Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Zoe Report

As I mentioned last week, garage sales are taking a back seat as we take baby Zoe to puppy kindergarten. We had a real surprise the first week. Our devil-may-care little miss who spends hours every day whooping her big brother Edward

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turned out to be the shyest one in class! She didn’t want to go visit other people, and during puppy playtime she watched from under the chairs.

When we arrived for her second class, a group of guys were leaving the building. Now she was able to show her true colors…she planted herself between my feet and barked at them! I assured her they were terrified. (They were laughing too hard to contradict me.) Guess it worked to build her confidence, because she was much braver in class this time, and during playtime actually started to romp with the other two little cuties in the ‘shy group.’


We have to miss class next Saturday; we’re both doing workshops at a preschool conference. So Zoe gets an extra week to recover from the rigors of her education.


I’m guessing she’ll come out of her shell a bit more each week. I really am surprised, she’s so intrepid at home I was more worried she’d be beating up the big pups. She gets her final puppy shot tomorrow, so in a couple of weeks we can start taking her around the neighborhood for more socializing. We live just half a block from an elementary school, where lots of moms walk to pick up their kids, and several of them bring along the family dog. I foresee some mid-afternoon strolls in our future!

And I’m happy to report that Zoe’s actual obedience training is coming along, as well as the social skills. She’s already a champ at sit, and pretty darned good at coming when she’s called. We’ve been working on ‘down’ which has taken longer. I wasn’t having any luck at all luring her into a down position from a sit – and then we realized that we were trying to do it on the tile kitchen floor. That’s just way too cold for her bare little belly! So we practiced on carpet until she figured out what was going on, and today I finally got a ‘down’ in the kitchen. Didn’t last long, that bald pink tummy still doesn’t like cold tile, but down she went!

This is the first time in my life I get to stay home with a baby pet instead of having to go to work each day. Just in case you were wondering…yeah, this is a lot better than working!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Today’s Post is Brought to You by the Letter L

Letter L

L as in…lie on top of your brother because he’s a lot warmer than the tile floor! Yes, this is Zoe’s new favorite sleeping spot, when she’s not sleeping on someone’s lap or in her crate. It’s a little frustrating for her, though, because Edward is not perfectly flat, so she keeps sliding off. She’s working it out though. I saw her lying on him a little while ago with one foot on the floor to brace herself. Edward, saintly dog that he is, just reclines and lets her experiment with the perfect way to stay on top of him. We’re wondering if he’ll still put up with it when she gets bigger. She was at the vet this morning for a shot and weighed in at 18 pounds – 3 pounds more than one week ago. (Yes, she’s a good eater!)

L is also for something I found this morning at an estate sale that I Love. I was easily able to pass up the Frankoma pottery, and wasn’t tempted by the quite nice collection of giraffes, though the yoyo with a giraffe decal on it was a little tempting. (I overheard one of the two sisters holding the sale that their mother had loved giraffes because she herself was quite short.) But then I spotted these two little stainless steel lidded jars by Lauffer waiting for me.


My midcentury modern antennae quivered. When I saw they were from Denmark, I had to have them.


There was just one thing. I wasn’t 100% sure of the price.


Given what other items were marked, I figured this was fifty cents. But I’ve been to more than one estate sale around here where it could have been fifty dollars. One of the sisters was in the back of the room, so I went to check with her. Yup, fifty cents. She said she was so tired last night when they were prepping the sale that this was how her price tags came out. We started chatting, turns out they moved to Portland from Alaska a few months ago. Then as the conversation moved along she asked what I did before I moved here, and it turns out her husband is also a retired librarian!

Probably could have stood there yakking all day, I was enjoying her so much, but other customers needed her, and I had Zoe in the car. So I went off to pay for my treasures. Her sister said, “Oh, yes, you’re the librarian.” Hmmm, must have been talking louder than I thought!  I said something about enjoying talking to her sister and she allowed as how their family was quite conversational. Well, her mother was, but not their dad. “When they’d go to church, he’d just go sit in the van and smoke his pipe afterward and let her talk as long as she wanted to.” She gave a reminiscent chuckle. “When dad died, he was cremated. After the service there was a little gathering for friends and family. So I took his ashes and put them in the car with his pipe. He never did like to go to those things!”

So L is also for laugh – because that’s what I was doing as I left!

When I got home I started looking for info on my little stainless steel pieces. It turns out they were designed by Arne Jacobsen, who was a midcentury architect and designer! These are probably condiment jars. They’re similar to a sugar bowl he designed, but taller and thinner. (Hmmm, maybe they tie in to the giraffes, the epitome of tall and thin?) After I shined them up I was inspired to make one my current sugar bowl. My little ceramic spoon just fits.

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I wand to give everyone a bit of a heads-up that my posts may be limited or even lacking for the next few weeks. Our little Zoe is starting Puppy Kindergarten tomorrow! Classes are on Saturday morning, and she really needs to be working on her social skills, so unless there are Friday sales I’ll have to go without for a few weeks. Hope I’m not too twitchy at puppy school, missing going to sales! Of course, with a roomful of cute puppies no one will be looking at me. Plus, on March 3 I’m doing a couple of workshops at this preschool conference – including my Shopping on Driveways workshop. Can’t wait to go encourage folks to experience the wonders of garage sales!

Uh-oh, must fly. Looks like I need to remind a certain puppy to Leave the kitty alone!


Though Edward’s doing heroic work as a go-between.

Peacemaker Edward

Puppy school cannot come too soon!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tales and Tubes and Travel Things

I just love the stories that random strangers tell me at garage sales. Today’s came about because I found these two adorable cross-stitch pieces.

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My sister, Midcentury Marilyn, has blue and white d├ęcor in her kitchen, so I immediately thought of her. (And now I have ruined the surprise she would have had when I send them to her. Hmmm, maybe I can hold onto them for a while – translation: forget I bought them and not send them for months – and by the time she gets them she’ll have forgotten about them too and so will actually be surprised. Yup, could work.)

I felt like the tail of a dog as I stood at the end of the line to pay for them. The house was full of people milling about. To my right was a room with some stuff in it for sale, and when people wanted in there I’d move to the left. On my left was the family room, so when folks wanted in there I’d move to the right. Had a regular dance going for a while. I’m glad the line wasn’t any longer than it was!

So I handed over two bills (small ones!) and headed back to the car. Just past the driveway I saw a guy standing and waiting, nursing his Starbucks container. “Couldn’t take it in there?” I asked him. It wasn’t a sale for a claustrophobic. He laughed. “I took a quick look around the garage and then I got out. Too crowded for me. My wife will be a while though. She uses her elbows and is better at getting through crowds.” (I’m glad I encountered him and not her!)  He asked if I’d found anything, and I held up my treasures, then mentioned they’d be going to Oklahoma. He brightened. “My wife’s from Oklahoma!” (Perhaps that’s where she learned her elbow skills.) We ascertained the tiny town she is from and how nice the people are there, including her parents. “When her dad was killed, we had to go and stay for a while to settle the estate,” he told me. “The people are so nice, but man, I could never live there, they have these enormous bugs!” (I agreed – my bug phobia is one of the reasons I live in the West.) He shook his head. “We were getting the house ready to sell, and I went in this room and there was just a gigantic bug. Well, I just backed right out of there and closed the door. And you know, we sold the house without ever opening that door!”

As they say…let the buyer beware!

I should have recognized the address of one place I stopped. Turned out to be a second weekend of a sale we went to last week. You can imagine how picked over it was, but they had a big ‘half-price’ sign, so I did a quick once-through, and sure enough found something. Now that we keep our bad boy Noll inside all the time I can feed the birds again, so I picked up a fifty-cent feeder. The birds have not yet discovered the thistle sock I hung up last week, but maybe they’ll recognize this style of feeder.


My last find is something I never thought to own, and won’t use very often, but I know that whenever I do use it I’ll think fondly of the two quarters it cost me.


It’s an airline seatbelt extender. You narrow-hipped folks won’t be able to relate to this, but some others might! Spending several hours strapped into a plane is bad enough, but when the seatbelt is just barely big enough it can verge on torture. And yes, you can ask for an extender – but it’s nicer not to have to ask. As Miss Piggy said in her Guide to Life regarding air travel, if getting there is half the fun – you must be going someplace pretty awful!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bird Gossip

Do you ever find something at a sale, brand new, never used, and wonder why in the world no one ever used it? I’m sure lots of times it’s because it was a well-meant but ill-chosen gift. We’ve all gotten those! But Friday I picked up an item that I can’t help wondering what prevented it from ever being used.


I mean, who doesn’t like birds? Okay, I suppose there are people who don’t. But even if you’re not especially fond of them, how hard is it to walk outside and hook this over a tree branch? If you don’t have any trees you could take it to a park and leave it. I can tell you it took about two seconds to hang it in the crabapple outside my office window!


In fact, hanging it up was the quick part. It took a bit longer to corral all the seeds that ended up on my table – wish the packaging had mentioned that it should be opened outside!


What will take even longer is getting birds to actually use it. Some especially nosy sparrow or chickadee (hmmm, I’d better check and make sure we have chickadees here!) will fly down to check it out. Jackpot! Days and days of thistle seeds, all to himself! All he has to do it keep his beak shut and not tell anyone about what he found. But you know how it is when you have a particularly delicious secret – before too long you just HAVE to tell someone. And no matter how trustworthy that bird is, word leaks out. Bird gossip – it happens.

If they want to gossip, one of the ads I saw Friday on is even more gossip-worthy than a pouch of seeds. Wish I had copied it because it’s gone now, but it was something like “Big Sale! Emptying Grandma’s Storage Unit!” and then it went on to enumerate some of Grandma’s belongings…like guns, and tools, and motor parts. Gave me a very odd idea of what Grandma was like!

Or, the birds could gossip about who among their acquaintance needs this book. Me, I just add it to my list of Books I’m Really Glad I Didn’t Write. Nope, didn’t buy it!


Besides the bird feeder thingie, on Friday I found another item from my “watch for” list. (At this rate I’m going to have to come up with a whole new list!) Steven mentioned the other day that we need a replacement for our rolling pin. The current one had a crack in one of the handles and it kept coming apart. Very annoying when you’re trying to get that pie dough to the correct thinness. And there it was, a lovely hardwood rolling pin, just waiting for me to take it home.


Haven’t tried it out yet. But soon.

Then on Saturday the mister came along with me. Fortuitously. One sale had a few things sitting in the yard, including a ladder. It looked to me like the kind of ladder we already have, so I just passed it by. A little later Steven came up to me as I looked through the stuff for sale in the house and said that ladder out there was a really good one, and did I have enough cash for him to make an offer for it. I said I did, and he went out to inspect it again. While he was out there, I was schmoozing with the owner (hi, Martha!) about this and that, and I asked if she’d take five bucks for it. I was overjoyed when she said yes – and it was quite fun to stroll out and tell my husband I had just bought him a ladder.


Turns out it is similar to the ladder we have, but it’s both sturdier (a good thing in a ladder) and taller. Which is a good thing when you live in a house where some of the ceilings are rather high!


Martha also made my day by supplying yet another item that I had added to my watch-for list only that morning. Now that we have the compost bin from last week, we needed a container to keep under the sink to gather the scraps that will go in the compost. Something easy to clean, with an air-tight lid, and preferably clear so we can see when it’s getting full. And there it was – perfect!

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Hmmm, now I’m starting to get worried. If I find everything on my list, will I have to stop garaging and just stay home on Saturday mornings?

Nah. Not a chance!

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