just could not hold still for her photo op. One of the ladies having the sale asked me if I wanted her, and I assumed she was joking, but she said no. They are moving to a place where dogs are not allowed, and I think it’s breaking her heart. I got her phone number and said I'd ask around, you never know. So seriously, if any of my Southern California readers know someone who needs an adorable terrier mix, let me know.

Almost everything I found will be heading to my office with me Monday morning. The only thing that’s staying home are these Bunnykins pieces—a pair of two-handled mugs…

…and this bank. I'll probably sell them, they’ll make wonderful gifts for Bunnykins fans.
These fun pieces will be door prizes for children’s librarians—some soft fish stuffies and a cute frog puppet (for next summer’s Make a Splash program)…

…and this fabbo cat pull toy. Have you seen these? Some of my libraries have the dog version for their after-storytime play groups, and the kids love them. They wiggle when you pull them. Even my husband was charmed.

I asked the lady how much, and she said if I could figure out how to fix it I could just have it. The front wheels were loose. So of course I said I was game to fix just about anything. I've glued it back together, and Steven says he’ll add a screw to make it really secure.

This light-up Christmas house is not going to work with me…
…but the innards are!
At last I can fix up this nightlight I found back in February.
At least this time I didn’t have to smash the piece to get the light out, like I did when I fixed up my Pooh nightlight.
Angelina Ballerina will be joining my troupe of children’s literature toys,
along with this adorable little mouse.

I'm sure he’s book related, just can't think which one!

Since this cup warmer has two heat settings, I'm hoping it will keep my tea a bit hotter than the one I've been using.
And I'll be making my tea in this fun little Bodum pot.

I was amused when the earnest young man explained to me how it works, that you put in loose tea and so on. I did not tell him I've been brewing tea since before he was a gleam etc. or say anything testy about grandmothers and sucking eggs (he very likely would never have heard the expression and think I was quite peculiar). And hey, he asked fifty cents for it. At that price he’s allowed to tell me how to make tea.

I spent $4.50 in all, which seemed pretty inexpensive until I talked to my mother Saturday afternoon. She’d been out garaging with my sister, and she only spent $1.25. Bet she didn’t get a tea lesson though!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Those of you who go on regular thrifting ventures know how much strength of character it sometimes requires. Not for the things we buy—for the things we don’t buy! The cute things, the clothes that almost fit or are almost the right color, the things we’re sure we will fix up. But sooner or later you learn that you absolutely cannot take home everything that catches your eye. Even if it's in the free box.

Even if it's a cute little kitten!

Yes, this adorable ten week old baby was offered to me this morning, but I was strong. My resolve was aided by two factors. One was the amount of money I've spent this year at the vet on my existing menagerie of two cats and two dogs. The other was the fact that when I held this little guy he did not purr. I'm a sucker for a purr (though even if he’d purred like a buzz saw I would still have thought of those vet bills and resisted). And as cute as a baby kitty is, I'm not in the market for one. Now if he had been an elderly cat (and purring) we might have had a different ending to the story. I adore geriatric pets. I melt over silver tinged muzzles. We’ve been lucky that most of our pets through the years have lived to ripe old ages. But one of our best cats was at least twelve when we adopted him.
This was our Puddy (he came with that name attached). Homely old dude, wasn’t he? But what a sweetie pie. He belonged to friends in Oregon, and had outlived all their other pets, and couldn’t be inside because of their allergies. So we brought him back to California with us. He strolled into the house, calmly said hello to our other pets, and settled right in. I've always claimed he was my husband’s 50th birthday present, since he arrived during Steven’s birthday week. We got a lot of mileage out of an elderly cat as a 50th gift. Way more fun than those obnoxious black balloons and over-the-hill jokes, and he was an excellent role model for growing older.
Puddy was with us for about three years. He’s buried in my backyard, and a Mexican sage robed in purple fronds waves over his resting place.


You should always say ‘yes’ to a Puddy.
A Puddy’s a wonderful thing.
They’ll purr for you in the autumn
And summer, and winter, and spring.
They lay by you in your bed at night
And sing you a soft lullaby
And during the day, they’ll get in your way
And crouch where you want to walk by.

You should always say yes to a Puddy.
A Puddy’s a wonderful guy.
They’ll smile with you when you are happy
And mop up your tears when you cry.
They eat whatever you give them,
Then bump your head with their nose
And when dinner’s done, they lie in the sun
In a perfectly artistic pose.

So always say yes to a Puddy
If a Puddy should come to your door.
He’s wise and he has much to teach you
And a Pud can't be bought at the store.
Though at first you might think you don’t need one
And you try to say no, not for me.
You’ll never regret a Pud as a pet
Just try one, and then you will see.
So I hope that cute little kitten found a home today. But I've got my eye out for a worthy successor to the Pud.

Lest you think I spent the entire morning being noble and not buying anything, I’m afraid that was not the case. In fact once again I spent a fabulous sum…$15.75! But you’ll see that I got my money’s worth:

Several ten-cent Mary Engelbreit cards.
I think I might frame this one.
A couple of DVDs…
…and CDs.
This odd looking contraption is used to hold an umbrella at the beach or a sporting events. I got it thinking it might work to hold up one of those glass totems (made of glued-together vases and glass plates) in a flower bed. If not, it will make a terrific Goodwill donation.
Bought these earrings solely for the posts…
…so now those blue beads I found a couple of weeks ago can be earrings.
You know I'm big on repurposing, right? Well, I'm repurposing these kitty treats…
…into doggie treats! I need to do some clicker training with our two dogs and these should be good rewards. Kitty food is one of their favorite things—next to bread.

Cast iron frog doorstop. He might be in for a paintjob.
Found another piece of vintage Winfield china, the coffee pot in the Dragon Flower pattern.

Not sure what I'll use this sweet lace collar on. Maybe I'll just leave it on the vintage velvet swing coat that my dress form often wears.

Finally, this was the deal of the day. Twelve pairs of the best undies in the world, brand new, still in their packages. Woo hoo! And even better is knowing that buying just two of these at the suggested retail price would have cost more than I spent today on everything I found.
At one of my last stops, another shopper was trying on a crocheted hat. I told her she looked really cute in it, and the older gentleman helping with the sale said, “We will have to give you a commission!”

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