Sunday, July 28, 2013

Low Maintenance

I like to think I’m a ‘low maintenance’ kind of person. And I know that now I’ve said that in public probably any number of people will come out of the woodwork to prove to me I’m no such thing. I can’t decide whether to say to them “go ahead, do your worst” or simply “go away and leave me to my fantasies.” Let’s go with the latter.

Go away and leave me to my fantasies, you naysayers.

One area I know for sure that I’m low-maintenance is…happiness. It takes absurdly little to thrill me. Take my souvenir from our trip to the beach last week. We strolled around Cannon Beach, enjoying the amazing flower beds and hanging containers and ducking into galleries and what I call “stuff stores” – those emporiums of high priced, shiny gifts that people take home on vacation (things that end up in their yard sales a few years later).  My SIL and I oohed and ahhed over paintings and sculptures and thises and that’s, and headed back to the house empty handed. So what did I end up taking home? Some bulbs we pulled out of the yard! I love crocosmias, which grow very well in Oregon, and have been wanting some of the golden yellow/orange ones. Of course I could buy them in a nursery – for three bucks or more for each little bulb. But there was a big clump blooming at their beach house, so we pulled up about, oh, seventy bucks worth, wrapped them in newspaper, and I brought them home and planted them. The clump was so thick you couldn’t even tell we’d pulled any, and yup, I was absolutely thrilled to have this great souvenir of our lovely time at the beach.

I was also quite amused to find another souvenir…a week later! No, not something that stowed away in the car. Found this great shirt at a yard sale on Saturday, and if this isn’t a beach souvenir I don’t know what is.

beach shirt

It certainly made me happy to score half a dozen DVDs for five bucks.

happy moviesmore films

I was quite taken with the people at this sale, because they thought I was funny. As I arrived there was conversation about what a nice day it was (it’s been quite hot, but this weekend was perfect) and I mentioned that whenever I have a yard sale, it rains. I could probably rent myself out to conduct yard sales wherever there is a drought.

I tell you, it’s quite a responsibility being in charge of the weather like this.

I don’t even have to buy things for them to make me happy. My first stop on Saturday was near home, and as I often do I asked if they were having fun yet. The woman started laughing and pointed to what she’d written on one of the toys she had for sale.

Are we having fun

That was certainly enough to break the ice. She’s a just-retired kindergarten teacher, and we both totally lost it when she told me they had planted a tree in her honor at the school.

A crab apple.

After I left her, there was another sale near home, and I had to pass my house to get there. Waved at my husband as I went by; he was out watering my recently planted crocosmia bulbs. And there was more happiness waiting at the next stop. People usually put their free box near the street, so it’s the first thing you pass when you arrive. Of course I always look, and in this free box was a set of fireplace tools. I grabbed ‘em.

these will become hose guides

Not to use by my fireplace. These are going to be hose guides in the yard. The only one we’ll have to attack with a hacksaw is the shovel; the other pieces are screwed together. The handles are long enough that they’ll be quite sturdy when pushed into the ground, and the gold handles will show up so we don’t stub our toes on them all the time. Perfect!

That was a lot of happiness for one weekend, and I was perfectly satisfied. But this morning I went out to pick up fresh eggs from this cute teenage boy who raises chickens and llamas.

happy eggs

Don’t know if you can tell from the picture that the lighter eggs are a delicate green. Opening a box of his eggs is a gift, and I don’t know about you, but I just love knowing there is a teenage boy in the world who has pictures of eggs on his cell phone, which he will whip out to show you what the eggs from the new chickens he’s raised will look like. (Deep chocolaty brown. Can’t wait to get my next batch of eggs!)

When I left his place, I stopped at a couple of sales on the way home. The first had a lot of stuff on the drive and in the garage, and I was amazed when one of the ladies told me they’d been selling since Friday morning. (And kind of sorry I didn’t get there then!) But no matter, I found something I’m really excited about on the first table I checked out.

bird bath dripperdrip for the birds

Here’s the deal. I don’t really like fountains and water features with moving water. To me they just sound like a running toilet. I know, I know, everyone else in the world finds a fountain very soothing to listen to. But in about three minutes I start to feel my shoulders going up towards my ears and hear that ominous grinding noise that means I’m gritting my teeth. Wind blowing through treetops or bamboo, bring it on. Very soothing. Running water, not for me, thank you. BUT. Several years ago I was in a garden that had a drip fountain that emitted just a single drop from time to time – plink – and loved it. I saved an article from somewhere on how to construct one, but here’s all the components in a kit. Woo hoo!

There were three ladies having the sale, and one of them mentioned she had just retired from teaching (dang, didn’t remember to ask her if they planted a crab apple in her honor!). Another is still teaching, and in about a minute we discovered that both of them know my niece, who is a middle school science teacher here in town. And in about a minute more they had posted something on Facebook about me being at their sale and my niece had replied to it. It’s a small world…and news travels fast in it!

Made one more stop on the way home, and this family was having fun. A woman about my age, her two grown daughters and one of their husbands, and a four-month-old baby girl. This baby was a pistol. She’s doing everything way ahead of schedule, including teething and rolling over and sitting up. She’s trying really hard to stand on her own, and her grandma and I agreed that in about a week and a half she’ll be demanding the car keys. It was great to see how much they all enjoyed this child.

While I was there I found something for Zoe’s buddy Xanny.


She’s half Shih Tzu, and a bit of a hairy little dog, and when she goes to the groomers it costs way more than her owner’s haircuts. So maybe we can keep Xanny’s eyes visible now without the price tag. Delicately.

trimmer for Xannyshe's a delicate dog

I don’t think we’ll be using the little bows on her though.

silly bows

NOT her style…and we want her to be happy too.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Having a Hot Time on the Yard Sale Trail

I’ve noticed lately that even a retired person can appreciate a long weekend. (Make that a happily retired…no, ecstatically retired person!) After spending years of garaging almost entirely on Saturdays, I now go out on Fridays as well. Which makes Friday feel like Saturday…and then I get Saturday again! Gosh, what a great system. Of course, it also means that I actually have to look at my days-of-the-week retirement clock to be sure what day of the week it is. I’d hate to miss a day of garaging…or some appointment on a weekday.

day clock

After we saw each other at the dog park, I picked up Judy for our Friday morning adventure. Her house is about 5 blocks from mine, which is handy. Handier still was that our first sale was halfway between our homes…and when we arrived we saw the lady having the sale was an acquaintance from the dog park! After greeting Cider the dog, I asked if she was moving, because I know she plans to make a big move at some time in the future. “No,” she said, “but I recently helped a couple of other people move. I’ve been in this house fifteen years, and I decided to get rid of stuff like I am moving!” I’m sure whatever cash she made from her sale will come in handy, because she’s on her way to Ireland today! Her sister is an airline pilot, and together they are taking their grandmother for a wonderful trip to the west coast of Ireland.

Our next stop was a few blocks away (our neighborhood has been a great location for sales recently) – two sisters in colorful summer dresses who ARE moving. To Alabama. They said they’d lived there before, so they knew what they were getting into weather-wise. (We’ve been having perfect summer days, with high temps of about 80. As they say, don’t get no better than this!) Now, in between these two houses, our conversation for some reason had turned to house cleaning, and Judy said something about preferring to clean her floors “the Cinderella way.” Yup, down on her knees…but at our age, knees hurt when you do that. “Don’t you have knee pads?” I asked, and she’d never thought about using them. “You need knee pads,” I assured her. And there they were at this sale! Well, the tag on them said something about soccer knee pads, but they were nice thick, cushy pads and the elastic bands fit her. So now she has knee pads. I’m not sure her lovely vintage hardwood floors will be Cinderella’d more often, but it will hurt less. And she can go in for soccer if she wants.

She also found something fun for their dog. Buddy is actually her son Jake’s dog but Judy and I know each other because she brings him to the park, and he and Zoe grew up together.

Buddy & Zoe & the big stick

So Buddy got a present from this sale. Too cute to pass up!

Good Buddy box

All the supplies it originally held are gone, but it’s a great lunch box. Judy laughed when she read it. “I don’t know,” she said. “We’re always calling him Bad Buddy when he chews something up. Maybe if we call him Good Buddy he’ll improve.” But so far it hasn’t worked. Found out this morning that Buddy ate her cell phone on Sunday. Ohhhh, bad, bad Buddy!

One stop was advertised as a “retirement/moving sale.” There was a lot of…okay, junk. Old chairs that had been left outside to weather. Pieces of furniture – in pieces. And that was just on the driveway. We cruised quickly through the garage, which had vintage tools and photography equipment, and through some basement rooms, one of which had lots and lots of vintage linens. I bravely resisted all temptation there (only because I was not unduly tempted by anything). I would have bought the tablecloth that was stamped with a pine cone design, ready to be embroidered after all these years, but another lady had already snagged it. Dang – it would have been perfect with my Blue Spruce Winfield china. Another room had hundreds of knicknacky things, figurines and vases and more junk. I was rather bemused by this.

greatest fun maker!

I had no idea that “The game of bean bags” is “the greatest fun maker on the market,” did you? This looked like a felt bird, ready to stuff with your beans, with instructions to make some kind of board to throw him through. All other forms of fun just pale in comparison, don’t they?

Another room had shelves and shelves of books, with lots of titles about antiques and collecting, as well as several vintage hats. And lucky me, my hat model was close at hand!

vintage pillbox hat

We were especially charmed by the hats with veils. Don’t they give Judy a mysterious allure?

 petals and veil hatpillbox hat with veil

But this had to be the most amazing one: a felt beret thickly covered with feathers that were held in place with netting. I’ve never seen anything like it.

amazing feather beret

Back out in the garage I noticed a counter loaded with old sheet music. I’m talking hundreds of pieces. I saw a John Thompson beginner piano book and showed it to Judy. “I still remember the first two piano pieces I learned from this,” I told her, and sang them. (Quietly. I’m no singer.) The lyrics that were burned into my brain at age six were 1) “Here we go, up a row, to a birthday party” and 2) “Dolly Dear, Sandman’s near, you will soon be sleeping.” I may not know what day of the week it is without checking my retirement clock, but I can still sing those. And I bet I have now triggered memories for some of you and you’ll have those inane little tunes stuck in your head for the rest of the day! An elderly lady came up to us and asked if we play, and we started chatting. Turns out it was her house where the sale was being held – but not all her stuff. I think other family members had brought a lot of stuff  in. We talked for quite a while, and we learned that she is 81 and loves her house, even with all its stairs. (Ours is a hilly neighborhood and most houses are built on multiple levels.) Her grandmother lived to be 109, though her mother died at fifty of breast cancer. She and her younger brother were taken in by an aunt who had a farm near Hood River. Her aunt wouldn’t let her learn to mile the cows, even though she wanted to,  because “if you know how to do it you’ll be stuck with it for life.” (Smart aunt!) She never had piano lessons but she did play the violin (as I did) and for a while the viola, and was in a community orchestra in her youth. She’s lived in that house since 1962. I think her children must be pressuring her to move somewhere smaller and without stairs, because she said several times that she has no problem running up and down stairs, and she doesn’t want to move. So if the retirement and moving were referring to this lady, she definitely has other ideas!

We talked so long that the morning was running down, and there was still a neighborhood sale we meant to go to. So we grabbed a bite to eat and headed to south Salem, and here our day took a turn. Just as I turned onto the street we were heading for, Judy commented, “It looks like smoke is coming out of your engine.” These are not words you want to hear…especially when you can see smoke yourself. And a quick glance at the temperature gauge shows the needle at the hot end. We pulled over and discovered a crack in the radiator, so we ended the morning waiting for a tow truck and for my husband to rescue us. My beloved green convertible is at the auto shop, awaiting its turn for help. Don’t know yet how bad – or how expensive – the news will be.

We won’t let it crimp our style next weekend though…we’re going to the beach! I will of course miss garaging (and blogging) but I should be back the week after. My fingers are crossed that I will still have enough disposable income for garaging!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Randomly Purposeful…or was that Purposely Random?

I used both approaches to garaging this weekend: the planned-out and the random. On Friday (after enjoy quite a few spectacular fireworks from the comfort of our upper deck on the 4th) my SIL Linda, niece Kelsey and I headed out, destinations programmed into the GPS. Kelsey is moving to a new apartment soon and had her list of needed stuff, and did quite well. I admit to envying the cushy new bathmat she scored for a buck! We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company, and the conversations we had along the way. At one sale I picked up a copy of one of my favorite movies.

Independence Day DVD

We already had a copy…but it wasn’t wide-screen. And when you watch movies on a ten-foot wide movie screen, you WANT that wide-screen version! And there it was. I thought the price was a tad high, so offered a lower one, and the lady said let me ask my husband. He said sure – and then we started swapping our favorite lines from the film. (I love the bit when they first fly the alien craft out of the underground bunker and Will Smith exclaims, “I gotta get me one of these!” It’s become one of our family catchphrases.) The conversation wound on, and by the time we left we knew all about their daughter who has just moved back home while her husband of six months is in basic training.

At our next stop, this vintage Co-ed magazine caught my eye.

vintage magazines

The lady selling it laughed and told me she has no idea how she came by it. It’s from 1958, so I suspect she was probably in high school around then. Had to have it for my 1957 house. And it’s just full of interesting and informative articles and ads. First, its sub-header:

careers and homemaking

Yup, even in 1958 women were expected to do it all! And I have to wonder if perhaps I saw this at an impressionable age, since the featured career is the one I chose.

career girl

Yes, the pleasures of being a children’s librarian! I’ve done all these things, even if not on a bookmobile.

career girl quotes

Then there were the food articles.

perfect biscuitMCM menu

Mmmmm…don’t you just love a cute midcentury menu!

MCM menu - mmmm

The 1964 Better Homes & Gardens came from a later stop. More midcentury eye candy in there! At the same place I picked up this group of…I’m not sure what to call them. Crystal picks?

vintage crystal picks

Each piece is 11” long total, with about 8” of wire below the beads. The beads feel like Lucite to me, and I’m guessing they’re vintage, maybe Sixties or Seventies. I’m hoping to find some good spot in the yard for them, having been inspired by these beaded garden art thingies. 

vintage crystal picks 2 vintage crystal picks 3 vintage crystal picks 4

This sale was at a cute Thirties house, and there was a dog inside who wanted to come out and help us shop. Her whining sounded exactly like our Zoe; it was all I could do not to go in and check on her!

Didn’t run across a whole lot of hats this week, but there was one, which Linda graciously donned (since our usual hat model Judy wasn’t with us).

Halloween headband

That might have been the sale where I picked up this vintage Homer Laughlin plate in the Golden Roses pattern. It’s been a long time since I added a dessert plate to our random collection.

Homer Laughlin Golden Roses plate  Homer Laughlin Golden Roses plate back

Or maybe that was where I found this canning funnel.

canning funnel

I was making raspberry freezer jam the other day and struggling a bit to pour it into containers, and the hubs commented, “You should keep an eye out for one of those funnel thingies.” And I did, and there it was, and the price was fifty cents, and life is good. Or, as it said on a friend’s ancient, faded tee shirt: Life is Goo.  Which is appropriate for jam making.

Our last stop of the day was a sale by a family with a bunch o’ little kids. We were out of steam by then, and so was this small fry.

Good sleeper

Those were the days, when you could just drop off to sleep anywhere. Oh wait, I still can.

So that was our purposeful Friday. Saturday morning I was feeling a little…perhaps slow is the word. Didn’t have much energy for mapping out sales, and being a holiday weekend there weren’t a ton of them anyway. I decided I’d had plenty of fun on Friday and that would do me. But on the way back from the dog park with Edward and Zoe, I made a little detour past a couple of nearby sales. At the first I scored another vintage plate.

Steubenville floral plate  Steubenville floral plate back

Going to have to bake something yummy soon to serve on my new dessert dishes! A few blocks away was a sale that had started quite early and looked pretty picked over, but there I found something to love – a big planter in a wrought iron stand.

Planter on stand 1

Besides just liking its looks, it’s relatively light weight, which is a plus for something you put on an upper deck. I was so excited about it that after breakfast (mine and the hungry dogs’) I headed out for the big-box store that always has a big selection of sale plants. When their stock starts getting a little past it, they mark them half price, and I’ve gotten some great plants there this summer. Everything I’ve bought has perked up with a little pruning, a little love, and getting out of their tiny containers. I ‘m quite happy with what I found on Saturday – a blue oat grass for the center, some Wave petunias that should cascade down nicely, a nemesia for a little scent, and some white lobelias.

Planter on stand 3petuniaspetunias and nemesia

Heading home with my plants I spied a big green sign that said “Carport Sale” so I headed down that street. Biggest danged carport I’ve ever seen; I think someone may have built boats there or something. It was late in the morning by now and I didn’t think there was anything left to find, but I did! Two small trough planters that hang from the deck railing, to supplement the two I found last year (those are growing herbs for me this summer).

deck plantersAt a buck each I couldn’t leave them there. Of course it’s too bad I didn’t find them BEFORE I bought plants, but now I have an excuse to go back and check out the sale plants again.

Life is goo!

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