I love my city.
I grew up in Southern California, which I know sounds wonderful. Sunshine. Blue skies. Beaches and palm trees and movie stars. Pretty much. But also there’s wall to wall cars, smog so thick it makes your nose bleed, and crazies, whinos and weirdos up the wazoo. It’s a sprawling universe of people who are busy and harried much of the time. People who smile and say “have your people call my people”. And you wonder if they even remember your name, though you could swear you stood in their wedding two years ago. Southern Cal is beautiful, and fun, and exciting, and memorable; but it can be hard on the soul if you don’t have your center. So many people. So much chaos. It makes me feel small and insignificant.
Parks with water sprinklers for kids to play in, swings and sandboxes. Malls, shopping centers, and independent retail shops. There are comic book shops, libraries, art galleries, and tattoo parlours. Oh, and weed sellers. That’s an official and legal business now, so we have a billion little shops that have sprung up like well, weeds, all over the town. We have two roller derby teams, a baseball team, a football team, several city and farmer’s markets, a skateboard park and a place where you can rent kayaks by the hour. We have several colleges and universities, law schools and business schools. Also a fabulous art show every summer and an independent film festival.
Oh, and outdoor movies in an artsy part of town. As well as live theatre on the streets, musicians that play while you eat out on patios, tons of thrift shops and antique stores, and horse drawn carriages at various times.
Yes, the weather is questionable. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It’s humid or freezing or blustery. The roads don’t get plowed in time, or fixed of their pot holes, or they are being fixed but it’s taking too long. There’s too much unemployment and not enough Lotto winners. But sometimes it’s just perfect and beautiful; exactly what it should be. Bright sunny skies, crisp fall mornings, friendly people in a store you’ve never visited. It’s a good town, with enough seedy elements to make it interesting and enough artistic bend to make it quirky. So though I’m not originally from here, and I may not always live here, it’s a good place to call home right now.
so Friday was my birthday, and i had an AMAZING weekend. for years now i’ve been itching to do some artwork with an eclectic assortment of articles. and i don’t know exactly what i’ll be doing, but i’m formulating some ideas. so this weekend i hit the garage sale circuit in search of treasures. i won’t have time today to put up pictures of all my goodies, but i’ll add on bit by bit, like a terribly unexciting anticlimactic play you’ll be half heartedly interested in. but hey, it makes MY heart palpitate! 😉
that whole saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is somewhat trite, but nonetheless completely true. i went to a thrift store, an antique boutique, a flea market and a whole passel of garage sales, and found tons of goodies! retro chairs, art supplies, knick knacks and even a killer pair of brand new Ed Hardy shoes for $3.99!!!! SAWEEET!!
lots of pics to come, but as i’m on my way to work i’ll put up my dearest treasure first. i was looking at an advertisement i got in the mail and saw this kooky thing for sale at a drugstore, of all places. it was only like 15.00 USD, and i really thought it was cool, but it wasn’t like i super needed it or anything. so i kept it on the back burner of my mind – on low/simmer so i wouldn’t fry anything in there, cause i need all the brain cells i can get – and thought i’d hope for the best. lo and behold!! someone had one of these things at their garage sale, and sold it off to me for AN EVEN BUCK! what??!! i’m sooooo excited!
it’s a Galilean Thermometer, very alchemy-ish, and i absoluetly love it! (reading it is a little different, but hey, when i’m hot i’m hot and i don’t need gadgets to tell me i’m hot. they just look cool lying around!)
Ahhhh…two of my favorite things today:
Rain and Ephemera.
Sunday my sister and I went to an old book and paper show. Wow. Don’t roll your eyes so hard, they might fall out. It was cool! You should try it before making fun of me and calling me a nerd. Anyway the term is probably geek. Twice a year my town hosts the biggest book and paper show in the “midwest”, and there are treasures like 1st editions, autograhped copies of bestsellers, rare books, miniature books, and loads and loads of ephemera!
I have a thing for ephemera.
I only discovered recently that old crap like menus from resteraunts that are no longer around was called ephemera. Well I’ve been collecting this stuff forever. And at these book shows I get all the coolest stuff, like this fun book on old medicine for animals.
I wonder who this person was, and what there stay was all about. Business meeting? Clandestine rendezvous with a scandalously clad woman? Running away from a gorey murder site he doesn’t want to be connected with? Is that why he lost his appetite and never ate his meal?
And how about this treasure, my little green bottle? What fabulous medicine was in here? Nerve tonic? Opium? (yummm) Laudenum? To add to its personal value, its from an old pharmacy here in my local town.
But this is my great find of the day – nay – of years! My own Penny Dreadful, and he’s a rascally little guy…
I love old things. Or maybe I should say antiques. Not that I don’t like old people, I’m not saying that, but right now I’m not talking about old PEOPLE but old THINGS. Books, furniture, pictures; old cities, old architecture, old knick knacks. I love to find an old treasure and make it my own, all the while wondering who had it before me and what their life might have been like. I had a beautiful old glasses case back in the day, which I used to carry my lipstick around. Truly a wonderful find, beautiful and elegant. I lost it at the Joe Lewis arena one year, watching a hockey game. I told you all, I love sports, but that particular game sucked, and suckier still was losing my treasure. It’s not like I was likely to ever find out who owned it before me, but it’s fun to wonder. Was this some exotic and beautiful woman who wore thick glasses because she was blind as a bat? Perhaps she found her boyfriend cheating on her and went blind with fury, and suddenly found herself needing glasses and a cute glasses case?
Anyway, I diverge. The whole purpose of this post was actually to brag about a treasure of mine. One glorious, fated day I came across an old book. Very hard for me to resist them, so if they are in the least bit interesting, artistic, or valuable I will do my best to save, salvage or purchase them. No, I’m not a hoarder, I wish you would stop assuming the worst of me. It’s called being a “picker”. Haven’t you seen that show “American Pickers”? Well get on that; it makes all of us crazy packrats feel much more sane, and gives us a viable excuse – er – reason for clutter and collections.
Back to my tale. Stop distracting me.
This book – Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts, c1949 with illustrations by L.J. Allen – is a dandy. Written in a snarky, sassy tongue, the book guides a young man in all things entertainment. What types of drinks you should serve at your party, how to barbeque, how to determine if you are attractive to members of the opposite sex. (I don’t think there are any bits of advice on attracting same sex admirers; this IS 1949 after all) I may end up quoting this book on occasion, because I love it so, or at least sharing an occasional drink recipe.
For example, a little treasure tidbit from the section entitled “Cocktails”:
“There will be times when you must steel yourself to mix up one of those fluffy, multicolored abominations which, for some mysterious reason relating to iron-insides and paralyzed palates, the “ladies” insist upon downing. The habitual-offenders of these unmanly drinks are segregated under “Something for the Girls,” confined to page 117 where they can’t interfere with your own tasteful toasting.”
I love this silly, sexist, sassy book. Good thing I wasn’t a wife back then, or I might have landed in the clinker for homicide with a rolling pin. Better yet, a stirring stick.