Thursday, May 19, 2011

Treasure Hunting

During my childhood, my sisters and I spent a part of every summer tagging along after our Mom as she looked for treasures at yard sales.   She would give each of us a dime, or sometimes a quarter, so that we would have our own spending money.  I remember holding that shiny coin tight in my fist while dreaming of the wonders I could purchase with it.  Would it be a new doll, a book about horses or maybe a baton that would take me to a world of marching bands where I would lead the parade down a street lined with cheering crowds?  The possiblities in that little coin and those sales were endless!

Mom loved to go to yard sales and she loved to have them as well.  Both of my sisters and I have inherited the love of going, finding bargains and even things we never dreamed of, but I don't think any of us have the love of actually having a sale.  We all do from time to time, but not like Mom, who never let a summer pass without holding a yard sale.  We lived quite a ways out of town, so for days ahead of the sale, we would clean and price our items, then haul them all into town and set up the sale on Grandma and Grandpa's front lawn.  The day itself was always fun with us kids taking turns being the "cashier" and writing down in a notebook whose items sold and for how much.  Afterwords, we would divy up our earnings and a trip to The Corner Market was always in order for a pop and a piece of candy.  My favorite was the lollipops that were two-toned, kind of powdery and came on a hollow white stick.  I don't remember what they were called but I loved them!

As a teenager, I no longer went to yard sales or even wanted to help with the annual summer sale.  We lived in a very small town and how mortifying it would be to wind up in a classmates yard going through their castoffs! No thank you! 
Those awkward teenage years weren't far behind me before yard sales once again callled my name.  (And it didn't hurt that I had moved an entire state away, to a much larger town so odd's were entirely in my favor that I wouldn't be digging through my friends things!) Now, many years later, I would happily paw through friends stuff, offering them a dollar here or there when I found something I just had to have.   Brittany and Shilo have also gotten the yard sale itch, so with both of them close this year, I predict lots of Saturdays out "saleing".

With all that said, would you like to see my treasures from this past Saturday's hunting?  Yes?  Have a look ~

This is my favorite find!  I've been wanting to change out our curtains, something to make the room feel lighter and brighter, so I was super excited to find this set of 12 panels, all for $25.  Yeah!  They go perfectly in our house, the same brick red as the fireplace and other red accents we've used in the living room.  They make the room feel very summer country beach cottage-y which is just exactly what I wanted.
With 12 panels, I have enough to do the kitchen as well, which really ties the house together.  I just love them!

How about a sailboat picture for $5?  Perfect for an empty spot that really needed to be filled in our nautical-themed bathroom. 

It's very rare for me to come home from yard sales without a stack of books!
Isn't that top adorable?  Actually, it's two pieces that Shilo found at seperate yard sales for 25 cents a piece.   What a score!
We found a whole stack of super cute clothes for tiny Mazzy Kaye.  This little outfit is my favorite for $1.00.

We all know how fun dress-up can be, so I couldn't pass up this little Ninja costume for Noah. ($1.00)
Of course, it resulted in a couple of karate chops for Bana and a little voice stating, "Watch out.  Inja coming through!"

Have you been out treasure hunting yet this season?  Found any wonderful things?  It's true that one girls trash is another girls treasure!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flower Moon

Full Moon Bokeh by badjuuuu
Full Moon Bokeh, a photo by badjuuuu on Flickr.

In May, Mother Nature delights us with re-birth.  From blooming flowers and budding trees to new babies of every species tagging along after their mothers or riding on their hips.  What a delightful month, chock full of surprises and warm days, as well as anticipation of the summer to come. 

Tonight's full moon is known as the Flower Moon.  If you have clear skies, get outside, look up and bask in the joy of nature.  Pick a spot to sit for a minute, where flowers are blooming and you can look up at the greatness that is our moon.  What a beautiful time to reflect on the day and to simply delight in the wonder of creation. 

"I see the moon and the moon see's me.  God bless the moon and God bless me!"  - Dustin sang this song quite often when he was a tiny boy.  I cannot see a full  moon without hearing his sweet 5 year old voice running through my head.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ninja Bunny

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting~
Those bunnies were fast as lightning.
In fact it was a little bit

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Turn the Page....Tuesday

Isla Pixol, Mexico, 1929
In the beginning were the howlers.  They always commenced their bellowing in the first hour of dawn, just as the hem of the sky began to whiten.  It would start with just one:  his forced, rhythmic groaning, like a saw blade.  That aroused others near him, nudging them to bawl along with his monstrous tune.  Soon the maroon-throated howls would echo back from other trees, farther down the beach, until the whole jungle filled with roaring trees.  As it was in the beginning, so it is every morning of the world.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver starts as above with a young boy, half American, half Mexican, awaking each morning to the howling of monkeys in the trees.  Harrison William Shepherd has come with his mother to live at an estate in Mexico with the man she left his father for;  the man she was hoping would marry her but has more than anything kept her a prisoner on this remote Mexican island. 

The first chapter of this book intrigued me, but unfortunately became dry and quite slow-paced for the next six chapters or so.  A story told through the letters and diaries of the main character after his death, it covers the time period of the workers communist movement in Mexico.  Many real-life historical figures are written in.  Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo, both famous artists, are employers and friends of our young hero, as is Leon Trotsky, a Bolshevik Revolutionist who was exiled to Mexico. 

Even though historical fiction is my favorite genre, I really took a long time to drag my way through this book.  It's not that I didn't like the story, I did, but parts of it  were dry and just seemed to drag, though I never did get to the point of just giving up and I am glad I finished the book.  It was one of those stories where I could just never connect with the main character and felt that he was a bit flat.  Lots of good reviews out there and many readers loved this book.  It was just okay for me man. (My shout out to Randy Jackson on American Idol. lol)

From  the dust jacket:
Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico - from a coastal island jungle to 1930's Mexico City - Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey.  Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen,  errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.  He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend.  When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.
Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internatinalist goodwill of World War II.  There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America's hopeful image and claim a voice of his own.  He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know.  Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach-the lacuna-between truth and public presumption.

Naomi by Berniece Rabe is the book that I decided to pull off my dusty shelves and read this past month for Adrienne's Turn the Page Tuesday challenge of reading something that has been on your shelf for awhile.   This is one I read years ago, I believe when I was in Junior High.  I picked up this autographed copy at a yard sale a couple of years ago.

' "Cain't you hear?  I asked you what y're doin'?" Grace shouted.
Naomi paid no attention to the roughness in her sister Grace's voice, but kept right on with what she was doing, placing one leg with a great crossing motion in front of the other as she walked on the hard-packed dirt path that circled their weathered house and made forks through the weeds to the barn, chicken house, toilet, and cotton field.  "I'm walkin' like a cow.  What does it look like I'm doin'?"
"Well, Mom says to cut it out.  She said for me to tell you that it looks nasty."
Naomi took two more cow steps. '

Naomi is a ten year old girl growing up on a farm in southeast Missouri.  Her Mom is already harping on her that if she can't peel potato's thin enough, she will never make someone a good wife.  At the opening of the story, Naomi's Aunt Wilma has already died from a snakebite, but at her death at the ripe old age of 21, she was unmarried and already a burden to the family.  Naomi is a pretty girl, taking after her aunt in that aspect and her Mom is very afraid that Naomi is "patterning her ways" after the dead aunt.

A fortune-teller has moved to town and Naomi goes to see her, hoping to here that she will grow up good, become rich and not be a burden to her family.  Instead, she hears that she will die before her fourteenth birthday - and the fortune-teller is never wrong.  When Naomi's family finds out that she went to see this woman, she is in a world of trouble, but Naomi can tell that her superstitious family and neighbors believe in her fate.  What a terrible burden to be hanging over a young girls head. 

What will happen?  Will Naomi perish before she is fourteen?  This is a young reader book, quick moving.  Naomi is a very likeable character, full of spirit and always getting herself into trouble with her very strict and not so likeable Mom and sister.   A good coming of age story set in a time and place full of poverty, ignorance and superstition. 

Pop over to Some of a Kind for more Turn the Page Tuesday reviews!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Brick Roads

A strong hand reaches out to steady the elderly man as he stumbles on the sidewalk.  The younger woman, a stranger to the man, helps him into the grocery store, keeping her hand on his elbow until he is settled into a motorized shopping cart.  The encounter brightens the day for both of them.

The sound of a lawnmower brings the great-grandmother to the window to see what is happening in her yard.  A tear forms in her eye as she watches her neighbors mowing and raking her overgrown grass simply because they notice that it needs done.

While raising her boys, a friend of mine instilled in them the joy of doing kindnesses for others.  She told them that when they stepped out of their own worlds to help someone else, that they were building themselves brick roads to heaven.  I have always liked her analogy, picturing those boys building their roads, brick by brick.

It seems that so often we all walk around in our own little bubbles, forgetting to look up and around.  We are, many times, oblivious to the needs of those around us, whether they are people in our worlds or complete strangers we encounter.  I challenge you all this week to open your eyes and help someone out.  Even a small kindness will add one more brick to your road to heaven.