2 sept 2018

We’ve always joked that this little house is preparing us to live in a log cabin in the woods because we pretty much already spend our lives within 20 feet of each other.

Ruthie was very mad when I sold the bunk beds and asked if she could have her own room. We said nope. I follow a mom on Instagram who recently posted that the majority of the time she and her husband make their five kids share everything, from cotton candy at the fair to bedrooms. And they can certainly afford not to have to do that. So it’s the principle of it all, and I dig it. Annie, on the other hand, was extremely excited to share a bed with her big sister so she could cuddle and do other things like watch Ruth trace her hand and write addition problems in her bedside journal. Ryan’s now reading Chocolate Fever to them which was one of my favorites. Gertie gets out of her new floor bed at least thirty times a night, we sometimes find her curled up next to the door, and then also wakes up for the day before six which she’s never done. We are plumb tired but determined to stick it out.

28 July 2018

Ryan, tonight, reading to his three girls. A new book about two cats on the run.

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We’ve changed their room around again. I just couldn’t get behind the practicality of  bunk beds. I wanted to be nostalgic. So we got an antique full bed and now Ruth and Annie sleep together. I shared a bed with my sister, my mom did with hers, and I know for sure my grandma Gertie did with hers. The thought of carrying this on feels right.

Little Gertie will be transitioning to a floor bed this summer, right next to them. I’m a little nervous, but am hoping it’s one of those things where I’m lowering the standard too much. She loves being close to her sisters.

We got a new water table and spent all Friday morning, right up until lunch, outside.

The older two played hopscotch and Gertie, after getting frustrated at not being able to reach a rubber duck across the table, finally stuck her head under the waterfall and pulled it back, then kept throwing it to the other side so she’d have to stick her head under again. Hearing her laugh at herself made me smile. We’re getting closer, she and I. A lot closer. Like, I wanna nuzzle her neck and kiss her cheeks all the time closer. Something is changing and it’s probably (annoyingly) me.

 

Carthage Thrifting

Well, there went our budget for the week, but oh my it was worth it. I got some fun things and didn’t talk baby talk once the entire day.

I asked an old coworker of mine, N, to escort me around some thrift stores. She ended up being our chaperone. For the thrift store and me, I mean. She made sure I didn’t get too grabby with the store’s body and helped the store open up a bit more and show me its silly side.

I wasn’t only excited about thrifting, but also to get out like a normal human being for a day. Well, kinda normal. I did have my breasts unashamedly exposed on a highway so I could pump in order to return to being normal for the next 3 hours.

No one noticed though. I think everyone we passed could feel me boring my eyes into the side of their heads saying Oh I just dare you to look, my friend. So help me, if you even move your face one iota to the side…

You know how you get that subconscious feeling of danger every now and again? Sometimes it can come on so strong that you just keep looking forward and keep on keeping on. I’m pretty sure that’s what they felt and stared straight ahead.

We finally arrived and ran into the shop.

N, luckily, also likes to take her time browsing, so I didn’t feel rushed or like I was holding her hostage. My kind of thrifting experience.

This first store rocked it. We dove in and didn’t come up for air until 3.5 hours later. Awe-some.

There were many things I talked myself in and out of throughout those hours. For one, this band hat. My goal (once we’re out of The Shack) is to create an attic space, complete with old wardrobe, mirror, and mannequin, sofa etc. for a dress-up corner and this hat just about made the cut.

Six months ago, I wouldn’t have blinked. But now that we’re trying to stick to a budget and have bigger plans for our moulah, I eventually nixed it. Maybe next time I’ll pick it up.

N found many things too.


Like this old pastry cutter and a paper-mache Santa that lit up. I watched her wheel and deal for that one. We literally ran around like chickens with our heads cut off and every once in a while would see the same thing at the same time and take in a huge gulp of air before grabbing it.

It’s nice to be surrounded by people who get the same sort of joy out of similar things as you do. It’s also nice to watch people get excited about different things than you too, but nothing beats a shared passion.

After that shopping extravaganza I was starving and brought out our lunch.

PB & J’s, lemonade, popcorn, nuts, and fruit. Next week, at The Mobile-Homemaker, I’ll be showing you how to bake the bread used for these sandwiches. Just a plain white bread, but R & I both enjoy it.

You can’t really tell, but it’s oh only 28 DEGREES FREAKING OUTSIDE.

The conversation was short and we hopped back into the car to make another stop.

Enter Doris.

She was manning the front desk and, I believe, owned the place. Within 10 minutes of us walking in, she literally made us take several things for free.

I knew she was a girl after my own heart when we asked for her photo and after taking it, insisted on seeing how she looked. Yes, we thrifters are all vain.

I picked up some wool socks (R and I are addicted) and a piece of artwork that knocked my (wool) socks off, along with some other things.

We stopped at a couple more places before heading home. The drained feeling of exploring and searching and squealing and buying makes for a laid-back ride home. We chatted, I soaked in the setting sun, and stared out at the rolling fields.


I was happy.

But nothing is as exciting as when you arrive home and get to show off your wares. Most of the time R just laughs and he didn’t disappoint this time. Except he threw in some head shakes and “What the heck is that” questions.

My absolute favorite buy of the day, and I can’t even tell you how much it was because Doris just said $5 for everything (and I had a good pile going…) is this artwork:

What the.

I just couldn’t take my eyes off it. It grabbed me, spun me around, and dipped me. So you know I was in love.

This deserved a prominent place in The Shack.

And there she be. Right above our french press that we use every day. So now every time R wants coffee, he’ll have the pleasure of soaking in that glittering beauty of a print.

This is one happy mama.

Junk In My Trunk

Yes, there too, but also my estate sale finds. Between the 9 circles of Dante’s Inferno that was last summer and my overpowering swollen ankles during the last couple months of pregnancy, I didn’t make it out to many garage sales.

I probably could have, since my car has an a/c now – an upgrade from the Aerostar minivan without a/c that I drove through college. Yeah, it had a carpeted dashboard. I know, I was pretty hot. No literally, I sweated like mushrooms in a skillet. It was tasty – but I didn’t think every person hosting their sale would like me asking to use their bathroom. Hey, how bout I don’t haggle you for this whatchamecallit that I’ll eventually donate back to the Goodwill in a couple years if I could just. use. your. toilet. Thanks.

No, it wasn’t worth it.

So needless to say, I’ve been itching to get some junk.

With winter upon us, so are estate sales and anytime I go to KC, my mom tries to find some for us to attack. She’s my junkie wingman. Wait, that didn’t sound right. You know what I mean. We both like the kind of places that has layers of items, making you dig through for that special find. So knowing that she understands the patience of this archeological adventure, I can roam without feeling rushed.

Some things fun were discovered, some practical, and some sentimental.

Like that mid-century style glass holder (which will probably get spray painted)… did I hear Mad Men calling? I know, me neither. The only mad man in my life shook his head as I unloaded it onto the kitchen table.

Why do we need this?

That’s the thrifter’s worst accusation. No, we don’t need this, you’re right. But, luckily, at the last second, I’ll think of a reason for its being here that will make you wonder why you asked me in the first place.

Next in line is this whale desktop paper clip. And I mean a literal desktop, kids.

Wow, I’m really letting this gray hair get to me. Back in my day…

If only the Shack had room for a little desk. Until then, it will have to settle holding Christmas cards on our bookshelf.

Along with a couple glass jars, biscuit pans, and an embroidered dress that my mom spotted, I also bought a tablecloth (complete with 12 cloth napkins) and a new book.

I can’t tell you how many of this type of book I have. I mentioned my Old West collection here, and have since bought several other series. I cannot put a price on those huge photos from the past. Someone else did, though, and if I remember right, it was less than a dollar.

Steal.

In fact, the most expensive thing here was the tablecloth/napkin combo at $5.

The dollar spent on this glass holder was not enough to sell Mr. R. So I quickly  remedied it by putting in it a few of the thousand jars that I own (I have a soft spot for them). These jelly jars will be perfect to house leftover herbs that I’m starting to collect. A couple of these above were used in a cold/cough syrup recipe that I got from my new favorite blog: Frugally Sustainable. Can’t wait to share it with you.

But couldn’t you also see them filled with craft supplies in our kids’ room, too? See? Plethora of possibilities, R.

Until then, I’ll be daydreaming about my next junk sale run.

Ivory

I mentioned a while back that I had tweaked my laundry detergent recipe to make it even cheaper.

Well, here goes.

The actual recipe is so easy to remember, it’s the identification of each powder that was difficult for me. Maybe because it took me 2 years before labeling each of the jars? I’m pretty much a genius when it comes to those things.

It’s just 2 to 1 parts, soap to other ingredients.  So if you do 1 cup soap, throw in 1/2 cup Borax, Washing Soda, & OxyClean. Once mixed, use 2 tbls per load.

The soap is what changed. You can’t buy soap flakes off the shelf anymore (which I think is a conspiracy, but I think everything is a conspiracy right now. I can’t go for a jog 9 mos pregnant? Conspiracy. I can’t make it through the night without eating a meal at 2am? Conspiracy.) So I’ve had to buy the flakes either off ebay or through a distribution center based in Michigan that imports them from England. Tell me how this is cost-effective.

Then I discovered that Ivory soap is the most similar to boxed soap flakes due to it being almost (sigh) made out of 100% vegetable oil.

Hey, not to change the subject, but see those flowers on the coffee table?

My sister-in-law picked those from her garden for me! I love what fresh flowers does to a room: instant class.

And looking at our coffee table, we need that. The basket on the left (which I think is a rice steamer, actually) is really our junk drawer, believe it or not. In front of everyone. You walk in – bam! Junk. That’s how we roll, folks.

The chest we bought randomly on our way home from Nebraska one year. We squeezed it into R’s Honda Civic and scraped the ground all the way back.

The year was unknown, but when we had it re-stained, the guy went on and on about the top piece. It was a single piece of wood indicating that it came from a tree that wide. Really old, he said. I’d take it on Antiques Roadshow, but I know they’d yell at me for re-staining it. I can just hear them, “I really wish the original patina were still on it.” And then my heart would break because I do want the Roadshow folks to be my friends. Nevermind the worth, just be proud of how well I’ve taken care of something.

Ah, well. We love the dark color.

It’s where we house our blankets and sleeping bags for now. Probably a future junk drawer waiting to happen, though.

But back to the exciting stuff: Ivory soap. No shipping costs and occasionally I get a coupon in the paper for it. Score!

I really need a good food processor. Instead, I diced up the soap curls as small as possible.

Then stored  it until ready to use!

I diced up 3 bars worth of soap and it almost reached the top of the jar. Good deal.

The ingredients I buy more frequently than others is a) soap and b) washing soda. That you can buy on the shelf. The borax and Oxyclean just keeps going and going.

I’ve never done the cost breakdown on it all, I really should. I’ll just approximate from what I have.  I buy washing soda about once a year ($3.00), soap once a year ($15.00 for the imported soap flakes withOUT shipping. $4.00 for 8 bars of Ivory soap, coupon used), Borax once every 2+ years – still using from the original box ($3.00), and Oxyclean once every 2+ years – still using from the original box ($18 for 14lb box from Sam’s Club. It was difficult to justify spending that much money up front, but look how long it has lasted!)

So, with the imported flakes I would spend around $28.50 a year. Probably less than that, because I’m still using the Borax & Oxyclean from original purchase. With Ivory soap I’ve cut it to $17.50. We’ll see how this changes with a little one and more laundry loads.

I really just like having all the ingredients on hand. I don’t have to time my run to the store with how many loads I have left in the bottle. I can just whip up a new batch whenever needed.

And it does give you an excuse to buy a vintage tin for storage – Hurray!

Have a great weekend!

Thrifting

I always love to point out how much I hate to shop.  And I do… for new things. Give me access to pre-used, bargain deals, then my mouth salivates at the thought of going store hopping. It’s to the point where I can’t even stand being in regular stores, because I think, “Oh I’m sure I can find a better deal on this.” or “Who would pay that much for this?!”

In effect, I’ve become a snob. A reverse snob, I guess.

There’s a thrift store trifecta that I hit every time I’m in the neighboring town. Even if it’s for a quick run-through due to limited time, I cannot not stop. They all help satisfy my different needs, so the steering wheel literally takes on a life of its own and plops me right in front of the door. It can’t be helped.

First stop, Goodwill.

Here I get clothes, books, bric-a-brac, and occasionally a piece of furniture.

It was at this place that I landed on a pile of discarded Eddie Bauer sweaters. If you know me or R, then you know of our love affair with EB (or Ed, as he likes us to call him.)

Then onto the Salvation Army.

Here you can find a great piece of furniture and bric-a-brac. The clothes are still too pricey (can you believe me!?), and the kitchen ware is slim.

Okay, I’m not a complete imbecile.. where I refuse to buy anything new. It’s just become a knee-jerk reaction to question the need to pay such inflated prices. I mean, yes, I will buy new and unused underwear. (However, I did buy and wear a vintage 1940s swimsuit for a summer. Discuss.)

A hairbrush? New. (This has especially been cemented in my head after working in an elementary school where those insects whose name rhymes with ‘mice’ tend to congregate. Shudder.)

If I were to jump out of a plane, then yeah, I’d pay extra to make sure the parachute was new and in working order.

See? I’m not demented.

The last stop on the holy trinity trail is just a generic THRIFT STORE (per the sign). I found this puppy while getting lost one day.

It feeds my do-it-yourself projects, my kitchen ware, knitting, and occasional piece of clothing.

It was there that I bought these bushel baskets. R thought it was a great idea, since we have an orchard not growing anywhere near us. (He never appreciates my purchases).

And who could forget the great book buy of 2010: a Gardening Encyclopedia set. The cashier rang up each book at 25 cents when I thought they’d be a dollar. Will I read them? Probably not. But I saved almost $14 people.

And I love how they look in our eames style TV stand. We found that curbside in our old KC neighborhood and I made R carry it three blocks home. You know, instead of me running ahead to get the car. I was afraid it would be snatched.

Yes, I am that person. A dumpster-diver.

There, I said it. I’m a dumpster-diver and I love it. During my sister’s annual neighborhood large-item pickup day, she and her husband would grab a six-pack, sit in their screened porch, and make fun of my fellow divers.

They don’t understand.

Then what about the Shack’s mini, almost microscopic wine (and champagne?) cellar. With my $4 wine rack and $2 carafes. I bought the carafes back when we lived in KC and they were next to 12 mini wineglasses of the same decor. Those glasses still haunt me to this day. Why I didn’t buy them, I’ll never know.

I think I didn’t want everything to be mitchy-matchy. I still get queasy about mitchy-matchy, but in this case I would’ve come to love the matching set eventually.

Note Klimt’s and my mutual friend, Judith, gazing longingly for a glass.

And then my ‘Medicinal Plant’s’ poster. At the checkout line, a lady said that she was this close to buying it.

Half of the fun is the competition. There are not several of these in the store, with more in the back storage room. It’s a one and done deal. Who knows when you’d see it again, if ever. So you have to grab fast if you like it, because others are just as quick.

For the record, I have no idea which plants these are, as they are all written in the latin names.  I know one day I’ll see something outside that looks similar and then end up with poison ivy on my tongue.

But when you live in a Shack with limited storage, you have to be creative. So when I found this 60s (maybe earlier?) laundry basket, I immediately thought where it could go.

In front of our kitchen window, where I am desperately trying to revive my grandma’s plant. Remember? I said I’d baby this one forever here. Turns out I’m a liar. It’s hanging on by a thread. Sorry Mary Margaret. I’m trying.

It also holds the cute set of vintage mixing bowls, one of which holds our compost goodies.

You need storage, Carolyn? Then voila! That little guy opens up to find all of my awkwardly sized bottles. These have been stashed randomly in the kitchen, bedroom, and who knows where else.. so it pleases me to have them all in one place.

The Shack’s wallpaper & white linoleum, on the other hand does not please me. Oh well. I’m blessed to have a roof over my head.

Happy Thrifting everyone!

Fly me to the moon.

It really backfired on him, this surprising me with a trip and planning out the major details thing. Because, before, I would do all of the planning and never knew of this state of being called “laid-back.” I just thought that was a synonym for lazy.

Um, no. It’s not. In fact, it’s a synonym for happy and hungry. Because that’s what I was the whole trip.

I knew something was going down, folks, I’m not gonna lie. Everytime I suggested we do something over last weekend, my question was deflected. And R is normally not a planner. So for him to continually push aside someone else’s pre-packaged idea raised red flags.

So did his question to me, “Carolyn, if we were going to go to Hot Springs, what make-up would you bring? No don’t just point them out, pile them up at the end of the counter and leave them there.”

Hmm… so I”m taking it we’re going to Hot Springs. (This shows that I didn’t think R planned ahead even to formulate a hypothetical situation.)

I went to work and R planned to pick me up with our muffler that happens to have an engine attached. When he pulled around, I squealed, “Hot Springs or bust!” and he smiled. All the way to the airport.

I love our airport. It’s so tiny that Economy parking is a car lot away from the main doors. We get excited over things like that.

But he still wouldn’t tell me where were going until the tickets were in my hand. And then they were.

New England! I squealed (again). We had been wanting to go up there for a while now, and this was just perfect timing….with the leaves and all.

Because I was in that particular state of being (happy – not hungry this time) and everything R did made me giggle. He took advantage, too. Like when decided to change his watch forward an hour by comparing the airline map with the view out the window to determine when the exact time changed.

I think I was delirious.

But I especially loved looking out the window and seeing the moon below us. I don’t think I’d ever seen that before on a flight. Both Sinatra as well as Hey Diddle Diddle came to mind. And after the chicken bacon foot long sandwich I put down prior to take-off, like I was actually training to jump over the moon, I thought the latter was more appropriate.

By midnight we had arrived, and we still had an hour to the B&B. The owner, E, said to come whenever, that’d he’d wait up for us.

When we arrived, there E was. He opened up the door to our very victorian room and I was greeted with a Birthday sign, a bouquet of handpicked flowers, and sherry!

My nasal pitch got so loud, E had to close the door. As he bid us goodnight, he said he had another surprise tomorrow.

I’m liking this place already.

The next morning we ate a big breakfast, wandered around the grounds, got chased by a pit bull, and then I unpacked my suitcase that R lovingly put together. It weighed no less than 65 lbs and literally had my entire closet it in. Out of the 5 skirts and 7 shirts he brought, I decided on an outfit and searched in the pockets for my razor.

Where. is. my. razor.  (!!!)

He managed to pack up the entire Shack and somehow leave one crucial device behind. And considering I hadn’t shaved since 1872, I was in desperate need. I went back down to the living room and tried to find one from that particular year, but they must have just run out.

Seems that even though their legs were covered up by layers and layers of stockings and bloomers and skirts and who knows what else, the Victorian ladies still shaved their legs more often than me.

My first plan of the weekend included a trip to the nearest Walgreens and a shaving in the car. I’m pretty classy.

It was gorgeous out, so R and I took advantage. We went to an open-air museum with a nautical theme. I’ve discovered I’m not a big boat buff. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I really like them while I’m in them, with a floppy hat and a glass of wine. Looking at them and reading about the history of boats, ummm not so much.

So I spent the majority of the time trying to scare R staring at him stone-faced through various windows until he’d catch a glance. Problem is, everyone else looked first before R and I suddenly became known as that weirdo Shining lady.

R spent his time creeping me out by analyzing a doctor’s office shelf. Seriously, what was all that used for. Wait, I don’t want to know.

For lunch, we headed back to downtown Mystic, Connecticut and decided to go to none other than…

Mystic Pizza! I tried to channel my inner Julia Roberts, but could only squeeze out her 1980s bushy eyebrows.

Oh well, I’ll take what I can get. And the pizza was fantastic! I love when something is not so over-hyped that the food takes a beating.

But hold on!R had another outing up his sleeve. We drove to Newport, Rhode Island which has now become my new favorite place to visit.

He had heard of a “cliff walk” that bordered the ocean. It snaked its way in front of the mansions and estates along the shore.

We picked up a couple small bottles of vino and slowly walked along sipping our drinks, holding hands, and wondering what it would be like to (clean) live in those beauties.

Outside one estate, we heard some people rustling in the bushes.

R found an opening in one and went through. I followed closely behind to find…

a couple escapees! It was the butler and the maid making a run for it. Okay, no it wasn’t but they really did want to climb over the fence to join everyone on the Cliff Walk. R and I laughed so hard because the husband was not shy about lifting up her leg to hurl her over. So R stepped in to help.

Do you think she made it?

Stay tuned.

Loose Lips Sink Ships

In grade school, we had to interview someone who either fought in or lived through WWII. I called my grandpa and asked him several pre-written questions.

I wish I had done that more often.

But I do remember him telling me that his brother (Dad – can you verify this?) was shot. However, because he was carrying a bible, it slowed down the bullet enough to not incur too many injuries.

I’d always wondered how plausible that story was.

And then, while I was staying with A, I saw this on her coffee table.

It is a metal cover designed specifically for soldiers during WWII and were put in their front shirt pockets to protect their hearts.

Is that neat or what?

Bye!

I’m out of town this week (Spring Break) to visit old friends on the west coast. The girl that is coming along for the first part is always up for anything, so I know it should be interesting. In the meantime, I’ve gone back through some old photos and shared a few that I like, along with other stories I hadn’t written about yet.

For instance, this.

Who wouldn’t want an old Coke freezer, housing coke bottles, on which you could pop the cap off of one? Can you picture this on a sunny, hot day? Oh, how glorious.

Reading Character At Sight

Not so long ago, I was digging through some books at an estate sale and came across these beauties. From 1918, they delve into how to read people’s character (and your own character).

As I skimmed the chapter titles, my eyes got bigger and bigger. Oh my… Oh wow… and I started to fan myself.  If only Geneva Wollard had read this before she went on her dating rampage back in 1915, her list may have been longer. You gotta see what was written in an old Charles Dickens novel!

So I took my time looking at the headings… Not really wanting to read the description, knowing it would dispell my first initial reaction.

The Refined, Sensitive, Beauty-Loving Man – Oh hello, sir. Look at that rose sunset. Sure, I’ll sit on this blanket with you. Tea? Why thank you, kind gentleman.

The Vigorous, Virile, Coarse Man – Yes, the sunset is divine isn’t it. But who is that laboring in the field below? He’s just so, so virile. I think I’ll take a walk. NO! Ahem, I mean, no thanks, you don’t need to accompany me. I’m just going to stretch my legs… right through those hay fields.

The Hard, Unsympathetic, Driving, Close-Fisted ManOn my way to meet Mr. Legends of the Fall, I trip and tumble down the hill. The 7th Earl of Carolyn’s Daydreams rode up on horseback and yelled at me to get off his property. Oh, how rude you are! I was only taking a walk. But I’m sure there’s a sweet man inside you somewhere.

[side note: this is taking the tone of Beauty of the Beast, one of my most hated Disney movies. But it is any easy plot, so I write on…]

The Impressionable, Indolent, Extravagant Man – The King is taking a tour of his countryside and happens upon the scene. He calls out for the nice young woman with graying hair to please ride home in his carriage. Why thank you King! While we’re in here, let’s talk about your son…

At the end of each lesson, you are given activities. One of which is to observe people and list where they rank in each category.

What have you learned at the end of this lesson? (Besides that Carolyn needs friends. Real ones this time.)

A Day to Myself.

R is out of town for a few days, so guess what that means? Girly time … with myself!

Hello, my name is Carolyn and I’m an introvert.

There, I said it.

R and I had gone to some friends’ (T’s blog is here) house last weekend. We were sitting around talking about, well what else..ourselves, and T mentioned that his wife had said “Oh good! She’s an extrovert for me and you’re an introvert for R.” Immediately, my palms got sweaty and I started to tremble. Extrovert, extrovert… oh lord, does that mean I have to talk to people? After smelling salt was waved under my nose, I woke up to declare that R was more of an extrovert and to please not give me a debutante ball into extroversion society because I’ll be expected to reenact a scene from the Crucible where they pretend to see birds and my part is one of the girls that screams and cries and, really, I am just not prepared nor do I have the lines memorized even though it’s mostly screaming nor do I like to have people’s eyes on me and no one will clap and everyone will laugh even though it’s a drama and not a comedy, so please.. please!

[silence]

Anyway, by the end of the discussion, it was decided that T and I were functioning introverts. I like to write, I observe and absorb, I don’t mind giving up the spotlight, I can interact with people despite my sometimes clumsy conversation, and maybe when I get comfortable with you, just maybe, you’ll mistake me for one of those extroverts.

So I took myself to a museum in the next town over. They were having a “Cabin Fever Reliever”, complete with three speakers and they’re normal museumy stuff. The presentations were of the historical trails that went through NW Arkansas: Trail of Tears, Butterfield Stagecoach Route, and a Civil War Troup. It was nice. So were the free cookies and cider.

I skipped the Civil War talk to look around the museum with no one else around (Introvert Alert!!). I wanted to shoot everything. Everything. But was worried I’d do a repeat of my trip to San Juan Capistrano, in which I took about 300 photos of various chairs and pottery. So I made an effort to include myself in photos, if only to make it more interesting to look back on.

My parents are recovering non-self-includers. Now, every time they come back from a trip, they like to point out to me where they are in each photo.

Hang on though, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy interesting pictures from a trip without people I know in them. But that’s the key word: Interesting. I mean, look at this: I could never do this.

Could you? You probably could, huh. Well, I can’t. So I might as well throw me in the scenery mix. What has it got to hurt? (I heard that.)

After gazing at my future dining room table, I turned the corner to a dress-up area and squeezed into a 12-year old’s hat….

…looked at old 3-D photos.

And then I saw it. An entire area devoted to cleanliness in the olden days, which included a replica of an outhouse, of course.

So I tried it out. What you don’t see is the lady standing behind the camera pretending not to watch me set the self-timer and run into the outhouse. Apparently this is the face I make when someone walks in unannounced and stands there staring at me. I mean, hello lady, I’m having a private moment with me and my 1905 Sears catalogue and you are breaking my concentration.

In the end, I outran her to the real deal outside, after which I took a tour of a small cabin and barn.

After a quick stop at a thrift store, I drove home, changed into pajamas, fixed myself a nice cocktail as well as a plate of cheese and crackers (Do you see any green on that plate? I was getting wild and crazy last night, people), and plopped down to my netflix account.

A good, quiet, introverted day.

Crocks

We had a couple days off from school this past week due to weather, so I ice skated my way to some antique stores. I always try to have a game plan before entering these fun-filled edifices. If not, I’ll wander aimlessly and you’ll find me in the corner many days later overdosing on other people’s memories. It’s not good.

One of the items on my list was a crock. My co-worker gave me a recipe for biscuits and gravy, but she suggested I use leftover bacon grease.

Whaaat?

You see, it’s these little things that I just never think of. This is just one more way to extend the food I eat. Another similar idea is the sourdough starter for bread. I’ll be trying that someday soon once I get some courage. I don’t know why it intimidates me so. But absolutely no yeast needed. Kneaded is needed. But not yeast, and the starter just grows and grows and grows. A new deliciously informative blog I found has already helped at least prepare my mind for this feat. Here’s her post on sourdough.

So, anyway, I found two crocks and immediately strained the grease into one of them through a cheesecloth.

And there she be. I know, I know.. you’re wondering why I just don’t wash my hair for a day and use that grease. That wouldn’t taste good on biscuits, silly.

My other crock I used on the side of the stove, where I store utensils and other frequently used ingredients. Remember, we live in a teeny apartment, so any space is crucial. Above is how it was before…

And here’s the after. The new crock just freed up an entire drawer in the kitchen. Sweet!

Oh, and guess what else I bought? A pressure cooker/canner. A co-worker owns 100 acres and has offered to set up a garden this summer.

I. AM. STOKED.

When the Cat’s Away…

R has a business trip in KC next week, so he wanted to drive up earlier to stay with a friend.

One problem.

We’re a one car family and I’ve had an antique shopping day planned with a couple girls from work for about a month now.

Solution? He took the bus. It left at midnight and arrived around 5am. R didn’t get a lot of sleep, between a man grabbing his shoulder in the dark and asking loudly “Where are we?” and watching the guy stumble to the front of the bus and getting off right before an exit on the highway to thinking about the KC bus station and hoping his friend, B, makes word on his promise to pick him up.

The KCMO bus station is not exactly in the best area of town and B has a tendency to get worked up about things.


So Little Miss Carolyn took off early Saturday morning for a full day of antiques. On the original email, it said “this is not for wimps.” And man, was she right. I was exhausted by the end of day.

 


We stopped at two Amish stores for breakfast and lunch.

D I V I N E — Fresh made donuts and a roast beef sandwich, respectively.

My bread never ever turns out this good. I ate it up, literally (and I guess figuratively too.)

We attacked a lady and her 4 month old English Sheep Dog as they exited the beauty parlor. I think I may have found my new favorite breed. I could’ve scooped him up and took him home with me right then and there.

He would’ve liked the Dorm, right?
Antiquing was a success. Found three more of my Butterprint Pyrex dishes for twenty bucks total. Easily saved ten dollars. R mentioned not too long ago that he read the new Pyrex refrigerator dishes are having issues exploding in the oven. And since living sans microwave, it was crucial that I find the older versions to be able to reheat foods. Right. Right?

I debated about mixing different styles of Pyrex, which I normally would not be opposed to doing. In fact, I kinda like that look better…not so mitchy-matchy. But we’ve talked of the idea of exposing the dishes (plates/cups etc) in our future kitchen, and so in that case, I prefer having similar colors, but different textures. That way it doesn’t overwhelm the eye (or at least my eye) but it still creates some interest.
Was that straight up HGTV or what.
Believe it or not, I felt like I had been too practical in my finds and had to get something tasty just for myself.

What’s better than snuggling up to a 1932 journal filled with outings, bridge parties, and trips to California?
Well, I guess one thing.
Snuggling my feet under someone’s legs with a 1932 journal.

Pre-Adventure

We were laughing and giggling… obviously having no clue what we were getting ourselves into.

R felt like a ballerina in his new long-sleeved synthetic shirt; a mandated item to enter the race.

While I ran around taking more photos of things that make me smile in the dorm. Like a sexy photo of two legs dangling out of a claw foot tub. Some people have asked if those are my legs. So I pull up my pants to let them figure it out.


“Nope, it’s not you”, they always say. “Hers are shaved.”

And my little matchbox holder. The only suitable place I could think of was by the toilet.


More of our adventure race to come….

We don’t mess around….

…when messing around. Wait. That didn’t sound right. Barbeque messy, people, barbeque.

It was rainy evening and as soon as we started our run, my knee swelled up despite the new brace and I had to stop. How should we work out instead? Shoving barbeque into our mouths.

I managed to miss the shot of sauce running down our chins. It was beautiful.

…and did I hear you say you wanted to get a closer look at that photo on the table?

Okay, here she is. Isn’t she wonderful? I want to take a tour of her home.

The Little Things…

Or in this case, one big thing gets me excited. (I heard that, Office watchers.)

One of my favorite antique stores in a small town just north of us is building something big. And to me, it makes me grin every time I see it.

It’s a covering for a farmers market. Why does that make me happy? Because as of right now, there’s a splattering of random vendors set up in parking lots, street corners, and other places that catch you off guard.. not at all coordinated time-wise either.


No saturday morning shopping. More like driving home from work and oh what is that over there shopping. Which, don’t get me wrong, is fun too.

You know, to stop spontaneously and pick up a few good tomatoes. A few good tomatoes. Tell me about the sauce. You can’t handle the sauce.

Nevermind.
The only good saturday morning one-stop marketplace is about 45 minutes away. Thumbs down.

But this. This! Only 5 minutes.

Joy.

Squeal!

Look at my birthday present! It rang the doorbell and patiently waited for me to answer it.

Squeal!

If you don’t remember, I found this lil guy on the front lawn of a house. It was sad and ripped and broken, but I loved the lines. It was taken to a reupholster in town and quietly stored in their barn while I sold a couple organs on the black market to pay for it.

But little did I know that behind my back, R had contacted them to move forward with the process…as long as they had it done by today (pssst, my birthday).

I’m not big on presents, I’d rather *do* something than *receive* something, but this was just so unexpected and over the top (for me). Plus, you all know how I like my trash to treasures.

R’s a treasure, too. I’ll keep him.

My First Official Book Review Since 3rd Grade


Have you ever been sifting through books, randomly open one up, and fall in love with the first few lines? Where you really could’ve stood there for a few half-hours more and just read, shifting your feet back and forth to keep the blood flowing? Well, it happened to me at one of my favorite antique stores in town and was the reason I paid the outrageous $7.50 price for it.


But as soon as I arrived home, I threw it onto one of our shelves and promptly forgot about that connection… until one night when having already watched my weekly shows via Hulu.com, I was left feeling bored and restless. So I poked around the shelves and picked up this book. And while still not fully drawn to it, I reluctantly opened it again and reread those first few lines…. and it all came back to me.


A month or two ago, I had visited our adorable local bookstore “Books on Broadway”, bought a couple steals (remember, never have we had buyers remorse when books were involved), and started chatting with the cashier. She suggested that I send in some book reviews because she wanted the community to get involved.


So, finally, I did. And reading it on the website, my words feel disjointed and not at all how the book really made me feel. But, it was my first time, and not having done one since 3rd grade, I’ll give myself a pass.


So go on… visit our little bookstore. Check out what I had to say and believe me when I say that it was a really really good read.


Dorm Bedroom

Ah yes, where all the magic happens…. at least now that I have my Harry Potter glasses.

So in case you’ve forgotten, we live in a very small apartment. I can literally wash the dishes while taking a bath. Well, okay, it’s not that close of a space, and although it would make sense to combine bathing and dishwashing, I don’t think I’ll start it up.

That is, unless someone tells me that it’s organic to wash dishes in the shower. In that case I would. Because aren’t we all clamouring to be defined as organic??

Oh, okay, I guess it’s just me.

Maybe not only organic, but also seinfeld-ic. I could wash some iceberg lettuce in the shower for sure. Then, I’ll be sure to mention it to someone just so they say “you know, that reminds me of a seinfeld episode” and then I’ll pretend to not know what they are talking about as if the very idea itself came from an [organic] thought.

Nevermind. I’ve got a cold, so I’m going on tangents.

On a good note, I spent tonight interpreting my first parent/teacher conference. Not once did I substitute the word “furniture” for “car”, like I did here. Not that either of those words would ever come up in a conference… Well, wait. I guess they could. “My son has bad attendance because our furniture is unreliable.” Confused? Read the linked post.

Okay, back to our dorm room. Enough of cold/sinus/allergy-induced ramblings.

We don’t have a lot of storage, so in an effort to create it, I opted to sell our super duper comfortable queen bed for a “I’m a freshman in college” loft bed. Pretty sweet. Bad thing is that neither a twin nor a full bed fit in it.

Solution?

Make our own bed, Arkansas-style. How many of you can say you have a custom-made, (almost) sleep number, thermarest bed that just barely fits the both of you comfortably?

Yeah, didn’t think so. Don’t be jealous.

The reason it’s a psuedo sleep number is because we had to fold the thermarest padding over on one side, making R’s section a lot more cushiony. I like my mattress hard, so there you have it. I’m a 75 and he’s a 25 or vice versa. Whatever it is.
Quit laughing.

R’s dresser used to be under the loft bed and the trunk acted as a coffee table for the couch that’s under the “wall o’ equipment”. We had to continuously walk around the coffee table, so I decided to pull the dresser out and create a semi-barrier. This has helped us store more items behind it without the room being visually ugly. I heard laughter. I’m going to stand by that statement though.

I threw some old photos of Siloam Springs into a frame and exchanged out our old piggy bank for an old mason jar. I like rusty things.
How many times did I just use the word ‘old’?


The desk area has a lamp attached and so we’re thinking that due to lack of sunlight, we can always use this as a place to keep plants.

Wall o’ Equipment. Everything stacks up nicely though and is off the floors. Left to Right: Biking Gear, Camping/Hiking, Golf. Easy Peasy.

But if you ever come over to visit, you’ll notice something strange in our boudoir. The ceiling fan has no blades!


Wha?

Huh?

Uh-huh, that’s right, people. I took them off. First of all, it was like crossing a gauntlet just to get into bed if the fan was on. At any moment, our head could be taken off and roll across the floor.

And because I particularly like my head, I took the blades off.

Also…

We needed shelves! So we bought some L-Brackets and there you have it. Instant side tables. We don’t have a lamp or anything up there, so we use that look book spotlight as well as headlights.


Pretty romantic, eh?

Any ideas?? Help me!

Around the dorm…

Thought I’d give you a tiny update on my decorating is coming along in the dorm aka our current living situation. A couple items have joined our family and I love them to pieces.

I wanted a way to display the postcards I’ll be collecting and found this diner ticket holder. It’s not vintage. In fact, it’s brand new and, I don’t know why, but that always kinda makes me ill. Not that I have anything wrong with new things, I’m just a bit… competitive? Even with prices. Could I have found this at a garage sale, an estate sale, on ebay?

So until I find more postcards, I’ve intermixed some of my favorite photos that will change periodically. I love how, in the photo above, the woman’s husband is gazing down at her while she plays the piano. I wonder what song she’s playing. Is it fast? Slow? Fluffy? Gritty? Look at the candle holders attached directly to the piano!

And then the one below. Sigh. This was probably me in my past life. I always end up having my photo taken at the most inopportune moments. I mean, let the woman get up first. Jeez.
The rest of the photos I’ve thrown into a wire basket in case anyone (me) wants to dig around for awhile. I notice something new every time I pick one up.

In other areas of the dorm, I’ve finished my pan/wine bottle/glass holder section. Can I say how unashamed I am that I completely stole the idea of housing wine glasses in a box? So unashamed. I saw it here and thought it would be a perfect solution.
As we wandered an antique store, I found this box for 5 bucks, tucked it under my arm, and dove for the register. Get out of my way people! I have glasses to put in here.

The photo in the frame is actually one of an old-coworker’s cards that she now sells at arkansas state parks. I was cheering her on as she marketed her passion to park directors.
Get-up was a soda company back in the 1930s. How cute are the bubbles around each letter? And the original nailing in the metal around the handles.

Slowly but surely. Things are coming together.

Postmarked with Love.

Standing for hours shuffling through old postcards doesn’t sound like an appealing afternoon for most people, but it certainly does to me. Especially if it’s raining. Ah, then it’s a perfect afternoon. Is my husband reading this? He needs to take note. No more Sam’s Club food sample dates. I want dust and moth balls.


So I’ve started amassing a new collection. It’s so specific that it will keep me from buying out an entire store, yet general enough that my chances of finding them is not too bad. I’m buying postcards depicting sites I’ve visited. But it can’t just be any postcard. It has be old. The older the (so much) better. For one, you can see how that particular site has changed over the years and secondly, it’s just cool. Also, it has to be written upon. It can be as little as ‘See ya later alligator.’ (That phrase came out in the 50s, so it fits, people.) But something has to be written on it.


So I’ve found my first two. Wanna see them? Okay.
First stop, Canterbury Cathedral in England. I barely have any photos from this trip. I was 16 and thought it was more fun to take pictures of my friends holding plastic poo in our hotel room than of historical places. Don’t ask. But I did have the foresight to buy The Canterbury Tales from the gift shop, so I’m proud of that.

The note on the back is what got me, though. He phrased his thoughts in a way that reminded me of, well, me. I write differently when I know it’s just me reading it. More rhetorical questions and less jabs at myself. The year is unknown on this, but here’s what s/he wrote:

The Norman Staircase always gives me a shock of delight. And why? Why does that small structure give the eye such a joy? It is but a porch of 3 round arches resting on heavy columns and a succession of some five or six small arches supported by graduated pillers. The detail shows little fancy and the workmanship little finish. But the whole is such a beautiful imagination that among lovers of architecture it is as well known as a perfect poem is to the world of literature or as a master piece of musical composition like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, description of it is quite in vain.

The second postcard I found was of Blarney Castle in Ireland, 1927. You can climb to the top of it and kiss a stone which will supposedly give you an endless supply of eloquence. I’ve yet to see the outcome of it.

S/he wrote:

If you can look closely, you can see an ink dot on the picture. That is where the stone is. No wonder I didn’t kiss it.

(If you click on the photo of the postcard, you can just make out the dot.)

Oh, but I kissed it. And I also let some Irishman cop a feel while I was at it. But hey, if that’s what it took for him to not let me fall, feel away. He probably got the short end of the stick anyway.

I’ll post more as I find them… and find them, I will.

She likes me, she likes me not.

I caught myself a few hours into the roadtrip to Manhattan quietly pulling off petals. I like this… oh, I don’t like that… I finally grabbed my camera and tried to capture those petals as they fell.
I like driving on stretches that are lined with growing corn.

I do not like eminent domain.

I like catching the name of the river before crossing.

I simultaneously do and do not like boarded up windows. It makes it look old and mysterious, but at the end of the day, would a board be the best way to preserve a historical building?

I like to read bridge numbers.

I like looking off into the plains’ distance.

I do not like when people will not go on a proper walk.

I like stopping by a quick garage sale with my sister and find a free button. I also like making my sister wear it despite her dirty looks.

I do not like the overuse of Wizard of Oz.

And of course, I like old farm houses.

Dorm Room Love

That’s what we are affectionally calling it: our dorm room. It’s the smallest place in which I’ve lived (with another person) since college. I thought it would be interesting to see how we’ve scaled down — not like we had a lot to begin with — and how we’ve made the most out of our space.

Here’s the layout: 538 sq feet. One bed, one bath, and 1/2 kitchen. Right when I start getting into cooking and baking, I have the rug swept out from under me. I’ve been reading a blog where a young lad cooks up a storm in a super small apartment. Here it is and the photos themselves will just kill you.

So that helped. That, and imagining I live in an ultra urban and cool city has helped too.

At our last place, we had a garage sale to rid of things we either a) absolutely did not need or b) wanted to upgrade to another item. But from looking at this picture, it’s hard to believe we sold anything. We were in shock and I must say a bit saddened.

So after hours of rummaging, piling, and sifting through everything, we finally saw the floor and got encouraged. The one aspect we never felt like we fully utilized were the walls. So we’re treating our living room as a mini-art gallery. Not that I know Picasso from Dali, but I know what I like when I see it and so just slap it up there.

Then R broke out Evelyn, the leveler. He loves that girl so much and this is where that old saying “opposites attract” applies. Like I mentioned, I just slap it up there. R takes enjoyment in measuring and penciling, measuring and penciling, and repeat for hours.

But that personality trait was important for our next project. We took down our closet door, replaced it with a curtain and set about putting up the shelves. This is our “entertainment center” folks, so be prepared to be wowed.

Or not. We’re not exactly “techie”. But I do like how it came out. I call my style “garage sale chic”. I made R carry that table (on which the TV/Computer is sitting) two blocks home because a neighbor was throwing it out. Score! And for those of you that tease us about not having a TV, guess what we were watching when I took this photo? Wimbledon — Live! Things are moving this way, my friends, so I’d encourage you to research using just the internet to watch your TV shows and sports games. Let me list some aspects of it:
  • You can hook up the modem to your existing TV. So, if you have a big screen, you won’t be sacrificing size.
  • You completely wipe out your cable/DVR bill.
  • Many events are LIVE: President speeches and sports events to name a couple
  • If you use Netflix, you can watch movies online for free. (We get the cheapest plan possible — I think $9 a month — and in between receiving movies in the mail, watch them online.
  • Barely any commercials. Talk about freedom. I was listening to an NPR broadcast on the race for ad companies to be effective online. They said it wouldn’t be completely solid for a few years, so why not get as much time away from the onslaught as you can?
  • One drawback is that you have to wait until after the show airs (unless it’s Live) to see it on the internet, but you get used to that time schedule. You just have to inform your family and friends to not tell you what happened last night on Lost.

Anyway, just think about it. We haven’t missed a thing.

Okay, enough of my rant. There’s little pieces around my living room that I love. Like, one of my favorite quotes being “typed” out of the old Underwood:

Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder. – Thoreau

… or some french postcards I bought at an estate sale. A couple of them are very ornery, so you’ll have to come over to see for yourself. But here’s my favorite.

Okay, so there’s my living room. Up next is our bedroom that is housing a sofa, a loft bed, and an entire wall devoted to outdoors stuff. Scary.

All dressered up

I’m re-doing our bedroom. No big deal right. The catch is I’m re-doing it into an all white/cream room, save our favorite chest at the end of the bed. That will be the only brown in sight. That’s a pretty crazy goal coming from a spiller. No, I spill everything. At one point, my brother-in-law would make bets to see how long I’d last before spilling something. We’ll see. It may end up being an all white with red/orange/blue splotches room. What do I drink that’s blue?
Here’s the dresser when we first bought it. You can’t see them, but the entire top was covered with water stains. I like the feet. The little bow-thingie on the top is a bit fru-fru for me, so I’ll have to add something masculine to offset that. Otherwise, a pretty solid piece. Thank you, Craigslist.

So I was googling around for ways to paint furniture, when I happened on a blog that gave a quick tutorial. You can find that tutorial here. Does anyone remember that cool yet creepy ‘Pet Cemetery’ sign on I-70 going towards KC? Well, the lady who writes this blog lives on that property. Isn’t that ironic? Speaking of cemeteries, do you know an easy way remember how to spell it? “What’s the sound you make in a cemetery? Eeeeeee!” Okay, I’m a grammar freak. One time at a Christmas party with some friends, we spent probably a good 30 minutes arguing the best way to say something. We even phoned-a-friend (family members) to set us on the right path. I can’t remember what we were debating, but boy was it heated. Forget politics, subject/verb agreement is the new hot topic.


But I digress. I followed the painting directions (which made my husband proud — apparently I just jump into projects with no plan most of the time?) and it came out…..alright. I was heavy on the brown glaze and so it almost looked a little too pre-fabricated. It didn’t look like it had aged naturally.

Besides, I want the overall details of the room to be subtle. Many different patterns, but all the same shade, so you aren’t overwhelmed by it all. That being said, I painted it again all in one color and I’m really pleased. You can still see the details, but it’s not shouting at you from across the room. After I paint the end tables, I’ll show the whole room in it’s entirety. I’m liking it so far!

Taking it easy.

We’re hitting the road this weekend and so we’ve got to rest up. R wasn’t feeling too hot last night, so I decided tonight to fall back on a classic. Soup & grilled cheese. I hardly ever crave soup unless I’ve got a cold or someone else does. Sympathy pains, I guess. I tried my hand at a new recipe: cream of mushroom. As you can tell, it’s more mushroomy than creamy probably because it calls for a hand-blender which I don’t have. About 7 years ago, my sisters got one for Christmas and I got a cabbage patch doll or something, I can’t remember — but I was in my twenties. I do remember the blenders, though, and I had my eye on those puppies. Trying to somehow blame the fact that this soup did not come out creamy because of that Christmas morning is working. In the end, the soup didn’t turn out so bad.. and the bits of mushroom were a tasty bite. I’d still like to try it again creamy.

The broccoli was a last-minute addition since I can’t stand not having color on my plate.
Right after dinner, we got a knock on our door. It was our craigslist guy delivering a very special item. My dresser! Can you believe we have been living out of plastic bags for the past 4 months? It made the room never quite feel “moved in”, so we were excited to head into that direction furniture-wise.

It also gave R an excuse to accuse me of being a 72 yr-old in a 28 yr-old body, so yes, he was excited. The age of the dresser is unknown, however there is a tag on the back indicating it’s a Basset dresser made in Massachussettes. “Chest #615” is stamped on the back which makes me wonder if that might mean it was the 615th chest made? I’m liking this little guy because of just that. It’s small…. smaller than what I used to have. Why do I like that, you ask? Because it will force me to chuck clothes I no longer wear. One more step in the simplification of Carolyn. The ornate detail should help make up for that. R, on the other hand wants to buy a dresser that takes up an entire wall. So, unless I’m careful, all of the clothes I can’t fit into mine will migrate into his. And there the cycle would begin again.

After I put my clothes away, we watched an episode of Lost and then R spent some time trying to get in contact with his friends from Australia. He studied there in college and the fires have spread all around where he used to live. From the stories I’ve read, it is just heart-wrenching how quickly the fires spread and how many people have already lost their lives to it. We’re quiet in our thoughts tonight, hoping his friends and their loved ones are safe.

Baby Steps

We’ve decided to no longer buy bread from the store. No biscuits, no sandwich or french bread, no pizza dough. I, Carolyn, will be the sole bread winner. And it makes me naseous. But I’ve noticed that even though I have this desire to learn how to make ‘from-scratch’ food, when we’re in a time crunch, I immediately go to the store and replenish what we are out of. I have to learn how to plan and become disciplined. I can plan well, but the execution is lacking. Now that we’ve removed the grocery store option, I will either sink or swim in the flour industry. I’ll probably sink quite a few times before I swim, but I’m taking this seriously.

I bought a bread bin from the 1930s, which was a Maid-of-Honor gift. I know this because on the back, it states “Maid of Honor”. I thought that was a nice touch.

The bread came out alright. And I’m only using the word alright because I need to stay positive. I think it might be the type of flour I used, or maybe I didn’t knead it enough…I don’t know. But I wasn’t pleased. There will be a next time, that I know.


Purging for Peace

No I don’t have a philanthropic eating disorder. We’re purging our house of many belongings. Why, you may ask. Well, for starters, who likes to dust all that stuff anyway? Also, I love antiques. Not only frilly victorian stuff. I like Art Deco and Eames style furniture too. So I’m slowly going to replace everything we have to something non-Walmart/Target related — preferably items from another century. But more importantly, I’m in search of simplicity. A lot of the time I feel like I’m pulled in several different directions and then come home to rooms that continue that pull. Why do I have all of this? Really, could I live without my Seinfeld DVD collection? …or the 14 half-used candles that I refuse to throw away? Would the world end if I sold my roadside papasan (side note: please don’t tell the people on craigslist I found it on the road. i’m trying to make some dough). No, I think I’d be much happier and less cluttered mentally & physically.

In the meantime though, I’d like to share a smidget of my favorite things. I know you just sang that last line to The Sound of Music. Don’t deny it.

There is nothing like going to an estate sale and looking through old books. It’s even more exciting when a message is written on the inside. Behold, a normal looking story by Dickens.. owned by a Geneva Hagenstaff Wollard in Hardin, MO dated 10/2/1913. Maybe the date she received it?

..and then outta no where. A list of all the “boys that I have gone with since 1915-1918″. In alphabetical order. This girl was detail-oriented. Who knew there were so many single guys in Hardin, MO and why didn’t we have a girls weekend there in my single days?

And of course, the ever present substance abuse scare tactic… The Curse of Drink. (but you must say it in a deep, throaty voice.)

Note that there are two titles: The Curse of Drink (deep, throaty) or Stories of Hell’s Commerce (non-chalant, happy.) That’s how I always read it in my mind.

Poor Hugh. He was probably headed out the door to meet up with his buddies at the local tavern for his 18th birthday when his parents grabbed him by the shoulder to give him his present. Did they make a big ordeal at the “presenting” ceremony? Couldn’t they have waited until after he played Flippy Cup for the first time?

I actually knew the person who owned this purse: my grandma. And inside is her phone number, back when I swear they used letters. I used this in college for a bit and am surprised it’s still in good shape.

Lastly, of my grandma’s, is an off-shoot of a plant from her home. All of the grandkids have one and its the only plant that I care about saving. I have a fern hanging in our screened-in porch that has seen its last days. They’re like cactus right? We don’t have to water them regularly. But Grandma’s plant…I’ve got to baby it. I love that idea though….passing on part of a plant/flower/tree. And would love to do something similar for my family. Why do I now have the urge to sing from the Lion King?