Friday, July 24, 2009

Before it's too late

Sometimes moving isn’t hard, but having moved is. Two years after having left northern New England, I get messages that I belong back there. Sometimes the messages are sad. This always happens by complete coincidence, when “there” is the last thing on my mind.

The other day I linked across a few blogs that I had not seen before. One blog caught my eye, since it was from my old stomping grounds. They had a sidebar link to a local TV station website, where I stumbled across a news article about an accident victim. Time stopped as I recognized the name of an old friend’s husband. As we now live in a time where land phones are becoming scarce I have not been able to locate a number to call. I cannot drive there for the services so I feel somewhat displaced and helpless. I will send a letter of condolences, of course, while wishing I could be there.

Several names from the past have been popping into my mind today. This weekend I’ll be sending out emails and making phone calls to say hello to old friends.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

August will be a "dry" month around here....

Even though my credit card debt is gone, my overall debt has increased dramatically. The insurance company declared my car a total loss and it had to be replaced. I took some of the pain out of the process by researching used vehicles online, and then drove to the dealer with printouts and reports in hand. I stuck to a predetermined price range but sadly, for the next five years, I owe.

Soooooo, to try to get through all this monetary mess I’ve joined the Buy Nothing Challenge for August 2009 on Crunchy Chicken’s blog. As of midnight July 31st, participants can only buy absolutely necessary items, including food (i.e. not fast food). I’ve done something like this before on my own, but never out in public, for the entire world to see! I’ll check in and post results on her blog as well as here.

Today I’ll attend my final rummage sale before padlocking my purse. After that, I may end up playing solitaire online for amusement. :)

Up for a challenge?

Friday, July 17, 2009


When looking back at the most critical times in my life, it seems that someone was watching over me and leading me where I needed to go. It wasn’t always easy but the road unfolded before me when the time was right. People entered my life who I needed at the time. Neighbors I barely knew brought me homemade organic chicken soup when I had the flu. Others gave me information that proved to be valuable. Calling about an available apartment found a landlady who turned into a dear friend.

Five years ago I decided to move closer to my elderly mother, so I could be of help to her. This 300 mile relocation involved selling the condo I had, buying a new one, packing, finding a new job, and all the other nuisances that happen when you move. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I hesitated for almost three years because I felt I wasn’t ready. When I decided to go through with it, it happened like a charm. One condo sold, the other purchased, notice given at work, moved, and three weeks after that I had a new job. It was as if someone opened all the right doors for me.(*)

Many other times in my life I’ve felt as if I have a Guardian Angel, possibly my father, who watches over me. So if that’s you, Dad, helping someOne up there, thank you. I love you, too.

* In this current housing and employment fiasco I may not have been so lucky, which makes me believe even more that this was pre-planned for me.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I was quite surprised by Colin Beavan’s post today on No Impact Man because I had also been thinking about the same subject lately – product durability/longevity. We have heard for many years about planned obsolescence but, like the negative of a photograph which shows the areas that are usually hidden, the opposite would be things that are proudly made for a longer lifespan.

As one of the millions of packrats out there, I scout sales and freebies for pieces of past eras. One of my favorite items is luggage. I think of the 1960’s airlines stewardesses with carefully coiffed hairstyles and little neckscarves, or someone like Audrey Hepburn with a makeup case. I try to imagine all that was in that case: face powder, mascara, lipstick, hairbrush and comb, curlers, and maybe one of those bonnets to wear over your hair in the shower? Whatever was in there was important because it was a carry-on case. Go to any church rummage sale and you’ll still find these old luggage pieces, sometimes even an old steamer trunk that crossed the ocean on a long voyage. These were made to withstand being tossed and stacked by baggage handlers, unlike the lightweight and easily replaceable cloth suitcases we use today.

A little lighter but still fairly strong are the two items in the next photo; a wig case and a hat box from a clothing store. Not many people keep wigs in their closet for special occasions but when this was the custom, you could get a sturdy case for your “party” hairdo. Since it would be on a shelf in the closet, it could last for many years of light use. The hat box was provided by the clothing store to protect your bonnet and was a great way for them to advertise. Sometimes you can find larger round band boxes at sales. Buy a hat at a department store today, and it will most likely be tossed in a plastic bag that you will use for tomorrow’s trash can liner.

A far cry from the plastic shrink wrap and thin cardboard box that cheap cigars come in would be the wooden box pictured here. I don’t know, nor do I care, if these were good cigars or not, but I found the box at a second hand store and I have made use of it. I’m not a proponent of smoking, but since this container had already been put into the system I have no qualms about owning it. This falls into the category of reusing glass jars for leftovers, metal coffee cans for spools of thread, and plastic peanut butter jars for nuts and screws.

I place a much higher value on these types of products than anything mass-produced today. It all branches out from the topic of buying cheap things that we don’t need and will soon be discarding.

As a side note, take a look at the tag that was still attached to the wig case. The manufacturer’s address was pre-zipcode, and the phone number was alpha–numeric. My family’s original phone number started with Townsend 9, and I remember a commercial advertisement from the NY area where the phone number started with Murray Hill 7. Your phone number included you in your community, but now I'm going off in another direction..... :)

Note added on 7/18: How cool! Take a look at Naughty Secretary Club's post about vintage suitcases.