The Thrift Shop

My husband made a new discovery last month. It’s called the thrift store. I’ve been a thrift store aficionado since high school, but somehow my husband never really caught on. I’ve been trying to figure out how this happened, and the only thing I can think of is that the only time he’s been with me to a thrift store was when I went to the charity shops in the UK. Brits must not have nearly as many things to throw away as Americans because those shops are tiny. American thrift shops contain acres of items. It’s a regular bonanza of discovery. (I just wanted to say bonanza. There’s something satisfying about that word.)

The first time I took my husband to my favorite thrift shop here he marveled at the number of items there. “There are just so many clothes,” he said as we started sifting through button-down shirts. There were tons of clothes, but because my husband is so thin, there were only like six shirts in his size. That happens no matter where I take him to shop. Pants choices are usually limited to four, shirt choices maybe ten. It’s so annoying.

“I can actually have enough gig shirts without spending a fortune,” he announced holding up a blue button-down. My husband somehow manages to ruin clothes. I’m not sure what’s going on, but after only a month his new shirts start looking like they’re ten years old. I can have clothes for years and they still look brand new, but he’s got a special talent for ruining clothes. Well everyone is good at something.

patrick

Freeforming

Confession …

I stopped combing my hair two months ago. Combs are so overrated, and I was ready for a change. It’s funny how not combing your hair makes you totally forget to update your blog. I never realized the two things were so closely related before.

So this is the sort of beginning of my freeform locking journey. For those of you who don’t know, that means I’m growing uncultivated dreadlocks. For those of you who still don’t know, that means that after I wash my hair (which I still do because dirty hair is not what dreadlocks are all about) I don’t comb or brush or anything like that. I may separate a few sections with my fingers so I don’t end up with one giant lock, but that’s it. It’s a big matted mess all up on my scalp, and I like it that way.

I decided to start doing this because I’m all about freedom. I also realize that freedom isn’t free, and by it’s very nature it needs some sort of form. Hence my decision to freeform.

I am completely aware that the above paragraph makes no sense, but that’s never stopped me before.

Don’t worry, this is not becoming some kind of hair blog. Hair isn’t nearly as interesting as my inane ramblings about life, love, and time travel. I just wanted to tell you about this decision of mine because my husband is convinced that it won’t last long. This here announcement commits me to keeping this freeforming thing going for about a year. Once the year is up, I’ll shave my hair in checkerboard pattern and bleach the alternating squares. I might have to attempt to get a real job in a year, and I think a nice checkerboard pattern shaved into my head will really impress interviewers.

Picture Day

This picture was inspired by the hole Chompyface dug in the yard. Usually when I take a self-portrait he’s outside with me, but this time he was so excited that I was trying to lay in his hole that he would run all over the yard as fast as he could and then jump on when I was laying in the hole. He was ruining the picture and nearly knocked the camera over so he was banished to the kitchen.

SONY DSC

I decided to learn how to make animated gifs because I always end up with a series of pictures from these self portraits.

ground1

Dinner and Atrocities

Ever since my husband borrowed my father’s copy of A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn, we get to listen to atrocities while we eat. He keeps the book open at his spot at the dinner table, ready to be read.

Usually, he just reads to himself as he eats, but when what he is reading is particularly heinous, he reads it to all of us. Oh, the joy! As I eat my salad, I watch him and wonder what atrocities I might get to hear about with my main course today. Sometimes there are none, but usually they abound.

Tonight I got to hear about how early starving Virginia settlers dug up the grave of someone who had been dead for three days and ate the corpse. He also read a story of a settler who slew his wife as she slept, salted her meat and devoured every part of her but the head. He told us this while we ate spagetti. Luckily, I have a strong stomach.

He’s finished the chapter on the early settlers, Columbus, and the American Indians. Now he’s starting the chapter on the history of racism in this country. I wonder what revolting stories he’ll read to me during dinner tomorrow.

Chapped

I have a confession to make. I hope I don’t disappoint you too much, but I’m addicted to Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. I keep it on the shelf next to my bed when I sleep, so that I can re-apply in the middle of the night. I have it in my pocket or purse whenever I go out. I’ve even turned around and come back home to get it if I realized I’d forgotten it. If I can’t find it, all I have to do is say, “Where is Burt?” and my husband will help me look for it. It just feels so soothing, cool and refreshing. I love that pepperminty tinkle.

I started out as a child using Vaseline to soothe my parched lips. Chapped lips have always been a problem for me. My mother says I was born with chapped lips.

Soon I could no longer get a fix off of Vaseline. As a teenager, I wandered into a drugstore alone one day and came out with my first tube of Cherry Chapstick. Cherry to make my lips redder like I was wearing lipstick. Like marijuana leads to heroin, Vaseline led me to Chapstick.

Before I knew it Chapstick wasn’t working for me anymore either so I made a bold and dangerous leap to Blistex. Unfortunately it was too much too fast and I had to go back to the Cherry Chapstick before my lips suffered irreversible damage.

Now I’ve moved on too Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. The bright yellow plastic tube it comes in brings me great joy. I apply and re-apply a hundred times daily. But I don’t really need it. I mean I can stop anytime.

Hello Neighbor

Apartment living gives you many opportunities to meet and live around interesting people. For example, we have a next door neighbor named Jim. Jim is very talkative and outgoing. He likes to sit on a green plastic chair that he has placed between our bedroom window and his front door. He sits there and smokes and greets the other people living on this side of our apartment building as they come and go. He sits out there at all hours of the night. Sometimes, while I’m trying to get to sleep, I listen in on conversations he has with neighbors. The other night he told the new woman living upstairs, “As soon as this lease is up I’m moving into a place that I can afford. Not that I can’t afford this place. I want something smaller. Maybe a villa.” A villa? What’s that all about? Is he moving to Italy or something? I’m not a snoop. Really I’m not.

I often wonder why Jim didn’t choose to put his chair on his balcony. We all have a small balcony. It would be an ideal place to put a green plastic chair. He does use his balcony for standing and talking on his cell phone, or standing and smoking, or sometimes standing and drinking beer. One day when I came home, Jim was standing and drinking beer on his balcony. He greeted me and I greeted him in return. Before I knew it he was ranting about his job as the fish guy at a supermarket on the south side of town. “People on the south side just don’t eat seafood,” he told me. “The management doesn’t know what they’re doing. I’ve been working for this company for six years and I’m starting to loose my passion for seafood!” He told me that he was loosing his passion for seafood four more times before his rant ended.

Our new neighbor upstairs has turned my once comfortable apartment life upside down. She moved in about two weeks ago. She seemed nice and harmless enough–a young recently separated woman and he toddler. Since she moved in, however, we can hear her and her boyfriend having sex twice a day on average. They both have parking difficulties and like to park just over the white line so that they are incredibly close to the car next to them. They don’t speak to us. A friendly hello while passing in the parking lot is greeted with a cold turn of the head in the opposite direction. They have strange driving habits that involve running up way too close to you before passing you in an obnoxious manner. Other than that they seem like good people.

These are only two of the examples of people living in my apartment building. There are many other interesting people here. It makes me appreciate that we are all unique individuals. Some of us have loud sex, can’t park and have a passion for seafood.

Waste Not

My mother prides herself on being frugal. I’ve gone to book stores with her where she has picked up a book about how to save money and said, “This book doesn’t contain the half of it. If you want to know how to save money, I can tell you.” She is a fan of outlets and outlets of outlets. She scours dollar stores for much needed items and shops at dented can stores. She saves every last bit of leftover food, even if it is only a spoonful. She has storage containers small enough for one spoonful of food.

These are good things. Saving as much money as you can is good. Who wants to pay too much for an item? Who can resist a bargain? I like to find the sales. I like to buy marked down items. I don’t like to waste things. The problem is that sometimes my mother takes this to an extreme.

Last weekend we stopped by my parents’ house. They had company over and we were all sitting around the living room chatting when my mother offered us dessert. Only my husband and I accepted the offer. It was some sort of fruit cobbler. I have to admit that it was good. When we had finished eating my mother said proudly, “I had all this fruit in the fridge going bad and I decided that instead of throwing it out I’d make a dessert out of it.”

I was shocked and later pulled her aside and told her that the next time she makes food out of something that needs to be thrown out, she shouldn’t mention it to the guests. She seemed puzzled by my advice. Even when I asked her if I could write this blog about the incident she still seemed proud of the dessert, especially the fact that she almost threw that fruit away. The most important part to her is that she didn’t waste anything! Nevermind feeding the company trash.

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