Thrift Stores As an Escape

It's been a while since I've posted here - mostly because I've lacked inspiration. I suppose the lack of a strong theme here doesn't help. I don't want to write something just to be writing, because I'm certain that it would show in the quality of my prose.

That's not to say that I've been lying around reading. I mean, lying around reading is a favorite pastime of mine, but I haven't indulged in a while. We do yard work, we clean, we take care of 12,429,347,230,947 animals. (This might be an exaggeration.) We have also been regulars at local thrift stores. Not that there's room for anything else. After getting my Room under control, I up and moved. More than half of what I own is still in boxes because we haven't worked out exactly where it's all going to go. Sometimes it's so overwhelming that we go to thrift stores just to get out and away from it all.

So, while I wait for further inspiration I leave you with a collage of pictures taken at my favorite of all – Top Drawer. Ladies and gentlemen, I present... The Trannequins.


Too Beautiful a Day to Be Inside

February 9, 2014

What a beautiful day. It's been unusually cold this winter; we've had several cold snaps in which it froze. The school districts have closed several times due to "Inclement weather", but that simply means that it might freeze with precipitation, which could lead to ice on bridges. And indeed, 50-car pile-ups happened on more than one occasion. The plants on my porch have mostly died and I cut them all back last week.

But, today it was clear, the sun was out and it went from 45º to 73º. I wore a decent T-shirt under my hoody so that when it warmed up I could take the outer layer off. I went to Corporate Coffee Shop to start with. I intended to go home and work around the condo, but I decided to enjoy the day. Walk around outside. Be out of the condo.

This is where I think that things always get a little odd, where things go wrong. I was reading a book and it mentioned the impression that a character got when entering a building. I was thinking that I should make my home be like that. I have stuff to make it impressive and homey, but I wasn't at home. I was out enjoying the weather. I have copies of book jackets that I've been meaning to frame and hang. (I ordered a reprint of an Agatha Christie novel - in exactly the original style, typefaces and dust jacket and everything - that I found particularly impressive [for reasons other than just the novel itself.] If you're interested, it's I've been meaning to hang copies of the cover art in my office space to inspire me to write. I have pottery that I've acquired from artist friends of Nameless. It's still in bags wrapped in bubble wrap. I've made The Room more presentable and comfortable, but I'm not in there writing. I'm out and about at thrift stores and used book stores looking for things to make my home cool, never mind that I still have things that I've acquired to make it cool and that stuff is not yet adorning my home or making anything fabulous. It's just waiting.

I am back in the habit of walking around my home and not really seeing, like putting blinders on a horse or filters on my eyes. Like selective hearing, but for vision. I can see the kitchen, but I don't see the stuff on the floor right outside the kitchen door. I see my table, but not the stuff piled on top of it.

So, I found a couple of frames for the book jackets. I found coffee and the sun and a beautiful day. I found a couple of books that I need to have on my shelves. Now, I'm at home with the griddle heating up so that I can make a petite sandwich for dinner and I have the urge to open my eyes and look around at my home and try to make it better.

God help me.

Thrift Store Heaven

August 18, 2012

Yesterday I went to meet up with Nameless and Patricia. You may remember them from my experience at The Oasis. Well, my friend, Sarah Fisch, posted on her Facebook that she was eating Pollo Pibil in Los Angeles and that caused me to crave Cochinita Pibil. There is only one restaurant that I know of in Austin that makes this and it's called Azul Tequila; on Lamar and Ben White (next to Target). So, I called Nameless and informed him that we needed to go there to eat soon. He said that Patricia had already expressed interest in getting together for dinner because she was going to be in town. So, things were loosely arranged.

I met up with Patricia at the corporate coffee shop on Anderson Lane near MoPac. We broke out my new netbook, which I am currently writing on, and searched around for galleries and other goings-on. Nameless had suggested going to thrift stores, possibly because every time he calls me on a Sunday I'm at Goodwill browsing.

It turns out, Patricia is the absolute queen of thrift stores. She didn't even need the computer when it came to that topic; she IS the database, complete with ratings – her own and her friends'.

We got a late start, from a thrift-store-shopping point of view. Next-to-New closed at 4 pm. I demanded that since they are in a service industry they should stay open later than that. She told me to take it up with the Episcopalians. So, we slipped over to Savers. It was more or less like a Goodwill, which means that you never know what's going to be there. I found a raku piece and two other pieces of hand-thrown pottery – two small glasses. The two others were by the same artist and he/she seems to be more advanced as a ceramics artist.

Then we went to Top Drawer. I have been seeing this place since I've lived in Austin and I had never been in there. Wow! What a place! I saw a Japanese figurine that I thought my sister would love. He was only $6.  While we were growing up my mother had two little statues that seem to be in the same style, and I thought that Lottie had them now. I sent her an image of him and then called her. She happened to be in the middle of an anxiety attack so I talked to her for a while. Then, when she saw the picture her voice changed and I felt that she genuinely liked him. Guess what. He was half off! $3!! She doesn't have the other two, but she will now have this one. He's missing a hand, but after 8 children all of my mother's things are chipped and missing limbs and digits.

Japanese Figurine from Top Drawer

Nameless found a set of 9 Mikasa cup/saucers. $1 apiece after the markdown. They also had a set of 4 Wedgewood cup and saucers. I was tempted to get them just because, but I wasn't in love with them and $35 is $35. Nameless also found two nice frames made of Birdseye wood (this is according to him and Patricia). They are very nice frames. I told him I'd buy them for him, but he told me to buy them for me. I have them; we'll see what we do with them.

We did end up at Goodwill – the one on Lamar and 2222. It was kind of a let-down after Top Drawer, but Patricia was having more fun. She found a glass bowl for water for her cats. I found a piece of ceramic, which I believe is a Tim Farmer original. It's a pancake bowl; it has a handle and a spout to pour the batter onto a griddle. I don't usually find 4 pieces of hand-thrown ceramics in the same day.

Afterward we went to La Palapa for dinner. (Azul Tequila was very far and they were very hungry.) After dinner we went to Whole Foods in downtown, which is our regular dessert place. We headed straight to the back and Nameless and Patricia got what they always share – a chocolate-lined edible shell with cream in the bottom and mixed berries on top. I got what I always get, a crème brûlée. They put fresh berries on top just because they love me. I think that this is a wonderful tradition. We ate outside under a wooden cover next to what would be a water course, if they had water running through it.

On the way back we stopped at Wheatsville so Patricia could go grocery shopping. I had been there before, but suddenly I saw it with new eyes. That place kind of rocks. I'm definitely going to have to go back and check out their bulk rice selection and their produce. Nameless found some cream that helped the calluses on his hands. He didn't buy it, but he sampled the hell out of it. I'll probably get him some when I'm in there next. It's not cheap, but it's good stuff. Their dishwasher recommended it, and that's a recommendation worth taking when it comes to hand-cream.

I like our little adventures. I love having friends who enjoy doing things like this, and it was Patricia's turn to shine. She knows her way around thrift stores and Wheatsville.

Raku Piece from Savers

Two Ceramic Glasses from Savers

Tim Farmer Pancake Bowl – Goodwill

Frames from the Top Drawer

Details of Frames

I'll write more later. Until then I remain,

Yours truly,