Saturday, November 27, 2010


We have had the nicest Thanksgiving this year, just my husband and me. Possibly the best dinner we’ve ever made; it’s lucky no one was dining with us because we would have embarrassed ourselves with the happy groaning noises we made while eating. During the course of the holiday we started talking about our annual Christmas open house we’ve done the last few years, and Steven said he didn’t care if we skipped it this year. And I realized that I would love to take a year off from it. In fact, I said, I don’t care if we decorate the house either. And he agreed. So ever since that conversation, every time I think of not doing Christmas stuff I feel so darned happy. We basically have no one to please but ourselves, and this feels great for this year.

But I might want a Christmas tree, he said. So I told him about the little potted rosemary trees I’d seen at Home Depot. We decided to get one of those for the table and that would be it for decorating. And since it’s a live plant that we don’t really have a spot for in the yard, we’ll keep it in its pot and give it as a door prize for someone who visits our garden in the garden tour in May. Hooray, Christmas is all planned for.

So. I head out this morning to run errands and just check to see if there are any yard sales (you never know on a holiday weekend). There were, and at my first stop I spotted this little guy in a box of Christmas ornaments.IMG_9748Too cute, I thought, he can hang out with the little rosemary tree, then after the holidays he can be part of my acorn collection. That didn’t seem like too much decorating.IMG_9755 (Must find something better to cover the pot.)

I went on my way, had a few conversations (re: tea kettles—“These days I’ve got to have one that whistles or I’m in trouble!”), picked up a DVDIMG_9744and a toy penguin to give away to a children’s librarian. IMG_9745 Met a couple of dogs who live across the street from each other and play together all day, Maggie the Lab and her Springer buddy. IMG_9737 IMG_9738

Then I stopped at one more sale. And fell in love. With a Christmas decoration.IMG_9751 Wish my photography skills did it justice! It’s 40” tall, made of twisted wire, for displaying ornaments. IMG_9753The base has been bolted to a board for stability (the board looks like it started life maybe as a leaf for a dining table). The branches can be unhooked to store everything flat.IMG_9754It reminds me of vintage French wire things I’ve seen, but I have no idea of its age or provenance. I just know I love it. This year I’ll just enjoy it as-is, and in the future I’ll use it to display ornaments.

So the year I’m so happy not to be decorating for Christmas is the year I spend what for me was a chunk of change (more than the MCM furniture I’ve bought, less than the lawn mower!) on the biggest Christmas decoration I’ve ever owned.

I’m just thankful I’ve been married so long that my husband knows better than to expect consistency from me.

Besides, he likes it too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Looking for a great gift for a friend or loved one who loves to read? Sleeping Dogs Lie, my first novel and the beginning of the Willow Falls series, has a special price until the end of the year. (I want you to be able to get your own copy with all that gift money you’ll be receiving!)


For a mere $13, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll thrill…or at least have a darned good time reading. Price includes tax and shipping via media mail in the U.S. (and if you’ve mailed anything recently you know what a bargain this is). If you’re somewhere else in the world, we can work out a shipping cost.

This special offer is available only at the Saturday Books website, here. (Sleeping Dogs Lie is available at, but their copies are not included in this sale.) Order with confidence from Saturday Books – we worked hard to make it safely encrypted. And unlike the big online booksellers, we won’t memorize your preferences and try to sell you lots of other stuff before you can get away. Shoot, I’m still trying to memorize my husband’s cell phone number.

I’ll be happy to provide an inscription if you want one. If there’s not enough room in the little box on the shopping cart, just send me a message here or from the contact form at Saturday Books.

The ebook version is still available for $3.99 for the Kindle and the Sony Reader, Nook, etc.

Happy holidays…and happy reading!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Rain Saturday. No yard sales. Sigh. But no matter—it gave me the time to do a project I’ve been thinking about:

Pets on Driveways—the Film!

I had no idea how many pet pictures I’ve taken until I started pulling them into a file. Didn’t use even half of them. But hey, my music was 2 minutes and 44 seconds long, so that’s how many pets I could showcase. (This time!)

Hope you enjoy the film. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vikings and Magicians

My friend Marcia came garaging with me this morning. She was kind enough to drive, and since she’s the friend with the sleek black Audi convertible this is no hardship on my part. Though evidently I am strongly identified by my car in some people’s minds. We passed a woman and her mom who are garaging regulars that I’ve met a number of times. When I stopped to talk to the mom, she said to me (quite disapprovingly), “It’s awfully confusing when you change cars!”

Kind of a luxury to have a driver take you to sales though.

At one point in the morning Marcia commented to me, “You know, we call them garage sales but we never set foot in anyone’s garage. Ought to be driveway sales.” “We call them that because we’re from the Midwest,” I told her. “Most people here call them yard sales, and in the East they use tag sales. And you know I am an expert on this. Kind of a weird thing to be an expert on, but there you go.” She said, “I bet you’re actually an expert on a lot of things.” “Yeah,” I agreed, “but probably not as many as I think I am!”

We went to a couple of neighborhood sales. The first was in a condo community, where we met this handsome kitty.IMG_9645 Her name is Chemo. The lady who owns her said her husband got her when he was dying from cancer, and what a comfort she had been to him. “She’s a total Velcro kitty,” she said.

A couple doors down from Chemo I found my first score of the day in a free box.IMG_9670A rubber Viking helmet with braids attached. Edward SO did not want to model it for you but I convinced him he would look adorable. So be sure to tell him how adorable he looks next time you see him.

Around the corner, Marcia found one of those hand-held steam cleaner thingies. She’d been thinking about getting one, so she scored a brand new one for about a quarter of the store price. We had a nice chat with the lady at that sale about the horrors of housework. I’m hoping this steamer thing works really great so I can borrow it.

On to the other neighborhood sale…we thought. From the description on Craigslist I was sure we were in the right tract, but there were only about three sales and they weren’t worth stopping at. Turns out we had gone in the wrong entrance, and eventually found our way into the area with a number of sales. And dogs. I’ve met this sweetie before.IMG_9651 They had an awfully cute little six-month-old baby here too, grinning and drooling at all the shoppers, but you can see who I took a picture of!

This elderly poochIMG_9650 was in a very bad way last week, coughing and coughing with chronic bronchitis. But a trip to the vet, some antibiotics and a dose of…maybe cortisone (I should take better notes!) made her feel much better.

This handsome guy was next door to a sale we stopped at.IMG_9646 I wasn’t too sure about his friendliness level at first, but one second after I snapped this, he wagged his way over to me for some petting.

I think he was by the sale where the young woman told us all proceeds were going to a very good cause. Marcia asked what, and she said, “My bills!” She told us she has just gotten a job after eight months of looking for one. You could feel how happy she was to be employed.

Next we walked up to a house that looked familiar, or at least their topiary did, and when I saw the bunnies in the garage I knew where we were. “You’re the magician!” I said to the tall guy in the garage. He agreed, and we chatted for a bit about his lovely assistants.

IMG_9657 IMG_9655  IMG_9658

Marcia asked him if it’s true that crows are really smart. “Oh yeah,” he said. “The parrot mimics language, but this guy understands it.” When the garage door is down, the crow has free run of the house. He likes to go over to the workbench and remove tools from the pegboard wall and hide them. He’s still a young bird, only about five months old. He fell out of his next before he was fledgled and was rescued just before the hawk circling overhead had him for lunch.

Here’s another rescue we met.

IMG_9661He was a Christmas present for the children in this family, who named him Dasher after Santa’s reindeer. He was doing that shivering thing that some Chihuahuas do, milking it for all it was worth.

It was hard work finding something to buy, but I managed to part with $1.50. I thought this Schylling kaleidoscope has a mid-century vibe and will be fun at the new house.

IMG_9666 I’ve never tried to take a picture inside a kaleidoscope before, but I thought these came out rather fun.

IMG_9664 IMG_9663

I did see another toy I would have liked to buy—a nice midcentury modern-looking dollhouse. I was thinking recently this would be a fun thing to have and when people come to stay they could play with it. But these folks were asking $150 for theirs. As Marcia muttered when we walked away, “It’s a garage sale. You can’t ask over fifty bucks for anything at a garage sale.” Even fifty would have been over my tolerance threshold. After all, look what I’ve been paying for actual MCM furniture!

My other buy was four pairs of tights in a range of colors: black, brown, bright blue and fuchsia.

IMG_9667I don’t have a need for fuchsia stockings too often, but for a quarter a pair I figured I could indulge myself.

Speaking of quarters…at our last stop I chatted with the two middle-aged guys minding the sale, and when I was done told them that heck, looked like nothing I couldn’t live without. One of them said with mock chagrin, “Nothing? Not even for a quarter?” Ummm, nope. “Not even if I pay you a quarter to take something?” Man, were those guys ready to be done with their sale!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sunrise and Cats

My cat NollIMG_5010 likes to make sure that all the other boy cats around know who the green convertible belongs to. (Him.) He was quite chuffed when I showed him this photographic evidence that his methods are working. IMG_9601 IMG_9602IMG_9603-1I was glad this handsome kitty did not try to lay any claim himself to my front bumper. One co-owner is enough.

The morning began with a beautiful sunrise.IMG_9600 It was especially appreciated because the first sale I stopped at, just before I shot this picture, was presided over by a young woman just seething with hostility. I tried to tell myself she’s simply not a morning person, but I couldn’t leave fast enough. Of course I’m glad I did—who wouldn’t rather see a glorious sunrise than an angry face.

Fortunately most people who have yard sales are able to at least pretend to be having fun. One woman gave me a lengthy testimonial about the wonders of decluttering. She said she just took eleven huge bags of discarded clothing to a thrift store—and that was before she had her sale, where there was still a lot of clothing. Evidently she saw something on TV recently that talked about how clutter is depressing, and she realized this was true for her. “I’ve even wished sometimes my house would burn to the ground so I wouldn’t have to deal with all this stuff,” she told me. I applauded her newfound peace-through-decluttering, while privately vowing never to live next door to her if she has arsonist tendencies.

These cute doggies belong to a couple who were also serious about decluttering. IMG_9605 Their sale was not huge, but the ten and twenty-five cent prices told me they really wanted to get rid of stuff. Both cockers were barking their little heads off, but not at this guy, because I didn’t encounter him until later in the morning.

IMG_9604This is Mr. Mischief, reportedly an apt name. He was quite outgoing, and about the time I left he decided to be going out. There was another sale across the street, and he went over to check on it. As I drove away I heard his owner telling her husband he’d better go get the cat, and the guy calling, “Mister, come here right now!”

Mr. M did not even turn his head.

I managed to beat last week’s spending, lashing out a whole $2.25. Which procured this cute lapel pinIMG_9620(I’ll have to remember to wear it next spring when our yard is on the garden tour) and a pair of earrings (dark green enamel).IMG_9630 Also found a couple pair of purse handles, and since I’ve been thinking about making some kind of bags with some of my felted sweaters, I thought they may come in handy.IMG_9621 Scored a few free magazinesIMG_9629and an adorable little cart, just right for a toddler. I’ll give it to my library that’s working on a grant for toddler services. (Yes, Cathy G, this one’s for you!) IMG_9636I had to ask the price twice, because I doubted my hearing when she said fifty cents. Even better, that price included three baggies of magnetic letters.IMG_9640My favorite overheard conversation this morning was about a DVD player. “Where’s the DVD player? Did it get sold?” “It got sold at the last sale, remember? We didn’t have to bring it out this time. Why do you want to know?” “Because I left a DVD in it, and I wanted to get it out.”  

Pin It button on image hover