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I think we visited this little shop three times while we were on the island. It had a plethora of amazing and adorable things, and this is just one little corner that I wanted to share.

Styling

Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Quote of the day: “Love, whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.”  —  Nathaniel Hawthorne

Daily gratitudes:
The mysterious meteor I saw last night
Home safe
Today’s workout
The cold when you have hot flashes
Books

Beth Ann over at It’s Just Life is a teapot collector.  I love teapots, but they are one of those things I just don’t have room for.  Whenever I see a cool one, I think of Beth Ann, and this emporer just screamed her name to me.  Sorry about my hands in the mirror behind him – but they do seem to add something, don’t they?

Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Return to the centre of your heart; not your past.”  —  Unknown

Daily gratitudes:
Yellow bicycle tires
Lace
Banana muffins
The aspens turning
Dressing spiffy

This is just about the most fabulous thing that I have ever seen. I so desperately want it to come home with me.  (Suzicate, let me know if your imagination was close.)

Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It’s quite possible to leave your home for a walk in the early morning air and return a different person—beguiled,enchanted.”  —  Mary Chase

Daily gratitudes:
Llama earrings
Bach
Loving and being loved
Letting go of the past while holding onto its lessons
My red journal

As a single working mom, the amount of time I get to spend with my daughter is limited to weekends, and even the weekends are often limited to a day and a night, if either of us wishes to have a social life, which we both do.  That’s really tough because we love each other and have fun together and each helps the other make sense out of life.  I know it’s the quality of time spent together more than the amount, but most of our time spent together is quality time – it just would be nice to have more of it.

So we had last night and today together.  We were both kind of tired last night – she was a little quiet, so we just hung and watched Jersey Shore and Ghost Adventures. She stretched out on God’s Cat.  I took a bath.  As I say, a quiet night.  Today, upon rising, we ate and then talked about life and compromises and how to live with difficult people and right/wrong conundrums and all sorts of things for an hour or more.   I think we both felt like we got a lot of value from our talk. Each time we have one of those really good talks, we seem to understand one another better.  So, no, this is NOT how to annoy your teenager. Or at least not how to annoy mine. We’re getting to that. Trust me.

Wanting to go out but not being sure what we wanted to do, we decided to hit Longmont and the flea markets. It’s a pretty good flea market town, and we like its Main Street.  So off we headed.  Our first stop was where we got God’s Cat, and we had been contemplating a second, but fortunately for my wallet, this flea market was closed on Sundays.  Across the highway, however, in their old location, was another flea market, with a parking lot sale going on.  Unfortunately, I did not realize the extent of the parking lot sale until I had actually placed my truck in the middle of the parking lot sale.  At that point, I realized that there was no place to park because there was a sale in the parking lot (see how I’m not picking up on the parking lot sale concept) and I had two choices:  run over people in their booths or squeeze between the cones indicating that I’m where I shouldn’t be. As Kelsea can tell you, I have extensive experience with putting my vehicle where it shouldn’t be. The people at Home Depot and at Camp Lejeune Marine Base can vouch for this as well.  We made as graceful an exit as possible and parked far away, hoping not to be recognized when we approached on foot.

We love flea markets.  We poked around to our heart’s content and found some things that were too expensive but too wonderful, such as PorkChop the metal boar:

$599 was a bit over my PorkChop budget.

An old freezer that had a buckle latch as opposed to an actual handle, and was in mint condition:

The freezer even had a name already!

China cats were nestled in the corners of your grandmother’s couch, staring at you psychotically for all eternity:

I love humans, I just can't eat a whole one. That's why I have so many little cat friends.

We both agreed that we would have to leave the house and never return were this to arrive at our door:

One of the creepiest things ever - or is it?

I revelled in a totally inappropriate sock monkey:

Totally inappropriate sock monkey

Made all the more inappropriate by its tag:

Yes, you read right.

As we exited, we encountered a life-sized nutcracker:

Open wide!

Kelsea looked askance at me when I said that you could fit a baby’s head in there.

We headed down to Main Street, and though most of the shops were closed on Sundays, because clearly any money spent on Sunday in Longmont should be going to the church, we did enjoy our window shopping experience.  We were also greeted by two gentlemen occupying a bench, who asked us if they could buy a cigarette from us, and when we said no, asked us for money to buy cigarettes, leading us to wonder how they intended to pay us for cigarettes had we had them to sell.

I wanted to share some of the interesting signs and displays from Main Street with you:

Yea for us! Tough luck for you.

I believe the torso on the right has a club foot. Who would do that to a (half a) mannequin? And both are going to wind up with yeast infections from wearing their jeans too tight.

A very clever window display for men’s clothing:

Just a friendly game.

With incredibly high stakes.

Longmont has lots of free and easily accessible public parking and numerous small public art installations:

Courtyard Mosaic

Incomprehensible Cheese-Covered Fork with Small Ball of (Apparent) Snot on the Third Tine

We did find Barbed Wire Books to be open. It claims to be the largest used bookstore in Longmont, and one we hadn’t yet visited, so we went in. I picked up a couple of mysteries.

Armchair in Barbed Wire Books.

Kelsea told me she was hungry enough to eat me, so we made our final stop The Pumphouse. The burgers were good and they had misters (those things that spray mist, not men – and when I say “not men”, I don’t mean that they don’t spray men, they WILL spray men, but men is not what they spray – oh, never mind) above the patio diners that sprayed just enough to cool, but not enough to dampen. Kelsea shared with me her most recent app acquisition:

Just say "moose". Just once. Just for me.

And so, we headed for home.

Now, you may be wondering about the “how to annoy my teenager” part of the day.  Well, that comes into play when I share with you what we bought at the flea market.

We found her a new army jacket from either the WWII or Korea era – I can’t tell which, but it’s in excellent shape, was only $10, and was a medic’s coat, so she is totally thrilled with that.  But sorry, no image.

We found a small $2 sign for the kitchen. It’s a reminder for me of a) how to cook, and b) how to live:

Can I take the advice of a tin plaque?

I discovered a 1960’s Ouija Board.  Previously, I have refused to have a Ouija Board in the house – perhaps because my Mother was so strongly opposed to them – but when I saw this one, I knew that it was the perfect time for it to arrive in my life.

Perhaps it will help me communicate with the Bungalow spirits.

And last, but so totally not least, I found Him.  I had been in the booth where He was before, and didn’t even see Him, but when I walked in again, He immediately caught my eye, and it was all over.  I had to have Him.

Him (or He)

And this is where I began to annoy my teenager.  She found Him terrifying.  Their initial meeting went something like this:

Me:  Look! I found the coolest thing ever!
Her: GAH! What IS that?
Me: I don’t know. Isn’t it awesome?
Her: NO!  You are NOT buying that.
Me: But He wants to come home with you.  Here, hold Him.
Her: Get that thing away from me.

Clearly, they did not have immediate chemistry.  So the rest of our afternoon played out along similar lines.

Me: He likes you. He’s looking at you.
Her: Well, make Him stop.
Me: Sorry, I can’t do that.  He does what He pleases.
Her: Mom, you’re sick.

Her: I’m hungry. Let’s go get a burger.
Me: Okay.  He likes burgers too.  And He thinks you’re pretty.
Her:  Mom, STOP IT.
Me: What? I’m just saying.

She offered to carry Him on her lap if she could keep the truck windows open, but I’m smarter than that.

He was apparently all the rage in the 1950s, with numerous other incarnations, and was highly collectible among housewives of the day.  Can you imagine coming home after a hard day at the office and being confronted by multiple versions of Him?  Kelsea would rather stick her head in a garbage disposal.

So I will keep Him until I sell Him on Ebay, or tire of annoying her, whichever comes first – and I think we know which one that will be.

I am so looking forward to the coming months with my daughter.

Guess what this weekend was?  It was our annual excursion to ….. (drumroll please) ….. Frozen Dead Guy Days!!

This was Kelsea’s and my fourth foray into this festival of the intoxicated macabre.  And this year, we took her uber-cool friend Will.

Uber-Cool Will

You may not be familiar with this event, which is now in its tenth year, but the legend (or fact, really) that inspired it is far older.  Back in 1989, Grandpa Bredo Morstoel passed away in Norway.  Instead of going underground as so many do when they pass, Grandpa took to the skies; his corpse, packed in dry ice, was flown across the pond to the US.  After seeing California (as so many Norwegians want to do) and becoming cryogenically preserved (not quite as popular a tourist activity), he arrived in Colorado to wait out his fate in the company of his daughter and his grandson in the old mining town of Nederland, Colorado, just outside of Boulder.

Grandpa Bredo was kept quietly in a shed on his daughter’s property for a few years.  He was a colorful piece of local lore.  I recall hearing about him before he was famous, but no one was sure if the rumors were  true.  After he’d been resting comfortably for a couple of years, the proverbial S hit the proverbial F.  Grandson Trygve found himself deported, and daughter Aud found herself evicted.  And Grandpa found himself on his own, which is not a good position for a frozen old Norwegian in a Tuff Shed.

You must understand that the people of Nederland are a people apart.  I love it up there.  The townsfolk took Grandpa to their collective bosom.  People stopped by the Tuff Shed where he was stored to tend to his dry ice needs.  And they rallied the town council to – literally – grandfather – Grandpa into the town’s new law that prohibited keeping bodies on private property.  I wonder if any other town has that regulation?

Grandpa’s plight garnered quite a bit of publicity on a worldwide scale.  He has his own caretaker who, with the help of the ever-loyal townsfolk, keeps his body packed in a sarcophagus surrounded by 1600 pounds of dry ice.  He’s been relocated from his original Tuff Shed, due to logistics and safety factors, to a larger unmarked storage facility up the mountain a bit.  On occasion, guests can go up and see the shed, but not Grandpa Bredo himself. 

Still, his share of fame grows yearly.  He’s been the subject of two documentaries by the Beeck Sisters – “Grandpa’s In The Tuff Shed” and “Grandpa’s Still In The Tuff Shed”, and a book written by his caretaker Bo Shaeffer (aka The Iceman) called Colorado’s Iceman and the Story of the Frozen Dead Guy.  There’s even a mystery set around the festival, which I have, but haven’t read yet, called One Too Many Frozen Dead Guys by Pamela Stockho.  And there’s a song by T.D. Rafferty, most aptly named “The Frozen Dead Guy Song.”  Both books and the song are available at trusty www.amazon.com.

Back to the festival!  It’s become a packed event, which is good for the town’s small businesses, but it seems that as it grows, it becomes less and less quirky.  Sad.  However, the two-and-a-half day festival still consists of such unusual activities as:

  • Parade of Hearses, which is exactly what it sounds like
  • Polar Plunge, where participants in varying stages of costume or undress jump into a hole cut in the frozen lake
  • Coffin Races, in which teams of people carry makeshift coffins through an obstacle course in the town playground
  • Frozen Salmon Toss, where you see how far you – yes, YOU – can throw a frozen salmon
  • Brain Freeze, an ice cream eating contest held in the middle of First Street
  • Frozen Turkey Bowling, where you use frozen turkeys to knock down bowling pins (this is also commonly done in supermarkets late at night, and Australians use midgets instead of turkeys)
  • Frozen T-Shirt Contest, where you must unfold a frozen T-shirt and put it on
  • Rocky Mountain Oyster Eating Contest, in which you consume as many “prairie oysters” as possible

We arrived a tad bit late, just after the start of the parade.  The parade is definitely my favorite part of the event.  Several dozen hearses, most of them from the ’60s and ’70s, but the occasional entry from the ’40s and one even from prior to the 20th century, turn out to make a circle around the center of the little town.

Not your typical horse-drawn carriage

A lovely exit vehicle

 

Adjusting the antenna

Big dog in a big red hearse

Big Man, Small Car, Reverse Compensation?

Ghoulish participants were waving and throwing candy.

Hello, Creeper!

Rubber face...or not?

Pay no attention to the woman behind the leopard skin curtain

Small children hardly knew what to make of the event.

One of the Funereal Princesses

What the heck is going on?

Contemplative baby

And really, who can blame them?

After the parade, we headed over to the Polar Plunge, which takes place in a little pond off the creek.  Paramedics are handy by the ice hole to help plungers out if they have trouble. 

Rescue personnel - and this is not a costume.

We found a perfect spot on the edge of the ice.  Nederland is a very dog-friendly town, and pooches were plentiful among the aspens. 

Fluffy shepherd

Calm, cool and collected

Plungers weren’t as creative in their costumes or their approaches this year, which was a little disappointing.  I had tried to talk Kelsea into jumping with me, but she said not until next year, since she’s not a strong swimmer and didn’t want to embarass herself in front of her beloved paramedics.  But we had a grand time watching…

Leprecaun somersault

Hauling out the frozen yeti

These two girls emerged from sleeping bag coccoons to reveal their butterfly selves!

And flew into the cool water!

The Chicken Plunge....

and its unfortunate aftermath.

until the latecomers started just packing onto the ice in front of us so we couldn’t see anymore.  How rude.  In fact, my edit function was apparently set pretty low, as I was telling people in no uncertain terms to sit down.  And I was wishing all the ice would just collapse, making the whole inconsiderate lot of them into unwilling plungers.  The paparazzi really were testing the limits of ice gravity.

Dead Guy Paparrazi

It had gotten REALLY chilly, so we headed to the bookstore/coffee shop to warm up.  I love this little bookstore – it’s mostly used books, but they also have ice cream, a little clothing, a little jewelry, a Tarot card reader, and of course, chai, cocoa, lattes and etcetera. 

Frozen Eyeballs, Dead Man's Toes

And they have creepy stuffed squirrels bolted to their exterior walls.

Freakish? I think so.

We got coffee and brownies and found a little table in the children’s book room in the back.

A coffee trio

The shop cat immediately came to say hello and Will decided he wanted to marry it.

Aura cat

Man, I don’t know what was in those brownies, considering there’s a “green wellness” clinic on either side of the bookstore, but we spent about two hours in silly hysterics, laughing and snorting and giggling at absolutely nothing.  We poked around the bookstore, and fell more in love with the cat, who was now occupying the Tarot card table. 

Aura cat moves to her spot on the Tarot table

I chatted with a lady who teaches knitting and who had knit some amazing glow-in-the-dark skullcaps.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as glow-in-the-dark yarn. 

Glow-in-the-dark skullcap

(And as a lovely reminder of my last lovely weekend, there’s an Alpaca Store in Nederland where she gets her yarn.)

Can I buy an alpaca here?

We spent so much time in the warmth and silliness of the bookstore that we missed the coffin races.  Kelsea and I had seen them before, so we didn’t mind – the wind had picked up and we were all cold.  Heading back into town through the little covered footbridge, we stopped in a couple of shops.  Will and Kelsea parked themselves in rockers and pretended to be old people.

Practicing to be grumpy old folks

I took lots of artsy pictures.

Artsy pink glass lamp

Artsy green vase

Artsy art glass

And imagined decorating my new little house.

Post-safari porcelain

Or perhaps a dead guy theme? I might be able to find a coffin coffee table.

Emerging again into the chill, we discovered a mechanical bull set up outside the Pioneer Inn bar.  Well, in my ongoing quest to try new things, I tried this new thing. 

My first mechanical bull ride!

It was a lot harder than it looked and I don’t think I stayed on for 8 seconds.  But Kelsea did quite well!

And Kelsea's first mechanical bull ride!

Our time was winding down.  We passed the Brain Freeze contest, with very few participants. 

Brain freeze competitor

And we passed more cute dogs (in trying to type ‘dogs’ just then, I typed ‘gods’ twice). 

I think I can fit through here...

As our final excursion, we decided to walk out into the half-empty reservoir, something else I’ve always wanted to do.  The reservoir is full to the brim in the summer, putting Boulder at risk of the imminent and overdue 100-year flood, which last occured in 1894.

Archive photo of Boulder's 100-year flood in 1894

But in the winter, it is a barren plain of rocks and dry earth. 

At the bottom of the reservoir

The wind was absolutely vicious; we walked out as far as we could bear, then turned and made a run for the car.  A real run, tears streaming down our faces and snot flying in the wind.  By the time we got to the car, we sounded like we’d had strokes, we were so cold and our brains so bizarrely impacted by who knows what (wind? brownies? mechanical bulls?) that we could barely form words. 

We happied our way down the mountain back to Boulder.  That night, my eyes were still hurting from the grit and the wind, and Kelsea and I were exhausted from battling the breeze, the cold and the mud.  But we had a wonderful time.  Next year, maybe we’ll try tukey bowling and salmon throwing. 

I think it’s great that even with dead guys, there’s always next year.

The Cottage is great. 

The Cottage has the following components:

Living Room
Study
Kitchen
Bathroom
Bedroom #1
Bedroom #2
Little terrace outdoors

Just enough room for two – maybe even 2 1/2.  But there is one problem.

The Cottage has NO closets.  None.  Zip. Zilch.  Zero.

Oh, it has a space that holds the furnace, and next to that are a few hooks and 3 shelves.  I guess a purist could call that a closet.  It holds the toolbox, laundry soap, one unusable suitcase with which I cannot bear to part, the sewing basket, and a collapsible cooler.  That’s it.

In other words, this would be the perfect house for a nudist (except for the large windows that look out onto the Christian Church across the Open Space).  But it is a big problem for a woman and a teenage girl. 

I mean, seriously.  Who builds a house without closets??

I never considered myself a clothes horse.  I’m certainly not on the scale of 90% of the women I know who have multiple closets for their own stuff.  And I’ve been getting rid of things.  A few things are still at Pat’s, but I could part with most of them.  Those things I can’t part with will just have to stay there until I move.  Because clothes space in the Cottage is out of control.  The previous occupant left me a wardrobe, the top half of which can be used for hanging things, the bottom half of which has two shelves.  The rod in the wardrobe is about 3 1/2 feet long.  That’s it.  That’s where clothes can be hung.  And it’s packed.  I did hang hooks on the backs of every available door to make a little more space, and those hooks are now overflowing due to my pajama menagerie and 1940s movie star lingerie fetish.  So it’s making me look at my wardrobe a little differently these days.

I hadn’t really updated my work wardrobe for a couple of years, and when I left the last full-time job, I didn’t think I’d be getting another one.  As we know, life’s what happens when you’re making other plans, and so I find myself very much hoping for another full-time job just now.   Which leads me to feel the need for work clothes again – or at least interview clothes.  Which I don’t have room for.  Because I have NO closets.

I do have some nice clothes, but they’re casual and frankly, they’re designed for the Caribbean, not for Colorado.  So changes will have to be made. 

When the house comes through, I will have not only closets (4 of them!), but a garage, where I can put things like toolboxes and Christmas Tree stands.  I swear I will feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven.  There’s even an attic!  I know this because the attic window is clearly visible.  However, the entrance to said attic is invisible.  It doesn’t seem to exist within the house – not in the ceilings of any of the rooms (or closets).  I’ll have to leave that discovery to my inspection person when the time comes.

But that hasn’t happened yet.  And neither has the need for a major wardrobe shift.  No house yet, no job yet.  I’m just waiting as patiently as possible, and planning ahead.  I can feel that it’s all going to come together somehow soon.  I’m on the precipice.  On the verge.

In the meantime, the best thing to do, I’ve decided, is clean out the wardrobe.  Some of those nice Caribbean things will need to go.  Others may need to go into a trunk, which will go who knows where.  Maybe into the office, once I rearrange it.  (I’ve always wanted one of those old antique trunks.)  And I’m sure I have a lot of pieces that aren’t exactly classic (read, completely out of date.)

So I guess as long as everything else is changing, my “look” (gag) might as well change too. 

It’s really just a shame that I hate to shop. 

I’ve had a tough time regrouping since I’ve been back.  I know it’s time to make some more big changes.  I’ve been kind of hanging out in limbo, saying I’m taking the summer off, sucking wind at my half-time job, and I feel like now I want some new energy, some new momentum.  But what?  How?  In which direction?

The leaves are starting to lose their summer sheen.  You know, that green brilliance that makes your eyes sing in spring, then deepens to an emerald love affair in July?  There is just a hint of passing dullness, a fatigue of color that indicates the approach of Fall.   As we were walking to the truck this morning, Kelsea said, “It’s a perfect Fall morning.”  Of course, that resulted in my indignant response that yes, it was a lovely morning, but let’s not rush Fall – we still have over one more month of summer left.  Geesh.

The house on the corner has been for sale since I moved into the cottage.  It now has a little top bar on the “For Sale” sign that says “I’M BEAUTIFUL INSIDE”.   I love this.  Every time I drive past, I now tell myself that I’m beautiful inside.  It’s particularly helpful since I put on about 6 pounds during our EAR, and am now back to the gym with a vengeance trying to lose it .  One step forward, three steps back is kind of discouraging.

The cottage has a little ledge that runs along two walls at about chest height. It’s where I put special things – seashells, pictures, vases, candles.  I have a picture of my Mother and myself.  It was taken three days before she died.  She’s in bed, smiling, and I have my head next to hers on the pillow.  I am smiling, but I am crying.  It’s the last picture I have of her.  Her friend John took it.  He was a wonderful guy.  My Mother looks so very sick.  She’s jaundiced, emaciated.  You can tell that the cancer is racking her body, that she is dying – even though, as I say, she was smiling.  I remember that moment.  She was happy.  The pain hadn’t gotten to the morphine stage yet.  The point of relating this is that today, for the very first time, I thought perhaps I should take that picture down and put it away.  I would love to have pictures of my parents in the living room, but there’s no reason for me to constantly remind myself of that painful, though incredibly beautiful time.  We had many other incredibly beautiful times that had no associated pain.  I haven’t taken it down yet, but thinking that maybe it’s time to do so is, I think, a little bit of a breakthrough.

I am also in my mind preparing to let go of the cottage.  Releasing this space is part of my sense that it is time to move on to the next thing, or the next place.  My lease runs through May, but I am already looking around with an eye to what will be packed up and what will be sold or given away.  The cottage has been a refuge, a place for me to heal, to transition, to nestle.  I believe it has served this purpose for others who have gone through divorces.  Perhaps that’s its destiny, its purpose.  It will be time for me to free it to help heal the next lost soul.

As we know I don’t like shopping.  But sometimes it has to be done.  Today, I was on a quest for sports bras.  I’m not spending $40++ on something like that, so I tried the old bargain standbys, conveniently next door to each other, Ross and TJ Maxx.  Here’s a quick review:  TJ Maxx has updated its stores (at least this one) to look more chic – nicer lighting and fixtures in the dressing rooms, staff who speak English, and a decent selection of stuff.  Unfortunately, no stuff to fit me, but they did have some cute cobalt blue boots, which I didn’t even bother trying on.  I do not need cobalt blue boots, no matter how cute.  Ross, on the other hand, looks and feels like the aftermath of a grocery store prior to a hurricane.  The selection was scant and shabby, and the surroundings felt low-rent.  I did, however find a good pair of aerobic shoes for $17.00.  The only problem was they were so tightly secured together that I fell over trying to put them on – you could only keep your feet about two inches apart.  If you’ve never tried to put shoes on with this restriction, and you happen to be bored one day, I highly recommend it.  Entertainment at its finest.

Tomorrow is laundry, weeding, working, housecleaning, zumba class.  Should be a good day.

The last thing my cottage needs is another piece of furniture.  But since I’ve been working from home, trying to settle down to serious writing, I decided that I needed one.  Most of my work has been done under a blanket on the couch, and while it’s comfortable, it’s somehow de-energizing.  I’ve held in my mind’s eye, a vision of a small desk that could fit in front of the big window.  And while I saw things that might have worked, they were too expensive or didn’t have any character.

So at the flea market yesterday, I discovered the perfect thing.  Dating from the 1950s, it used to be a vanity table, which I find both appealing and ironic.  It’s narrow and curved, with bamboo-looking legs.  Chinese red, it has two small drawers, with a center compartment that opens for storage and holds a mirror.  And best of all, which I only discovered when I got it home today, the drawer handles are shaped like little fish! 

It needs some touching up, so I’ll have to take a drawer to Home Depot to try to match the paint.  Sometimes, when I get something large like this, especially since I don’t feel like there’s enough space in the cottage, I have immediate buyer’s remorse.  But not this time.  This time, I’m happy.  This is the desk at which I’ll write my first published book.  Which of course means that it will have to move with me wherever I go from here on out. 

The little desk is already part of my permanent family.  That’s nice.

I’m very depressed today – meh.  It happens.  So what does the average girl do when she’s depressed?  C’mon, you know….that’s right!  She goes SHOPPING! 

Won’t you join me on a little spree?

Satan Butter Handmade Soap – what can one say?
www.hogmalion.com

Enema Bag pin or earrings – but you can only get the butt as a pin.
www.lunaparc.com

Bungee Jumper Man Bird Feeder – would I feel bad as he was consumed?
www.iwantoneofthose.com

Gentleman’s Nose Hair Trimmer – could be for ladies as well, I suppose.

The Gravitational Force of Breasts in Physics – or something like that – hey, don’t blame me, I was taught physics by a fiddle-playing ex-nun.
wwww.thatsbizarre.co.uk

The Wine Rack – enhances your figure AND allows you to smuggle alcohol into sporting events or concerts!

Christopher the Scab with his Bandage Friend – they’re practically inseparable.
www.baronbob.com

I don’t like shoes, and I’m not Jewish, but I couldn’t resist.
www.stupid.com

Cane Toad Leather Shoulder Bag – this would probably deter purse snatchers.
www.roopooco.com

Black Playing Cards – for those morbid Solitaire-playing days.

Hand soap – literally.  Pretty creepy, huh?
www.freshtrend.com

Fallen Angel – handmade, and she’s actually NOT a doll.
www.etsy.com

Squishable stress egg – bounces back every time.
www.amazon.com

Well, that should clean out the coffers for tonight.   Thanks for coming along.

Shopping.  Shop ’til you drop.  When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. 

As we gear up for one of our most commercial “holidays” (aka, Valentine’s Day), I was thinking about the whole shopping/fashion thing.  It helps the thought processes that this is the beginning of New York’s Fashion Week.

I was in New York City for Fashion Week about 14 years ago – it was only a coincidental business trip that took me there, not Fashion Week itself.  In fact, I didn’t even know there was such a thing, until the woman with whom I was sharing a cab from LaGuardia asked me if I was “here for the show”.   To cut a long story short, by the time I exited the cab, she was under the impression that I sold leather goods of questionable morality.  I was very glad to get out of the cab, and I’m still not quite sure what got into me when I answered her.

That same trip, I got up early to go to a meeting, and headed towards Bryant Park, which I always loved to walk through.  I discovered it filled with giant white tents, cameras, lights, and terribly skinny women, and realized I’d wandered onto the setting for one of Fashion Week’s many events designed for divas and ladies-who-lunch.  I was bemused and interested, but had to keep moving.  I wish I could have stayed; my curiosity would have kept me there all day.

While there is not a person alive who would call me stylish, I used to like to think I had my own sense of style.   I had kind of an Isadora Duncan thing going in my first two years of college.  The second two years of college saw me switch to vintage mode.  I was small and slender and the clothes from the ’40s seemed to have been tailor-made for me.  They were more affordable than new things, and they were unique.  You’d never see another woman wearing the same thing I was.

Once I hit the serious workforce, it was suits all the way.  It was the late ’80s, early ’90s, so we were in the “L.A. Law” style of suits and shoulder pads. But I left suits behind when I left my job when Kelsea was 2, and I’ve never gotten back to business style.  As I found myself gaining weight in recent years, I’ve lost any sense of style I had.  But as I find myself losing weight now, I have a sneaky hankering to find my new style.  I just have no idea what it is.  And there’s a problem. 

I don’t like to shop.

Yes, I know it’s rare among women.  But I don’t.  It’s kind of boring.  It’s overwhelming.  It leaves me with an acute awareness of our the conspicuous consumptive nature of our society, our greed, our materialism, and our attachment to things that are meaningless. 

I have what I’ve come to call a “shopping allergy” that sometimes kicks in when I try to shop.  My stomach will suddenly start cramping and lurching and wanting strongly to expel things out of various orifices.  And when that happens, I immediately get in the car and go home.

Even when I do shop now, I prefer the secondhand stores, for the same reasons I did before: I can always be assured of wearing something different, something that no one else will have – and it’s less expensive and less fadish than the stuff in retail stores today.  Although I do run the risk of wearing something that someone I meet might recognize as being formerly theirs, that’s a chance I’m willing to take.  If I can get back to the small and slender me of my twenties (hmmm), I might go back down the vintage route, but it’s nowhere near as cost-effective as it used to be, and I’ve really got to consider that these days.

If you take a look at the kinds of fashions that are being shown at Fashion Week, you wonder how women can be duped into wearing them.  One of the latest uber-expensive trends is called glunge — a combination of glamour and grunge.  And for this women pay megabucks.

Why are women so insecure as to have to “follow” fashion?  Hemlines are up one season, down the next.  One color is “in” only to be “out” the following year.  Heels – clunky like special shoes one season, 4-inch platforms the next.  And women spend on it.  And spend.  And spend.  Why?  I just don’t get it. (And I am definitely not the most secure woman on the planet.)

Researchers at Melbourne University have coined a term for a psychological disorder called oniomania.  It’s a compulsive disorder — a shopping addiction.  “Victims” of this condition experience the addicts’ high when spending, improving their self-esteem and making them forget their emotional troubles.  Once they’re home with purchases in hand, the high wears off, and as with other addictions, the addict must spend more to get their high back.

People who compensated for lack of affection in their childhoods by substituting material things tend to continue this pattern into their adult lives and relationships.  They identify themselves by the things they buy, and their self-esteem is centered around acquiring things.  They can’t deal with daily problems or emotional issues and repress feelings of sorrow, loss and failure, by buying things.  Shopping becomes a form of self-medication.  The shopaholic cannot feel, rely on or acknowledge their own identity.

It’s actually kind of sad.

So-called “Retail Therapy” has been portrayed as a very positive thing – a communal activity, a form of creative expression, a way to assert one’s self-worth, a way to improve the environment, an expression of the gatherer (vs. hunter) core persona of women.  I say, hogwash.  Women (and men) with shopping addictions are just that —  addicts.  They ignore their finances and live to get that high.

I sound harsh, don’t I?  I don’t really mean to judge.  Maybe it’s the whole ‘child of depression-era parents’ thing coming out again.  My Mother always considered the price of something, and had a mental limit as to how much it was reasonable to spend on a pair of jeans.  My Father saved until he could pay cash for any big purchase.  Credit card debt and expensive clothes are just not in my frame of reference.

Style at any price?  Thanks, but no thanks.  I’d rather spend my hard-won dollars on this:

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