Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Post of 2010

Been kinda sick these past couple of days, but did want to get one more post out before the old year passes and 2011 toddles on to the scene.  I'll be heading back to NyQuil land right after I finish this.

So anyway, Happy New Year to all and Best Wishes for 2011 and all that sort of stuff. 

I'll be back on Monday with some regular posts again, including some thoughts on the year just ended and on what's coming up.

Take care!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Wrap-Up!

Life, as they say, is what happens while you are making other plans. I ended up being unexpectedly off the grid for the past couple of days with only one post scheduled. I had my other end of the holiday season posts in various stages of completion and no vintage cards ready to roll, so I was caught a little off guard. Please accept my apologies.

I'll finish up the holiday posts and store them away for next year. Never hurts to have a backlog. I'm planning on going dark for a couple of days to kind of recover from the holidays and get some posts scheduled. I'll be back before the end of the year.

Since the day has arrived, and I'm left with a few extra vintage cards, here is my Christmas gift to you, my three or four readers: The Parade of Vintage!





Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!  See you in a few.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!

Pondering, updates, and linkages

Just a bunch of sheer randomness.  Trying to get a bunch of stuff done right now, so I apologize for the extreme stream of consciousness ramble.  Onward!

Cold weather moved in with a vengeance last week.  Snow, ice, and wind.  I can deal with everything but the ice.  Everything has been slicked over like a skating rink.  The effect is beautiful when you're looking at blades of ice-encrusted glass poking up through the snow.  Not so much when your stuck in the middle of a damn sidewalk trying not to fall on your fat ass.

Seriously, it's like we're having January four weeks early.  What's up with that?  More is on the way for Xmas.

When the storm moved in, I had a one day sales dip, but it bounced right back.  I'm over 600 at the moment.  Not sure how much higher they'll go, as I'm expecting a slow down this week.  I'd like to clear four hundred this month, which would be my new record. 

I'm holding up on re-stocking right now, hoping that the last of the holiday stuff will ride out the month okay.  Otherwise, I'm shifting things around to fill holes on shelves.  Sometimes, all an item needs is a new location  in the booth to sell.

I'm planning on calling a moratorium on merch purchases at the end of the month, after I get through the post-Xmas clearance period.  I've got about 8 large Rubbermaid tubs of stuff stashed all over the house, which should give me enough to last the winter.

Early next month, I'm sweeping through, pulling some items, marking down a bunch more, making a clearance table and completely re-stocking with fresh stuff for the new year.  I'm ending 2010 on a roll, so I need to blow into 2011 with a bang.

I had a moment of panic a couple of days ago when I couldn't remember all Santa's reindeer.  I was forgetting Dasher.  Why does Santa have a reindeer named Vixen, by the way??

I've come to realize that I could watch the Powerpuff Girls Christmas Special, "Twas the Fight Before Christmas" over and over every year and not grow tired of it.  And I'm not ashamed to admit it either!

Enough of that, how about some links?

Queen of Fifty Cents has put a new video up.  This time it's all the pets she has met while out saling this year.

Why has this not been done? Link courtesy of VRS.

Well, I gotta scoot.  More later.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!


I like the 3-D look to this one and also the kind of handcrafted feel it has.  There were six or eight of this one in the box, complete with envelopes.  It was the largest matched set of cards.

On the Third Tuesday in December, Eddie-torial Comments Gave to Me...

Patty Griffin and Natalie Maines singing "Mary."



I'm not overly fond of Natalie Maines (although they do sound nice together), but all the versions I could find of this with Emmylou had crappy, shakey video.  I knew I wanted to use this one this month for sure.  After all, according to the stories, Mary was there, right?  So it seems kind of fitting.

Happy holidays, folks!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!

We're getting close now! Only a few more (days and cards) left! So much still to do! Hope you've enjoyed this little project as much as I have.


This is actually a much more modern image than the others, but I had to include it because it's so, well, flat-out creepy! Seriously, a demented looking child staring through a window? Whose ides of Christmas cheer is that? Stephen King?

Possible captions for the inside:

Merry Christmas from the Children of the Corn!

If you're naughty, Santa will let him loose in your living room.

This year, remember that creepy soul-stealing children need love too.

That's not Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

Crazed dementia is just another way of saying "Holiday Spirit."

Season's Greetings from your local exorcist.

Don't forget to lock your doors and windows on Christmas Eve! No telling what you might find under your tree if you don't.


Okay, that's enough of that. I have gifts to wrap. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section.

Vintage Vantage

I was going through some comics that I recently bought last night, bagging and pricing them when it dawned on me how many of them I bought when I was in high school.  Then I realized that they were thirty years old!  Ack!

Seriously, if you follow the rule that says that something has to be at least 25 years old to be considered "vintage."  Then comics from 1982 (the year I graduated high school*) are now vintage!  When did that happen?  It's hard for me to think of items that came with UPC bar codes on them as "vintage."  That word conjures up images of the 70's at least, and then on back from that.  The 80's?  No frigging way!

 Honestly, this is a vintage comic?  Really?

Nevertheless, 1980 was thirty years ago!  Hell, 1990 was twenty!  In five more years will we call stuff from the 90's "vintage"?  Yeesh!  We need a new term for more modern items that are aging.  In fact, we need a whole new scale for classifying these things.  I suggest:

1980's-90's: classic
1940's-70's: vintage
pre-1940:  antique

"Classic" conjures up the same kinds of sweet nostalgic memories that "vintage" does, but without the same connotations of "really old and worthwhile."  I like it.  Now to get everyone to start using it.

*That means my high school diploma is vintage! Does that make me vintage too? I don't wanna be vintage! Make it stop!

Marvel Two in One cover courtesy of GCD.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!


Another religious one, this time more sweet than devotional. This one also came from a religious order.

Always Remember!

Robots need love, too!



Won't you show some robot love this holiday season? You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!

Felt like it was time for another religious themed card.  This one is super fab. It came from a religious order, probably with a fund-raising appeal.  Yep.  It's a vintage fund-raising incentive/freebie.  I guess charities have been sending out those card sets for decades.  Wonder if this one also came with address labels?

I think vintage religious graphics are my favorite vintage graphics of all.  One of these days I'll scan some of my holy card collection.

We has a seecret!

Ther'z more uv us!



Secret Kitten! brought to you by Prank Videos

Friday, December 17, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!


What more needs to be said?

So, how did it go?

Last weekend, the mall where I have my booth had its Holiday Open House.  As a part of the event, vendors were encouraged to be on hand in their booths to make deals.  I'd never done that for one of their special events before, but I had heard dealers who did were making over a hundred in sales, so I decided to try.

Friday, I loaded up the last of my Christmas merch, plus a few other items, including a bunch of books,  and headed to the booth to get ready for the booth.  I spent a few hours there rearranging some things, filling in holes, straightening up, etc.

As I was getting ready to leave, a customer was in my book booth, filling up her cart with all kinds of things.  I talked with her for a little while, and she got some things from my other booth too.   It was an hour or so until closing time, but I was done, so I left.

Based on what she had placed in her cart, I was potentially in for a really good day, sales-wise.  However, I've been around long enough to realize that it can go in someone's cart, but it's not a sale until it's been paid for.  I've seen  plenty of people load up on stuff, only to leave most of it on the returns table.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I got my sales report for the day in my email that evening.  Not only had she bought everything she picked up, but her purchases pushed me way over 100 dollars for the day!  That's a new daily record for me!  It's kind of ironic that I was prepping the booth to try and make the next day into a hundred dollar day on the day that I had my first hundred dollar day,  but that's business, I guess.

Saturday morning, I went to a couple of indoor sales, bought a few things, then headed to the booth.  Since some of the stuff I had intended to have for the open house had already sold, I brought in some of the stuff I had just picked up to fill in the holes.  It had actually been a good morning for second-hand shopping.  We stumbled on a church rummage sale that had not been advertised, which was full of stuff.  A lot of it was priced at ten cents, ti boot.  It was like early Christmas!

I had been a little worried about just hanging around in my space and either looking too dorky for folks to approach or else scaring off customers who just wanted to browse.  I'm one of those shoppers who doesn't like to be disturbed when I'm browsing around.  Store attendants, sellers, vendors, etc. who come on too strong with conversation turn me off and make me less inclined to buy.  I have a feeling that I'm not alone in felling this way.  Plus, an 8x11 booth is just not large enough for me to hang out in and also have others come in!  I take up a lot of space these days.

I purchased a couple of bar stools at a sale the week before, so I would have a place to sit.  (One of the lessons of this experience is that I don't have a body built for perching on a bar stool for long periods of time.)  There's an empty booth across the way from me, so I put my stool there.

For the first hour or so, I had the stuff I brought in to price and put out, so that gave me something to do.  After that, I perched on my stool and read a book.  If someone approached who was more outgoing, I'd strike up a conversation with them.  If they seemed more reserved, I'd just let them shop in peace.

A few items have been taking up space in my booths for a long time, and those were the ones I was determined to see go during the open house.  I ended up moving a few of them out.  Any time someone expressed any sort of interest in those objects, I swooped in with a deal at the ready.  And away the object would go.

A gentleman bought a truck from me that I had just bought that morning.  Turns out the name on the truck was for a Louisville-based food distributor that went out of business in the 80's.  He had worked on the railroads and used to load stuff from their trucks to the railroad cars.  Pretty cool.  He was psyched to find it.  I was psyched to sell it.  I ended up selling about half of the new items I brought in that morning!

I had at least three cart-fillers pass through, but it seems like they also bought the stuff they picked up.  I had very few returns to deal with.  Whenever I got too stiff from sitting on the stool, I made the rounds to my booths and straightened things up.  Then I'd go chat up the cashiers and check for returns.  A couple of times, I just wandered around the place to stretch my legs.  I ended up finding a book to buy that way!

Things really started getting fun when Santa showed up.  He was set up in a space right behind the one I put my stool in.  A couple of times, he let go with a hearty "Ho Ho Ho!" and kids who were in the aisle where I was would look at me like I had done it!

I nearly had an anxiety attack waiting for the sales email that evening.  I left when the open house ended at six, but the mall didn't close until eight.  The sales emails don't come until after nine.  I've not been that anxious for a report to come since the early days of the booth, but it was worth the wait.

Two days in a row over a hundred.  Who would've thought?  If the cold weather that's moved in doesn't stifle things, I'm set up to have a really good December.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!

The square shape for this one marks it as a part of the same original card set as yesterday's card, I think.  So does the odd color scheme.  This one has the more traditional colors, but in an impressionistic kind of painting style.

Interesting.

I hate it when that happens!

I was in a thrift the other day and they were playing some country station over the intercom.  All of a sudden one of those songs comes on that never fails to get stuck in my head for days.  As is typical for earworms, what actually gets stuck with me is one particular phrase, playing over and over and over again, never progressing because I actually don't know the rest of the damn song!

So, of course, I have to head to YouTube to try and find it and break the spell.  And I did:



But now, I have to wonder how badly I've screwed with my YouTube recommendations.  I mean, I listened to the Judds, for god's sake!  Will the denizens of YouTube now try to entice me to...what...check out....oh my god...Clint Black?  Garth Brooks?  Or worse?  Billy Ray Cyrus?

What's going to happen to my cool alt-countrystreet cred when this gets out?

Sigh!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!


I love this one for two reasons.  First off, it's just plain fun!  Almost whimsical, in fact.  Secondly, the color scheme just fascinates me.  You don't often see a lot of Christmas cards with such muted colors, even down into brownish tones.  

Oh yeah, and it's got this fun square shape, too.  There weren't a lot of envelopes with this batch of cards, and what were there were kind of hard to match up with the right cards.  It was pretty clear to me, though, which one went with this card.  

It was square.  And it was brown.

And then there was the time Olivia Newton-John, ABBA, and Andy Gibb sang a bunch of their songs together





Some thoughts:

As crazy as I was for both Olivia and ABBA when I was in high school, I'm sure I must have seen this when it was on TV. I have absolutely no recollection of it, though. The whole things just screams to be released on DVD! Whatever happened to variety shows and specials?

You know the women in ABBA were just burning with jealousy that Bjorn had kickier boots than they did!

I don't remember Andy Gibb being quite so good looking as he is here. Wonder how he would have held up over the years had he lived?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!


Not quite so overtly religious this time, but it's got a quiet serenity to it I think.  Reminds me a little of the legend of the animals at Christmas time.

And, it's got that sweet kind of cuteness that vintage cards seem to have.  It's like another Rankin-Bass cartoon scene that you never saw before, but should have.

On the Second Tuesday in December, Eddie-torial Comments Gave to Me:

Emmylou Harris singing "Red Dirt Girl."



Okay, I know it's a sad, tragic tale, and not very holiday-appropriate, but when I saw the holiday decor on the set where she's singing, I couldn't resist. That's Patty Griffin singing with her.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!






It's the first religious card from this batch.  Aren't the little angels sweet?

Now this is cute!

Claymation-ish Go Go's?  I'm there!




I've always felt that the Go Go's were one of those bands where every cut on an album, whether or not it was released as a single, would latch itself in your brain and not let go.  I constantly find myself humming some of the lesser known tunes.  It wasn't all just "We Got the Beat!"  But it was all equally great.

It's interesting to me as I watch Go Go's vids these days to see exactly how strongly they perceived of themselves as a unit, a band.  Everyone gets equal spotlight in the videos (even the concert clips).  It's not Belinda nad her back up band.  It's the Go Go's.  Pure and simple.  Yet, the "Belinda and band" image is the one that snuck into the popular conciousness.  Wonder how that happened?

I know part of it comes from the fact that Belinda had a much more popular solo career in the US for a while (even though Jane's solo LP's were actually better).  And we're very used to seeing lead singers go off and have solo careers.  But that image was around before they broke up.  Even in their heyday, there were people who thought of them in terms of Belinda and her band.

Anyway, wasn't Gina Schock just the best drummer for a rock group, pretty much ever?  Listen to that drum track.  Hell, listen to any Go Go's track.  It's the drums that grab you and don't let you go long before anything else sinks in.  We got the beat, indeed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!

  
This is one of my favorites of the whole batch.  I love the idea of Santa setting his clocks--and look how many he has!--so he won't miss Christmas.  It's a non-traditional look at the jolly old elf, but there's a touch of retro-whimsy to it as well.  It's like a scene from one of those Rankin-Bass holiday classics.

Fun Finds: Modeling from the Inside Out

I found these at a thrift a while back. I was never into modeling as a kid. I think it was because cars and trucks and planes and the like just didn't interest me that much. I did have a Robin model, but that was it. And I never painted him. I just put it together. Not my thing.

I think I would have gotten into these, however. I always loved it when we got to the part in science class that covered the parts of the body. There was a time when I could still name all the bones in the body. Now I just refer to them as the ones that hurt most of the time and the ones that hurt all of the time. The non-nom-nom and non-shopping parts of getting older really suck.

Anyway, I flipped out when I found these and had to get them. How cool are they? I mean, really, build your own ear! Who wouldn't love that?



I just wish the rest of the body had been there too. I'd love to have a spleen model.

Speaking of that old Robin model, here's what someone with a lot more time, money, equipment, drive, desire, interest, etc, did with it:



Kind of cool, in a nerdy sort of way.  Just the way I like it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!

Today is the holiday open house at our mall.  They're going to have free cookies for the kids, plus food and drinks for sale.  Santa's going to come as well.  I'm going in to work in my booth, meet customers and make deals with them on certain items. 

They do these events once a quarter, and I've heard vendors who work those days report sales in excess of a hundred bucks.  I've not done one yet, mainly because my prices are pretty fantastic already, but I'm going to give it a whirl this time.  I'd like to have a killer December (which I'm already on the way to doing) and I've got a few items that have worn out their welcome and need to go.  I'm not totally sure how to direct people's attention to those items, but I'll figure that out once I get there.

I'll let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, here's today's card, to get us all in the spirit.  If all this holly and greenery can't do it, then nothing will.

Let us proclaim the Litany of Saints!

A little while ago, I hit the jackpot at my favorite thrift, which is my favorite partly because it's run by a Catholic organization, which makes scores like this a little more likely than at other thrifts.  I was shopping at this place before I was a re-seller, back when all I was looking to do was expand my own collection of saints.

Anyway, I turned a corner, looked towards a set of shelf, when something golden caught my eye.  Could it be?  Yes!  It was!

St Therese of Lisieux,

Pray for us!

And she had friends, all equally glittery and golden.  You can see the whole gang after the jump.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!


This is one of my faves from the batch of cards.  I've never seen a Christmas anything with Zodiac signs on it before.  Fascinating.

Speaking of vintage Christmas, nobody I know loves the stuff as much as monkeybox does.  In fact, she's devoted a whole new blog to it.  She's looking for other contributors to join in and share their own vintage Christmas collections too.  Check it out.

Also, My Vintage Soul shares a story prompted by a recent find.  I think every junker at some time or another wonders about the people who previously owned one of their finds.  I always love finding little notes and things in books that give a glimpse into the past.  It kind of personalizes the whole re-selling thing a little bit.

Eddie's Attic: The Evolution

It has occurred to me that I have not done any update posts devoted to the booth itself since my original booth post last year.  I've posted about stuff I've found for the booth, but not the booth itself.  So, on the verge of my year and a half anniversary (is there such a thing?), I feel like I probably should.

Go take a good look at last year's post linked above.  We'll wait until you get through.

Now, hop the jump and take a look at some of these pics.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day!

I just love long, skinny vintage holiday cards!  Don't you?

It Rained. It Snowed. We Came. We Glowed.

So, about last Saturday...

It was cold and windy all day long, and most of the time it either rained or snowed,  Everything was wet and slushy and just icky.  But we went anyway, because it was Bardstown Road Aglow, dude!  You gotta go!

The weather definitely kept the crowds down, which was a bummer for the stores, but not for us, since we could walk around in a lot of the smaller shops without much problem, for once.  So I spent a lot of time in some places that I usually avoid because of the crowds and came away with the eternal question on my mind:

"How many trendy, vintage boutiques can one part of town support?"

I'm all for small, local business.  I'm all for people following their dreams.  But, seriously, there are a half dozen of these shops in a five or six block area.  Sometimes, one will open, close after sic or eight months and be followed by another one.

I may be down on these stores in general because they're also the kind of places that take affordable vintage out of the secondhand market, which makes it harder for guys like me, who want to find it at affordable prices and sell it at equally affordable prices, to find good stuff at decent prices.

We got some amazing hot spiced chai at a tea shop we went in.  The owner told us they were thinking on closing soon, so we could have a cup for free to help empty the pot.  They had been selling it earlier.

Sometime in the past year, the messiest, most cluttered used bookstore in town apparently started to give a damn.  The place was not only clean, but everything was on clearly labeled shelves and easy to find.  I thought I had entered the Twilight Zone or something.  They still need to vacuum, though.

I went in one store and all the staff were seated around a table playing games.  No one even bothered to look up or acknowledge my presence in any whay whatsoever.  I admit that I'm not the kind of shopper who likes a hovering attendant shadowing his every move, but it is at least nice to be recognized as a human being.  I'm needing some supplies for the booth that I was hoping to get there.  I didn't see what I needed out, and there was no one at the register to ask because everyone was playing.  I left without asking anyone because I didn't think it would do any good based on what I saw.  The store?  it was a comic shop.  Of course.

Passed someone heading down the street to go in and overheard them say "It'll be just like" another local shop (the one I have frequented most regularly in the past).  I looked at Keith and said "No.  At that shop they actually have staff that are there to help you."

We didn't see much street entertainment, but we did hear the bagpipers behind us.  I guess the weather had something to do with that.  We also saw some kind of a firebreather person too.  At first I thought it was one of those outdoor space heaters exploding.

As usual, we saw the Eye of God.  It was kind of odd this year.  A friend of ours who went to this church passed away a few weeks ago.  There's been a lot of loss in 2010.  I'm totally ready for it to stop.

At one point, there were a group of kids running and playing through some of the snow that had accumulated during the day.  There was a group of adults following, and one of the women yelled to the kids:   "Remember what I told you about your feet.  When they get wet, they get cold.  And they'll never be warm again!"  Let me repeat that:  "They'll never be warm again!"  That's a little harsh, don't you think?

Because of the weather, we didn't do as much of the whole road this year, as in the past, but I did make it into the one of the few true used bookstores left in this town.  There used to be three in this one block, but one's been gone a while now.  The other one is the aforementioned messy one.  This one always has a great sale during December, so I try to go during Aglow and at least one more time throughout the month.

For the past five or six years, I've looked at a hardback collection of the Barbarella comic strip and put it back on the shelf.  Each year, I've said "This will be the year I will buy it."  And each year, I've gotten other things instead.  This year?  It was gone.  Ah well, I couldn't have afforded it now anyway.

Our big dilemma of the night was eating.  Our tradition has been to eat at a certain place before the event started, and then set off from there.  It made sense, as the restaurant was toward one end of the street and we could work our way down from there.  The placed burned out several months ago and moved down the road to a spot more in the middle of our route.  So we started out before eating, but when we got there, we didn't want to interrupt the flow and stop.  But, when we got to the end we didn't want to backtrack.  We're going to have to rethink this part of the equation.

Probably the best part of the night was stopping at Kizito Cookies.  Now, everyone in town knows the Cookie Lady and everyone loves her cookies.  She's an institution.  But, until last night, I had never had one fresh and warm out of the oven.  Omigod!  Imagine the best homemade chocolate chip cookie you've ever had, all warm and gooey and fresh-baked.  Now multiply that by about 300.  That might come close to what we had.  Maybe.

It wasn't the busiest Bardstown Road Aglow we've been too, but it was certainly fun.  And we're glad we went, freezing weather and all.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

I bought a huge box of Xmas cards at a thrift during my birthday thrifting expedition.  Only cost a buck.  Got home and started going through them and realized that all but a handful are vintage.

I love vintage graphics, so I pulled my faves to share her on the blog.  Look for a new one every day (as long as i remember to do it) until Christmas.

Special thanks to my friend Rick for assistance with the scans.


We'll start off with this cute little holly tree.

On the first Tuesday in December, Eddie-torial Comments gave to me...

Nanci Griffith singing "Fist City" with Loretta Lynn at the Grand Ole Opry! Don't get much better than that, particularly for Nanci! Can you imagine getting to perform at the quintessential country venue with one of your absolute idols?

Why, it'd be like Christmas!




Be sure to keep checking back. I've found some really special holiday treats this year!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Scary Gourd Santa Says:

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Doesn't this thing just scream "Happy Holidays?"  

Okay, maybe not.

One of the things I have to live with as a dealer is carrying things that don't personally appeal to me.  I remember the frustration of not finding books I wanted to read in a comic shop because the owner didn't like them and didn't want to carry them.  Which, in the end, meant he lost the money he could have made from selling them to me.  It's a problem which still plagues the comics market--shop owners making their shops in their own image and driving away potential customers who have different tastes.

I don't want to do that with the booth.  While I try really hard to have a space that's distinct from the others around me, I don't want to be so tunnel-visioned that I pass up potential sales.  Even if it means carrying painted gourd Santas.  It's not something that I would buy or decorate my home with, but there are those who like that sort of thing.  And it will look good in my growing Christmas section.

I do like having a space that's somewhat different from others--one that reflects who I am as a seller.  I also like seeing that my instincts are right when I pick something for the booth.  I have some practical considerations--no clothing--and a few taste-driven ones--no unicorns.  And I never want to have so many things out that I bought just  because I knew they'd sell that I  overwhelm the character of my space, since it does have some fans who come by looking for things they know I have that no one else in my mall carries.  In the end, it's a careful balancing act, but one that you have to play to be a successful seller.
We'll see how gourd Santa works for me.

So, why do I call him "Scary Gourd Santa?"   Take a good look at his face:


Seriously, what's up with those eyes?  They look like he's wearing biker shades or something.  Not like any Santa I've ever seen before.  Kind of creepy, if you ask me.

Doesn't that make you want to come down and get him?  Look deep into his eyes.


SCARY GOURD SANTA SAYS:
"COME BUY ME!!!"

Saturday, December 04, 2010

It's time to glow!

One of my favorite events of the year is tonight:  Bardstown Road Aglow.  Many of the stores in the Bardstown Road business corridor stay open later, hold open houses, have free goodies, run specials, and sponsor entertainment.

It's a fun thing to do, even if you don't spend a lot of money, which I certainly don't have this year! The entertainers are fun.  There's always at least one Santa wandering around.  Several of the people who come out to shop and browse will also show up in costumes, which adds to the excitement.  There maybe a choir on one corner and a group of babpipers on the next one.

Of course, the goodies are always good too.  Plus, at a highly commercialized time of the year, it brings a focus to a part of twon that is home to a lot of small, locally-owned businesses, many with eclectic themes or unique niches.  The sluggish economy hits these kinds of places especially hard and they need the holiday dollars more than the big boxes.  There are too many empty storefronts in the area, so we need to remembers that this part of town can glow all year round if we support it.

And, since another holiday season kicked off this week, here's Hasidic rapper Matisyahu--dude's been around six or seven years now and it still seems like a contradiction in terms to say "Hasidic rapper"--with his recommend YouTube playlist for Hanukkah.  (Be sure to check out the new video for his own Hanukkah song--it's awesome!)



No, this one isn't on the list.

Friday, December 03, 2010

And we wonder why they consider us backward!

Kentucky's governor has given the rest of the world yet another reason to make fun of Kentucky.

It was bad enough the year (2004) the state legislature couldn't get its act together long enough to pass a budget, but could see to it that an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution made it on the ballot.

And then, last month, the people of this state decided that this guy was the one they wanted to represent them in the Senate.

Now this.  Honestly, we've already got one of those crackpot museums in the state already, do we need to build another one using state tax incentives?

Geez....

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Circle of Junk

Vintage Rescue Squad had a post the other day that reminded me of a conversation I had with my uncle last year.  He's also a re-seller (sounds better than saying that he's a dealer), but at a much higher level than me.  For me, it's a hobby; for him, an income source.  He sells at flea markets, live auctions, and a booth in a vendor mall, plus eBay.  And his stuff ranges from the antiquey to the junky depending on the venue.  I've gone with him a few times to pick up what he refers to as "junk" to round out his load for the auction house.  By junk, he means perfectly usable, ordinary objects with a lot of use/life left in them, not the piles of broken down crap that the term conjures up.  There's nothing special about any of it, but it will sell for him and that's what matters.

Many of us re-sellers refer to ourselves as "junk dealers" in equal parts deprecation and endearment, but the reality is, even a penny ante guy like me wouldn't be caught dead actually selling real junk.  It's especially cute when someone like VRS, who deals in serious antiques, talks about "junk" and "junking."  You can tell by the pics of her stuff that her "junk" outclasses mine by the proverbial country mile.  (And check out the awesome display of religious statuary in the post I've linked to.  Makes me weak in the knees, truly.)

Anyway, when she writes in this post about buying things from dealers in other locales to sell at her booth, and vice versa, it reminded me of my uncle's theory, which he calls "The Circle of Junk."

It goes kind of like this:

1.  I buy something at a yard sale for 25 cents and put it my booth marked 50 cents.

2.  Someone comes along and buys it for 50 cents and puts it on sale in their establishment for a dollar.

3.  Someone else buys it for a dollar and puts it on sale for 1.50.

4.  This continues until someone gets it and prices it beyond what anyone will pay for it, so it sits for six months.

5.  The last buyer gets tired of seeing it taking up space in their booth, takes it home, and puts it in their yard sale, priced at 25 cents.

6.  Someone buys it, takes it to their booth, and prices it at 50 cents.

7.  And so on, and so on, and so on.

There's also an alternate ending, where it doesn't sell at the yard sale, gets donated to a thrift, priced at 50 cents and someone buys iy there to restart the cycle.

If you're not a reseller, you might think we're exaggerating, but it really can be like this.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone besides resellers is out there buying stuff.  You see the same people over and over at sales and auctions.  When I walk our mall looking for misplaced items of mine to return to my space (one of the drudgeries that has to be done in this business), I'm always seeing things that used to be in my booth that someone has bought and put in theirs.  I have other sellers in our mall telling me they like to shop my space for stuff.  Is there anyone out there who just buys stuff because they like it?

Okay, so I am exaggerating a wee bit.  Still, it does make you think sometimes.  It's almost like a closed, self-perpetuating economic cycle.  I find that fascinating.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fun Finds: The Mystery Case

This one is a bit of a mystery, but it's also really cute! I couldn't resist it when I saw it and I was able to talk the seller down on it, which made it quite the bargain.

I've always had a thing for boxes and containers. I cannot imagine where it comes from, since I'm so horribly disorganized. It doesn't matter if it's a tin, an old cigar box, a picnic basket or a sewing kit. If it was designed to hold something and it looks kind of cool, I'm there.

And with its corner reinforcements, handle, and pink design, this one has cool down pat.



It's also interesting from a construction point of view, with a layer of light wood inside the tin.  There's a paper lining over the wood.



It's got a few bangs and dents, which speak to possible age, or at least a lot of use.

I'm at a total loss as to what its purpose would have been. It's sturdy enough to have been more than purely decorative. From the stain on the inside, it may have held other containers, I think. Maybe some sort of make up case? It seems a little small for that.

It looks for all the world like a small version of an old style suitcase. Maybe for a child or a doll?  It's no bigger than a large candy tin.



I'm also not totally sure on the age, either. It feels vintage to me because of the design and solid construction, but there are no dates or marks on it anywhere to confirm that.



I'm not having a lot of luck with my searches on eBay and Google, so I'm throwing this out so someone else might see it and fill in my blanks.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Say it ain't so!

I'm somewhat of a conspiracy buff, especially when the evil forces of The Illuminati are involved. Thanks to the wonders of the internets, I now know who is under their malicious control, and, therefore, should be shunned and feared. Quite simply, everyone from the President to the Pope to Mickey Mouse to Beyonce is an agent for the Illuminati. (And if they've gone after Beyonce, that shows how desperate they must be getting!)

But...I do have to admit, I was stunned, shocked, and struck dumb with disbelief to find out that STAN LEE is on their side! Spidey an agent of the Illuminati? Say it ain't so, Stan! Say it ain't so!

But the proof is all right there for anyone to see:



If you see it on the internet, it's true, right? Especially if there's a video.

I guess now we know the real reason for the Lee-Kirby split all those years ago. Jack would never hang with an agent of the Illuminati! I wonder if Ditko knows about this?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wow!

Black Friday sales this year were double last year's, but the real surprise came the next day when I had my second highest sales day ever.  What makes that so neat is that I also had my third highest day the week before.  So, I'm actually looking at November being my third or fourth highest month for the year (depending on the next two days).  Which is pretty cool and gives me hope for December as well.

Interestingly enough, none of the potential gift items I've stocked the booth with have sold yet.  The sales are all based on holiday decor items (some new, some used, and some vintage) or on items that are not holiday-specific.

More to come, I'm sure.

UPDATE:  Based on yesterday's sales, November is now my third highest month for the year.  I don't think it'll take the number two slot, but I'm not ruling it out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ain't it good to be back home again?

Sometimes this old house feels like a long lost friend.

We spent the last few days in Arkansas, visiting Keith's family.  Now we're home to begin preparations for our own Thanksgiving feast.

The trip was long, but mostly uneventful.  I did sample a few thrifts in the area, but no major scores.  One that we went to is actually a major chain of thrifts, but it left me unimpressed.  I did finally get to meet Keith's favorite cousin.  We checked out one of the strangest bookstores I've ever been in.

All in all, it was a good trip.  Keith's family, especially his mom, are great people and I love spending time with them.  I wish the distance didn't make it so infrequent.

We also bought some awesome wine.

And now, we're home.  The cats are clingy like they always are when we've been gone several days.  I've got to go to the booth tomorrow.  I had the second biggest sales day I've ever had while we were gone, so I'm betting it's a mess.  Sales have been slow so far this week, as more folks concentrate on Thanksgiving prep.  I'm bringing a bunch of  new (as in not used) items in hopes of attracting some Black Friday weekend action.

Last year, my sales tanked in November and didn't really start picking up again until March.  I made my rent every month, and a little over, but it was like half what I was pulling in the the summer.  I hoping some better "gifty" things will keep things up for me right now.  Lots of people don't want to buy second hand items for gifts.

We'll see how it goes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I don't care if it rains or freezes...

Stopped by my favorite thrift store a couple of weeks ago with a particular purchase in mind.

This:



I'd been watching it for ages, waiting for it to cross the half-price threshold. It had been in the half-price zone for almost a week, but the day the new half-price tag colors started at that store, I bought a bunch of other stuff and knew I wouldn't have been able to manage the picture, plus three bags of stuff on my bike. The three bags I could handle with no problem, but I thought it would be best to leave the pic.



So, as soon as I got the chance, I rushed back to the store and was overjoyed to find it was still there. It's a perfect fit for me. First, it's religiously-themed, which is one of the self-appointed niches for my booth. Secondly, it's done in a style that appeals to a lot of Hispanic Catholics, and there are large numbers of Latino families that shop in our location. To paraphrase the Pawn Stars dude: I want this thing for my booth.

I did buy a few other small things along with it, but only a few, so they didn't really pose a transport problem this time around. I decided that I would stop tempting fate, buy the thing before someone else did, and then figure out how to get it home on my bike. The problem came when the store didn't have any kind of bag that the pic would fit in.



First try: Hold under one arm, steer with one hand. Not real good at one-handed steering. FAIL

Second try: Hold with one hand while clutching the handle bar. Not nearly enough of a grip on the pic to hold it. FAIL

Third try: Loop finger through little hoop (very little hoop) for hanging pic on wall. Try to hold onto handle bar too. Little hoop nearly tears finger off. FAIL

In exasperation, I stop the bike and lay the pic across the handle bars to take a break and ponder this some more. Then, I realize that it lays nicely across my handle bars! With a little repositioning, I can lay it to where it doesn't interfere with my knees, steering, or braking, yet is held down by my palms. SUCCESS!



I was afraid the image might get scratched, so I laid it face up. After about a half a block, I realized I was getting some odd looks from passing cars. Obviously, these people have never traveled with Jesus before. It takes a commitment! No mere bumper sticker for me!

Honestly, it was a little like this:



All together now:

I don't care if it rains or freezes
Long as I got the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Layin' 'cross the handle bars of my bike!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fun Finds: Vincent!

I've pretty much decided that I'm not cut out to do weekly run downs of my yard saling and thrifting adventures complete with pics and what not. There are plenty of folks out there who do this and do it very well, but it's just not my cup of tea.

I'd much rather focus on truly fun/unusual finds and interesting people/stories instead. Since I've been doing the latter with "True Tales of Yard Sales" from time to time, it's time to bring the former into play.

So, welcome to the inaugural edition of Fun Finds! Like "True Tales," this will be an occasional feature, which will pop up whenever I run across something that warrants the attention.

One of the things I love about the merch hunt for the booth is the oddball items that crop up from time to time. I'm immediately drawn to them, because I like to keep my space as unique and distinct as possible from the other 400+ ones in our building. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't, but it's the fun finds out there that help set me apart.

Another way to judge a fun find is the temptation factor. The more unusual something is, the more I tend to be tempted to hang on to it. Fortunately, being a dealer has tempered that urge considerably. Now, it seems, I get the same kind of kick I would have gotten out of buying something for myself from providing it for someone else.

And that brings us to.....Vincent!



A Van Gogh sliding tile puzzle! Who would have thought that such a wonderful thing could even exist? And yet there it was, sitting in the thrift store, waiting for me to claim it.

It's really quite cool. I'm betting that there were others made for other works of art as well. What a fun idea! I toyed around with working this one and getting the image perfectly aligned, but I decided against it, since when it hits the booth, people are going to play with it and mess it up. Besides, I kind of like the way its arranged right now. It's got a cubist feel to it, like Vincent as done by Pablo.



I'd been waiting for a while for the right item to start "Fun Finds" with, and when I saw him, I knew that he was the one.

And in his honor, here's some musical accompaniment:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Updates

I guess it’s time for some words and some thoughts about stuff that’s going on. I’m in the lull between my birthday celebrations and Thanksgiving madness. My brother is going to be here tonight to deal with some of Mom's stuff. We leave for Keith's mother's in a few days. I spent most of last week house sitting. It's not really been that much of a "lull."

One thing I learned from my mother is that your birthday really should stretch until the next weekend, which is the way I’ve always tried to do it. My typical birthday modus operandi of hitting every thrift in town, and then some, had a different twist this year. First off, I had no money. Secondly, my thrifting these days is all about finding stuff for the booth, not for me, although I still do pick up a few things here and there that are not intended for resale. Due to these factors, I opted to hit a selected group of thrifts, as opposed to all of them.

I also took a short, but special, trip last weekend. I’ll write more about that later.

Anyway, back to the updates. The bright, crisp days of Fall are upon us. So are the cool, overcast days of Fall. It’s time to break out the outer wear, test the heater, put the warm blanket on the bed, and buy the fixings for hot chocolate and chili.

This is my favorite time of year, and not just because of the old birthday. It’s the time to cram your last days of outdoor activities in before the cold weather starts driving us all indoors. The upcoming holiday season puts a feeling of anticipation and excitement in the air. Spices and baking are eminent. Get ready.

The sunny days are bright enough to make you happy and active, the briskness is such a nice change from heat and humidity, and the overcast days are gloomy enough to bring on some melancholy, but not real sadness. It's like a seasonal respite between the miserable, sticky last days of summer and the upcoming cold and achiness of the winter.

I'm enjoying it immensely.

We went camping last weekend in October. It'll probably be my last trip for the year. I'm not a cold weather camper. Keith will go in the winter, but I'll opt to stay indoors where the warm things are.

We had a good time. Finally getting some rain in the area means that we're finally getting some bursts of fall color. It was cool enough that our pot of chili and spiced wine made the perfect evening combo. It was just a lot of fun.

I've discovered a new use for the blog: dropping hints for gifts! Both the Old 97's CD and the Belinda Carlisle memoir made it my way for my birthday. Pretty cool. Thanks, Keith. I wasn't intending for it to work that way, but it's a nice surprise.

The Old 97's are excellent as always. Saving the book for trip reading. Will have more to say on both later.

The election here was a nail-biter. We returned a strong, unabashedly liberal Democrat to the House, lost the chance to reclaim a Senate seat, and chose the first mayor in decades whose last name doesn't begin with an "A." I have some thoughts about the mayoral stuff for later, but I will say that it's so nice to know that the good people of my state chose to honor Jim Bunning by filling his congressional seat with someone equally as out of touch.

Got tons and tons to do around here before we leave. Hell, make that: before Danny gets here. It's going to be a wild week. I'm taking my laptop with me on the trip and I'll be making some updates from the road. I've got a lot planned for the rest of the year.

The one hard thing about Fall this year is not seeing Mom. We tended to see each other more at the end of the year than any other time due to the holidays. Keith and I always have a Thanksgiving for us here on Thanksgiving Day and another one a couple of days after for us and my mom. It was kind of weird planning only one feast the other day.

it was also strange not calling her on my birthday. Since I turned 40, I'd been calling her and telling her that she was now old enough to have a son who was whatever age I just turned. Couldn't do that this year. It's those little traditions that are all out of whack.

I'm still fighting the urge just about every day to pick up the phone and tell her that Bennie died. It's not right that she doesn't know. We've talked each other through pet deaths for years. She knew Bennie since her kitten days.

We got Bennie's ashes back from the vet and they did them up right. They are using a different company than before, so she came back in a small black velvet bag that had been placed in a nice red wooden box. I've always wanted to do something like that with Basil and Brianna's ashes, but have never been able to bear opening the cardboard boxes we got them back in. I'm glad Bennie was able to get the special treatment.

After fifteen or so years, ATT and I have parted ways on the email front. ATT was my first ISP in the early days. When we went to DSL, they weren't offering it in town yet, so Keith and I both switched to another company that did. I kept the ATT email going through a deal they have where you pay a smaller fee and all you have with them is an email address. I just didn't want to go through the hassle of changing it, given the number of places I used it.

Well, Thursday my email account was suspended because I forgot to update my billing card with them. I called the number they provided on their site to reinstate it and was told that I couldn't reinstate just an email account. I had to order full service. I explained that I didn't need service, just the email address. Person on the phone said they had never heard of that kind of arrangement and that there was no record of an account with my email on it in their system. That pissed me off, given that I'd been paying for almost ten years to keep that address.

So, I decided "to heck with them." It's time for a change. Which means that, on top of everything else, I'm also trying to notify folks and services with my new email address. I lost a lot of my info when the account was suspended, so if you're a correspondent of mine, leave me a note in the comments and I'll send you the new address.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Cosmic Balance Must Be Preserved!

Eddie-tor's note: I had this post prepped and scheduled several weeks ago, well before Bennie got sick and passed away. I thought about deleting it, but just couldn't. I edited the post a bit, but I want to let it stand as a tribute to her.

The Lords of Chaos and Order must stand in balance. If there is a Mean Kitty Song for Chiquito, then, lo, there must be a Sweet Kitty Song for Bennie. In her memory, at least.



Honestly, throughout her whole life, the only thing she ever did that she wasn't supposed to was pick on Brianna, our Himalayan. (And it was Basil, her sister, who always instigated that.) She was the most perfect kitty that ever existed.*

*except that she never learned how to cover her poop.

Friday, November 05, 2010

This one is for Chiquito!



Seriously, I'm crushed that somebody else came up with the idea first! There never, ever in the whole world was a combination of sweetness and total trouble, cutie pie and bad-ass, holy terror and adorable beyond measure like Chiquito. We keep waiting for the kitten to grow its way out of him, but it's been three years, and he shows no sign of letting up.

And the resemblance between him and the kitty in the video is uncanny!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The sweetest birthday treat of all!

So sweet, in fact, that it'll give you a toothache!



And today, I am 46, even if you really can't tell it by this post.

I'll be off doing some nom-nom-ing myself. I told Keith all I wanted for my birthday was Nutella crepes from IHOP. (Although, I might sneak some thrifting in as well.)

Happy day, all!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Another Serving of Birthday Treat!

Only John Prine could come up with a line like:

You come home late and you copme home early.
You come home big when you're feeling small.
You come home straight and you come home curly.
Sometimes you don't come home at all.


The man is pure songwriting genius.

The thing that really gets me abo;ut this clip is how shy Nanci Griffith seems to be. You can see the hero worship for Prine written all over her face. It gives the whole thing a kind of gentle sweetness.

By the way, this was made several years before she recorded the song with him on her Other Voices, Other Rooms CD.




Tomorrow is the big day!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Have another Birthday Treat!

If there's one thing that's always welcome at any impending birthday of mine, it's more Emmylou Harris. Here she's doing "Hello Stranger" a great traditional tune, with her old acoustic band, The Nash Ramblers.


Monday, November 01, 2010

Birthday Treats

Thursday is my birthday, so you all get the presents! Best gift I can think of to give you all is some Emmylou (of course!) singing with Johnny Cash, from his old TV show.

Enjoy some good old-fashioned Southern gospel from the Man in Black and the Goddess of Music!



I'll be back tomorrow with another birthday treat!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And then there were two...

The Sweetest Kitty in the World is gone. She died this afternoon at home. Keith found her when he came home for lunch.

Mu mind can't comprehend it enough to even begin to write about it. I'm going black for a couple of days. I'll be back with more info after that.

The year my dad died (in the spring), her sister Basil died that fall. This year, my mother dies in the spring, and Bennie dies in the fall. That's a creepy pattern.

Mom died in May. Lost my job in July. Now, this in October. If bad luck really does come in threes, then it's time for someone else to be the recipient. I'm full up.

I'm almost numb at this point. Kosh just started crying for her.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Updates and Linkages

No time for much right now, just a couple of notes:

My uncle and I cleaned out the storage unit where I was keeping Mom's stuff last week. We donated the clothes to a thrift store (of course!), then loaded the rest on his van. Now it's crammed into my backyard shed with all my stuff. I've been chipping away at it all weekend, getting it organized. My goal has always been to have the she turned into the place where I keep my booth merch. I've just been putting off getting it cleaned out and organized. Not any more! I've got to get Mom's stuff stashed until my brother can get up here and we can sort through it all, but I need to keep it out of the way of the rest of the crap in the shed. I'll be getting back to the mines in a bit.

With a little bit of rain and some cooler temps, the Louisville funk is subsiding a bit. We've still not had enough rain to make it all go away, though. We had a pretty severe drought this year, and those storm drains still need a real good washing out. But it's not as bad as it has been.

The booth is still struggling this month, and I cannot figure out why. After two bang up months, October has sucked royally. I just (finally) made the rent a couple of days ago. On the bright side, I have had at least one sale every day, but a lot of them have been pretty tiny. The past two days have been up to the level that they should, so I'll clear a little money this month, if the trend holds. Just wish I knew what the devil was going on.

My uncle said he's had slow sales at his place across the river this month as well. Maybe it's a Halloween curse of some sort? Or maybe such is the life of a junk dealer?

My Vintage Soul mourns the loss of a local landmark for secondhand shoppers.

Speaking of links and such, you may have noticed that my blogroll has gone missing. Fear not, it will return. Dummy me didn't realize I would lose it all when I started twiddling with new templates. The whole thing needs to be redone and updated, so it's probably a good thing it's gone for the moment. Several sites have changed addresses, while others--comics news sites, for instance--I never visit any more. My goal is to have a new look for the blog ready to roll for the beginning of the year.

Gotta run! Time to finish the dishes and head to the back yard again!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eddies in Music: Love at the Five and Dime

I've always liked my name. I have known people who hated their names when they were kids, but grew to appreciate them later. I never had that problem. I always liked mine, but it seemed like I could never find it anywhere.

At first glance "Eddie" might not seem to be that unusual of a name, but check out the rack of personalized keychains or coffee cups next time you have a chance. You'll probably find an "Edward," and maybe an "Edwin," and possibly an "Ed." What you won't find is an "Eddie."

Now my name may be short for Edward, but that's not what people call me. And the only two people in my life who ever called me "Ed" are both dead. And if you do find anything printed with a name that sounds like mine, it's usually spelled with a "y." (Which is odd. I've know other Eddie's, but we've all been "ie" people.)

I've owned exactly one thing in my life that as personalized with my name on it, a Wonder Woman beach towel, and it was a special order. I got it when I was in sixth grade and I still have it, since it does have my name on it--and. duh, because it's Wonder Woman!

You also never see that many references to Eddie in popular culture, either. There was "Eddie and the Cruisers" and Eddie Van Halen, and that's about it. Okay, there's also that "Ed, Edd, and Eddy" cartoon on Cartoon Network, but the less said about it, the better. They didn't even spell it right!

So, I'm officially embarking on the Eddie-torial Comments "Eddie Quest." As I find them, I'll be posting Eddie's from the worlds of comics, music, movies, etc. here for our mutual eddie-ficiation. (Sorry about that.)

And here with my first entry is Nanci Griffith with a classic, sweet tale of love, music, and retail therapy.



I just love her sweet introduction. I'm off to search for unnecessary plastic objects. Woolworth's closed here a few years ago, so it's going to take a while. Maybe one of them will say "Eddie" on it. I'll keep it next to my Wonder Woman towel.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hanging Out at the Hospital

I'm spending a lot of time at the hospital these days. Not because I or anyone I care about is sick, mid you, but because it's convenient.

When my dad had his first heart attacks in 1997, he was sent to a cardiologist in Louisville. We spent the next several years doing appointments and such at the hospital where the doctor was attached. At one point in time, Dad needed some dental work done, and they actually had to admit him into the CCU here for monitoring because of the amount of blood thinners he was taking to prevent stroke.

Years later, when he had his heart/brain incidents that incapacitated and ultimately killed him, he was sent back to the hospital, where he stayed for almost a month before being released to the facility where he died.

The oncology unit that my mother was referred to for her chemo is in this same hospital. I've spent a lot of time there in the past decade or so. And I've actually grown a little fond of their cafeteria. The food is decent and reasonably priced. And the space itself is large enough to allow for some privacy while eating, which is kind of important to me.

My own doctor's office is right down the street, so the hospital became a regular stop for me on appointment days. When I had physicals, I would break the mandatory fast with a breakfast there. If I didn't have to fast, I would eat there before my appointment. Sounds weird, I know, but it was right on the way, and since I usually bike or walk or take the bus, I don't have to worry about parking fees.

My favorite thrift store in also just down the street, which makes the hospital a good place to hit afterward for coffee. My mother taught me the value of taking a break for coffee in the middle of the day, so I try to do that as often as I can.

I may be losing the thrift store as a reason to pop by the hospital cafe. They've got a for sale sign in front of the store. According to one of the cashiers, if the sales at this store don't pick up, then they're looking to move it to a new location to the east. I don't know if she means to the east part of downtown, which would be okay or to the east end of the city, which wouldn't be quite so nice. If they leave the downtown area, there will be only one thrift left in the downtown area, which is kind of sad. Louisville is on the verge of becoming thrift-poor.

Salvation Army closed their stores a couple of years ago, which left a big hole in the local thriftosphere. The official story was that the stores weren't making enough money, which is really kind of odd. After all, the merchandise is donated, which means that most of what they make on each item is profit. In a down economy, an agency dedicated to working with the poor closing an affordable retail outlet seems nuts to me. Having shopped at the Salv. stores, I think they could have been retooled, rather than closed. They were messy. The selection was poor. The prices were high, given the quality of the goods. All of those issues could have been easily fixed and the stores could have stayed open.

As far as my favorite downtown store goes, I'm hoping they'll turn around and be able to stay. Honestly, they dealt with their biggest problem recently by getting rid of two of the most unfriendly, unhelpful staff people I've ever seen anywhere. Who wants to shop in a place where the staff are always loudly complaining about each other, about the store, and about the customers?

It's only been a couple of weeks, but I already find it to be a much nicer place to shop now. I'm also seeing the manager there take a more active role out on the floor, instead of hiding away in the back. They've still got a way to go, but I think they may be on the right track. I hope so. I do like the place and would miss it if it moved.

Anyway, back to the hospital. Taking my new part-time gig has actually led to spending a bit more time there. It's got a nice covered bike rack area that is really secure and out of the rain. In the morning, I ride my bike there and then catch a bus across town to the NPTG. It works well for me, as I just don't feel like wrestling the bike on the rack on the bus in the middle of downtown traffic. And the bike stays nice and safe waiting for me to come back.

When I get off in the afternoon, I stop off and get a cup of coffee at the cafeteria before heading home. Gives me a chance to decompress and read a bit before coming home to do booth work.

It's not the strangest thing I do, I guess. But neither is it the most normal, according to some people. Nevertheless, I'm spending a lot of time at the hospital these days.